Don’t Like The Rules? Don’t Play!


6 minute read

June 8, 2016

So you’re saying it’s a seller’s market, are you?

In this market, the seller can dictate exactly what closing date they want, and they can demand you bring a 5% deposit cheque on offer night, and probably get away with a lot more.

But when are the “demands” just too much?

A house came up for sale this week that’s being sold by the Ontario Public Guardian Trustee, and it came with an insane set of “instructions” that I would never tell a buyer to adhere to…


There’s nothing really wrong with the listing agent for this property asking for the following.

There is, however, something wrong with buyers automatically abiding by these rules.

Every agent runs his or her offer process differently, as we have discussed on here many times before.

But as a buyer, you have to take a step back sometimes and ask yourself, “Is this really reasonable?  Do I really want to get involved in this?”

The following appeared as an attachment to an MLS listing for a house currently for sale by the OPGT, and in my opinion, these “rules” constitute and absolute deal-breaker.

Here are their “Frequently Asked Questions,” in bold, along with their answers below.

My snide comments are in italics…


My Brokerage wants me to ask for 2.5% to the co-operating brokerage?

The OPGT will only be paying 2% to the cooperating brokerage. If your confirmation of cooperation & representation has a different percentage, your offer will be automatically rejected for not meeting all the required criteria.

I know, I know – screw the “greedy” real estate agent.

But let’s not forget that all the terms and conditions are negotiable!

This is red tape at its finest.

What if there’s an $800,000 offer, with a 2.5% commission specified, and the next highest offer is $770,000, with a 2% commission?

They’re going to reject ANY offer, with a 2.5% commission.  Genius…


What if my client doesn’t have the 10% deposit?

While the OPGT prefers 10% deposit, any offer that does not comply with the standard requirements must be explained in a letter from the buyer and attached to the offer, otherwise it may be returned to the Selling agent.

Since when is 10% reasonable?

What if the buyer is only putting down 5%, like a large majority of first-time buyers in this market?

And what should this “letter” have as an “explanation?”  Something like, “I’m only putting down 5%, like a large majority of first-time buyers in this market…”


How will you accept the cheque?

Send a photocopy of the chq with your offer, and then have the actual chq delivered to our office. (5155 Spectrum Way Building 22, Mississauga, Ontario L4W 5A1)

No offer will be presented to OPGT until the actual cheque is received.


So I’m supposed to mail you a certified deposit cheque in order for you to present my offer?

Because I can’t present in person, with MY cheque.  No, that would be unreasonable…


If my offer isn’t accepted, how do I get my cheque back?

If the cheque has not been deposited we will send by regular mail back to you, or you can arrange for pick up.  If your cheque has been deposited, a Mutual Release will need to be signed and emailed to the listing agent.

This is scary.

WHY IN THE WORLD would a cheque be deposited, if the offer isn’t accepted?


Did anyone die in the home, was it a grow OP?

We are not given background information on the home or on the home owner. Agents must do their due diligence when it comes to their client’s purchase. If however we are made aware of anything that can be detrimental to your Buyer, we would let you know.

Yes, of course they would let you know.

Because this whole document, thus far, shows how they have YOUR best interest in mind.


Those were the “Frequently Asked Questions” although they called them “Commonly Asked Questions,” perhaps just to show how different this entire process is from anything normal.

Then came the document called “Other Instructions/Info” which is even crazier:
Please use the Agreement of Purchase and Sale uploaded with each OPGT listing, it has been vetted to include and exclude clauses as per the OPGT.

So they’re basically drafting the offer that THEY want YOU to submit, just with the price left blank.

Very, very seldom do I see an offer with the pre-printed, standard, “boiler-plate” terms and conditions altered.

But in this case, they drew lines through half the damn document.


During the irrevocable period, the OPGT may receive new offers that are stronger than yours. At this point lower, or less attractive offers will be rejected and the irrevocable period starts again with the new offer(s) under consideration.

This is how some online auctions run.

When somebody bids, it keeps the auction alive for a pre-determined amount of time.

The idea of an auction “expiring” at 12:00pm doesn’t apply, if every subsequent bid keeps it open for another hour.  You could basically extend the auction forever.

In this case, they’re saying that if you submit an offer on June 8th, with an irrevocable of June 16th (they demand 6 business days irrevocable), that there’s nothing to stop somebody from submitting an offer on June 15th, which will then expire on the 23rd.

And as they put it, “The irrevocable period starts all over again.”


The OPGT will not negotiate with a buyer. They will accept or reject an offer. A Buyer may of course submit a new offer, with a new APS date and new irrevocable until an Offer is accepted.

No, of course not.

Don’t negotiate with a buyer, or have any discussions, like any other agent would.

Just handle this process like a robot, without the ability to think.

Just sit and wait for offers to come in, don’t talk to anybody, and just wait until, “an offer is accepted.”


