Casting some light on “Shadow Flipping”

Shadow flipping or assigning a contract prior to completion has been brought under recent media scrutiny See: CBC or VANCOUVER SUN stories.

This generally refers to ASSIGNING a contract, which is a legal process whereby Purchaser #1 “sells” its contract to Purchaser #2.

This is legal because, once subjects are removed from the deal (and the contract is binding), the Purchaser has an equitable interest in the property from that date. This can occur months in advance of closing. The Purchaser (with binding contract in hand) then will gain if the property appreciates OR will lose if the property depreciates.  (In the Kelowna real estate market I have seen both occur)

It is also this equitable interest that allows Purchasers to sue for specific performance of real estate contracts and demand conveyance of the property to them if a Seller refuses to complete.

Altering this principal of British Columbia real estate law would dramatically change many aspects of real estate law in this province and would not be prudent legislative policy. A better practice would be for real estate buyers and sellers to work with all their professional advisors – lawyers, realtors, appraisers and accountants – early in the process to get well rounded independent advice.

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Written by Kelowna Real Estate Lawyer Peter Borszcz

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