Home Buyer’s Completion Checklist

Congratulations! I’m sure you’re excited for your upcoming move. There are a few things you need to have done between now and your Completion Date in order to ensure the transition is smooth and trouble free. The Completion Date is the day the property officially becomes yours and the Possession Date is the day you get the keys and can start moving in; it is typically within a few days after the Completion Date and is noted on the Contract.

On the Possession date, we will meet at the property to do a walk-through and then you’ll officially be the new owner and can start moving in! Note that the Contract stipulates a specific time with regards to the Possession – it’s often at Noon, but can be later or earlier in the day – so you want to make sure that you have planned the movers around the Possession time so you don’t get stuck having to pay the movers until you finally get the keys!

There are a few tasks you need to complete before the Completion and Possession Date. Take a look below:

1. GIVE NOTICE TO YOUR LANDLORD

This one is for renters. Ensure that you give notice to your landlord with at least one full months notice (as in, if you want to leave June 30th, you need to give your one months notice on or before May 31st). You should also be proactive and book a move out date with your current building (to reserve elevators).


2. CONTACT A LAWYER OR NOTARY PUBLIC

You’ll need to arrange for a Lawyer or Notary to complete the sale. It’s best to get an appointment set now to ensure the Lawyer you want to use is available. You’ll likely have to meet with them once or twice before the Completion Date to sign the transaction documents and give them the rest of the purchase funds via bank draft. The Lawyer/Notary will organize the mortgage funds with your Mortgage Broker.

If you do not have a Lawyer or Notary in mind, we recommend (and can offer more recommendations if needed):

Lawyer:

Khushhal Bains with Bell Alliance
Suite 201, 1367 West Broadway,
Vancouver, B.C., V6H 4A7
Tel: (604) 873-8723 Ext 105


Notary:

Steve Tidder with Bell Alliance
Suite 201, 1367 West Broadway,
Vancouver, B.C., V6H 4A7
Tel: (604) 873-8723

3. SET UP HOME INSURANCE

One of the most important things you’ll need to do before the Completion Date is to ensure you have home insurance on the property starting on the Completion Date. Set up your Home Insurance with an insurance provider, and feel free to gather quotes from multiple firms. Ensure that your personal insurance is in line with the Strata Insurance Policy, and covers all the strata deductibles. The current Strata Insurance policy for your new building would have been in the Strata Documents you received (either in its own file or attached to the most recent AGM). If you can’t find it, let us know and we’ll get it from the property manager. Most mortgage lenders now require that you have home insurance on the property prior to funding your mortgage, so don’t let this task slip through the cracks.

How that you’ll be a homeowner, you may want to consider getting further insurance with regards to Critical Care, Disability, and Life Insurance. Talk to an insurance broker or your financial planner about your options.

4. SWITCH YOUR ACCOUNT WITH BC HYDRO AND FORTIS BC

You’ll want to make sure that you have electricity and heat when you move in, so ensure that you either switch your account with BC Hydro and Fortis BC (if gas is applicable), or set up a new account. You can get this going on the BC Hydro website and Fortis BC website.

5. SET UP YOUR CABLE/PHONE/INTERNET SERVICES

Contact Shaw or Telus to get this set up. Appointments are often scheduled in advance, so call early to ensure you can get someone in as soon as possible after you move in. You may need to arrange access with through the Property Manager of your new building to the cable rooms.

6. CONTACT THE STRATA

You’ll need to let the Strata know that you’re going to be the new owner. You’ll likely be able to set up an account to automatically pay your strata fees, and you’ll have to book the elevator for your move day. The contact information for the Strata Manager would be in the minutes, but you can contact us for more information. Strata Managers aren’t the easiest to get a hold of so you might have to try a few times. You lawyer will make sure the strata fees are paid for the month you move in, but you’ll need to ensure that the Strata has your banking information for future months.

Remember to book the elevator for your move out of your current home as well.

7. WAIT FOR THE COMPLETION DAY

Here are some things you can expect on the Completion Day or a few days prior, depending on when you’re meeting with the Lawyer:

  1. Your lawyer provides you with a Statement of Adjustment with costs payable by you. This takes into account the purchase price, any applicable GST, Property Transfer Tax, some property taxes, strata fees, move in fees, Lawyers fees, etc. When you meet with the Lawyer, you’ll need to bring these funds by way of a bank draft, along with ID.
  2. Your mortgage lender forwards the mortgage funds to your lawyer.
  3. Your lawyer forwards funds to the seller and completes all the necessary documents.
  4. The title is transferred from the Sellers name to your name and is registered at BC Land Titles Office.

Once the sale is registered in the Land Title Office, the property is officially yours! You’ll get a notification from the Lawyers that the transfer was successful and that you’ll get the keys on the Possession Day indicated in the contract. Keep in mind that you need to sign the documents in the presence of a Lawyer or Notary, so if you’re going to be out of town just before the Completion Date, you’ll need to ensure that you have an appointment booked with a Notary, in the city you’ll be located, who will coordinate with your Lawyer in Vancouver.

8. KNOW YOUR COMPLETION COSTS

These are the fees you will pay on Closing Day. All or some of the following may be included. Check with your lawyer for details.

  1. Adjustments – costs you will incur in order to reimburse the seller (such as pre-paid property taxes). On adjustment date, the buyer credits the seller with these adjustments.
  2. GST – this tax is only applicable on newly developed and substantially renovated properties. For more information, GST on Real Estate.
  3. Insurance – you may want to insure your personal contents. Condos require you carry third-party liability. Your lender will require you to have House Insurance. If your loan is greater than 80% you will be required to have mortgage insurance. Property title insurance is sometimes used in BC.
  4. Legal fees – to be discussed with your lawyer but budget $1400+.
  5. Property Transfer Tax – is charged on all properties that are sold in BC and is a Government of BC tax. First-time buyers may apply for an exemption, if the purchase price is under a specific amount and if you meet certain criteria. For more information: Property Transfer Tax in BC.
  6. Survey fees – For detached purchases, your lender will require an updated survey, which confirms the lot size and any encroachments. The seller may have a current one.


9. PLAN YOUR PACKING & MOVING SERVICES

Moving Services is another part of your move that you’ll want to book as soon as possible, especially if your move is at the beginning or end of the month. There are companies that offer both packing and moving help, boxes, or just the move. They should be professionals, with the proper equipment to ensure your breakables are protected.

The companies we recommend for packing and moving help are:

Green’s Moving: http://greensmoving.org/

Vancouver in the Box: http://vancouverinthebox.com

You Move Me: http://www.youmoveme.com/ca

If you are just looking for the moving help, but want to pack yourself, many companies will allow you to rent bins, including: Frogbox http://frogbox.com/


10. CHANGE/FORWARD YOUR ADDRESS

Be sure to change your new address prior to moving in. You will need to remember to do this for the Government (CRA, etc), our employer, friends and family, subscriptions, accounts, etc. You can pay to have your mail forwarded by Canada Post.

 

11. THINK ABOUT HIRING CLEANERS

Our contracts always stipulate that the Buyers need to have the prior in clean condition upon the Possession Date, though everyone’s definition of clean is different. If you’re particularly clean, or want to ensure everything from the baseboards to the blinds to the inside of the cupboards are clean then have cleaners hired for your move in date.


11. LOOK FORWARD TO THE POSSESSION DAY

Congratulations – you’re a homeowner! We meet you at the property for the key exchange and you can start moving in. Check your contract for the specific Possession Time: sometimes it’s in the morning, and sometimes it’s in the afternoon. You’ll need to plan your move accordingly.

 

Questions? Contact us!