Congratulations – you just bought a home!
It may have taken months, or maybe years, of preparation. But you’ve saved up a down payment, zeroed in on your dream home and made an offer. The sellers have accepted and you’ve settled on a closing date. Soon, your new home will officially become yours.
Up to this point, you’ve probably spent most of your time working with your realtor. But now your lawyer and lender come in. Now that your deal has become firm, follow these simple steps to make closing on your new home as stress-free as possible:
1. Meet with your bank or mortgage broker to get your mortgage in order.
When you make your appointment, be sure to ask exactly which documents you need to bring with you. That way you can avoid any administrative delays. Talk to your advisor about mortgage protection insurance. If you were pre-approved for a mortgage, check that the pre-approval is still valid. If not, you’ll need to be re-approved.Your mortgage lender may offer mortgage insurance. But before you buy, speak with an advisor about mortgage protection insurance. That’s a combination of term life insurance and critical illness insurance that you may find more flexible and useful than mortgage insurance. Mortgage protection insurance can reassure you that your family will be able to cover the mortgage payments if something happens to you.
2. Get homeowners’ insurance.
You’ll need proof of this to close your deal.Hire a lawyer to review the approved offer (known as an agreement of purchase and sale).
3. Hire a Lawyer.
If you don’t already have a lawyer, ask your realtor for referrals, or use recommendations from friends and family as a starting point. Your lawyer will begin a title search to scan land-registry records for roadblocks that could keep your deal from closing. Such roadblocks include liens, which are claims against the property due to the previous owners’ unpaid debts. There could also be outstanding mortgages or zoning issues.Book a mover.
4. Book a mover.
If you’re moving into a condominium, remember to book the building’s elevator as well.
5. Change your address.
To be completely sure that everyone who needs to know is aware that you have moved, contact companies you deal with individually. That’s in addition to requesting a blanket Canada Post change of address.
6. Have utilities installed.
Including electricity, water, home phone/Internet/cable and heating fuel, such as natural gas or oil.
7. Meet with your lawyer.
within a few days of closing to sign documents and submit your down payment – minus the deposit, plus relevant closing costs. Review the statement of adjustments. The seller’s lawyer compiles this document, which lists any costs the seller has already paid. For example, the property taxes might be paid up for the full year. If your closing date is June 1, you’ll have to repay the seller for the remaining seven months.
8. Pick up the keys from your lawyer on closing day.
The boxes have been unpacked, the beds made and you are finally settling into your new home. Here are a few more things to consider on or shortly after move-in day:
- You may want to change the locks. The previous owners may have given copies to relatives, repair/service people etc. - you don’t know who has keys to your new home.
- The previous owners are likely to have forgotten to change the furnace filter in their rush to leave. This is something you will want to do shortly after moving in.
- Finally, get out and meet the neighbours! They are your best resource for referrals for things like snow clearing and contractors they’ve used. And meeting face to face just lets everyone get to know one another and live as a community.