How to survive your closing date

If you thought the buyer and selling process was the most challenging part of the real estate process, think again. By far, the most fraught time is a few weeks before your property is due to close. The time between the offer and the possession date (closing date) is stressful for both parties legally, financially, and emotionally. Our advice can be summed as: prepare for things to go wrong and don’t demonize the other side. With this in mind, here’s our survival guide for buyers and sellers on closing:

For Sellers:

  1. Review your contract and ask your agent what you are responsible for on closing: While each contract is different, the standard wording in Toronto is that the appliances need to be in working order on closing. Further, the home needs to be in broom swept condition. This means that everything needs to be working on closing (if the dishwasher breaks the week before closing, the timing sucks, but you still need to fix or replace it, for example). Broom swept means that the home needs to be tidy and empty of all debris. Do not leave paint cans, flooring scraps, or garbage on closing. The whole house needs to be empty.

  2. Go above and beyond: In this market, your buyers have likely paid a considerable amount of money for your house. They feel bruised and broke, and if they walk into their new house and it isn’t perfect, it can hit their last nerve. To avoid costly and unnecessary legal issues moving forward, try to go the extra mile to ease these buyers into their homes. Have the house cleaned, patch holes in the walls where you removed pictures, leave a list of instructions about the place on the kitchen table. Better yet! Leave them a nice note and a bottle of wine in the fridge. You are under no legal obligation to do these things (unless specified in your contract), but it can go a long way to helping the buyers feel good about their decision.

For Buyers:

  1. Expect problems: This doesn’t sound that great, but here’s the truth: Most houses have issues. Buyers tend to demonize past homeowners who perpetuated those problems with the house. Maybe they let a leaky toilet go too long? Maybe within a month of moving in, all the appliances break down (personal experience here). This is usually not the seller’s fault, and it will ease your stress to financially and emotionally plan for problems in advance.

  2. Know your rights: Review your contract and know what is expected. The seller needs to deliver the home to you in the condition it was when you bought it. It is also likely that all the appliances need to be in working order (again, depending on your contract). So, if you bought the house and it had a broken window at the time, then the seller is not under an obligation to repair that window. If, however, the window breaks after you have purchased the home, but before you take possession, then the seller is obligated to repair it. Go into the house a few days before closing to ensure that the appliances work and make sure that the home is in the same condition it was in when you made your offer.

Closing is a stressful time for everyone, but with grace and understanding, closings can be smooth. As always, let us know if you have any questions.

Stay safe!

Robyn VanderVennen
The Kim Kehoe Team

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