Sealing the Deal: Navigating the Final Steps of Your Home Purchase

The moment is here – your offer on your dream home has been accepted. It’s a thrilling time, but the journey isn’t over just yet. Before you can pop the champagne and start unpacking, there’s the critical phase of closing the deal.

Closing is when the ownership (and typically possession) of the property is officially transferred from the seller to you. It occurs after all legal and financial conditions have been satisfied. While your lawyer and REALTOR® will handle most of the heavy lifting, here’s a checklist to guide you through what to expect as you approach the finish line:

  1. Agreement of Purchase and Sale: Ensure your lawyer receives a copy of the signed agreement promptly. Your REALTOR® typically handles this. Your lawyer needs to review any existing conditions and the agreed closing date.
  2. Fulfilling Conditions: Act swiftly to meet any conditions of the agreement. These often have strict deadlines, and missing them could mean requesting an extension or, in a worst-case scenario, losing the deal. For each fulfilled condition, your REALTOR® will prepare a waiver form for signatures.
  3. Title Search: After conditions are met, your lawyer will start the title search – a review of government records to ensure the title can be legally transferred. This process has evolved with electronic registration and title insurance.
  4. Home Inspection: If you’ve included a home inspection condition, schedule it promptly to ensure the property meets your standards.
  5. Land Survey: If there’s no recent survey, arrange one. This might be required by your lender and will give you peace of mind.
  6. Mortgage Documentation: Reach out to your lender to finalize mortgage documents. Enquire if your lawyer can draft these documents, which could save costs.
  7. Utility Checks and Transfers: Your lawyer will confirm no outstanding claims with utilities (hydro, gas, water) and ensure final meter readings are taken on closing day. Arrange to transfer these utilities, along with telephone and cable services, to your name well before closing.
  8. Zoning, Building, and Liens: Your lawyer will verify that property taxes are up-to-date, local zoning and building regulations are met, and no liens exist on personal property included in the sale.
  9. Homeowner’s Insurance: Arrange for homeowner’s insurance to be effective from the closing date and obtain a binder letter from your insurance agent. If you’re moving from another owned home, your agent will handle the insurance transfer.
  10. Reviewing Closing Documents: A few days before closing, you’ll meet with your lawyer to review and sign the closing documents. Bring certified cheques to cover the costs involved – your lawyer will inform you of the specific amounts beforehand.

The Closing Day

Typically, you don’t need to be physically present on the closing day. The lawyers from both sides will exchange documents, keys, and cheques, and then register the deed and mortgage. Soon after, you’ll receive the keys to your new home.

Now, it’s time to celebrate – you’ve successfully navigated the closing process, and your new home awaits you!

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