Preparing for Possession
You will need to find and meet with a real estate lawyer. Your lawyer will go over the legal documents with you, including the RPR and the title. They will also highlight any possible restrictions or caveats registered against the property, discuss closing costs and disbursements, and have you sign the documents to transfer the property’s title to you after your lawyer advances the purchase funds to the seller. You’ll need to bring photo ID to your meeting with your lawyer. Some lawyers require two pieces of identification. Ask your lawyer specifically what forms of ID they accept.
Your lawyer will also discuss title insurance with you. Title insurance works like a standard insurance policy, and protects against future discoveries about the insured property. It is a form of indemnity insurance for a mortgaged property. As insurance, it covers the loss of an interest in a property due to legal defects.
There are two types of title insurance:
A lender’s title insurance policy, which the borrower usually pays for, is for the sole benefit of the mortgage lender. Your lender may require title insurance and you, as the buyer, will have to pay for it. It is for the sole benefit of the lender.
Owner’s title insurance is a separate policy where either the buyer or seller pays the insurance premiums to protect the buyer’s equity in the property. This title insurance may relate to coverage for title and non-title issues. For example, title insurance can cover future title fraud (i.e. if through fraudulent transactions and paperwork, someone loses title to a property they legally own – title insurance can assist in getting title back).
Once you’ve met with your lawyer and signed the documentation, including mortgage documents (if obtaining a mortgage), 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
- schedule your utility hook-ups (electricity, gas, cable, etc.)
- arrange for home insurance to take effect as of possession day or when you move in, whichever is earlier
- hire a moving company (if using)
Additional Closing Costs
Beyond your lawyer fees and title insurance costs (if any), you may also have to pay other closing costs, including property tax adjustments. Because of the way property taxes work, you may be required to reimburse the seller some of the property taxes they’ve paid to their municipality in the current year. Your lawyer can provide you with more information about these costs. Talk to your real estate licensee about your market and what costs you should expect.