I’m getting ready to make an offer on a home. What’s next? Could you please provide some pre-closing tips and ideas?
Buying a home includes a number of key steps and the process can sometimes be tricky. Your real estate salesperson can answer your questions and guide you to the finish line. In the meantime, however, here are a few actions you will need to take before you can move into your new home.
You and your salesperson should arrange for a pre-closing visit right before the moving date to make sure the home is in the same condition as when you signed your offer, and the seller has remedied any issues agreed to in the Agreement of Purchase of Sale, including necessary repairs. This visit is best planned by inserting a provision into the Agreement during negotiations.
Whenever you buy or sell a property, it’s a good idea to hire a lawyer who understands real estate law early on and you will definitely need a lawyer to handle the nuts and bolts of closing. Your lawyer will provide you with a statement of closing cost adjustments shortly before the property changes hands; it’s important that you sit down with your lawyer to review the closing costs and sign the necessary documents. You will also have to provide the necessary funds, payable to your lawyer’s firm in trust that they will need to complete the transaction. When you’re ready to move in, your lawyer will provide you with keys to your new home.
Property buyers are not required to purchase title insurance in Ontario, but I recommend discussing the issue with your lawyer. Some lenders may require that you obtain it. Title insurance can protect you from title fraud, survey errors and other potential problems that may prevent you from having a clear ownership of your property, and it’s generally a reasonable expense considering the safety net it provides.
Acquiring home insurance for the value of the home is a necessity for the day you close, since your lending institution will require it. You would also be well-advised to get your new utility providers to read the meters on closing day, so you aren’t on the hook for the previous owner’s expenses.
I should add that new homeowners sometimes take possession and discover their new house doesn’t include a furnace, or a hot water heater, or other appliances because the previous owner rented those items, and they weren’t part of the sale. Transferring rental agreements to a new owner can be expensive, so it’s always a good idea to ask questions, and know for certain if the appliances are rented, or included with the home before you make an offer.
If you have a question for Joe about the home buying or selling process, please email email@example.com.
Joseph Richer is Registrar of the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO). He is in charge of the administration and enforcement of all rules that govern real estate professionals in Ontario. You can find more tips at reco.on.ca, follow on Twitter @RECOhelps or on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/RECOhelps.