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What is a SPIS?

A SPIS, or "Seller Property Information Statement", is a document prepared by the seller containing useful, pertinent information about your property, such as known defects, hazards, renovations, or improvements.
Written By: Baron Alloway

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The Toronto Real Estate market is nothing short of complex. Dizzying terms, avante-garde marketing strategies, and the continuous update to rules and regulations are all factors that can contribute to your property-marketing headache. For these reasons, turn to the expert advice of a REALTOR® to assist with all questions you may have. SPIS can be both beneficial and hazardous when marketing a property for sale.

What is a SPIS?

A SPIS, or “Seller Property Information Statement”, is a document prepared by the seller containing useful, pertinent information about your property. This can include known defects, hazards, renovations, or improvements. SPISes in Ontario are optional, however your local real estate board could require them for MLS listings.

For example, lets say your home sits in an area prone to flooding. When you first bought the property, you decided to implement some flood-proofing measures, such as installing or replacing a backflow preventer. These modifications have not only potentially improved the value of your home, they answer questions potential browsers and buyers may have, and remove hesitations with relocating to the specific area. Information like this could be provided in the SPIS to put buyers at ease.

Can Buyers hold me responsible?

Yes. SPIS are legally binding documents. The Buyer can hold the seller and agent responsible if the information provided is incorrect. An SPIS must be accurate to the best knowledge of the seller. It also binds the seller to disclose any changes to answers in the document after completion. For example, if your air conditioner presents problems after you sign the SPIS, you must disclose the update to anyone who you sent it to. A court case in 2011 confirmed this fact.

OREA Form 220: SPIS

Is a SPIS Necessary?

In Ontario, the standardized SPIS form contains over 40 different questions pertaining to the property. For most sellers, representing 40 different pieces of information about the property can seem daunting and is indeed a complicated process requiring thought and care. Especially with recent court cases in which SPIS were used as evidence, most sellers can be wary to complete one.

A SPIS is definitely not necessary when selling a home. In fact, it can create more headache than help. If your property has one or two issues that you may want to disclose, or a few added improvements, its best advised to take your information and market it elsewhere. If the buyer requests or conditions sale on an SPIS, try to negotiate for a home inspection instead.

At Catalyst, we pair clients with an agent and a lawyer from day 1 of the real estate transaction. There’s no extra fee required, as legal fees are covered in the standard commission closing costs. A licensed Real Estate Sales Representative, and a highly-trained lawyer can assist with all aspects of the Real Estate Transaction and help answer any questions you may have. Still have questions? Contact Us today, and put your mind at ease.

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