There is an alarming trend that is quite rampant in the Toronto area, and it’s causing havoc on real estate transactions. Perhaps other cities in Canada are experiencing the same issue in this red hot real estate market.

Buyers are submitting offers, often in multiple offer situations, and then not showing up with the deposit cheque.

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It is speculated that this is being done while buyers are submitting offers on numerous properties simultaneously, with the intent to later sit back and decide which property they like best, or the one where they got the best deal. Then they do not show up with the deposit cheque, as called for in the offer for all other properties that they are no longer interested in pursuing.

Many times these are “firm” unconditional offers that are being submitted.

Due to COVID-19, more and more offers are being submitted via email, with the deposit cheque due “upon acceptance”. What we are experiencing is that often, the Realtor drags out the process of delivering the deposit cheque, or their buyer does, although the offer calls for delivery of the deposit upon acceptance.

Unfortunately what happens in this hot sellers’ market is that other offers that were submitted, and that would also have been acceptable to the sellers in multiple offer situations, move on to purchase elsewhere. Or they choose not to pursue the property once it becomes apparent that the deposit cheque from what was the “winning” offer was not delivered, as the process has left a “bad taste in their mouth”.

In my brokerage, our locations just north of Toronto have had nearly 30 of these instances in the month of September alone…a startling trend that started becoming apparent about three months ago but has since ramped up to the numbers we are experiencing now.

We are hearing that many other Realtors and brokerages in the GTA are experiencing the same thing.

The additional issue is that the sellers are left in a very bad situation, with limited options. Sure, they may have a firm offer and a breach by the buyer for not submitting the deposit cheque, but in order to pursue action against the so-called buyer, the seller would be forced to wait until the closing date of the accepted offer has come and gone (which could be 60-90 days from acceptance or more), and then pursue legal action (which could take several months or even longer after the proposed closing date just to get to court).

It leaves sellers in a position where they can’t even look to buy a property and move on with their lives. They are effectively left in limbo, with only one viable option…execute a Mutual Release with the buyer that did not submit the deposit cheque and start the process of trying to sell their home all over again.

When this happens, the sellers become disillusioned, their listing loses momentum and appeal as being a fresh, new listing, and people question why the property did not sell (especially if this happens in a situation where the seller had instructed to hold offers until a presentation date, now resulting in several days, a week or even more time lapsing without a legitimate sale).

In order to deter this behaviour, and shield our seller clients from this hardship as best as possible, I have devised a Realtor Offer Covenant Agreement that our brokerage is having executed by the co-operating brokerage when submitting an offer on any property, whether in multiple offers or not, confirming that:

  1. The buyers have not submitted any other offers through the Realtor or co-operating brokerage that are either currently accepted or irrevocable for acceptance, with a further covenant not to do so during the currency of the offer being submitted; and
  2. That the deposit cheque is to be promptly delivered as per the terms of the Agreement of Purchase and Sale, and in the event of a wire transfer, the Realtor covenants that they have confirmed that the funds are readily available for transfer upon acceptance of the offer; and
  3. An acknowledgement that submitting offers on multiple properties at the same time, without the buyer’s intent or ability to fulfill their obligations on all submitted offers, constitutes a breach of at least five sections of REBBA 2002; Fairness and Honesty. O. Reg. 580/05, s. 3., Conscientious and Competent Service O. Reg. 580/05, s. 5., Dealings with Other Registrants O. Reg. 580/05, s. 7 (2)., Delivery of Deposits and Documents O. Reg. 580/05, s. 29, and Error, Misrepresentation, Fraud, etc. O. Reg. 580/05, s. 38.

Ideally, in my opinion, this sort of language from the Realtor Offer Covenant Agreement should eventually be incorporated into the Confirmation of Co-operation document that accompanies all offers. However, we think the Realtor Offer Covenant Agreement is a great solution that may be of interest to our colleagues at other brokerages who are experiencing these issues.


