Selling your house while you are on vacation

October 12, 2011

Law Day

When I bought my home three years ago, I ran into a small snag: the vendors were insistent on closing on a date when I was not going to be in the country, as I had booked a (very) long-planned visit to old friends overseas. Not wanting to lose the house over this detail, I prepared a Limited Power of Attorney for Property, which allowed my Attorney (aka my agent) to sign anything necessary for the purchase of the house while I was away. Fortunately, working for a law firm meant some perks, like having all of my closing documents ready several weeks before closing so that everything could be signed before I left. Still, having the POA in place meant that if anything changed, my Attorney could contact me, confirm what I wanted done, and sign on my behalf. Thankfully, nothing did change and everything was registered as it was set before I left, but it gave me some peace of mind while I was away.

I had this situation come up with a client recently as well. My clients had listed their home, and then one of the owners left for Libya to do humanitarian work during the recent conflict there. While he was away, unexpectedly, an offer came in on their house and they accepted it. In order to close the deal, I communicated with him by email, drafted a Limited Power of Attorney for Property, sent it to him, had him courier it back to me, and then spoke with him on Skype to ensure that he was who he said he was and that he approved of his wife signing everything to transfer the title.

While I wouldn’t recommend that you plan a vacation around your closing date, sometimes things get in the way. You might have an injury or illness, or suddenly need to be out of town. You do need to be sure that the POA is properly drafted and properly signed, since, if it is used, it will need to be registered on title. And, I would always recommend that you have everything signed before you leave so that you are not scrambling to get it done while you are somewhere else. However, if you need to have the closing happen on schedule and you can’t be there for it, a POA is a useful tool that can help you ensure that the closing happens smoothly.

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About Cesia

Cesia is a real estate lawyer at Wall-Armstrong and Green, a boutique law firm in Barrie focusing on real estate and estates. When she's not online, she can usually be found in her garden.

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