The busy real estate season is upon us and many people are out there looking for a new home. For tips on buying a first home, please see Jason Peyman’s earlier blog post. There can be no truly complete list of all the things that are required to be done prior to purchasing or selling residential real estate. However, once you seal the deal, the following is a list of some of the items you should take care of personally prior to the day of closing:
FINAL WALK–THROUGH – If your Agreement of Purchase and Sale provides for a final walk-through, make arrangements with your realtor for the walk-through a day or two prior to closing. If there are any issues that you would like addressed prior to closing (such as damage that has occurred to the property), you should alert your real estate lawyer.
UTILITIES – Contact the customer service department for the applicable utilities for the jurisdiction in which you are purchasing and request that a new account be established in your name. This may include, but is not limited to, hydro, water, and gas services. Request that the meter be read on the date of closing and that a final bill be sent to the Seller for charges to the date of closing.
TELEPHONE/CABLE – Contact your service provider and arrange to have service installed in your new home following closing.
REALTY TAXES – On closing, an adjustment will be made for the realty taxes on the property and you will, as part of the closing, be reimbursing the Seller for any prepaid taxes that cover your period of ownership. You will be responsible for all tax payments coming due after the day of closing. Your real estate lawyer will inform you of any tax payments which are immediately due and payable and will notify the municipality of the change in ownership. You should contact the municipality to set up any pre-authorized tax payments.
FORWARD MAIL AND UPDATE YOUR ADDRESS – Be sure to arrange to have your mail forwarded to your new address and update service providers with your new address (ie. Doctor, dentist, bank, work).
PROPERTY INSURANCE – Arrange for insurance coverage on the new property, effective the date of closing, for structure, contents and liability. Your mortgage company will require coverage for the full insurable value with guaranteed replacement cost for the structures on the property. As the lender will need to be noted on your policy as “first loss payee”, after you make arrangements for coverage, let your real estate lawyer know the name and phone number of your insurance broker so that they can obtain a binder showing the coverage.
AFTER OBTAINING POSSESSION OF THE PROPERTY – If your Agreement of Purchase and Sale provides a warranty by the Seller as to the operating condition of any chattels (ie. fridge, stove, dishwasher, washer, dryer) included in the Agreement, then you should immediately, after taking possession, ensure these items are operating as represented. View the property to see if there is any damage that has occurred (new leaks, etc) since the final walkthrough. Contact your real estate lawyer to discuss any problems.
Happy packing and unpacking, and enjoy the new home!