Okay, so you’ve found your dream home, you’ve made an offer, it was accepted, and the conditions of finance approval and home inspection have been satisfied. So now you wait.
Waiting through the weeks and days until you can finally call the house your own, can be a stressful time, especially for first time home buyers. Common concerns include; what if something goes wrong, what if there are unexpected costs or problems lying ahead, when do I meet with my bank and my lawyer, what if the house gets trashed before closing, what if, what if …… the list goes on.
Buying a home is typically the largest investment most people make in their lifetime. Staying calm and collected and being prepared can help make the transition much more enjoyable and not the nail-biting experience that some buyers experience. Your Realtor® should be able to assist you in pointing you to the member of your team that can provide the answers to your questions, whether it’s your Lawyer, Banker or Mortgage Broker, Insurance Company or someone else that is involved in the transaction.
You should be able to get a realistic estimate of what the closing costs will be for your new home. You’ve paid the Home Inspector, but there will be other fees such as Land Transfer Taxes, Title Insurance, Appraisal Fees for those mortgages that have a down payment of 20% or more, High-Ratio Mortgage Insurance premiums for those mortgages with a down payment of less than 20%, final adjustments for any pre-paid taxes that the current owner has paid on the property in advance, legal fees, moving costs, deposits for utility companies and home insurance.
There may be some improvements you want made to the home once you get possession—you’ll need to allocate funds for those as well. You will also need the funds to buy the house. You may want to consider itemizing all of the expenses so that you can budget accordingly and avoid any surprises.
THINGS YOU’LL NEED TO DO BEFORE CLOSING
There are several things you will need to do before closing. The Internet is full of “moving checklists” that you can view. One of the most important things you will want to do is to have your Realtor® schedule the final “walk through” of the home one or two days before it is scheduled to close. It’s time well spent and can help identify anything that may have changed with the home since you saw it last. It’s also a good time to make sure all of the electrical and plumbing fixtures and all chattels/appliances are working properly.
Arranging for all of the utilities to be switched over is another important thing you’ll need to do, as well as arranging for home insurance. You’ll need to provide notices of address change for your health card, drivers license, Canada Revenue Agency, Banks, Credit Cards, friends, family and others. You may also want to arrange to have Canada Post forward your mail for a brief period following your move.
Packing—It’s best to get an early start on packing things up, as closing day often seems to creep up and next thing you know you’re up until the wee hours the night before closing, trying to get everything ready for the move.
A common question from home buyers is “what time will I get the key to the home”. This is a good question to ask your lawyer, but the time typically varies anywhere from noon to late afternoon. Just a note of advice—don’t expect the seller to allow you to start moving in until the transaction is 100% closed. Lawyers representing both the Seller and Buyer will likely advise against allowing the new owners to move-in until everything has been finalized.
Most Agreements of Purchase and Sale have clauses that state everything in the home is to be functioning properly upon closing. Once you have the key, it’s a good idea to check the house over thoroughly to make sure everything is as it should be. If there are problems, you should contact your lawyer immediately and provide the details.
EXPECT FUTURE REPAIRS
Once you’ve taken possession of the home, you may want to refer back to your Home Inspection report and identify any items requiring immediate assistance. Often these things involve minor improvements such as re-caulking or improving the exterior grading around the perimeter of the home—they can usually be dealt with quickly and inexpensively. On occasion, there may be some things a little larger in nature—you will want to plan in advance to have these things identified and have a budget allocated to have them repaired. Plan on having a little extra cash available for unplanned expenditures.
In order to make the closing of your new home run as smooth as possible, it’s imperative to be prepared. Your Realtor® should be your biggest resource in helping you identify and itemize the approximate costs you will incur during the transition and assist you along the way.
If you would like a detailed list of the costs you can expect in Kitchener-Waterloo, just let us know and we’ll send you a breakdown of the costs mentioned above. We can also help direct you to reputable mortgage lenders, real estate lawyers, insurance companies, and various tradespeople.
Good luck with your move—we hope it is free of stress and goes smoothly.