What Happens on Closing Day when Buying A House in Alberta?

man and woman hand closeup with home keys representing buying and selling new apartment and real estate concept

When buying or selling a home, CLOSING DAY is what brings dreams to life (or nightmares alive).

It’s a critical moment in the process but also a stressful one.

If you haven’t been through the process before, you might be wondering what to expect on closing day when buying a house in Alberta.

Don’t sweat it. We’ve got you covered!

In this article, we will talk about everything you need to know about a closing day in Alberta.

Understanding Closing Day in Real Estate Transactions

Closing day is the final step in the real estate transaction process.

It can be an exciting or overwhelming experience for those involved. On closing day, all parties will:

  • sign many documents to transfer ownership from the seller to the buyer; and
  • close the transaction

When buying or selling a house in Alberta, one must understand what closing day looks like.

Usually, buyers must have their mortgage lender’s funds ready. Only after that, they should sign any legal documents with the seller.

In a nutshell:

  1. The funds need to be ready before or on closing day, as this is the set day of transfer of ownership from seller to buyer.
  2. The money is then paid out via bank transfer, certified cheque or bank draft by the lawyer representing the buyer.
  3. This payment is then received by the lawyer representing the seller and distributed accordingly.

The signing of all relevant paperwork, such as loan papers and deeds, happens on closing day, too. It’s vital to complete all these documents before transferring the title of ownership.

Before the closing date, it’s important to conduct final inspection walkthroughs. These will ensure there are no surprises.

To ensure a seamless homebuying experience, any unresolved issues should be immediately addressed.

What to Expect on Closing Day

On closing day, don’t expect all parties involved in the sale to meet. Most paperwork is handled digitally, and you will likely meet with your Realtor at the property to handle any final business and receive the keys.

You can see your final costs and expenses, such as escrow fees, title insurance fees, and more. You must read through each document to ensure accuracy before you sign them.

With friends, family, or both, take great pleasure knowing that all your hard work has paid off. And mark this date as a milestone in life.

What Buyers Need to Know about Closing Day

Buyers need to know what will happen at closing to ensure everything goes well.

Whether they’re in the market for a fixer-upper or brand-new home, each buyer must have an action plan. They must completely comprehend what to expect on closing day.

Let’s go through the details around navigating closing day as a buyer.

A Checklist for Home Buyers

Here’s a list of items homebuyers should know about the closing day:

1. Have Your Financing In Place

Have your financing in place before making an offer or signing anything, even if you get approval for a mortgage. Financing can fall through if unforeseen factors appear while evaluating loan terms.

2. Consider All Expenses

Closing costs can increase with taxes and extra fees. So, be sure to account for all the money you need to take care of during closing day.

3. Complete Your Homeowners Insurance Plan

Ensure that your homeowner’s insurance research is complete. Also, see to it that you’ve selected the best plan before closing day. You need all these to finish the transaction process.

4. Conduct Required Inspections

Do a final walkthrough of the home and make sure to do any inspections required by law on time. Depending on your state, this could include a radon test, among other things.

5. Speak to the Professionals Involved

You should reach out to any professionals participating in your closing. These include real estate agents and title company representatives. Doing so will prepare everyone for settlement day. Secure all documents they may need from you, such as proof of funds or proof of payment forms.

6. Bring Your IDs

Both parties involved in the home purchase must show valid photo IDs at closing. So, ensure cards like driver’s licenses or passports are ready on settlement day.

7. Research Moving Costs Ahead of Time

Moving from one place to another can often take longer than expected. This is especially true if moving large pieces of furniture. Thus, don’t forget to research movers or rental trucks beforehand. This will prevent any delays on settlement day.

If possible, arrange help beforehand as well. Otherwise, it could be a headache come the move-in date.

Common Surprises Home Buyers Encounter

One of the most common surprises home buyers encounter on closing day is when their title insurance policy isn’t ready.

Title insurance protects homeowners should any issues arise before or after closing. These include a previous owner who failed to pay taxes or mortgages on the property. Without title insurance, it can cost thousands of dollars to resolve such issues.

Another surprise is encountering utility transfer fees that weren’t anticipated. Usually, you will be able to switch the utilities from the seller’s name to yours on closing day. But, this often comes with unexpected transfer costs. Make sure you budget for any fees related to transferring utilities.

Finally, some buyers are not aware that they must get homeowner’s insurance before moving into their new home. This is critical for safeguarding your home and finances in case of emergency.

For a seamless closing process, research different plans and policies beforehand. It will help you make sure there won’t be any unwanted surprises at your closing date.

Closing Costs for Buyers

Closing costs for buyers in Alberta can be large. So, it’s important to factor them in during your home-buying process. Most closing costs are due on or before closing day.

The biggest cost of closing is the down payment.

And it depends on how much you’re putting down and your loan type. Generally, you must provide a down payment of at least 5% and up to 20% (or more) of the total purchase price.

Other costs include:

  • appraisal fees
  • lawyer fees
  • title insurance fees
  • CMHC fees
  • other administrative fees

After those, there might be some extra costs associated with moving. 

You should shop around for different services like legal representation or mortgage lenders. This will help you compare prices and get the best deal available. Also, talk to your realtor and your lender to ensure you know all applicable fees before signing.

What Sellers Need to Know about Closing Day

Nothing is more exciting than the day you close on your home sale! It represents a long, hard road of negotiations, paperwork, and signatures.

But many sellers don’t know that there’s a lot of work to do on closing day. From timeline deadlines to overlooking paperwork, worries like these can be stressful.