  1. I am a seller living this nightmare right now. This article and more so the comments have given me hope. When we listed our 25-acre hobby farm in Ontario at the beginning of February with plans to move across the country to Nova Scotia, we were fully aware and prepared for the real possibility that, despite the current market conditions, it could take some time to sell our little slice of heaven. Given the fact that most banks will only finance the house and 10 acres, buyers are required to come up with a larger down payment to purchase the remaining acreage. So when we received an offer in just over a month, we were delighted. We placed an offer on a home that we had our eye on in Nova Scotia conditionally only on the firm sale of our Ontario property. Our deal in Ontario firmed up and our condition in Nova Scotia expired 48 hours after…allowing enough time for the deposit to be presented…and with the understanding that the buyer’s agent was on her way to pick up the deposit on the night of signing (that’s what our agent told us). It wasn’t until a week later that we found out that the deposit had not be received. More time passed as both the buyer’s agent and our lawyer tried to track down the buyer. He has yet to respond to any attempts to make contact. Eventually, with the guidance of our lawyer, we relisted…then lowered the asking price…then (unsuccessfully) sought private financing. With less than a month left before we close at the end of this month, we felt we had no choice but to sell below market value ($118,000 LESS than original offer) so we could get to Nova Scotia so my husband can report to work and we could close our purchase there. Should we have elected to break our contract in Nova Scotia, those sellers would’ve been able to sell for more than we were offering them…BUT…we wouldn’t have been able to find a comparable house for a comparable price due to the soaring market there.

    Rather than be mortgage-free, we now have to port our mortgage and cash-flow hasn’t improved which was part of the whole plan.

    Had our realtor told us that the deposit had not been received, we NEVER would’ve let the condition expire on our purchase.

    I understand that we have recourse with our buyer that disappeared…but I’m not confident we will ever receive anything from him.

    This whole situation has been heartbreaking and I’m doing my best to not allow myself to be jaded.

  2. A provincial standard contract has “4.5 If the buyer fails to pay a deposit by the agreed date, the seller may void this contract at the seller’s option by giving the buyer written notice. The seller’s option expires when the seller accepts a deposit, even if late.”

  3. The situation described in this article is the unintended but expected outcome of the practice of holding offers back and/or asking for long irrevocablity (48 hrs or longer).

    Other properties may become available during that time frame, and Buyers will be Buyers: they will pursue the one they like best.

    In times of instant gratification, consumer could not care less about the procedures and bureaucracy. They will always choose what works better for them, and rightfully so.

    It is our job, as Realtors, to pave the road to a successful transaction.

    Adding the clauses proposed in this article will mostly likely eliminate the Sellers’ right to sue in the event their property is sold for less than the originally accepted deal.

  4. Many good ideas have been expressed but I couldn’t possibly wade through all the above comments and maybe what I am going to say has been covered, if so I apologize.. I am in my 67th year as Realtor -yeah that’s right 67! -still practicing. I taught all the introductory courses for 14 years, attained my FRI;CRA And CMR, have been involved in thousands of transactions so I know a little bit about the business Re Deposits: Get a cheque WITH the offer and get it certified ( you might add that the deposit is to be increased to XX $ 2 banking days after acceptance. OR if there are Conditions prececedent in the Offer, then increase when all Conditions have been waived or satisfied. Let’s NOT have ANY MORE FORMS! We have FORM-ITIS! Any deal is vulnerable until it is closed! A Buyer can walk( “So sue me”!)And the loss of the deposit money is a relative issue. You and I might think, “Gees walking away losing 100 grand No way! But think: If a person wants to walk away and lose the deposit s/he must have a good reason for wanting to walk away and if for example we’re talking about buying (say) a $3,000,000 home forfeiting $100, really a non issue!(the thing gets a bit more interesting when we talk about who gets the $100,000!)So donlt sweat it! Get a deposit for a fair amount and get it certified and attach it to the offer!Sorry for rambing on!

    • Peter,

      With all due respect to your experience, your scenario would work very well during in-person offer presentations, when Buyers and Sellers and their Realtors are physically present.

      Prior to covid, many listing Realtors were already asking for certified deposit cheques “herewith”. And motivated Buyers brought them.

      But I don’t know of too many in-person presentations that took place since March 2020. It’s always that keyboard warrior that ruins everything.

