What Happens on Closing Day When Buying a House & How to Prepare For Closing
Written By: Mariko Baerg, REALTOR of Bridgewell Real Estate Group
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The completion day, also known as the closing day, is the day that the property will be transferred to the buyer from the seller. The home inspections have been completed, the preparations have all been set, and you’re waiting for the day to finally arrive. Well, there is a lot to organize before completion, and this blog will help to decipher a common question: What Happens on Closing Day When Buying a House? Read on for details for what you, your realtor, and your mortgage broker need to be on top of in order to close a home!
You’ll Meet with your Lawyer, preferably at least 2 Days in Advance
Many notaries and lawyers will work 9am-5pm, so make sure that you’re planning well in advance to take time off work to review the statement of adjustments for closing. “Walker” warns buyers not to close on their lunch hour. An hour might not be enough. Rather, he says, take off a day or half-day, and schedule well in advance as a good notary/lawyer will get booked up fast.
Pro Tip: Don’t close on a Friday. If something goes wrong and both sides can’t find a way to complete on time, then you’ll have to wait until Monday to get the issue resolved.
Statement of Adjustments & Closing Costs Will be Outlined
The lawyer will prepare a statement of adjustments outlining what has been paid, and what is owing on each side of the transaction.
It is extremely important that you have a crystal clear understanding of exactly how much money you will need to pay in order to complete on closing day. This amount owing will not just include what is stated in the purchase agreement, but also other payments such as property transfer tax, legal fees, disbursements, property tax adjustments, and more. Make sure to have this discussion with your lawyer well in advance of closing to ensure that you have sufficient funds available.
In the case that you are using funds from your RRSP to complete the purchase, make sure that you’ve informed your bank representative at least one month prior to closing on the house so that the funds will be available. If you’re just in the starting period of purchasing, your mortgage broker should be able to provide you with a rough estimate for your closing costs as well.
Bring Any Discrepancies to Your Lawyers Attention
Your realtor should have added a term that you can go back to see the property prior to closing. You’ll have to arrange with the seller for a pre-closing inspection of all the appliances, heating, plumbing, and electrical systems as close as possible to the closing date. Make sure that the seller has completed, or has scheduled to complete everything that they have promised will be given to you on closing.
Refer to your home inspection that you would have had done during subject removal and cross-reference with the current state of the home. If there has been any damage between contract and closing then you’ll want to negotiate any necessary repairs with the seller and let your lawyer/notary know.
Know Your Included Items:
Review your contract to ensure that you are aware of all of the included items that the seller should be leaving behind. Is the microwave included? Are there any fixtures that are going to be removed? Your realtor should have reviewed this with you at the time that you wrote the contract, but refresh your memory before closing so that you can keep track of anything that may be missing when you move in. It is helpful to review the contract and the included items prior to your pre-move inspection.
Mortgage Paperwork Will Be Reviewed to Ensure That You Can Complete on Your Purchase
Make sure that you mortgage broker has satisfied the lender’s requirement for an appraisal well in advance of the closing date. If you have a long close, they may require an updated appraisal. Ideally, the appraisal should occur within the 7 day subject removal period immediately after you have received an accepted offer so that you can guarantee that the bank agrees that the home is worth what you agreed to pay for it. If the appraisal comes in low, you will be required to come up with the difference – which you will definitely want to know before the closing date.
In order to obtain mortgage financing the lender will most likely require you to have insurance on the property. Arrange your home closing insurance coverage well in advance, as the insurance company will have a questionnaire with questions that you need to fill out in detail. If you are purchasing an older detached home, make sure you ask questions about things like the wiring as outdated wiring may result in a much higher insurance premium. The insurance can take time, and you’ll likely need to have your realtor send a feature sheet to your broker or ask the seller a number of questions in order to close smoothly.
OTHER THINGS TO CONSIDER ABOUT CLOSING
Buying & Selling Simultaneously:
If you are selling your home and buying at the same time, dates will be a very important factor for you. To avoid a rushed move, many sellers like to have their purchase complete before their sale so that they can transition in to their new home slowly before they have to leave their current one. In this case, the bank will need to approve you with a bridge loan to complete your purchase prior to receiving the money from your sale. Given you have two firm offers on both your purchase and your sale, this is often something a bank will offer to you and you’ll only pay interest for the time that you bridge.
If you need to move out of your current home before completing on your purchase, ensure that you have a place to stay during the transition time. A storage facility rented on a short-term basis will also help to minimize some of the stress.
You will have agreed to a move in time on the contract of purchase and sale, along with the specified possession date. The time ranges, but is commonly 9AM or 12PM the day after completion. Make sure that you are well aware of the time that you are entitled to receiving the keys, and arrange your movers accordingly.
If you’re dealing with a strata property, you should give 2 weeks notice that you’ll be moving in to the building and also arrange for an elevator key to be given to you on your move in day. A number of strata’s will have a restriction on the hours in which one can move in/move out of the building, so ensure that you are aware of the bylaws so you can be respectful of them.
You may want to consider moving in a few days after the possession day if possible, as it will give you time to clean, paint, and/or organize your new home before moving furniture and boxes in. Make sure you’ve considered the logistics of your move in advance.
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