The last final weeks before taking possession of your home can be very exciting. You went through the process of getting your offer accepted and then satisfied the conditions in the contract. Then after finalizing the purchase contract there was this shock of coming off a huge rush. It’s time to relax and celebrate. You just bought a house!
After celebrating you stop and think, now what? This is the time where all your hard work in finding the
perfect home comes together. Here are the 10 steps to completing the process to getting your keys and taking possession of your home:
- Decide on the legal representation. For this you’ll need a real estate lawyer. Shop around and learn about what and how they charge. Some will quote a flat rate and others will quote legal fees plus disbursements. Also find out what they charge for handling both the sale of your property and the purchase of your next one, if this is the case. Consider how fast they get back to you and how they answer your questions in order to determine which lawyer to choose. Ask you real estate agent if they have any recommendations to add to your list. I find when a lawyer communicates with myself and my clients well, it helps to make the transaction go much smoother. Remember to get this done as soon as the deal is final. You can even start getting quotes during the condition phase of your agreement.
- Once the seller and the buyer have decided on which lawyer will represent them the paperwork can start rolling. The conveyancing department at each of the real estate brokerages will send the required documents to the lawyers and will be in communication with them. The documents include the purchase contract, waivers for the conditions, any amendments to the contract, addendums that have addition information for the contract, as well instructions on paying your real estate agent.
- The next step will be arranging for moving your belongings. Just as with the lawyer, ask you real estate agent for recommendations that you can add to your list to call. Get quotes from three companies and do a search on each. If you know someone who recently moved and used a moving company, ask them how it went. When speaking with each of the moving companies, ask them what supplies they include, like boxes and bubble wrap. Ask them if they have insurance. If they can offer you names of customers who used them in the past. Also what guarantees they have to be on time and for damages during transport. If you need to move out of your home a day or two before possession of your next home, ask them if they provide storage in the mean time. Be sure to contact them a few weeks in advance. The sooner the better especially when you move on the last of the month.
- If you are moving into a condominium you need to contact the property management company to let them know the date you’ll be moving in. For this they need to reserve the elevator for you. The fewer the elevators in the building the less options you’ll have for moving dates and times. This you’ll need to coordinate with the moving company as well, since you may only have a small window to use the elevators.
- This is a good time to check in with your lender. Shortly after you finalized the purchase contract, you will book an appointment with your lender to sign all the mortgage papers. Make sure your lender has the lawyer information so they can send these documents to them when complete.
- From the time that you have your offer accepted to the time you receive the keys you will NOT be making any changes to your finances. This includes any large purchases like a vehicle, trip, or changing investments that are collateral to the deal. If you need to make a change, talk to your lender first so that it doesn’t alter your qualifying for the property you bought.
- Once your lawyer has all the information from the lender and the real estate brokerages, they will assemble their documents. When they have them drawn up they will call you within the last two weeks prior to closing. The next step is to visit with your lawyer and review all the documents to make sure you know what you’re buying.
- You’re lawyer will also go over the Statement of Adjustments. This document includes all the expenses involved in the reconciling the property in order to transfer it from former owner to new owner.
- One or two days before possession day, your Realtor will assist you in the pre-possession walk through. This is done so that everything in the house is (within reason) the same as when you last saw it. Consult the terms in your contract to make sure they are fulfilled.
- Everything in the house must be working, including the appliances (which should be the same make and model as last seen), furnace, hot water tank and there is no further damage to the walls. If there is you’ll need to inform your lawyer. Most of these issues can be solved with the help of your real estate agent. If they aren’t resolved then your lawyer will discuss with the seller’s lawyer. The reason for doing the walk through before possession is because you haven’t paid the money yet and you still have leverage for getting the home you bought.
Now it’s possession day. Once the seller’s lawyer has received the funds from your lawyer they will contact the seller’s real estate agent to give word that keys are releasable. Once your Realtor gets the word that they can give you the keys, you arrange a place to meet. Hopefully this all takes place before noon, while the moving company is waiting for the doors to open and settle you in.
Lastly, if there are any issues with the property on possession day or the day after, contact your real estate agent to get on it right away. This might be mailbox keys missing, or any changes since your prepossession walk through, or you just need info on how to work something. Generally the former owners are happy to assist.
If you have any questions about buying or selling a home please feel free to contact me. You can also reach me on my Face Book Page Inner City YYC. Take care!