What do I need to know about closing on a house?
July 21, 2008 6:27 AM   Subscribe

What do we need to know about closing on a house? We're in Canada.

So, we're closing on our first house on August 8 (yes, it's 08/08/08). We've never done this before, so I wonder what we need to know/do. I read this thread about what can go wrong, and it was helpful, but I also wonder what else do I need to do? We have a mortgage, we have a down-payment, we have home insurance, we have money for our closing costs (but how much will they be, exactly? And who tells us that, and when?) and we have a lawyer to do a title search.

What I would really love is a website that says THIS IS WHAT YOU NEED TO DO so I can do everything on the list. Google wasn't all that helpful in finding one (particularly for Canada, and I would, of course, like a Canada-specific list as I am sure some thing vary between here and the US and the UK).
posted by kate blank to Home & Garden (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Things will vary from province to province.

We just bought and sold in Hamilton. What you need to do is have your financing all figured out, be prepared to give your lawyer around $1000 in fees and other disbursements (aka expenses). Show up at your lawyer's office at the appropriate time, sign a metric assload of dead tree, and then it's done.

Honestly, it's all very anticlimactic.
posted by lowlife at 6:55 AM on July 21, 2008

Best answer: Your lawyer will do all the behind the scenes stuff (that's what you are paying them for!). Ask the lawyer what the estimated closing costs are (you will most likely get a refund as they always overestimate), mine have always been over $1000 (small town=one lawyer can charge what they like). Check with the lawyer if they will arrange utilities (I arranged ours, then the lawyer's office contacted all the utilities and put them in the wrong name and charged me several hundred dollars!). Change your drivers license and other id to the new address. Buy a new keychain and a bottle of your favourite drink to open the first night. Bring lightbulbs and toilet paper to the house and if you are moving in that day make your bed first. And make sure you have a photo taken of yourselves outside the front door. Try to hang outside the house to meet the neighbours. Attach local take out menus to the fridge (Canadian tradition seems to be to order pizza the first night). Your realtor will probably see you that day so you might want to have a thank you card ready. As lowlife says, it is less than you would think.
posted by saucysault at 8:07 AM on July 21, 2008

Oh, and the site you are looking for is CHMC/SCHL (Federally funded Canadian Housing and Mortgage Corporation). They are good people, they know their stuff and they are non-profit. They have some useful advice on their site.
posted by saucysault at 8:31 AM on July 21, 2008


In Calgary here- have purchased two properties and sold one and our lawyers did everything pretty seamlessy and for about $600 last purchase (took possession Feb 2005). They arranged power, water, sewer, gas for us; we had to manage phone, cable, etc. Lawyers apprise city of prop transfer but if your city has a direct deposit for prop tax you have to undertake that yourselves, at last we did.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 10:43 AM on July 21, 2008

Response by poster: I actually saw that CHMC/SCHL website before I asked my question, saucysault, and didn't find it that helpful. For once, they said "closing costs will be between 1.5 and 4% of the purchase price of the house." For us that gives a range of $6000 to $16600. Our closing costs cannot possibly come to sixteen thousand dollars.
posted by kate blank at 10:50 AM on July 21, 2008

Best answer: Does this post help at all? Are you buying in Toronto? I'll mefi mail you some details of my closing costs here in TO in a minute.
posted by jamesonandwater at 11:26 AM on July 21, 2008

Response by poster: That post and your email were both very helpful, jamesonandwater. Thanks!
posted by kate blank at 12:29 PM on July 21, 2008

Your lawyer and realtor should help you through this. You'll need to pick the key up from your lawyer, not the former owners. The former owners have a legal responsibility for the house to be empty by the time you get the key. (We were easy on the family that moved out. Technically, we owned the shitty art they forgot, but we thought it was best that they be reunited with it ASAP).

Our agent offered to hook us up with a lawyer he recommends to all his clients. Since they had a special relationship, we got a deal. I am relatively certain it was less than 1%.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 4:16 PM on July 21, 2008

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