Finalizing a Purchase and Preparing for Possession

Once the buyer waives their conditions, congratulations! You sold your home and now it’s a matter of waiting for possession day.

You need to hire a real estate lawyer to finalize the transaction. To ensure all of your documents are in order, we recommend contacting a lawyer well before the possession date. This will give the lawyer time to review and prepare the documentation. Your real estate licensee and your mortgage broker will need the name of your lawyer because they will provide some of the needed documents directly to your lawyer.

At some point, likely just a few days before possession, you will need to meet with your lawyer.

Your lawyer will go over all of the legal documents with you, will discuss title transfer, closing costs and disbursements, mortgage payout (if applicable), and will have you sign the documents to transfer the property’s title to the buyer after they advance the purchase funds. You’ll need to bring photo ID to your meeting with your lawyer. Some lawyers require two pieces of identification – this could include a passport, driver’s licence and/or credit card. Ask your lawyer specifically what forms of ID they accept.

After meeting with your lawyer and signing the documentation, it’s really just a matter of waiting for the possession date. During the waiting period, you can:

  • arrange for your mail to be forwarded to your new address through Canada Post
  • arrange for your utilities to be disconnected (electricity, gas, cable, etc.)
  • hire a moving company (if using)

While waiting for possession day, your responsibilities as a homeowner continue. You need to continue maintaining the home, cutting the grass, shoveling the sidewalks, and do not stop your home insurance coverage. As the seller, you are responsible for insuring the property until possession day. Even if you vacate the property prior to the buyer taking possession, you need to continue your insurance coverage. If you will not be living in the home during some of this time, speak with your insurance company.

There is always a small chance that buyers waive their conditions, but then as possession day nears, the buyers back out of the deal and are unable or unwilling to proceed. This is a very rare event and typically would only occur if the buyers’ financial situation changed (perhaps they lost their job), became critically ill, or maybe their mortgage funding fell through and they haven’t been able to secure new financing. What happens then?

This is largely a legal issue and while your real estate professional will provide you with some information, you will need legal advice.