Last Updated on April 10, 2019

Considerations for Possession Day | Real Estate Article

By Alan F Macdonald

Every time I sell a house or condo here in Edmonton, I have to tell my clients that possession day is sometimes a complicated affair. Basically, possession only happens when the money has transferred from the buyer’s lawyer to the seller’s lawyer. Everyone shoots for 12-o’clock noon to get this done, but sometimes things can happen to delay possession. As a real estate agent, I cannot release the keys to a buyer until I have confirmation from the other side that the funds have been received – even if I already have the keys. And if I am the agent for the seller, the same is true. I cannot allow the keys to be released to the new owners until my client’s lawyer has the money in their trust account.

Possession day is not necessarily moving day. It is best not to count on this day for being when you get all you moving done. It’s only a half day to start with and if there is a delay of a few hours, you might end up with very little time to move. Most of the time, everything is pretty smooth, but problems can occur. Some caution is advised before booking a moving van or cleaners to clean your new home.

These are the things that could go wrong on possession day to keep keys from being released on time:

  • The courier could be late in delivering cheques or the banks can be delayed in transferring funds.
  • Land titles offices are closed for major holidays and over the weekend.
  • Land titles can be busier than usual.
  • Documents can be late from the seller – they could be out of town, or documents could be stuck in transit.
  • Documents may have a mistake – names could be spelled incorrectly or options not checked off properly.
  • The mortgage documents could be late arriving from the bank. (I had this happen to me and possession was delayed by a full day.)
  • The land title may have encumbrances registered that were not properly dealt with or discharged.
  • A General Registry Search could come up with items that no longer pertain to you as a buyer, but have not been discharged correctly from your previous home’s title. Or you could have items that do pertain to you as a buyer but they were never dealt with.
  • Possessions that are short notice (less than two weeks) can easily have issues because the lenders and lawyers have not have much time to get the paperwork done.

I usually ask my clients to check with their lawyer a few days before possession to see if there are any issues but there are also circumstances that may be unforeseen. Make sure you are aware that you may not get keys right at noon on the possession day. I know it’s hard not to be really excited, but no one wants to be waiting on the street with a full moving truck and no where to put their furniture. So you might want to take it easy on possession day and make sure all goes well before making any big plans.

by +Alan F Macdonald REALTOR® | Copyright © –


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