  5. As usual, there is no great way to do anything. Gone are the days when you had ’48 hours’ to get the deposit and you could write a personal cheque. So many times I drove to the listing office within the period, handing it over, and receiving my receipt. Now everyone wants certified cheques, okay I get it, but I doubt you’d find a Buyer who goes to their bank every time they want to submit an offer, paying $8.50 a shot, for a chance at winning a home that has 10 offers on it. And, when covid suggests that you should email the offers, which everyone does anyway even without covid, submitting a cheque ‘herewith’ doesn’t work anymore. To me, in this day of technology, the banks need to make it easier to move funds from point A to point B, by wire transfer or etransfer, or whatever other means they can come up with. Why do you need a piece of paper with words and numbers on it to validate your deposit? You should be able to push a few buttons and move your money quickly. Lawyers can do it when deals close, so why not Buyers for deposits? It saves time and hassle. Brokerages need to have all their account numbers and information at hand, and be ready to forward it to Buyers agents.

    I just did a deal where we tidied up the details on a Saturday night. How many banks are open on a Sunday? How could I possibly get a deposit cheque within 24 hours, and then drive it to the listing office which is not in my town? And, my Buyer has a virtual bank, which complicated the situation. Surprisingly, even a wire transfer took some time and we went past the 24 hours. It all worked out, but wow, the Seller had the right to re-list and sell the house, if they wanted?? Maybe after 48 hours, but not after 24… Just my opinion.

    If brokerages are demanding deposits within 24 hours, and it makes sense, from so many angles, then it needs to be easier for Buyers to do so. And, if it’s not easier to do so, then increase the time limit.

    Now, all of this doesn’t answer the questions about delayed or non-existent deposits, that to me, is a Realtor being completely unethical… Seriously, why are you submitting offers for your Buyer, on multiple properties at the same time, when you know it’s not right? Unfortunately, in most cases, you can’t fix ‘stupid’…

    • To your last point, Brian: No, you can’t fix stupid. But you can unwind crooked/unethical behaviour—after the fact—via hoisting the big boot into the assholes’ butts and propelling same right out of the business.

      I never used to be for roaming police officers randomly searching for crooks, but when one knows where they operate more often than not, why not do sting operations and nab the bastards. After all, they are stinging the reputation of the good guys and gals. But wait; there’s a problem: Realtors aren’t supposed to speak poorly of other Realtors—whom are likely well known for their crooked behaviours—at risk of the powers-that-be coming down on ‘them’. What a crock. That part of the ‘code of ethics’ needs to be changed. The folks who know whom the crooked Realtors are are other Realtors. I think we need an internal bounty system. I opt for Dirty Harry tactics: “Well punk; Do ya feel lucky? Well…Do Ya?” Click. “Your career’s effed, asshole.”

      This business will never have a good reputation with the public at large until the public actually sees the Realtor population going after its own crooks…on a daily basis…with dirty rotten bastards being thrown out of the business weekly, and their names posted prominently in local newspapers. Just the threat of that happening would stop a lot of the low-down nonsense that occurs in this business…and just maybe force some to keep their noses clean for once. Being a crook becomes a habit, a habit that pays for the really slippery ones. It’s time to break it up.

      CREA? OREA et al? You all know what goes on. Do the right thing.

  6. if sellers are allowed to chose the best from multiple offers, then buyers should be allowed to make multiple offers. If sellers weren’t constantly underpricing their properties and holding “offer nights” to encourage rampant bidding, causing buyers to bid significantly over asking, then maybe this wouldn’t be an issue. Because once a seller realizes they overpaid for your property, they’re not coming back.

    With real estate inventory on the rise, expect buyers to be making offers on multiple properties more often.

