The Real Estate Timeline

The average Canadian will own about 5 homes in their lifetime – at best. So maybe a home every 7-8 years or so. And, if you’re like me, you don’t remember what you did last week let alone what you did 8 years ago. So a little review may be in order.



Our main job as your real estate lawyer is to close the deal. But you need to get there first – and knowing the steps and timeline of ‘getting there’ is one of the most asked requests we get. That makes sense: the process is either new or so infrequent its impossible to remember. Plus, so many other things are going on, who can even keep track?


So here’s the general timeline and major steps of a typical real estate SALE:


  • Day 01: Contract Negotiated and signed

  • Day 14: Conditions are removed (Contract becomes binding);

  • Day 17: Lawyers receive Contract (from Realtor if there is one, client if no Realtor);

  • Days 18-28:

  • Lawyer opens file and prepares documents

  • Lawyer obtains various search results (e.g. Title, Property Taxes, Condo Estoppel Certificate, etc) and calculates the Cash to Close and all adjustments;

  • Lawyer requests a Payout Statement from mortgage lender;

  • Day 28: Appointment made to meet with lawyer:

  • To sign documents

  • Bring in any documents required for sale (e.g. RPR/compliance)

  • Day 28: Lawyer sends signed sale documents and trust letter to Buyer’s lawyer;

  • Day 31: CLOSING! Lawyer receives Cash to Close by noon on Closing/Possession Day and pays out all necessary parties (e.g. mortgage lender) – same day or next business day provides net sale proceeds and report to client;


And here’s the general timeline and major steps of a typical real estate PURCHASE:


  • Day 01: Real Estate Purchase Contract negotiated and finalized;

  • Day 14: Conditions are removed (Contract becomes binding);

  • Day 17: Lawyer receives Contract (from Realtor if there is one, client if no Realtor);

  • Day 20: Lawyer receives Mortgage instructions – usually about 1-2 weeks before the Closing/Possession Date;

  • Day 21: Lawyer opens file and prepares documents

  • Day 28: Lawyer receives seller's documents from seller's lawyer

  • Day 28: Appointment made to meet with lawyer to:

  • To sign documents

  • Bring in balance of your funds (bank draft needed);

  • Day 31: CLOSING - Lawyer arranges for funding of the mortgage and payment of the cash to close to Seller’s lawyer on the Closing Date (goal is before noon) and keys released (between noon – 2pm) typically.


Obviously there are exceptions to this: some deals take longer and some are shorter (and are therefor considered a "rush"). Plus with so many cooks in the kitchen (realtors, bankers, lawyers, land titles registry, etc) its hard to predict when things will arrive and fit in the timeline (e.g. if mortgage instructions don't arrive until 2 days before Closing then everything shifts including meeting date and maybe even closing). But this will give you a decent idea.


Long and short: please don't let your realtor do a deal that closes a week after you sign-off on it!



 

This is not meant to be, and should not be construed as, legal advice for your specific situation. You should contact one of our lawyers here at Richards + Company for further information and to discuss your particular facts and situation.


 

Darren L. Richards practices real estate and corporate/commercial law with Richards + Company in Edmonton, Alberta; depending on who you ask he is either ranked #1 or one of the ‘three best real estate lawyers’ in Edmonton.

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