Buying a house in Montreal – Moving and Renovations

Now that you own the home, comes the time for those renovations from your loan. This means that we couldn’t move right away, since it was much easier for the contractor to work on an empty house.

This all went well, since we still had some time left in our apartment’s lease, so we were able to wait for most of the reno work to be done. But it makes sense for  you to check frequently on the work, particularly since the contractor is bound to have some questions and clarifications, choices need to be made, some materials need buying, and so on.

The not-so-nice part was that, as discussed in the earlier post, we had to pay the contractor out-of-pocket, because the portion of the mortgage loan covering the renovations isn’t released (the notary holds that money) until the renovation is entirely finished. But we had planned for this so we were able to pay the contractor while not breaking the bank or going into massive credit card debt.

My advice here is to tell the contractor about the loan conditions and ask him to finish the work as soon as possible. Once the work is complete, call your mortgage broker who will arrange an inspection with the lender. The lender will hire an appraiser who will come to your home and do the inspection, and they will absolutely insist on everything being entirely finished; no missing paint job, no doorframes without doors, no excuses.

On the bright side, the process is relatively quick, it was less than a week between calling our mortgage broker and receiving the notary’s call to pick up the cheque for the remaining money.

Then we were able to move in, but that, and the ongoing maintenance work needed by a somewhat aged house (but with lots of character and charm) are beyond the scope of this series.

Our timetable looked like this in the end:

Initial visit to the mortgage broker – February 10th

Initial contact with real estate agent – February 15th

Started house visits – February 20th

Made an offer on the house we liked – March 2nd

Offer accepted – March 6th

Closing day – April 26th

Possession date – May 10th

In the end, from the initial visit to the broker to get the loan preapproval to taking possession of the property, even including the weird 2-week period after the closing date, the entire process took exactly 3 months.