As we approach the end of this series of articles dealing with the home buying process, I would be remiss if I did not address the final steps leading to a successful purchase. Prior to finalizing the purchase, you will have come to an agreement on all outstanding issues with the homeowner, the mortgage will have been arranged, and the home inspection will have been completed to your satisfaction. But it doesn't end there. There will still be several remaining tasks and to keep any details from falling through the cracks, a checklist is in order. Although some items may not apply to your situation, the following list is a good guide.
• A copy of the Agreement of Purchase and Sale should be sent to your lawyer immediately. Your REALTOR® will normally look after this for you. You should also make an appointment with or call your lawyer to pass on information needed to process the paperwork i.e., who will be registered on the property.
• Quickly satisfy outstanding conditions of the Agreement of Purchase and Sale i.e., obtaining proof of a sufficient supply of potable water. Failing to satisfy your conditions in a timely fashion might negate your purchase. Your REALTOR® will also assist you with this process and, on completion, will forward the appropriate waivers to your lawyer.
• Once your lawyer receives your instructions, he or she will begin searching title on your proposed home. If the previous owner does not have clear title to the property, you will not be able to obtain clear title either.
• If you have not done so yet, you will probably want to obtain a survey or title insurance on the property. A current survey will normally show the property lines, easements, and the dwelling. Your lending institution will also likely want a survey that should show what you are actually buying i.e., is the garage within the prescribed setback?
• Contact your lending institution and advise them to process your final mortgage documents. Your REALTOR® will help you gather the required paperwork i.e., a copy of the listing, the Purchase and Sale Agreement and, possibly, a picture of the home.
• If it appears that the conditions are going to be satisfactorily met and the transaction will have a successful conclusion, now is the time to notify the utility, cable, and phone companies of your possession date. Your lawyer should also verify that the existing owner has no outstanding debts with these companies.
• If required, give notice to your landlord where you currently reside.
• Get estimates from moving companies. At the very least, you might want moving experts to transport the large items for you. Believe me, it's worth it … not only from a physical standpoint,
but also from a personal liability perspective i.e., if someone is injured or something is damaged during the move … maybe the rented truck.
• Your lawyer will also check that the property taxes have been paid, that local zoning and building restrictions have been met, and that there are no outstanding liens on the property or personal property that has been negotiated as part of the purchase price i.e., the fridge for which the present owners may not yet have finished paying.
• Ensure you have adequate insurance to protect your family. Lending institution insurance may not be the most cost effective or flexible option especially if it is based on a declining mortgage balance and can not be applied to anything but the mortgage.
• Confirm your closing costs with your lawyer well in advance of the date you take possession of your new home. In other words, how much money do you need to give to your lawyer on the day of closing? These costs will include things such as adjustments for property taxes and utilities, land transfer taxes, legal fees, and other associated costs.
• Finally, buy a large bottle of bubbly and get ready to celebrate what may be the largest purchase of your life … your new home; a home that will hopefully provide you with an improved quality of life, a home that is an investment you can enjoy now, a home that will provide you and your family with many treasured memories for years to come.
David Weir BA, CD is a Broker with Royal LePage ProAlliance Realty, Brokerage in Trenton. His sales in the Quinte area have ranked him in the Top 1% of all Royal LePage REALTORS® in Canada since 2005.