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6 FAQs About the Closing on a House Timeline

Closing on a house doesn’t just happen in one day. It’s an involved process with many steps that can stretch out over several weeks. Check out these FAQs to learn what to expect about the timeline for closing on a house.
6 FAQs About the Closing on a House Timeline

Finally, the seller accepted your offer on their home. Now it's just smooth sailing to finish up the paperwork, right?

Wrong.

Closing on a house involves far more than just signing a few papers. Check out the timeline, answers to your questions, and learn what to expect.

1. How long does closing on a house take?

Closing on a house takes about 30-45 days. This is from when the seller accepts an offer to the day that all the papers have been signed. The timing is mostly dependent on the lender, although a motivated buyer and seller can move the process along by turning in their paperwork promptly.

What takes so long?

A lot has to happen. The buyer will usually request an inspection. If problems appear, the buyer may request some repairs or re-negotiate the offer to compensate. Once the purchase agreement is finalized it's time to move on to the mortgage.

The buyer turns in their application and the lender will request an appraisal. Loan approval depends upon both the buyer's financial situation and the suitability of the home.

Once all these hurdles have been cleared, it's time to close.

2. Can you move into a house on the day of closing?

It depends on your contract. Buyers will often include a move-in date in the contract. Sometimes this is a week to 10 days after closing, giving the seller a chance to move out after they're sure the deal won't fall through.

Other times the contract will state that the buyer takes possession upon closing and funding of their loan. These usually happen on the same, day although it's possible for financing to occur a few days after closing. Regardless, if that's the case the seller needs to be out and the buyer move in right away.

3. Is it better to close on a house at the end of the month?

You can save money on closing costs by closing at the end of the month. While your first mortgage payment is not due immediately, your lender will charge you interest for every day that you own the home. That means if you close on the 27th, you'll only pay three or four days of interest at closing.

You'll also save on prorated homeowner's association fees if there are any for your new home.

Another thing to consider is that mortgage payments are cover the month that just passed, not the coming one. So if you close at the end of the month, this gives you a little more time to recoup before beginning to make your mortgage payments.

One more thing to note is that since many buyers are shooting for this time frame it is harder to get personalized attention from lenders and real estate attorneys. Their dockets are full. If they're too busy your closing could get pushed into the beginning of the next month anyway.

4. Can you close on a house on a weekend?

No. Mortgage companies need to be able to wire funds which they can only do when the Federal Reserve is open. That means not on weekends and not on federal holidays.

On top of that, most mortgage companies, closing attorneys, and title companies are typically open Monday through Friday.

5. What to do after closing on a house?

There are several steps buyers should take after successfully closing on a home. These include:

  • Make a copy of all closing documents and store one in a secure location (fire-proof safe, safety deposit box, etc.)
  • Ensure the local property records office recorded the sale
  • Connect utilities
  • Change the locks/keypad codes

Sellers pretty much just need to worry about moving out and saying goodbye to the neighbors.

However, they also should do the following:

  • Store closing documents in a safe place
  • Turn off utilities
  • Cancel homeowners insurance
  • Clean out all possessions
  • Lock up on your way out

6. What to bring to closing on a house?

Sellers should bring keys, keycodes, garage door openers, etc. if the transfer is taking place at closing. If not, just bring one set of keys and leave the rest on the kitchen counter when you leave.

Sellers should also bring cashier's checks for any closing costs or repair credits that may be due. It's also a good idea to bring your personal checkbook for any last-minute small expenses.

Both buyers and sellers should bring a government-issued photo ID.

Buyers will need money to cover their closing costs. This can be a wire transfer or, if agreed upon beforehand, a cashier's check. They may also need to bring transfer stamps to satisfy the transfer tax if applicable.


If you're taking out a mortgage, the lender may require insurance documents, a pest inspection report, a septic letter, a well water letter, or transfer stamps for the mortgage if applicable.

Specific to your situation other items and documents may be needed. Be sure to ask your agent what else you need to bring.

It's Closing Time!

Whether buying or selling, closing on a house can seem like a long, arduous journey. Make it easier on yourself by equipping yourself right from the start.

Hire an experienced real estate agent to be by your side for each step of the way. It's their job to ensure that you don't miss any of the million details that have to happen. Plus, they will advise you on how to handle any unusual circumstances or problems that crop up.

Find your agent the easy way by contacting t Clever. We've vetted real estate agents for you so you can know you're getting a quality advisor.

Plus, in 40 states, Clever buyers will also save by getting a $1,000 Home Buyer Rebate at closing on homes over $150,000.

Buyers contact us to get started today!

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Reuven Shechter
Reuven Shechter

Reuven Shechter is the Outreach Coordinator at Clever Real Estate, the free online service that connects you with top real estate agents to help save on commission. He spreads the word about Clever, disseminating studies to journalists and developing relationships with media outlets. Reuven is passionate about investing in real estate and creating lasting success for families. His writing has been featured in Max Real Estate Exposure, Leverage Marketing, and more.

See all Reuven's Posts
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