What is an assignment sale? We get this question quite often from both investors and end-users when it comes to the Toronto condo market, especially with the dramatic rise in condo buildings and pre-construction sales. Assignment sales can be a great opportunity for everyone involved, from the seller to the buyer. But working with a seasoned real estate broker is one of the most important things you can do. An assignment sale isn’t a typical transaction and there are many things you need to know before moving forward.
What Does an Assignment Sale Mean?
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. Although an assignment sale is possible for both home and condos, it’s much more popular among condo pre-construction buyers.
Why Would Someone Want to Sell Their Condo on Assignment?
With pre-construction condo purchases, the sale of suites typically takes place several years before the building is built. It’s a long time in between buying the suite and actually taking occupancy of it. And with this lag time comes life changes – a new job outside of the city or in a different province, a new family that’s expanding with children, etc. What worked for a particular buyer years ago may not be the current case at closing time.
Financial reasons is also another reason to sell on assignment. Perhaps the purchaser can no longer be able to close on the condo, or perhaps it’s an investor who bought pre-construction with no intention of closing on them, therefore using an assignment sale strategy to profit, based on quick appreciation in the area.
Often with pre-construction sales, there’s a long lag between when the original contract is entered into, when the Buyer can move in (the interim occupancy period) and the final closing. It’s not uncommon for a Buyer’s circumstances to change during that time…new job out of the city, new husband or wife, new set of twins, etc. What worked for a Buyer’s lifestyle 4 years ago doesn’t always work come closing time.
How Do Assignment Sales Work?
We completed an assignment sale for a client at 87 Peter Street which was a new building that has occupied, but not registered yet. Our client purchased a 1-bedroom, 1-bathroom condo pre-construction for $320,000.00. He was looking to sell the unit on assignment and listed it at $525,000.00. We received an offer of $500,000 which the seller was comfortable accepting.
Typically, when assignment sales takes place, the seller is looking for a buyer who can provide him with a purchase deposit that equals what he had to put down – usually 20% of the original purchase price. After providing the seller with this sum, the deposit paid to the builder now becomes the new purchasers deposit. Any upside to the seller can be paid based on the negotiated terms – sometimes when the seller gets a mortgage for the condo, or even earlier – it’s all based on terms of the assignment deal.
Overall, assignments sales are not to be overlooked – there can be some fantastic opportunities to get into a highly desirable building that you may have missed out on or purchase a condo that you may otherwise not have had access to. But the importance of working with a realtor and lawyer who know the ins and outs of these deals is the key to making them work for you.
If you’re interested in learning more about Assignment Sale and some of the great opportunities currently available, simply fill out the form below – we’ll get in touch right away.