  7. One of the biggest challenges in our industry is the herd mentality and when they witness one registrant is seeking an advantage and does something to have that same perceived advantage. Many times, as mentioned throughout the replies, it’s because of a lack of leadership and oversight in our industry.
    I appreciate the authors effort while still being surprised with some of the replies.
    This came by my desk just recently and I advised against the signing of such a form. I do believe that the vast majority of registrants are honest hard working individuals and these few need to be called out and taken to task. This includes their brokerage. Having another new side form and clauses that are not advisable or enforceable is not the answer in my view and opinion. The legal ramifications are vast and to outline them will make my reply just too long.
    This is new form will be just like the covid clauses that brokerages raced to implement just to find out that there was no need. Worst part is that even brokerages acted with the herd mentality mind set as well. Lastly, Demonstrating to the public that our industry has this type of conduct also lowers the image of our industry.

    While we haven’t experienced this activity enough to have concern, my advice is to report each and every violator. Have the listing agent ask more questions before acceptance to see if the cooperating agent is of the playing games type.
    Then the real solution is the way we receive funds. Talk to your bank, there is a way to receive funds not just by wire transfer. There is a way to receive it immediately through e-transfer. As a brokerage, we’re investigating it to make sure its done the right way and this will result with a buyer pressing a button at that moment of acceptance. I see it playing out that the listing agent will inform the buyer agent that the offer will be accepted the moment the deposit payment is confirmed even from their mobile device. And this conversation can happen before offer presentation so there are no excuses.

    It is in my opinion that COVID has enabled us and the banking industry to use tech in a new way and seek solutions. To apply tools used in other industries within the real estate transaction. I see the imminent moment when statutory trust accounts can receive funds in the moment without delay.

    • Tim,

      Please forgive me: Not to speak to semantics, but I believe a number of years ago the official name of trust account references was changed from “statutory trust” account to “real estate trust” account. Of course historically we referred to those accounts by the then priority demand designated name: “statutory trusts.”

      For those who might be interested… Also REBBA ministry references – Confirmed at: (perhaps different in various domiciles).


      Real Estate Trust Account [note: bold face font does not copy and paste in the REM forum system]
      15. A brokerage shall ensure that each account maintained under section 27 of the Act is designated as a Real Estate Trust Account.



      Carolyne L ?

  8. As a Buyer Broker I could not sign these suggested clauses or even consider them without my Client consulting their lawyer first.

    Not only are these clauses insulting to me as a professional and someone who embraces all aspects of REBBA and soon TRESA but they once again shine a light on the incompetence of our profession as it has sunk to the lowest levels probably in history.

    Did this Brokerage issue 30 complaints to RECO for each of the outrageous REBBA violations required to have happened in the month cited. Either the Listing Brokerage itself had sales reps violated the act or it was the other brokerage involved in the transaction.

    Did this Brokerage file RECO complaints??? Of course not because they fear Reciprocity of Complaints against their own brokerage from those they complain about.

    How many CREA members in the last 40 years have been kicked out of CREA for violations to the Code of Ethics? There have been well over a 3/4 Million members in CREA over that time. Search REM and try to find a single one. None exist because of the fear of Reciprocity built into our MLS systems.

    MLS Reciprocity is based on fear. Fear of the least qualified and most unethical agents in the system being protected to ensure they pay their membership dues next time around. We are in a failing business folks and until the best in the business speak up for themselves only these American Franchising companies that own the Keller Williams and such of the world will profit.

    Canadian families really do deserve better than this folks.

    • I’m not sure how long Mr. DeHoy has been a Realtor, but these clauses are very straightforward and hardly require the expertise of a lawyer.

      Any competent Realtor should have no problem whatsoever acknowledging that they have not submitted simultaneous offers for acceptance without the true intent to follow through on all. Further, any competent Realtor should be able to explain to their client that it is an obligation of the Buyer to follow through on the delivery of the deposit cheque. If they have an accepted offer to purchase. That’s it…that’s all this says!

      As for RECO complaints, contrary to what this person is assuming or understanding, RECO governs the Realtors transacting, NOT the Buyers and Sellers.

      So in instances where we have substantive proof of Realtor misconduct I’m this regard, we HAVE indeed filed a complaint with RECO.

      However, in most instances, this is a matter for the courts, as the breach is between the parties to the Agreement, and not a RECO matter. This is Real Estate 101.

      • Interesting….personal attacks on competence???? really????

