First Home Buyer Advice Vancouver 10: The Contract of Purchase and Sale – Dates

First Time Home Buyer Advice 10: Completion, Possession, and Adjustment Dates & BC’s Contract of Purchase of Sale

I am Realtor in Vancouver, BC, Canada and I have created this series of videos to help those who need help buying their first condo or house in Metro Vancouver, BC, Canada.

In Episode 9 of the First Time Home Buyers Guide for Vancouver we talked about the Deposit Section of the BC Contract of Purchase and Sale document.

Today we are going to talk about the Date sections (Section 3,4, and 5) on page 2 of the Contract of Purchase and Sale.

These Completion, Possession, and Adjustment Dates can be set at any time agreed to by the Buyer and Seller (One day after an Accepted Offer to years after).

In most cases the Completion Date comes first, and the Possession Dates and Adjustment occur the next day.

Remember! The Completion, Possession, and Adjustment Dates laid out in the Contract of Purchase and Sale only occur once all subject conditions have been removed!

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Dates on a BC Contract of Purchase & Sale

  • Completion Date (Section 4) – This is the date when the Buyers money is transferred to the Seller and ownership of the property transfers to the Buyer.(Please Note! A Buyer DOES NOT MOVE IN on the Completion Date! No Cash, No Keys!)In the example offer below, the Completion Date is on August 25, 2010. Completion Dates can only occur from Monday to Friday (Land Titles Office works Monday to Friday) and it is advisable to complete on a Thursday so there is a weekday to following the Completion Date should there be a delay or an issue. A Buyer can request a Completion Date whenever works best for them and the Seller can always refuse and propose another date in the negotiation.
  • Possession Date (Section 5) – Move In Day! This is date when the Buyer is officially allowed to move in. This date is usually the day after the Completion Date, but it can be any date the Buyer and Seller agree on. Most of the time the Buyer takes possession of the property at 12 Noon, but this is negotiable. In the example below the Possession Date is August 26, 2010.
  • Adjustment Date (Section 6) – This the date when tax and insurance liability pass from the Seller to the Buyer. Its usually the same date as the Possession Date. In the example below the Adjustment Date is August 26, 2010.

Contract of Purchase for Vancouver BC Courtesy of Mike Stewart Realtor_Part3

Why are Dates on a Real Estate Offer?
Both Buyer and Seller and the people helping them (lawyers, notaries, mortgage brokers, banks, lenders etc) need to have a written record of when certain actions are going to take place as per the Accepted Offer (Contract of Purchase and Sale) as well as reference should there be a dispute. So remember when agreeing to dates in a Contract of Purchase and Sale make sure that is possible to do what is agreed at the time agreed upon!

Time is of the Essence?

Time is of the Essence basically means that if the actions that are supposed to take place at a certain time such as the Dates above don’t occur, there are very serious consequences that could involve lawyers, courts, and judges if you catch my drift.

Check out Episode 11 of the First Home Buyers Guide for Vancouver: Section 11: Included Excluded Items

Looking for Advice on How to Sell a Condo in Vancouver? Check out these videos on How to Sell a Condo!

Looking for Presale Condo Investments? Have a look at these Videos on New Presales in Vancouver!


  Comments: 32

  1. what happens if a builder does not complete construction by the completion date and the buyers cannot move in? Is the builder liable for the additional costs incurred for hotels, moving and storage costs as a result?

    • Hi Robin,

      Good to hear from you and thank you for taking the time to ask a question.

      In the example we are using for the First Time Home Buyers Guide for Vancouver , we are talking about the transfer of ownership of a built property that is being re-sold and is not new construction.

      In another series of videos on my site, How to Buy a Presale Property in Vancouver I am discussing the process of buying a new construction property in detail.

      I haven’t yet gotten to the point where I answer this question in that series, but I can definitely answer your question. And by the way, thanks for this question! It will make the other series even better!

      So if I understand your question correctly, you want to know if the builder of a new construction property will be financially liable if the property is not completed and and habitable by a specific time that was agreed in the purchase contract.

      The answer is no and here’s why.

      Any experienced Builder/Developer will know that there are unforeseen circumstances in construction that can delay the completion of a new property significantly.

      In BC, the contracts used for the purchase of new new construction are almost always written by and in the interest of the Builder/Developer.