In the event of a resubmission of an offer, a single page Agreement of Purchase with new purchase price and amended closing will not be accepted.  The entire Agreement of Purchase and Sale must be resubmitted.

Of course, why would we make anything easy?

I’d say about 90% of the offers I work on, in sign-backs, end up with only the first page.  Why print out the other eight?


The listing agent will regularly update Cooperating Agents with active offers, when new offers are received.  There is no need to call the Agent.


“No need to call the agent.”

They clearly don’t want people communicating with the agent, because that would constitute WORK for that agent, which they have demonstrated with the clauses above, that they are trying to avoid.

And why would we, after reading everything above, TRUST the listing agent to keep people “updated” when they clearly don’t want to work on this?


The listing agent will also contact Cooperating Agents when their client’s offers are rejected, no need to contact the Listing Agent.

Yes, we got that the first time.

Don’t bug the listing agent.

Imagine the audacity!


The irrevocable must always be a full 6 business days beginning the day after a full offer with deposit is submitted. ( NO EXCEPTIONS ) For example, if an offer is submitted Monday the 5th, the irrevocable is Tuesday the 13th.

Beginning the day after.

So you mean……seven business days, then, don’t you?

No exceptions.  Got it.  That’s the theme thus far.

Will the offer also be………….REJECTED?



If your offer has any errors, or does not meet the above guidelines exactly, your offer will be rejected. You will need to resubmit, with any changes needed. (correction of dates etc).

Whoever wrote this LOVES rejecting things!

They probably have a stamp that says “rejected” and they use it, even though the person who submitted the offer will never see it.


These are a LOT of rules to adhere to, and while I understand that power of sales, estate sales, and trustee sales are complicated, it doesn’t make the rules any more acceptable.

There are no “deals” in the Toronto market, so if you’re thinking, “Maybe so many buyers will turn up their noses at this that I’ll get a deal,” unfortunately, you’re wrong.

The biggest issue I have here is with respect to the deposit cheque, since a buyer might be tying up his or her money for days, weeks, or more!

They’ve asked for the cheque with the offer, otherwise the offer will be……..REJECTED!

And they’ve asked for six business days, which we’ve established is actually seven.

So that buyer is tying up those certified funds for seven business days, whereas they’d only tie up their funds for an evening, during a traditional offer presentation.

What’s more is the idea that every time a subsequent offer is submitted, the “clock starts over,” meaning that the funds can be tied up for weeks.

I would never, under any circumstances, advise my buyer-client to get involved in this, unless they had the only offer.

Folks, it’s a seller’s market, no doubt about it.

But that doesn’t make all this red tape okay.

If you don’t like the rules, don’t play the game.  It’s as simple as that…

Written By David Fleming

David Fleming is the author of Toronto Realty Blog, founded in 2007. He combined his passion for writing and real estate to create a space for honest information and two-way communication in a complex and dynamic market. David is a licensed Broker and the Broker of Record for Bosley – Toronto Realty Group

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  1. Marina

    at 10:23 am

    Why would someone get involved with this unless you do get a deal?
    I’m curious, if you pull 3-4 past OPGT sales, does the sale price match what you would expect if it was sold by a regular seller through a close-to-top agent?

    Honestly I look at the list of conditions and it’s an immediate hard pass. Just feels like a high likelihood of getting screwed.

    1. Mike

      at 12:28 am

      What conditions give you grief:

      1. Commission is paid by seller so it’s up to them to negotiate. Are you going to pass up on a house because your agent didn’t get paid enough?

      2.You’re pretty much required to put 20% down on any house you buy, if you can’t you need insurance which means you will have more hoops to jump through to get your financing. If someone puts down 10% they have cash on hand and are serious about a deal. If David had two similar offers on a property he was selling and one had a 5% deposit and the other had a 10% deposit, guess which one he’d recommend? If you put an offer in on a house that costs a million with only $50,000 deposit, then the seller has to worry about where the other $150,000 is coming from. At 10% you get people thinking.

      Most reputable brokerages (of which Bosley is one) require the cheque in hand, so why is this even an issue.

      If you’re worried about getting your cheque back, put a cancellation on it, seven bucks+piece of mind.

      3. Since it’s against the law to hold back relevant information about a houses condition then you have to believe that number three is true. I mean why would they risk a lawsuit they were bound to lose if they could avoid it by just letting you know? This is a silly argument.

      4. This is even more silly to argue about. Most listing have pre-filled offers. If anything, it’s helpful because it tells you where the seller is at. If they have to go before a committee then you know what they are willing to accept. This is akin to “accepting offers on Tuesday”, maybe they’re serious, maybe they’re not. You take your chance on your offer that their open to negotiation. David does it all the time, he’ll set an offer date but accept a bully offer if the client is willing.