        Readers should simply ask their Broker of Record if their Brokerage authorizes them to violate REBBA or TRESA (Ontario) in disclosing transactional details about their client to another Brokerage not party to the transaction being cited, without the client first authorizing any disclosure.

        Readers should ask their Broker of Record if it is sound business practice accepted at their brokerage to sign an ASP representing a Seller without a Deposit Cheque being provided with the offer?

        After you pay for your first Survey for your buyer, that the listing brokerage had “said” they had back at the office and then never produced claiming “I didn’t say that”, you probably never make that mistake of “believing” without seeing ever again.

        I guess that is just an experience thing?

    • OREA, RECO and in my case TREB could easily create a combined searchable database of brokerages, “agents” and purchasers who were party to such illegitimate dealings so that any listing agent could verify history of the participants in an offer before accepting the offer. The technology to do so is fully available although I am certain some lawyer or bureaucrats will quickly bury the idea under “privacy laws”.

  9. I can’t wait for the day when REBBA is actually enforced. A guy can dream can’t he?!

    Seriously, the rules are only followed by the ethical that are supposed to be there to police the unethical. Why then, are they not being ebforced thoroughly?

    It’s a rhetorical question but I would love if RECO would step up and deal with things. We see stuff all the time in practice that goes unpunished. It takes a BOR who has time to champion the cause or it gets left alone. Ethics and integrity need to be reclaimed as absolute priority rather than lipservice.

  10. I think if everyone was acting above board, they would have no issues with signing such Covenants as mentioned in this article. That’s my opinion. We are dealing with enough “funny business” out there and need to squash it.

  11. 100% agreed. The Sellers have the option to terminate 1 second beyond that promise to deliver deposit window, can re-list immediately, sell without condition of termination from the first, and potentially sue the first for any loss in the 2nd offer behind lower or later to close.

    As a cooperating agent and especially as a cooperating brokerage, I would be strongly advising my agents to never agree to the covenants as outlined in this article, nor would I recommend they let their buyers agree to this whatsoever. That’s brutal.

    • That’s too bad that this person feels this way. Their response doesn’t make any sense.

      If Realtors and Buyers are acting with ethics, there should be no problem with this covenant.

  12. Just had this happen last week with a GTA registrant… their Buyer wasn’t even in competing offers … just wanted to secure property and shop some more…as was stated by his agent after the fact … they did put an offer on another house while accepted conditional offer on our listing … kept stalling with inquiries as to why we had not received the direct deposit yet…. thank you for this article … I had no idea this was happening so much!!

    • Sharon, I am terribly sorry to hear that this happened to you. This has become a MAJOR problem, so perhaps your brokerage will consider taking similar measures to what we have done to protect our clients and Realtors.

      Thanks for the sharing and for the kind comments.

  13. I have flatly declined to put an offer on two or more properties when asked by the buyers. Always explained the reason behind it and I’ve never lost a client because of that. It’s our responsibility as registrants to educate the clients/buyers and explain the reason behind it.

  14. Although this is likely crystal clear in ‘The Act’, why would any co-operating realtor, whether it be out of good faith or integrity, at least request evidence that certified funds are available and addressed to the appropriate entity?

    Long gone are the times and deals solidified over a handshake and a napkin.

    With high values in Toronto and market momentum, I appreciate the need for a sizable deposit, however, if your “purchaser” can’t come to the table with a deposit, what makes you think they have a sufficient downpayment?

    There should be recourse against purchasers, however, there can’t be, if they don’t put money on the table.

    Perhaps we will face a day where offers are only valid with deposits made within a fixed timeframe.

    • Does not the APS say already that upon acceptance the deposit must be received by the listing Brokerage within 24 hours….

