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Completion and Possession...what does that mean?

Blog by Tammy Sharp - Personal Real Estate Corporation | October 30th, 2017



Realtors are always using jargon and sometimes we forget to explain some of the commonly used terms. What happens on the completion and possession day? Completion and possession affect both sides of the transaction, so both the Buyer and the Seller. Let's dig in and explain further what these dates mean to you!


Completion Day is the day that the money and the ownership of the property officially transfers hands. A few days before the Completion day, you’ll meet with your Lawyer or Notary who will prepare all the transfer documents, including the Statement of Adjustments (calculates and shows the calculations that determine the exact amount the Purchaser will have to pay to the Seller on closing), the Transfer of Title documents, your Mortgage information, etc. At this time, you’ll also provide your Lawyer with the remaining amount of the funds needed to complete the sale, namely, your down payment.

Upon the Completion Day, the Lawyer will send the total purchase funds (your down payment + mortgage) to the Seller’s Lawyer and then will submit the all transfer documents to the Land Title Office to officially change the ownership of that particular property to you.

Unless you are actually meeting your lawyer or notary on the Completion Day (not always recommended as this is very last minute), then the only thing you have to do on that date is wait for the lawyer or notary to tell you that the transfer is complete.


Possession Day is the day you've been waiting for – it’s the day that you finally get the keys for your new property! The Possession Date is usually one day after the Completion Day in order to give the transaction a buffer zone in case the Land Title Office is swamped and doesn’t have time to complete the file on time. We don’t want eager Buyers waiting outside of their new property with a moving truck to learn that they won’t get the keys that day because the transfer wasn’t able to complete. Thus, the Possession Date is usually one day after Completion. It can be the same day but is not recommended so as to allow for time for the funds to transfer and the title to get registered, and sometimes it can be a few days after the Completion Day depending on the circumstances of both parties.

On the Possession Day, you’ll meet your Realtor at the property for a final walk through to ensure that everything is as it should be as outlined on your contract of purchase and sale (i.e. appliances are working, and the property is in good condition). The Contract will state the time of day that you’ll get the keys (typically at 12pm), which means you can view the property anytime after. After that, it’s time to start unloading the moving truck!


  • Think about booking a moving company, rather than your friends, for the big move. The moving company will be efficient and will have all the necessary tools, support and cushioning to ensure it’s a smooth transition
  • If you live in a Strata Complex, remember to book the elevator with the Property Manager
  • If a clean slate is important to you, plan to bring in cleaners to clean the vacant unit before moving your things in. At the end of the day, it should only be a few hundred dollars.
  • Plan in advance to have the Telus/Shaw cable and internet crew to come through as soon as possible after completion
  • If you’re planning on painting the unit, re-doing the floors, or other small jobs, plan to do that before moving your things in to make it easier for the tradesmen
  • Celebrate!