You’ve done your house hunting, you’ve put in your offers, and your offer has been accepted!
Now you have to go through the process of ‘closing’ before the house officially belongs to you.
Closing is the point when ownership has legally transfers from the seller to you. There are many people involved in this process, and it can get complex. Your Realtor and your lawyer will take care of most of the work, but it’s good to know how the closing process works.
Here are the important phases of the Closing Process:
1. Purchase and Sale Agreement
Make sure this document is sent to your lawyer right away. They will ask how you and others involved in the purchase want to be registered on the property title.
2. Satisfy Conditions of Your Agreement
The conditions in the agreement of purchase and sale have specific dates. If you miss a date, you will have to ask for an extension or risk losing the deal. This is why it’s important to immediately start satisfying the conditions. As you satisfy each condition, your RealtorR will fill out a document stating that the condition is met and is no longer part of the deal.
3. Title Search
When all of the conditions are met or instructed, your lawyer will begin a title search. This is a detailed process of going over government documents to make sure that the seller of the house has a clear title, and that there are no liens against the property. Your lawyer will also make sure that all of the property taxes are up to date. Essentially, they will be making sure that what you pay for is what you get. These are important steps in making sure that ownership can be transferred to you without any issues.
4. Home Inspection
Make sure to have this done by a professional home inspector to make sure that the property is in good shape and that you still want to buy it. Another good idea is to include a home inspection as one of the conditions of the sale. Doing this will make sure that there are no surprises after you have purchased the house.
5. Land Survey
Having a land survey done on the property should be done as soon as possible if one does not already exist. You might also want to consider title insurance for your own peace of mind.
6. Finalize Your Mortgage
Contact your lending institution to get all of your mortgage documents in order. If at this point you have not applied for a mortgage, this is now the time to get the process started.
7. Contact Utility Companies
Your lawyer should contact the hydro, gas, and water companies that service your property. They will make sure that there are no outstanding claims against the property for unpaid bills, and arrange for them to be transferred to your name. You should also contact the telephone and cable companies to set up services for you.
8. Make Moving Arrangements
Book your moving truck or make arrangements with the moving company of your choice. If you are a renter, you should now give your notice or sublease your apartment.
9. Address Change
Send in your change of address notices. Make a plan to notify the ministry of transportation after you close to change drivers licences and car registration.
10. Arrange Insurance
Well in advance of the closing date, call your insurance agent to set up homeowners insurance that will become valid as of closing. Keep in mind that you might not get a policy before closing day so you may receive a binder letter. This letter will certify that you do have insurance in place. There is a good chance that you will have to show this letter before closing. If you are moving from your current house to another, your agent will transfer the policy for you.
11. Sign Documents
A day or so before closing, you will meet with your lawyer to review and sign the closing documents. You will also bring along certified cheques to cover any costs involved. Your lawyer will tell you what the amounts are well before the meeting.
Closing day has finally come. You’ve worked hard to get here. Closing day goes by very fast, as a lot of things happen in a very short time. If arranged well by your lawyer, this day will go off without a hitch. In most cases, you don’t have to be there for closing. The lawyers for both parties will trade documents, keys, and cheques. They will then register the deed and the mortgage in your name. After that, the keys are placed in your hand and you are now a homeowner!