When can I pick up the keys? That’s what every purchaser wants to know. And my answer, which, admittedly, is a buzzkill is: I can’t say with any certainty.
Most agreements of purchase and sale say the transaction will be completed “no later than 5:00 p.m.”, some say 6:00. The transfer cannot be registered electronically after 5:00 so that’s the latest you may expect to receive keys on the closing date.
On the closing day, a purchaser’s lawyer has to receive mortgage funds from the lender and the balance of the down payment and closing costs from the purchaser. The lawyers have to exchange closing materials in accordance with the Agreement of Purchase and Sale: money; keys; closing documents reviewed and signed by the sellers and the purchasers with their respective lawyers; and other items that may be specific to the transaction. The sellers have to move out (i.e., provide vacant possession).
Closing materials are held by each lawyer until both are satisfied that all required exchanges have been made. Then the transfer is registered in the Land Titles Office (mostly, electronically) as well as any purchasers’ mortgage. And then funds and keys may be released.
Hopefully, and as is often the case, many of the closing materials are ready at the lawyers’ offices before the actual closing day. Purchasers and sellers usual meet with their respective lawyers to review the transaction, provide materials and sign documents at least a couple of days before closing. Other materials, though, like mortgage funds, are not available until the day of closing.
Most closing dates are scheduled for Friday or end of month. There’s some convenience to that: many will have weekend off to move. But if purchasers and sellers agree otherwise, it may be useful to close on another business day. After all, everyone involved in your transaction - realtors, lawyers, utility and service providers, movers - will be busy at the end of the week or month with everyone else’s transactions too and you’ll be one in a queue.
Plus, if there is any delay or unexpected issue such that the transaction cannot close before end of day, everyone is stuck until the next week (the purchasers, possibly without a house) before the parties and their lawyers can close (if parties agreed to extend) or otherwise address the issue that led to not being able to close and the consequences of not closing.
So, on the day of closing there’s a few moving parts to the closing process on the closing day, none of which are in any one party’s control and that’s why a specific time key time can’t be guaranteed.
Adam Kowalsky is an associate at the law firm of Cobb & Jones LLP. For more articles, visit the library page at www.cobbjones.ca