Now that your offer has moved through the pending or conditional process and all conditions have been met, the home is officially marked as SOLD for marketing purposes by the listing agent. Sold signs will be put on the property, and the listing will be removed as an active listing on the MLS System. However, the property doesn't become yours until the agreed-upon closing date, and you won't receive keys or access to the property (unless previously agreed upon) until the seller's lawyer confirms that the funds have been collected from your lawyer.
Your next step will be to find a good Real Estate Lawyer. Not every lawyer practices Real Estate law and not every lawyer is experienced in Real Estate Law. Therefore it is essential to find a Real Estate lawyer who has experience and will know how to handle any issues with the transaction, should they come up.
Your REALTOR® should be able to provide you with a list of Real Estate Lawyers that they have worked with on past transactions. You can then read reviews, ask for references and choose your lawyer based on your research. Don't just hire your friend who graduated from Law School or your best friend's husband who handles family law. Having an experienced Real Estate lawyer on your side is an asset should problems arise.
The cost of a Real Estate lawyer can be anywhere from $450-$1,500 depending on the complexity of your transaction.
A lawyer represents your interests; and ensures that the legal documentation is completed correctly for your transaction. Your lawyer will receive a copy of the offer to purchase. Your lawyer will review the conditions of the sale, the contract and any information regarding the title transfer and registration through the Alberta Land Titles office.
Your lawyer will also contact the municipality for taxes, zoning compliance (permits, use, setbacks, pool, fencing, accordance with subdivision agreements, etc.) and public utilities (water, gas, power etc.) within the time stated in the offer to purchase. This is to ensure that there are no outstanding taxes and that the home meets guidelines established by the municipality.
Preparing a statement of adjustments is also part of your lawyer's responsibility to you. This statement will confirm the selling price of the property, any adjustments and the balance (less the deposit you paid with the offer). You will be required to provide the balance of your downpayment to your lawyer prior to the possession date that will be held in trust until possession day. The lender will also draw up a certified cheque for your lawyer to be held in your lawyer's trust. Your lawyer will contact you prior to possession date to have you come in and review any mortgage documents as well as sign off on any pertaining documents to the final purchase and land title transfer.
It is also essential to update your home insurance policy for coverage to begin on your new home and property on possession day. Your lawyer will require a copy of this policy to facilitate the closing.
It is also a good idea to contact your utility providers, cable and phone companies to ensure your connections are in place on possession day.
Once everything is signed at the lawyers, it's time to wait for possession day! It is essential NOT to plan to move on possession day. Many things can delay possession that are out of your control. Therefore your agent may advise you not to prepare to move on your possession day. Plan for a few days after to ensure the closing goes smoothly which leads to a stress-free moving day.
Congratulations on finding your new home! It's time to plan for possession day and moving day!