Updated March 7th, 2019
Closing is the final step in executing a property transaction. The date for closing is usually set during the negotiation and tends to be at least a month after an offer has been accepted. Closing also marks the date that the ownership of the property is officially transferred to the buyer. In general, most buyers don’t know how long does it take to close on a house after an offer has been accepted.
How long does it take to close a house on average?
Depending on your conditions, closing could take between
45 and 60 days. Closing times can vary depending on market conditions. In bull markets, you may find that closing periods are longer simply because lenders, appraisers and other real estate professionals are in peak season and have a large influx of work to complete. On the other hand, bear markets facilitate shorter closing times due to the availability of these professionals. What can add to home closing delays?
Closing times may not always be shorter in bear markets. There may be other factors that could impact the closing time, such as:
Finances are the most common barriers between finding a house and closing on it. This includes collection accounts noted on the buyer’s credit report — which can cause delays in the buyer’s mortgage approval.
Other common financial issues include incomplete loan applications and a lack or delay in funding. Avoid this by getting preapproved for a loan. To do this, go to your lender before making an offer on a house and let them know that you would like a preapproval letter.
Documentation problems such as issues involving the title can delay the process as well. Purchasing a house is a legal affair, meaning every document must be completed before closing can commence.
This also includes incomplete loan applications. The loan process (as mentioned in the finance section) is crucial to moving the needle forward during closing. Without a loan, many buyers can’t proceed.
Other common roadblocks in the closing process are appraisal issues.
If the appraiser comes back with a report that values the home for less than the accepted offer amount, there’s some negotiation that needs to take place. That renegotiation process takes time.
Contingencies are another culprit in a longer closing period. If a roof needs repairing, for example, the seller will need to get a quote and schedule out the repairs. Each repair takes time– which is time added to closing.
Lack of Communication
A general lack of communication is the common denominator in many home transactions. Make sure your agent is communicating regularly with the other real estate agent, especially about documentation needed or expected delays.
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How long does it take across different regions of the U.S?
The closing period is generally similar across the country. However, the closing process and conditions may vary by state. Generic conditions based on California and Texas home closing requirements, for example, may include:
Fully executed offer and accepted agreement. Deposit of a mortgage deposit and loan approval. Fulfillment of buyer due diligence and seller obligations such as pest inspections, roof certifications, and title policies. Signing of the notarized deed by both buyer and seller to signify the transfer of the title.
While these are generic closing conditions in the United States, it is worth noting that different states may include more conditions, or waive the requirement for certain conditions to close the home, such as verified insurance.
What are the steps in the home closing process?
We mentioned earlier that closing is the final step in executing a property transaction. Before closing, there is a process that a home undergoes before it gets to closure. At a high level, the selling process will generally involve:
Appraisal (3-10 days)
Before a home can be sold, it needs to get appraised to gauge the value. Overpricing a home is often a seller’s biggest mistake, while underpricing means you lose out on the potential value of your home. In general, it is a good idea to look at market analysis reports and compare home values in your area.
Preparation (10-45 days)
To maximize the value of the home, there are a number of steps that can enhance the home’s curb appeal. If you decide to refurbish and renovate the house, it could take much longer before you put the home on the market. At the very least, the house should be thoroughly cleaned and prepared for visitors, which could take several days or weeks.
Listing (3-5 days)
After preparation, it’s time for your real estate agent to list the home and begin marketing the property. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR) 2018 Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends Report, 89 percent of sellers and 87 percent of buyers reported working with a real estate agent or broker.
Shopping for Offers (1-75+ days)
Currently, the average amount of time a property sits on the market is 65 days. This number is highly dependent on location, time of year, and whether or not the market is good for real estate. After a certain period, offers will start to come in for the home, and negotiations may happen before an offer can be accepted. Some sellers are fortunate and could experience a bidding war, whereas others may have to be patient and wait until the right buyer comes along.
Under Contract (15-50 days)
Once a home is under contract, there are more steps that need to be taken before closing. This includes inspection, repairs, the buyer’s bank financing, an agreed closing date, and other contingencies and conditions. According to
Realtor.com, this can take up to 50 days depending on how motivated the buyers and sellers are. Closing (from one day to several weeks)
Closing is the period between offer acceptance and the actual transfer of ownership. During this time, both sides can be settling paperwork, and the house will be prepared for the new owner to move in. The buyer and lender will also need to work out mortgage payments if the house is to be used as security. On closing day, the property will be transferred from the seller to the buyer.
The Escrow Closing Process
The escrow closing process varies based on your location. In every location, though, you can expect to have a closing agent. The closing agent could be a real estate lawyer, an escrow officer, a closer, or the title company.
The key to an escrow closing is having the buyer deposit the funds while the seller deposits the deed. The entire process varies from state to state, but here’s a general break down.
After the buyer’s final walkthrough, the buyer’s financing will get funded and you will receive confirmation of the deed transfer.
If you’re the seller, you can expect to receive a final settlement statement outlining your selling costs. This usually takes place within a day of closing. Those costs will be deducted from the selling price, and your profit will be listed at the bottom.
From there, it’s all about getting your money. You can have escrow wire the amount to your account (for a small fee) or you can pick up a check.
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