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Closing the Sale

soldCongratulations, you’ve successfully negotiated the sale of your home!

The only remaining items are the final steps to closing out the sale. This is where your lawyer and your REALTOR® will take care of all the time consuming details and legal issues on your behalf.

Assuming you have chosen your team of professionals wisely, you can now relax.

Here’s a final checklist to review before you close the sale:

  • Confirm the services to be provided by your lawyer
  • Immediately begin satisfying any conditions of the agreement that require action on your
  • part before the set date of completion creeps up on you
  • Notify your lawyer and lending institution if the buyer is assuming your mortgage
  • Contact the utilities, telephone and cable companies about transferring or removing their services
  • Call your insurance agent and arrange cancellation or transfer of your homeowner’s insurance
  • Contact your security provider to arrange the cancellation or transfer of service
  • Contact a moving company to arrange your move on, or prior to, closing date
  • Send out your change of address notices and advise the post office
  • Change the address on your driver’s license, and other identifications
  • Notify your REALTOR® immediately if anything changes about your property or your situation.

Canada’s Money Laundering Requirements
As part of the listing process, you would have completed an identification form called FINTRAC and your REALTOR® would have asked for verifiable identification back in Step 6: Deciding When to Sell & Signing a Listing Agreement. This is a requirement of the federal government.

For more information, you can visit the FINTRAC web site at fintrac-canafe.gc.ca

Connect With Your Lawyer
If you plan to “discharge” or pay off your mortgage with proceeds of the sale, your lawyer will obtain a statement from your lender showing your outstanding balance on the mortgage, and any penalties you’ll have to pay to discharge the mortgage.

A few days before closing, your lawyer will ask you to sign the paperwork that enables the title to be transferred to the buyer.

On closing day, your lawyer will receive and distribute the proceeds from the sale, pay off your mortgage and other costs, and give you a cheque for the net proceeds.

Seller’s Closing Costs
We outlined many of the associated expenses in Step 5: Preparing Your Expenses. Your closing costs, as the seller, are the fees owed on or by closing day that must be paid for by you in order for the sale of your home to be complete.

Here are some of the most common expenses you can expect to incur upon closing your sale (approximate only):

REALTOR® Service Fee
This is the fee paid by you to the Real Estate Agency that was responsible for the marketing and sale of your home. In British Columbia, it is customary that the Listing Agent pays a cooperating brokerage a portion of the fee paid to them. Fees for service vary depending on which Agency you choose, and will correspond with the level of service and marketing that you receive. Ask your REALTOR® to clarify their service fees.

Taxes on Services
In British Columbia, GST and PST is applicable to legal and REALTOR® services.

Legal Fees and Disbursements
Your legal professional will ensure that you are protected. They will review your contract and ensure that the Buyer has complied with all the terms and conditions, and that you have met your legal obligations in order for the deal to close. Legal fees vary, and the total cost depends on the extent of services provided. You will also be responsible for disbursements (costs related to handling your file, such as long distance calls and travel).

Utility and Property Tax Adjustments
Your lawyer will prepare a “statement of adjustments”, which will adjust for things like taxes and utilities. As an example, a statement of adjustments is required if you have already paid your taxes through to the end of the year. On the statement of adjustments you will be credited for the period from possession date through to the end of the year on your side of the adjustment statement, and the buyer will be debited. If you didn’t pay this expense in advance, it will be you paying the buyer for the amount accrued prior to the possession date. The exact amount will be calculated by your lawyer.

Mortgage Prepayment or Discharge Fees
If you pay off your mortgage with the proceeds of your sale, you may be charged a fee from your bank. As outlined in Step 5: Preparing Your Expenses, it is prudent to check on any prepayment penalties or discharge fees early on as part of initial steps in preparing to sell your home. This will ensure that that you are completely apprised of what the final costs of closing out the sale of your home will be.

Moving Costs
Remember, if you are moving to a new home, there will be associated costs for transportation, furniture delivery, as well as utility hookup fees.

Congratulations!!!
That’s it – you’ve sold your home!

by Faith Wilson

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