Completion and Possession Day

Have you recently bought a new home in Vancouver, or are you looking to buy one soon? I often get the question from new clients – what is the difference between the completion and possession day? In other words, when do I need to pay for the property and when do I get the keys?

Great question! And one that has some implications in terms what you need to do and when..

The Completion Day

The Completion Day is the day the property officially transfers ownership from the Seller to the Buyer, all the while the funds are transferred from the Buyer’s Lawyer to the Seller’s Lawyer. As Buyers, you’ll meet with the Lawyer or Notary completing your sale a few days before the “Completion Date” in order to sign the documents you need to sign and give the rest of the down payment and purchase funds to the Lawyer (the Lawyer works with your Mortgage Broker to arrange the Mortgage funds).

On the Completion Day, the Lawyer passes these funds to the Seller’s Lawyer, and the Seller’s Lawyer authorizes the transfer of ownership. The Buyer’s Lawyer applies for the title transfer at the Land Title Office. Once this transfer is approved, the property is legally yours!

You’ll want to make sure that your home insurance is set up to begin on the Completion Date.

The Possession Day

The Possession Day is the day that you as the Buyer get the keys! The Possession Day is often the day after the Completion Dy in order to act as a buffer in case there is a delay in transferring ownership. The Land Title Office closes at 4pm, and they work in sequence depending on when files are submitted. If your file is submitted late, the Land Title Office may not get to it until the next day. Thus, by putting the Possession Date the day after the Completion Date, you won’t be waiting outside the property with your moving truck at 4pm on the Completion Date expecting to get the keys (as you can imagine, if the official transfer hasn’t occurred, the Seller’s won’t be eager to hand over the keys).

Otherwise, the Possession Date is the day that you can plan to have cleaners give your new property a deep clean, you can plan to have the movers move in your furniture, you can plan for Telus/Shaw/Rogers to ensure your cable and internet is hooked up, and you can start on the renovations you’ve been patiently organizing.

As your real estate agents, we’ll meet your outside the property to hand you the keys to your new home!