Choose a Lawyer

 

Buying a home involves piles of legal documents. You need someone to translate the ”legalese” and ensure your best interests are protected.

Finding a Lawyer

 

There are many experienced real estate lawyers out there. Like choosing any other professional, ask your friends, family and co-workers for their recommendations. Your REALTOR can also give you the name(s) of experienced real estate lawyers in your area.

How will your lawyer help?

 

There are many legal steps to transferring ownership of land from one person to another. Even if pitfalls like fraud, government legislation, zoning issues or unpaid taxes don’t come up, your lawyer will help make the legal transfer of the home as smooth as possible. A typical transfer of title will require two weeks to complete.

Close the purchase

 
Your offer has been accepted and you can’t wait to move in … don’t break out the bubbly just yet; you still have to close the deal. Your REALTOR® and lawyer will do most of the closing work, but here’s a checklist to follow:
 
  • Immediately begin satisfying any conditions of the agreement that require action on your part. Your REALTOR can fill out the documents confirming the conditions have been satisfied.
  • Ask your lawyer to begin searching title to the property. This can take a while, so make sure you allow ample time.
  • Well before closing, arrange your homeowner’s insurance to kick in on your closing date. Your insurance broker will give you a “binder letter” certifying that you’re covered. You can’t get a mortgage without this letter.
  • Contact your lender and have them finalize your mortgage documents. Make sure your lawyer reviews them before you sign.
  • Your lawyer will transfer essential utilities like hydro and water but you’ll have to make sure telephone and cable companies switch their services to your new address.
  • If you rent, be sure to give the required notice to your landlord or sublease your apartment.
  • Begin planning your big move. Where are those cardboard boxes?
  • Send out your change of address information and fill out a card at the post office. Contact the appropriate provincial agencies about changing your other identification cards.
  • Walk through your new home one more time with your REALTOR. Don’t forget the measuring tape to start planning your furniture arrangement.
  • A day or two before closing, you’ll meet with your lawyer to sign the closing documents. Your lawyer will tell you in advance what certified cheque(s) you’ll need to seal the deal.
 

Move In

 

Moving day will come sooner than you think, so get planning now.

Closing date and moving date aren’t synonymous.

 

On closing, it’s likely you won’t get the keys to your new home until late in the day so it might make more sense to schedule the actual move for a day or so after closing.

Get packing

 

Whether you’re getting the help of friends and family to move or hiring a professional, nobody will take the same care you will. Start early and spread it out over many days. Label all your boxes by room (and especially if the boxes carry anything fragile) so the movers know where to put them and how to treat the boxes.

All moved in

 

The boxes are mostly unpacked and you’re settling in nicely. You will now feel a strange urge to begin making changes and improvements right away. Sure, that old carpet has to go and a bigger deck would be great for entertaining but slow down! Take the time to get a feel for your new home and, more importantly, your new budget. Take a deep breath and enjoy what you have: your new home.

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