      These contracts and their associated Disclosure Statements always give a window of time during which the property need to be completed. The end date of this is sometimes referred to as a “Drop Dead Date”.

      The “Drop Dead Date” is the date by which the Developer/Builder has to have the property completed. In most contracts I have seen, should the Developer/Builder not have the property completed by this time, the Buyer is given the right to walk away from the contract and not Complete on the property.

      The contracts I have seen provide no provision for penalties or compensation payable by the Developer/Builder to the Buyer for being late.

      These contracts are structured this way to motivate the Developer/Builder to complete the property in a timely manner or lose out on a willing and able Buyer.

      So remember, whenever you are buying a new construction or pre-construction/presale property, ALWAYS have your lawyer and your Realtor review the contract BEFORE you sign anything!

      What are your thoughts?

  2. I have a question regarding where is the remain money should go before completion date? Realty in trust account or Lawyer firm’s account? Thanks

  3. Hi Heidi,

    Good to hear from you.

    Sorry for the late response, I just returned from vacation.

    Thank you for the great question.

    In most situations when a Buyer has a Buyers Agent representing them, the Buyers deposit is held in the Buyers Agents office’s trust account from when the Buyer removes their subject conditions until the date on which the transaction completes.

    Does this answer your question?

  4. When a property is purchased then after the date of possession does the former owner have any right to machines and tools left on the property?

    • Hi Brian,

      Good to hear from you and thank you for taking the time to leave a comment.

      It really depends on what is stated in the contract and also depends on if the items are fixed to the property (ie fixtures) or not (chattels).

      If the buyer includes items that are not affixed to the property (referred to as chattels such as furniture, clothes, tools, machines not attached to the property, etc) in the contract and the seller agrees, the buyer gets them.

      If they are not included in the contract, then these items belong to the sellers as they are chattels which are not included in a sale unless otherwise specified in the contract.

      If the items you mention are attached to the property or fixtures, then they will be included in the sale. Examples of this might be light fixtures, plumbing fixtures, doors etc.

      Machinery that is attached to the property would be included in this category.

      In most situations that I am involved in the issue is one of Sellers leaving their junk behind for the Buyers to dispose of which is usually costly and troublesome.

      Did you buy a property were items were left behind or did you sell a property where your items were left behind?

      I would love to hear more about this.

      Please note – I am not a lawyer and I am not giving legal advice. If you are not sure about any of the above or are in a dispute in regards to the above issues, I strongly suggest you consult with a lawyer.

      What are your thoughts?

  5. Hi Mike, thanks for your answers, here are the details:
    The possession date for the property was Aug 15. The seller was supposed to remove whatever he wanted of the old farm equipment before that date. Date passed and seller had taken nothing. Then seller moved a camp trailer on to the property to stay in and proceeded to try to move some of the equipment, and, as it was autumn and rainy season, damaged the dirt road in to the property. Buyer asked seller to leave. Seller left but sent buyer an invoice for $18,000.00 for the equipment.
    Buyer isn’t sure what to do! Does seller still have rights to occupy the property or take the equipment?

  6. Hi Brian,

    Good to hear from you.

    Sounds very complicated!

    This situation is beyond the scope of my licensing and my experience as an urban Realtor.

    I would suggest consulting a lawyer as well as your Realtor if you are either the Buyer or the Seller on this deal.

    What are your thoughts?

  7. Hi, I am in the midst of buying a house a part of an estate sale from a family member. There are items on the property that were part of a retail store owned by the deceased that will still be there after closing and posession date. At that time do I have the right to get rid of these things even if they any included in agreement? When do they become abandoned?

    • Hi Kay,

      Good to hear from you and thank you for taking the time to comment!

      I am confused.

      Can you clarify this sentence for me:

      “At that time do I have the right to get rid of these things even if they any included in agreement?”

      As for your second question, I would suggest contacting a lawyer as I am not qualified to answer that question.

      Looking forward to hearing from you.

  8. Hi ,

    After completion date and possession date in 3 days later.
    The seller still has right to stay there ? Who has right to own the house ? Since the buyer already paid on the completion date. Pls adv. thks.

  9. Hi,

    We bought a house and the completion date is three weeks away, with the possession date the next day. However, the seller got in touch with our realtor and is now refusing to move out, as he can’t find a home to buy that he likes, and renting is not possible for some reason.