      • Agreed. Can also type in a clause that offers will not be accepted unless accompanied with a deposit of at least 5% of purchase price in certified funds or by bank transfer

  15. I agree with the statement that Real Estate is becoming no longer fun or enjoyable as there are a large number of registrants that are fragrantly abusing the system and not following proper protocol causing frustration to all parties involved. I am an avid believer in keeping things ‘simple’ and to this end on the subject of Deposits I concur with the actions of Alberta and their clause…’ If the buyer fails to pay a deposit by the agreed date, the seller may void this contract at the seller’s option by giving the buyer written notice. The seller’s option expires when the seller accepts the deposit, even if late.” Simple & Effective…

  16. By not providing the deposit as required, you have clearly not fulfilled one of your obligations in the agreement.
    In this case, you may have given the seller grounds to terminate the agreement. Having not provided the deposit “upon acceptance of the offer”, and without an agreement to alter the terms of the deposit, you may have breached the agreement.Depending on the specific details of the transaction, the seller may not only be able to terminate the agreement, they may also have grounds to seek damages from you for failing to fulfill your obligations within it.

  17. or you know… realtors could just work with clients to deter multi-offer, high-risk situations by pricing properties at (or above) the client’s desired sale price. I’m sorry – but the industry gets what it deserves when it promotes this type of transactioning as a standard.

  18. I agree with David Zalepa. This behavior starts with the registrants and there unwillingness to follow the rules. Real estate is not fun anymore and the lies from many registrants mouths are plenty. Without enforcement, this will continue to happen. I am also a mortgage broker and I can tell you that all the fraud that we see also comes from registrants and you should see the position that many of the buyers end up in. Their only concern is their commissions. I am afraid without getting strict on bad registrants that this industry will end up racing to the bottom.

    • Thank you Paul…you are 100% correct. Without strict enforcement, this will likely continue to occur.

  19. You are dead on. In addition to being an active REALTOR I have been an expert witness in real estate matters for more than 40 years with a large part of my report writing being on the actions (or inactions) of agents. Last year was a record for me as I produced 26 reports where agents were being sued. The faults are many but I do blame the weak education system for agents, they are still grinding them out at Humber College as OREA did before them and the current system of education is ripe for scams and shortcuts (anyone want to buy exam crib sheets for $45!). The next fault lies with the brokerages where too many just hold licenses to collect fees and there is no control, no management save for administration. And I keep seeing agents who can barely speak English and one must wonder, how did they get through the exams? Last is RECO and I do not blame RECO as they are mandated and thankfully new rules are coming. We need to toss out the bad apples and to heavily fine those who do not practice ethically. RECO has to come down heavy on bad agents and that I hope will come in 2021. Marvin, thank you for writing this. I am sure that you are a hands on broker, which our industry needs more of.

    • It’s funny Barry, I just started a real estate podcast (The Real World of Real Estate, if anyone is interested) and I just interviewed a long time (40 yr) member of the Realtors Association of Edmonton earlier this week (publishing in a few weeks).
      We were discussing how things have changed over the years and we believe many changes have come together (both in our industry and in society) to create the perfect storm for this kind of behaviour to appear, both from registrants and consumers, when it rarely happened 20 or 25 years ago.
      Basically, everyone has rights these days, and no responsibilities.

  20. I’ve heard a few years ago a case where the buyers did not bring the deposit within 24 hrs as per the APS. The sellers immediately turned around, had a letter prepared by their lawyer, informing the buyers and their Realtor that they broke the APS by not submitting the deposit within 24 hrs of acceptance… Then, they immediately put their property back on the market and sold it for more. If this is no longer feasible, I would like to see a lawyer’s opinion here.

    Also, with such a trend in the Toronto area, why not “suggesting” to the buyers’ Realtor that the deposit (certified cheque or bank draft only) be presented with the offer?

  21. In Alberta, there is a standard clause written into the association-produced Purchase Contract: ” If the buyer fails to pay a deposit by the agreed date, the seller may void this contract at the seller’s option by giving the buyer written notice. The seller’s option expires when the seller accepts the deposit, even if late.”

    In my brokerage, although I’ve seen a number of late deposits, I’ve only seen a couple where the seller’s option to nullify a contract was used. The option to do so seems to curtail somewhat the activity described in the article.

    • Hey Mercedes, Marvin is the President of our Brokerage and is always looking for ways to make our lives easier!

    • Why not simply write a seller’s condition into the offer that, “if the deposit funds are not received within 24 hrs of the acceptance of this offer, this offer becomes null and void”.

