Buying a home is a big decision, and sometimes, buyers change their mind. Fortunately, in British Columbia, home buyers have a right to rescind their offer within a specified period. It’s important to understand the rescission period fully, so you know your rights and obligations as a buyer or seller. This blog post will delve into everything you need to know about the rescission period for home buyers in BC.

As mentioned earlier, the right to rescission under the Homeowner Protection Act cannot be waived by either a buyer or a seller. Only the buyer has the right to rescind an offer within three business days, excluding weekends and holidays, after the offer is accepted. If you’re a buyer thinking of rescinding your offer, you must notify the seller in writing before the three-day rescission period expires. Additionally, a buyer must pay the seller a rescission fee, which amounts to 0.25% of the offer price. Keep in mind that only the buyer can rescind the contract under the HBRP.

Sellers must also understand the rescission period. When an offer is made, the seller will receive a disclosure of the buyer’s right to rescind. This disclosure may be on a separate form or included in the Contract of Purchase and Sale. The right to rescission is non-negotiable, and sellers cannot waive it, even if they want to. If the buyer’s brokerage is not holding the deposit, and they choose to rescind the offer, sellers should seek legal advice on how to pursue the buyer for the money owed.

It’s also important to note that buyers do not have to provide a reason to sellers if they choose to rescind a contract. The right to rescission exists to give buyers the opportunity to change their mind, and they don’t have to justify their decision to anyone. However, buyers should be aware of the rescission fee they’ll have to pay.

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When buyers notify sellers of their intent to rescind, they must do so in writing. A written rescission notice can be delivered by hand or sent by registered mail. Once the seller receives the notice, the rescission period starts. The seller can’t do anything with the deposit until the rescission period expires, and the seller will return the deposit to the buyer within five business days after the rescission period is over.

The three-day rescission period for home buyers in BC is a valuable protection mechanism that allows buyers to back out of a deal if they change their mind. For buyers, it’s crucial to understand this right and their obligations if they choose to exercise it. Sellers also have obligations during the rescission period and should be familiar with their options if a buyer decides to rescind a contract. Keep in mind that the rescission fee is a cost that buyers will have to bear if they rescind an offer, but it’s a small price to pay for buyers who require extra time to think about their decision. By understanding the rescission period, buyers can purchase their dream homes with confidence.

PATRICK A. BELL – Lawyer at Bell, Jacoe & Company in Summerland BC provides legal help with real estate and wills and estate law.

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