Sales and Purchase Agreement

Sales and Purchase Agreement: Definition & How It Works

A Sales and Purchase Agreement (SPA) is a legally binding contract that details the terms and conditions under which a transaction occurs, outlining the sale of goods, assets, or property from a seller to a buyer. Commonly used in real estate deals, acquisitions of companies or equipment, SPAs are important for both small and large transactions across various industries.

What is a Sales and Purchase Agreement?

What is Sales and Purchase Agreement

A Sales and Purchase Agreement (SPA) is a legally binding contract that lays out the terms and conditions under which the sale and purchase of assets, shares, or property will occur between a buyer and a seller. The agreement includes important details such as the description of the goods being sold, the purchase price, payment terms, and any warranties or guarantees either party is making. SPAs are widely used in various transactions, including real estate, mergers and acquisitions, and business sales, to ensure that both parties know their commitments and responsibilities, thereby reducing the possibility of disputes.

The SPA specifies what is being sold and at what price and includes provisions for any prerequisites that must be met before the transaction can be completed, such as obtaining necessary approvals or inspections. Furthermore, the agreement may contain indemnification clauses that protect either party from losses due to breaches of the contract and may outline the circumstances under which the agreement can be terminated. By establishing these terms, the SPA acts as a comprehensive guide to ensure that the transaction goes smoothly and by the mutually agreed-upon expectations.

When do I Need a Sales Agreement?

A sales agreement is particularly important in high-value and complex transactions, such as real estate purchases or buying/selling a business. It outlines essential terms such as price, payment structure, and delivery details, which help prevent misunderstandings and disputes by ensuring both parties know their responsibilities and the specifics of what is being exchanged.

A formal sales agreement can be beneficial even in routine or lower-value transactions as it ensures that goods or services are delivered as agreed and payments are made on time. For example, in industries such as manufacturing or wholesale, where bulk purchases, high-value equipment, or custom products are common, having a sales agreement can prevent potential losses and enhance business relationships by setting clear, mutually agreed-upon expectations from the outset.

Types of Sales Agreements

Sales agreements are categorized based on the nature of the transaction, the type of goods involved, and the specifics of the sales terms. Here are some common types of sales agreements:

  1. Equipment Sales Agreement: This contract is used when selling or buying physical assets such as machinery, computer hardware, or heavy equipment.
  2. Vehicle Sales Agreement: This contract is used specifically for selling vehicles, such as cars, trucks, motorcycles, or boats.
  3. Bill of Sale: Primarily used to transfer personal property, such as vehicles and boats.
  4. General Sales Agreement: A versatile form that can apply to various goods and services.
  5. Real Estate Sales Agreement: This agreement is specifically used for buying and selling real estate.
  6. Business Sale Agreement: Used when selling a business or a significant part of its assets.
  7. Export Sales Agreement: This agreement governs international sales, addresses compliance with export laws, specifies currency exchange conditions, and details shipping logistics. It may also cover tariffs, customs, and international dispute resolution.
  8. Distribution Agreement: Used between a supplier and a distributor, this agreement outlines the terms under which the distributor may sell and market the supplier’s products.

Key Components of a Sales and Purchase Agreement

Sales and Purchase Contract

A Sales and Purchase Agreement (SPA) is a foundational document in many business transactions, particularly selling assets, real estate, or company shares. Here are some of the key components typically found in an SPA:

  1. Parties Involved: This section identifies the buyer and the seller involved in the transaction. It includes their legal names and addresses, establishing who is agreeing to the terms of the contract.
  2. Description of the Property or Asset: Detailed information about the goods, property, or shares bought and sold. This includes physical descriptions, quantities, serial numbers, if applicable, and other identifying details.
  3. Purchase Price and Payment Terms: This section outlines the total amount to be paid for the property or asset, along with the payment method (e.g., cash, bank transfer), payment schedule, and whether any deposits are required.
  4. Representations and Warranties: Both parties make certain promises regarding aspects of the transaction, like the condition of goods or legal ownership. These assurances are intended to provide confidence and reduce risk for both parties.
  5. Covenants: Covenants are actions each party agrees to perform before and after the transaction. For example, the seller may agree to continue operating a business normally until the sale is finalized.
  6. Conditions Precedent: These must be met before the transaction can be finalized. For example, a real estate SPA might require a satisfactory home inspection before closing the deal.
  7. Indemnities: This component specifies protection against losses arising from misrepresentations or breaches of warranties. It allocates risk between the parties post-transaction.
  8. Confidentiality: This clause ensures that all non-public information disclosed during the negotiations is kept confidential to protect the privacy of the dealings.
  9. Termination Clause: This clause defines the circumstances under which the agreement can be terminated before the transaction is completed without penalizing the other party.
  10. Dispute Resolution: This section specifies how disputes arising from the agreement will be resolved, often listing arbitration or court proceedings and the choice of governing law.

Each SPA is unique and can include additional clauses and details tailored to the specific circumstances of the transaction. Legal counsel often plays an important role in drafting and reviewing this agreement to ensure that it accurately reflects the parties’ intentions and provides adequate protection.

Sales and Purchase Agreement Process

The process typically begins with negotiating mutually agreeable terms with both parties. Once these terms are set, the SPA is drafted, often with the assistance of legal counsel to ensure compliance with local laws and regulations. After the SPA is signed, it governs the conduct of both parties until the completion (closing). During this period, precedent conditions must be met to finalize the sale. These might involve regulatory approvals, financing arrangements, or other due diligence processes.

At closing, the ownership of the assets, property, or shares is transferred from the seller to the buyer, and the seller receives the agreed payment. The SPA may also stipulate post-closure obligations, such as indemnifications or adjustments to the purchase price based on final asset valuations.

Importance of SPAs in Business Transactions

SPAs are essential for providing a legal framework that safeguards the interests of both parties in a transaction. They help to ensure clarity, prevent potential disputes, and facilitate the smooth transfer of ownership and payment. An SPA is a tool for managing risks associated with buying or selling assets or shares, allowing businesses to plan strategically and allocate resources effectively.


Sales and Purchase Agreements are foundational to conducting secure and effective transactions. They delineate the responsibilities and expectations of all parties involved and help manage and mitigate risks inherent in the buying and selling process. Whether you are a seasoned business owner, a first-time homebuyer, or a corporate executive involved in mergers and acquisitions, understanding SPAs is crucial for successful transactions.

How We Can Help

Insight Law Professional Corporation is a business law firm. Our team can collaborate with you to guide your business through the complexities of business law. Whether you’re just starting out, looking to expand, or facing legal challenges, our team is here to provide the strategic advice and legal solutions you need. If you need guidance from a Toronto business lawyer, contact us and see how our firm can help.

The information provided above is of a general nature and should not be considered legal advice. Every transaction or circumstance is unique, and obtaining specific legal advice is necessary to address your particular requirements. Therefore, if you have any legal questions, it is recommended that you consult with a lawyer.

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