Whether you’re the buyer or the seller, closing day is a much anticipated moment as negotiations come to a close. The seller is officially transferring over the property title and ownership to the buyer, the new homeowner. However, closing day is a bit more complicated than merely “handing over the ownership.” It involves a ton of paperwork and professional input. We’re here to fill you in on the important details and help you know what to expect when it comes to closing a home.
What Does “Closing a Home” Mean?
In real estate, closing day, or “completion day” as it is also known in British Columbia, is the day the buyer is required to pay the remaining funds in order to officially transfer the title of homeownership from seller to buyer. The whole process is overseen by both the seller and buyer’s legal representatives.
Here is a step-by-step overview of the process:
- The buyer will sign an assortment of documents relating to the mortgage loan and the purchase of the home. These documents are prepared by their notary or lawyer.
- The buyer is notified on the amount of funds necessary to “close” on the property, like the remaining down payment and closing costs. To finalize the purchase, they must provide a bank draft with the closing amount to the notary or lawyer.
- Once the notary or lawyer confirms that all the required funds have been received, they will register the purchase with Land Title Office. Now the buyer will be officially named the owner of the property.
- The seller will pay off their mortgage balance and any other closing costs, such as commission or lawyer fees, before receiving the proceeds earned from the sale of their home.
Be aware that it’s normal for the buyer to be called in by the notary or lawyer to sign the necessary documents and give the bank draft shortly before closing day, usually 1-4 days earlier. A head start on the process ensures that the closing day and title transfer goes smoothly and is completed with no hiccups on the anticipated day.
Closing a Home from the Buyer’s Perspective
Be aware that as a buyer, you will be required to pay more than just the down payment on closing day. You will also potentially need to pay for property transfer tax and tax adjustments, legal fees, maintenance fees, and disbursements. Take the time to talk with your realtor and lawyer ahead of time so you can ensure you have the sufficient funds necessary.
Double check that your down payment funds are ready. If you’re using funds from your RRSP, inform your bank representative a minimum of 1 month prior to closing day. If you need to wire funds internationally or will receive a monetary gift from family, talk to your mortgage broker ahead of time to know what length of time the funds are required to sit in your account in order for the lender to accept it as a down payment.
Review your contract with the seller to remind yourself of all agreed on terms. Know what the seller should be leaving behind, like a microwave or furniture. Your realtor should have included a term that allows you to complete a final walk through prior to closing. You can inspect the appliances and ensure the seller has lived up to their side of the contract.
Closing a Home from the Seller’s Perspective
Your closing agent will order a title search, which reviews public records and ensures that you’re indeed the legal owner of the property. Also make sure you get title insurance which protects you against past events that have affected your home.
Complete your home inspection shortly after you accept the buyer’s offer. Make sure there are no hidden problems. Ask your agent if it’s necessary to make any repairs on the property. Learn more about how to deal with home inspection issues with ease here.
Make sure your property gets a professional lender appraisal, arranged by the mortgage lender. This is especially important if the buyer is borrowing money for the purchase on the home. If your home is appraised below the sale price, it’s improbable that the lender will approve a loan to the buyer. If so, you must ask the buyer to make up the difference, challenge the appraisal, or lower your sale price. Your professional agent or lawyer will help you through this situation, if necessary.
The buyer will ask for a final walk-through, usually 24 hours before closing day. Make sure that you’ve completed everything you pledged to do in your contract. Any repairs should be fixed and all furniture and appliances should be gone, unless you agreed to leave some behind. Ensure that the property is clean and damage free.
Avoid Closing a Home at the End of the Month or Week
Not all closings go without a hitch; sometimes things go wrong. If so, you’ll need a couple days to fix the problem. If you arranged to close on a Friday, you will have to wait the whole weekend. Notaries and lenders will only open again on Monday. Schedule the closing earlier in the week to avoid the delay.
The end of the month is already a busy time for lenders and notaries. If your scheduled closing doesn’t happen on the last day of the month, you’ll go into the next month. This means more costs. This can be avoided if you close earlier in the month.
Closing a home is an exciting time for both the seller and buyer. We hope these tips help you understand what is expected of you when it comes to closing. Go forward with this knowledge, knowing you have the tools to help you avoid problems and achieve a successful closing day.