      • Yes, that could be a solution. As a Seller, I would suggest most would not want to see that condition coming from a buyer. That would prompt questions about the seriousness of the buyer.

        I believe this is happening more in Multiple Offer situations, most sellers are looking for a firm offer.

  22. A much easier solution is to refuse all offers that do not contain a 48 hour condition upon the Seller being satisfied with receipt of deposit.

    • Good idea especially with offers being submitted via email (Covid-19 protocol). However, will we still need a mutual release signed by both parties if yhis condition is not met?

  23. Looking at this from a Buyers Agent you can make this a positive slant to gain an edge over other offers by simply get a deposit cheque from your Buyer that stays with the Buyers Brokerage for submission, this may sound simple but traditionally agents would submit the cheque with the offer and with Covid 19 where there are so many email submissions or Sellers only wanting to limit exposure within their agent who they trust it would be invalid to put “submits within this offer” unless an e-transfer was made to a brokerage ahead of time requiring the trust deposit then a trust release etc etc (excessive paperwork and time for an offer that may not get accepted) So add a declaration to the offer that the Buyers Brokerage is in possession of the actual cheque to be submitted upon acceptance. Just don’t use the term “submits within this offer”

    • “Certified.”
      (Get seller to put this instruction in writing to you as listing agent). Add to listing comments when submitted to MLS: “At seller’s request all offers at time of presentation must be accompanied by a certified cheque for purpose of being used as the deposit (not a bank draft or cash) payable in trust to the listing brokerage only.)

      For those thinking about making multiple offers on various properties as described that is a very dangerous game as not providing the deposit within the stated timeline does not necessarily void the offer. The fallout can vary. Sometimes there is a legitimate reason. Seek the advice of a lawyer before jumping to conclusions and reselling the subject property with no releases in the paper trail.

      Someone might have died in a car crash on the way home or otherwise been physically or medically impacted. To secure your fiduciary to your seller client add this note to your listing.

      As to the buyer, he likely would be in the position of only being able to get one certified cheque which if not handed over with the offer presentation at actual time of acceptance the certified cheque can be brought back to the buyer’s bank to be voided by the buyer and his bank.

      Carolyne L ?

      • If memory serves me, back in 1980 when Boards made the rules via OREA, long before RECO existed, when bringing an offer (we worked in subagency), it was a “requirement” to bring a deposit cheque with the offer, get a receipt immediately for it when the offer was accepted, sometimes the receipt written on a napkin or scrap paper and later photocopied for putting in file with scratch note stapled. Sometimes the cheque would be replaced with a certified version in a day or so and the original returned in exchange.

        Sometimes as the listing agent I had to take the co-op buyer cheque to get it certified to protect my seller. Banking of course was very different back then. I sometimes had to drive the 50k deposit cheque from Brampton to downtown Toronto major central banking area to the originating bank branch as that was the only way to get it certified. Parking was always a nightmare in the area, but at least the cheque got certified (sometimes in a massive snowstorm). Often agents did that. Had to produce ID and I aways had in hand a copy of the accepted Agreement of Purchase and Sale. Even so security was nothing like it is today.

        Carolyne L ?

  24. It is unfortunate that Registranst are unable to follow the laws as set out in the ” Act” instead of further clauses and increasing Paper work. Any registrant that participates in such action should have their license immediately suspened and they can no longer trade in real estate until such time as an investigation or hearing. And we know how long that can take. There really are no other solutions to this unethical behavior.

    • Thank you David, I agree. The Realtors are, in most instances, the conduit to this behavior. Until there are punitive financial and other consequences to the Realtors involved, this will likely continue to happen.

  25. That is a bad situation for sure. However are the Sellers really left in limbo? Can’t they relisted/resell immediately and then go after the initial Buyer for any shortfall? Don’t sign a Mutual Release. There is no deposit to return.

    • Yes. You are right & the well-turned phrases of the Author (in such a hurry to publish his Covenant invention/non-solution) is not-quite-so-right about explaining a Seller’s options, remedies, the rules of mitigation etc etc.


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