      5. Not really understanding the issue here. If they haven’t accepted your offer they are more than welcome to look at new offers. If David lists a property can I put in an offer irrevocable for 30-days and not expect him to shop it around? Wait, that was extreme, could I offer irrevocable for 24-hours and he won’t call anyone who has looked at or expressed interest in the property?

      6. Eghads, think of the five pages to be filled out. Wait, we’re no longer using manual typewriters so it’s actually pretty easy. Well, except for the Purchaser, who now has to initial all those boxes and pages.

      7. Yikes, no need to call the agent. Not saying to to call, just saying there is no need to call. You can call if you want but don’t feel like you need to call the Selling Agent a hundred times to see what is happening. You can call if you want, but don’t feel obligated to do so because they will update you if needed. Kind of a doing you the solid on this one.

      8: Uhm, corporation. In most companies you need board approval to sell an asset. Meaning you need to get a group together to review, discuss and approve any offer. Burdensome I guess but it helps prevent fraud.

      9. Welcome to the adult World. Ever get a parking ticket? What the first thing you do? Check to see if they got your plate right; if not you’re totally going to get this ticket thrown out. Why shouldn’t the rest of the World be held to this standard?

      1. jeff316

        at 9:58 am

        Well put and fully agreed.

        I see no problems with this listing. Given it is being sold by a public body in a seller’s market, I’m not sure what there really is to complain about.

        If I were a seller, I’d fire my agent is he/she avoided this listing because of these relatively benign conditions.

        This is the kind of stuff that makes real estate agents look lazy and entitled and will only serve to eventually erode the profession’s hold on the industry.

        1. jeff316

          at 9:58 am

          Sorry, I meant if I were a *buyer*.

      2. Pete

        at 10:35 am

        Agreed. I’m not sure why David has such a problem with this.

  2. m

    at 10:56 am

    I expect that at least some of these restrictions are because they’re trying to accommodate a committee of people (and possibly 1 or 2 layers of approval above them), who would be reviewing offers. If you have to go through multiple people during business hours, many of whom may have other things on their calendars, you need to allow for a lot of time. Still doesn’t make this the best approach though. Presumably an alternative would have been to designate a single person (or even 2) to act as decision maker, within a set of pre-agreed parameters. For example, as long as a clean offer is submitted that is at least 90% of asked price, they can accept the offer.

    1. Marina

      at 11:24 am

      The # of days I totally get – it’s government, they need time.
      But why do they need to cash your cheque? Or receive it by mail? Or only pay 2% commission? Or not allow communication with agents? Or need 10% deposit? Or not provide information about the property?
      It just feels like a bad situation to voluntarily walk into.

      1. Mike

        at 12:34 am

        I missed the part about cashing the cheque? It says that if the cheque is deposited that it can only be returned by mutual release. If they don’t accept your offer you don’t have an agreement therefore can’t deposit your cheque. I’m sure David learned from his father or at least in his real estate courses that an offer requires conveyance and if such conveyance is accepted you have a valid contract. To dumb it down, legally, if they cash your cheque then you have a firm offer.

  3. Mike

    at 11:45 pm

    I’m guessing if someone has a high offer but the only hindrance to securing the deal is the fact that the Seller won’t pay a 0.50% commission the deal won’t be hung up for long. In fact, I can’t see an agent losing a sale over half a percent nor is it legal to withhold an offer based on commission. Moot point.

    Lots of houses ask for 10% down, in fact 46 Forest Hill specifically asks for 10% and that’s listed at $18 million.

    Illegal to withhold pertainant information about a houses condition so no need to ask about it being a grow-op. People die in house without effecting the structure or livability. Prime example, townhouses at the corner of Adelaide and Sherbourn were filled with sick people and then nailed shut until they all died, no mention of that in the last sale. Moot point.

  4. condodweller

    at 11:23 am

    David is 100% correct about one thing in this article. It’s in the title…

  5. Kyle

    at 11:41 am

    The “seller” in this case isn’t the owner of the property, it’s just an employee of the Agency, so their motivation probably isn’t about getting top dollar (which i believe is where David’s coming from), it’s probably more about expediency, making the process low effort and making the closing as smooth as possible for them…and maybe even a little bit about power tripping.

    That said i have a bit of an issue with these conditions. The combination of these conditions together favours “pro” buyers: developers, flippers, Agents and renovators. And when the target pool has a profit motivation, and those hanlding the selling don’t. In my opinion these additional hoops, lack of access to the listing Agent and general opacity opens up the possibility of rigging, tipping, kick backs and cronyism.

  6. Mr.K

    at 3:15 pm

    This Office just wants to sell the property as fast as possible.The O.P.G.T. has a long history of problems.Several houses have sold $ 100.000.00 under market value.They even have a golden boy investigator who thinks he is the best.
    Has a degree in music no experience as an Investigator or Police college and he works for O.P.G.T. Wow must be nice.

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