    What recourse do I have? I have already lined up contractors to begin renovating the kitchen and electrical on the possession date at 2 PM (2 hours after the key handover at noon). Now I probably have to call and cancel them, and the whole thing is just a big mess.

    What can I do? Any advice is appreciated.

  10. I could use some help
    I sold my apartment with a completion date April 29 and possession date April 30 , noon.
    I will be moved out about a week earlier and the realtors and the buyer knows that.
    The problem, No moves are allowed in my building on weekends and April 30th is a weekend.
    Now the buyer wants to move up the possession date to the same date as completion. I asked if both dates could be moved up and apparently my realtor says it is not possible for the buyer to move up the completion date.
    and he is telling me this happens often. I want to helpful but I am worried about getting the money and I don’t want to be liable for any damages etc. It all sounds like I am the only one taking a risk here? I could use some good advice. I had a falling out with my agent a couple of weeks ago and so am not buying through him and now I think he is looking out for the buyer more than he is for me. I have decided to rent and take my time in finding the right place. The market is crazy right now. Any suggestions you could give me would greatly be appreciated.

    • Hi Roy,

      Good to hear from you.

      We can definitely help you with this.

      Give me a call at 604-763-3136 and we can help you with this.


  11. Date of build – should that be clearly disclosed through the contract or on date of possession?
    We have recently bought a house and there is some confusion we were told it was 2 years old but things seem a bit off?

    • Hi Nadia,

      Good to hear from you.

      We can definitely help you with this.

      Give me a call at 604-763-3136 and we can help you with this.


  12. Manjinder Singh

    We have signed a sale purchase contract two months ago for a lot.

    Now, seller realtor is saying that seller do not want to complete this transaction because rates have gone up in last 2 months.

    I want to know what rights buyers have in this case. Deposit was given at time of contract signed date. Can buyer complaint anywhere? Advise if Seller has any right to back out anytime when ever they want even after signing contract and taking deposit.

    Completion of contract is close and they are backing out. Please advise ASAP.

    • Hi Manjinder,

      Good to hear from you.

      Do you have a lawyer or Realtor helping you with this?

      I would suggest contacting a lawyer asap.

      What are your thoughts?


  13. We just had an unpleasant experience with our realtor regarding completion/possession.
    The realtor was providing services in the form of ‘limited dual agency’ in the sale of our house.
    Firstly, when I asked if this meant that we would not get full representation, she told me , ” oh no, you get full representation”. Yes; she lied.
    Then possession day was supposed to be a 5:00 on the day after completion. She had already got us to agree to vacate 2 days early before the end of the month, because it was a long weekend, and the buyers would save an extra months rent this way. We went to a hotel ( at our expense) to accommodate this request.The time was set for 5:00, because I was at work that day, and the final clearing out, couldn’t happen until I got home. Well, she called and asked that we accommodate the buyers and leave at noon. We said no, we couldn’t do that. Then she called back 5 minutes later and told us that ” technically, it wasn’t our house anymore, so we should allow them earlier access”. I called the office manager. Clearly, the contract stated when possession was to take place. This sort of lying, and manipulating really makes me angry ( especially as that huge commission came from us). She had a ‘long time’ association with the buyers it seems.This is unacceptable. I know there must be some good realtors out there, but this profession needs a clean up. Next time: we get a lawyer to handle all of it. At the very least: this dual agency business needs to be illegal. And you can bet our ‘options’ were not made clear to us. Never again.

  14. Hi,
    I’m first time home buyer. I have mortage in nane of myself and my husband. But the contract of sale and purchase has been signed by my husband only. My notary advice me to contact my realtor to add my name in the contract. My realtor is not co-operating and saying since the deal is firm, it will be difficult. My realtor is not pickup his phone, nor replying my email/text. I don’t know what to do at this matter. I will really appreciate if you could help.

  15. Savvy writing . I Appreciate the specifics – Does someone know where I could possibly get a fillable MNAR Seller\’s Property Disclosure form to fill in ?

  16. Hi,
    I just signed the contract to purchase a single detached house with completion and possession date two months away. My intend is to live in the house a year later. My question is, do I have the right to advertise or post this house for rent even though I don’t have possession of it?

  17. Hi , I have a buyer sign the purchase contract. Now is the step on the process of inspection. But my buyer ask me to change the possession date. What would be most easy way to fix it

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