Let’s take a look at what sellers need to know about a closing day in Alberta.

A Checklist for Home Sellers

Here’s a must-have checklist to ensure your home sale goes according to plan:

1. Hire A Professional Real Estate Agent

Before listing your home, hire a quality real estate agent to help you. They can provide valuable advice on marketing and promoting your home. They can also help you with pricing, negotiation, and legal details.

2. Have the Home Inspected

Have a qualified inspector come in and look for any issues or repairs before you list your home. This will save you time and money in the long run.

3. Make Minor Repairs

Take care of small repairs in the house, like leaky faucets and missing lightbulbs. Give the interior a fresh look with paint, carpets, or fixtures if necessary.

4. Disclose Needed Information

Let buyers know all essential information about repairs or renovations on the property. This will give them an idea of what they’re getting into when they buy the home.

5. Give Access to Potential Buyers

Allow potential buyers adequate access to view the property before closing. Doing so will prevent any surprises when it’s time for them to move in.

6. Clean Up the Exterior of the House

Get rid of clutter from the yard and driveway, sweep the porch area, trim bushes, and pressure wash siding. Make sure to maintain or improve your curb appeal.

7. Stage Your Home’s Interior

Buyers want to see an inviting space. So, consider hiring a staging company. Or organize furniture better so that it looks neat and modern upon inspection.

8. Be Contactable after Closing

Keep your lines open after closing day. This ensures that your buyer can reach out to you in case they have any questions about their new home.

9. Remove All Personal Items

Since this is going to be someone else’s house, take away your possessions before the new owner moves in.

Closing Costs for Sellers

Closing costs for sellers in Alberta can vary, depending on the transaction. Generally, selling a house in Alberta will involve some out-of-pocket expenses, including:

  • legal fees
  • title insurance
  • appraisal fees
  • GST/HST

Besides these closing costs, sellers in Alberta should prepare for a realtor’s fee. This is usually calculated as a percentage of the sale price. 

Sellers should also consider coverage for any remaining mortgage debt. This is because they are responsible for any of this until paid in full on a close day.

Buyers may also negotiate or even ask to finish home repairs before closing.

Before committing to an agreement, sellers should speak with their lawyers.

What Is the Average Timeline for Closing on A Home

The average timeline for closing on a home in Alberta varies. That said, it takes between 30 to 90 days from offer acceptance to closing day.

The closing day includes several stages for buyers.

  1. First, you’ll need to sign loan documents with your lender.
  2. Then, you’ll meet with the seller to review and sign all closing documents. These include the title deed and bill of sale.
  3. After that, you’ll pay an agreed-upon amount of money called “closing costs.” These will include any taxes owed on the property for the current year. You’ll also pay for extra fees associated with the loan.
  4. Finally, both parties will receive notice when the house transfer is official. This indicates that the closing process is complete.

Where Is the Closing Taking Place

Where exactly does this big event take place?

As a buyer, you can expect your closing to take place at your new property. As a seller, your closing will take place pretty much anywhere except the property.

Is It Possible to Back Out of Buying A House Before Closing Day

YES, it is possible to back out of buying a house before closing day.

But, there may be serious financial ramifications if you choose to do so.

In Alberta, buyers and sellers enter into a purchase agreement. This outlines the terms and conditions of the deal between the buyer and seller. For the sale to become binding, both parties must follow all provisions of the purchase agreement.

So, if you decide to back out of the deal before closing day, you could be liable for any damages. Those damages can include losing your deposit and paying for any losses incurred by the other party.

What Happens After the Closing

After the closing day, there are some important steps to take before the buyer can move in and enjoy the new home.

  1. First of all, the new homeowner needs to update their insurance with the new address. They should ensure the mailing address is accurate and up-to-date on all important documents. These include bills, bank accounts, and credit cards. This ensures payments go to the correct address.
  2. Next, the new owner needs to arrange for utility services so that they have them as soon as possible. To do this, they usually have to contact service providers and sign up for service at the new address.
  3. Finally, the house owner needs to forward the mail from their old address to the new one. The post office usually handles this if they’ve completed a mail forwarding order. But it doesn’t hurt to check and make sure.

Once these post-closing tasks are complete, the new owner can move into their new home!

The Consequences of Missing Closing Day Requirements

When buying a house in Alberta, ALL parties must meet the requirements before closing day. This includes:

  • completing all municipal permits
  • fixing inaccuracies in title searches
  • having enough funds available for closing costs

Both parties must fulfill their obligations under the Contract of Purchase and Sale before closing.

If some of these requirements are not met before closing day, there will likely be delays. Or even worse – the sale might not go through at all.

The buyer and seller should ensure all paperwork is complete. If issues arise after the closing date has been set, both sides must resolve them and adjust the timeline. This is because if too much time passes without resolving an issue, then it might be too late to include it in the sale under Alberta law.

Conclusion

Buying a home in Alberta is an exciting and often confusing process.

On the bright side, you will have the help of your lawyer, real estate agent, and other professionals. They’ll make sure that everything pushes through without a hitch. They’ll review all documents, collect payments, transfer the property title, and provide advice.

By understanding what happens on the closing day ahead of time, you can help make the process smoother.

Contact us today if you have any questions about buying or selling a house in Alberta.

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Derek Timmons

Derek is a top performing REALTOR® in Airdrie, Alberta, Canada. Aside from knowing the market, he uses his knowledge and experience in construction to help clients understand exactly what they’re in for when buying and selling real estate.

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