What is an assignment?
An assignment is a sales transaction where the original buyer of a property (the “assignor”) allows another buyer (the “assignee”) to take over the buyer’s rights and obligations of the Agreement of Purchase and Sale, before the original buyer closes on the property (that is, where they take possession of the property). The assignee is the one who ultimately completes the deal with the seller.
In other words, an assignment clause allows the buyer of a home to sell the place before they take possession of it.
In Ontario, assignments are more common in pre-built homes and condos than on re-sale properties, but they are possible on any type of trade.
What about the tax implications of assignments?
RECO advises anyone participating in an assignment to seek the advice of a tax specialist. Generally, assignors can expect to pay tax on any profits they realized from the assignment. Land transfer taxes are paid by the assignee, as they are only due when the sale closes (that is when the property actually changes hands).
How can home buyers and sellers protect themselves?
As with any contract, it’s crucial for buyers and sellers to know what they’re signing. Real estate contracts are legally-binding, so getting legal advice can be a smart idea. It’s important to know what each clause means and how it will affect you. Buyers and sellers are encouraged to ask their real estate professional to explain the clauses in the contract.
Beyond contracts, RECO encourages buyers and sellers to do their homework. That means interviewing several salespersons, getting several comparative market analyses to understand what their home is worth and having realistic expectations about timelines, pricing and how the process will work.