The Closing

When do I get my keys?  

Keys are typically released at 12:00 noon on the day of closing.  There can be a delay in key release for various reasons such as a delay in the funding of your new mortgage or negotiations over an issue that has appeared at the last minute or the courier with the cheque being held up in traffic.  We highly recommend that you not have a mover booked to deliver your furniture or a painter or other renovator ready to start work at 12:00 noon on the completion day.  Allow sufficient time to get the keys and inspect your new home thoroughly before the movers or renovators walk through the door.  On rare occasions, keys may not be released until late in the afternoon on the completion day.  If there are significant delays with funding the mortgage, keys can typically be released on a tenancy basis.  However, there is no guarantee in this regard.  This points out the desirability of having mortgage instructions and real estate instructions sent to our office as early in the game as possible.

Deficiencies On Closing

What about deficiencies on closing?  Although it is rare, purchasers will occasionally get the keys to their new home only to find out damage was done by the previous owners after the last inspection or something has broken such as an appliance.  Under contract law, we cannot unilaterally hold back any portion of the purchase price despite the presence of deficiencies.  All we can do is contact the lawyer for the seller and hope they are cooperative enough to negotiate some resolution.  Ultimately, if the dispute cannot be resolved, your recourse is to file a lawsuit.

Paying Your Property Taxes

Once you become the owner of your new home, you may be able to enroll in the monthly property tax program.  This allows you to pay your taxes on a regular monthly basis on automatic monthly withdrawal rather than one large annual payment.  Two things to remember.  First, you cannot enroll in the program until you are the actual registered owner at Land Titles.  Second, enroll within the first few days after you become the owner of the property, otherwise, in certain circumstances, penalties can be triggered.  Please note, that some lenders insist that you pay the property taxes as part of your mortgage payments.  In this case, you will not be able to enroll in the monthly program directly with the municipality.

Condominiums - Insurance

If you are purchasing a condominium, the condominium corporation will (except in rare circumstances) provides insurance for the building itself.  It is your responsibility to obtain condominium owner’s insurance.  This will cover the following three issues that are not covered by the condominium building insurance:

  • All your contents and personal belongings.
  • Liability insurance.
  • Coverage for attachments and upgrades.  The condominium corporation insurance only covers the basic building.  It is your responsibility to provide your own coverage for any enhancements that have been made to the unit.

Condominiums - Estoppel Certificate

The standard REPC requires the seller to provide you with an Estoppel Certificate.  The Estoppel Certificate indicates, among other things, whether or not the condominium fees are paid up to date. All major lenders require an Estoppel Certificate prior to funding the mortgage.  This certificate will also show whether a special assessment has been levied against the condominium which has yet to be paid.

Condominium Document Review

Prior to removing all conditions on the condominium purchase, you will want to review a package of condominium documents.  This includes the reserve fund study, minutes of recent board and shareholders meetings, and the Bylaws along with the financial statements.  There are several issues to focus on.  Look at the Bylaws to see if there are any restrictions on the use of the property that you find objectionable.  Compare the financial statements with recommendations in the reserve fund study to make sure the condominium is setting aside enough money for future repairs.  In the absence of this, you may be facing a special assessment.  Review the minutes of directors and shareholders meetings to see if there any ongoing issues regarding items such as major repairs or difficult occupants in the unit right next to the one you are looking to buy.  You can review these documents with the assistance of your realtor.  If you have never purchased a condominium before, there are service providers available who specialize in the independent review of condominium documents. They will review the condominium documents on your behalf at your cost. By the time we receive the REPC, conditions have been removed and it is too late to back out of the deal if there is something objectionable in the condo documents. Reviewing condo documents includes reviewing items such as financial statements which is outside our skill set. We do obtain and review the estoppel certificate.