What do I need to know to prepare before closing day comes? As a buyer or a seller, you’re probably looking forward to closing day. This is the day when the home officially moves from the seller’s ownership into the buyer’s ownership. Most buyers just like to call it “the day we get our new keys!”.
Whether you’re buying or selling a home, there are some important things you should cover in order to prepare for the big day and prior to moving in, and moving on.
HOW BOTH BUYERS AND SELLERS PREPARE
Both home buyers and sellers need to schedule an appointment with your lawyer a few days before closing.
This will be the day you sign all the final paperwork for your deal and ensure everything is in order for a smooth transition.
*PRO TIP: The home sellers should bring one house key to their lawyer’s office with them to this appointment. The lawyer will ensure the buyers receive it on closing day so they can enter their new home.
All other keys, garage door openers, mail keys etc. can be left on the kitchen counter inside the home where the buyers will find them.
WHAT HAPPENS ON CLOSING DAY?
One of the biggest questions real estate agents get on closing day is “When do we get our keys?” This cannot be answered by your agent. It can’t even be answered by your lawyer or the bank.
Before getting your keys, there are a series of steps that need to be completed first.
STEPS BEFORE OBTAINING YOUR KEYS
- The banks need to transfer funds to the lawyers trust account.
- If you’ve sold first, the bank needs to wait for the buyers of your old home to transfer funds so that the bank can transfer these funds to purchase your new home.
- This all depends on how many closings the banks have that day and how fast everyone can get this sorted.
- Once the bank transfers the funds, the lawyer needs to make a trip to the bank to get this money to pay the seller of your new home.
- This requires them making the time to get there and getting a certified cheque in the amount owing for either your down payment along with any left over to be given back to you.
- Once the monies have been exchanged, the lawyer will need to register your name on title. This means co-ordinating with the registry office and ensuring the title is clear and that your name is added with the appropriate mortgage amount (if any).
The goal is to have all of this completed by 4pm to 5pm which is essentially the end of day.
There are many variables that also need to be considered, e.g.,
- how many other closings are happening that day
- no unexpected road blocks such as liens on title of the home
- paperwork is in order etc.
Only your lawyer will be able to tell you when all of these steps have been completed. Unfortunately your REALTOR® cannot make this process move quicker, and has no bearing on when you’ll get your keys.
Rest assured that everyone will be working as quickly as possible in order to make this happen for you.
TIPS FOR BUYERS ON CLOSING DAY
So you’ve waited all day for those keys and you finally get them at 4:30pm. You feel like you’ve lost an entire day and want to start unpacking.
But wait! Before you even open one box on closing day, here is a list of things to check:
INSPECTING THE HOME
- Are all the inclusions still in the house? Sometimes moving day can be chaotic and sellers forget to leave the items included in your agreement of purchase and sale. Triple check that these items have been left for you.
- Make sure to test your inclusions (ie. fridge, stove, washer, dryer). One of the most common mistakes buyers make is they don’t test their appliances.
- Your contract states you have “up to and including the day of close” to check these items, so if you find out a few days later that some of these items don’t work, it will be hard to prove whether it was like that when you received the home or if it broke afterwards.
- Check the house for anything thats not normal wear and tear. Are there big holes in the walls from the old sellers moving out? Are the floors in tact? Is the home how you viewed it on your last walk-thru? Are there items left at the house that weren’t included in the Agreement of Purchase and Sale that you’d like the seller to pick up?
If you haven’t yet reached your closing day, check out these important things to know before hiring a home inspector.
If anything is wrong with the house, take appropriate action. Contact your agent immediately. Also, contact your lawyer via phone and email to show them pictures of any damage or to report any missing items.
Most of the time if there’s a missing item, it’s a small item that got lost in the move. But we want to make sure you’re happy with your purchase and that everything go as smoothly and predictably as possible.
HOW SELLERS SHOULD PREPARE FOR CLOSING
A LITTLE COURTESY GOES A LONG WAY
- Fill in the nail holes. If you have a large number of holes in the walls from pictures, wall clocks and more, consider filling them in with spackle for your buyers and paint if possible. Remember to sand them as well so the buyers aren’t left with a mess. While this isn’t a requirement, it is just a nice touch and is greatly appreciated.
- Take out the garbage. Can you imagine showing up at your new house to find it filled with the previous owners’ trash? That’s not very welcoming. Be sure to take out all the garbage and recycling and stack it neatly in the garage for the next pick-up day.
- Vacuum and mop the floors. Who knew so much dust was behind that entertainment unit?
- After all your furniture has been loaded up onto the moving truck, a quick once-over with a broom and mop can go a long way in making your former home shine. This courtesy can leave the entire transaction on a positive note.
REMEMBER TO LEAVE THESE ITEMS FOR YOUR BUYERS
- Double check all inclusions and exclusions are accounted for. Your Agreement of Purchase & Sale will have outlined what chattels and items you are required to leave with the home. This could be anything from appliances to light fixtures to drapery and more.
- If there were particular items you indicated that you wanted to take with you (exclusions), and others that you were including with the house (inclusions), make sure they are as they should be.
- Leave extra keys and manuals. The lucky new owners of your home can benefit from any manuals, instructions, warranties, etc. that have come along with the various appliances.
- Extra keys for the doors as well as the mailbox are always appreciated. For those with community mailboxes – don’t forget to leave a note with your mailbox number and location!
- Leave any paint or matching building materials. If you’ve got extra cans of paint that match the walls in the home, the new owners would certainly appreciate having it if they ding the walls while moving in.
- If you’ve got leftover tiles, trim, or replacement parts that are useful to the items in your home, leave those behind too!
- Remember, don’t leave junk – only leave items that the new owners may require.
Happy closing day! For a helpful moving checklist for both buyers and sellers, check out the our sellers moving check list!