When and How Do You Get Paid When You Sell a House?

Trevor Wallis

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Trevor Wallis

August 10th, 2021
Updated August 10th, 2021

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Closing process | When does a seller get money after closing? | Who pays you? | Wire transfers vs. checks timeline | How much do sellers make?

When you sell a home, you'll get paid after you complete the closing process. How quickly you actually get money in your bank account depends on your property's location and other factors. In many states, you can get paid on your closing date. Some sellers may receive their money in less than 24 hours.

But a few states, called dry funding states, require a short waiting period between your closing date and when the lender approves the loan. This gap gives the lender a few days to review the buyer's loan documents. In dry funding states, you won’t get paid until the lender approves the loan and sends the money to your closing agent.

If you're ready to sell your home, an experienced agent can walk you through the process. And, if you sell with Clever, you'll save even more on your home sale with discounted listing fees. That means even more money in your bank account after closing!

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How does the closing process work for sellers?

After you accept an offer on your house, you have to go through the closing process. This usually takes between four and six weeks, depending on how quickly the buyer gets their loan approval and whether you run into any problems with the home or title.

Many of these steps are required by mortgage lenders, so you may be able to skip a few of them if the buyer is paying in cash or using alternative funding like a hard money loan.

» MORE: What Happens After You Accept an Offer On Your House?

Once you make it to your closing date, you’ll sit down with your real estate agent and closing agent (a third party who facilitates the sale) to sign several documents.

What does the seller sign on closing day?

  • Seller's closing disclosure. An itemized list showing you the sale price, closing costs, final mortgage payment, and — most importantly — how much money you’ll take home from the sale
  • Affidavit of Title. A legal document stating you are the property’s rightful owner and disclosing any legal issues involving either you or the property
  • Deed. A legal document transferring ownership of the property to the new owner
  • Bill of sale. A list of all the personal property you’re leaving in the house (like furniture and kitchen appliances)
  • Loan payoff. A statement from your lender showing the amount of your final mortgage payment including any prepayment penalties
  • Statement of closing costs. A disclosure acknowledging you’re aware of the cost to sell your home

What should the seller bring on closing day?

  • A valid, government-issued photo ID
  • All keys and garage door openers for the house
  • Access codes for electronic locks, garage doors, thermostats, and other devices
  • A cashier’s check for closing costs and seller’s credits not paid out of the proceeds (your closing agent will tell if this is necessary and the amount)

» MORE: 5 FAQs About Your Closing Date and What it Means for Sellers

When does the seller get money after closing?

Most sellers live in wet funding states, which means you'll get paid on closing day. In dry funding states, it may take up to four days before the seller gets money after closing.

Dry funding happens in only nine states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, and Washington.

How you choose to accept your proceeds (wire transfers vs. checks) will also impact how long it takes to get paid after closing.

What is wet funding?

Wet funding is when a mortgage lender makes the money for a purchase available as soon as the buyer signs their loan documents — while the ink is still wet on the page. This practice makes up most closings in the U.S. since real estate laws in 41 states require wet closing.

If your property's in a wet funding state, you can get paid for selling your home on closing day since the lender has already verified all of the buyer’s information and sent the funds to your closing agent.

What is dry funding?

Dry funding gives the mortgage lender time to review the buyer's signed loan documents before it actually approves the loan. Since the lender doesn't send money to your closing agent until after its review, dry funding creates a gap between your closing date and when the sale actually closes (and you get paid).

How long does it take to get paid in dry funding states?

If you’re selling your home in a dry funding state, you'll have to wait up to four days after the closing date before you get paid.

This could cause some hiccups if you intend to buy a new house at the same time. You’ll need to consider the lag time between the closing date and when you actually receive your funds before setting the closing date on your new property.

Alternatively, if you haven’t made an offer on a new property yet, you might consider making a contingent offer. This tells the seller that you won't be able to close on a new home until you receive the proceeds from the sale of your current property.

Whether you live in a wet or dry funding state, an experienced real estate agent can walk you through the process and answer any questions you have.

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Where does the money go when you sell a house?

When the buyer’s lender approves the loan, they’ll send the money to your closing agent, who holds it in escrow until the sale is complete. An escrow account is a financial account that a third party manages on behalf of the buyer or seller.

Your closing agent will be either a real estate attorney, an escrow agent, or a representative of a title company. The closing agent works behind the scenes to keep all the details of your purchase contract organized and on schedule.

Once you finish closing, your closing agent will be the person who sends you money for selling your home.

» MORE: Escrow Fees 101: Everything to Know About Escrow

How do you get paid when you sell your home?

When it’s time for you to get paid for selling your home, your closing agent will usually give you two options: wire transfer or a paper check.

In general, a wire transfer is considered the faster, safer option.

Getting paid by wire transfer after selling your home

Wire transfers are the most common way that sellers get paid after closing. If you choose a wire transfer, your closing agent will send the money directly to your bank within 24–48 hours of closing.

While you may have to wait a day or two for the closing agent to send your money, you can access it as soon as the bank processes the transfer. Fortunately, banks have clear rules for when they’ll do that, with most banks processing a wire transfer on the same day it’s received.

One possible delay, though, is your bank’s daily cutoff time. If a wire transfer comes in after that set time, the bank won’t process it until the next business day. You can talk to your bank to find out when its daily cutoff time is and ask your closing agent to send the transfer before then.

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Getting paid by check after selling your home

If you decide to take a paper check, your closing agent will usually hand it to you before you go home on closing day. You get the sweet satisfaction of walking out with the money from selling your home in your hand.

But that doesn’t mean you’ll have access to all the funds immediately. You still have to carry the check to the bank, deposit it, and wait for the bank to add the funds to your account. Your bank can hold any check deposits over $5,525 for up to seven business days.

This delay makes taking a paper check risky if you expect to close on a new property right away.

How much do you get paid when you sell your home?

In most cases, you won’t pocket all of the sale price when you close. You’ll usually have some expenses that need to be paid before you can take home your profits.

Fortunately, you don’t have to worry about writing a bunch of checks and making sure all the right people get paid. Instead, your closing agent uses the proceeds from the sale to pay everyone, including you.

You’ll be able to see where your money is going a few days before your closing date when you receive your seller’s closing statement. This document shows you the sale price, all of your expenses, and your final proceeds from the sale.

Paying your remaining mortgage balance

Unless you own the property free and clear, you'll have to pay off your existing mortgage first. Prior to closing, your lender will send you and your closing agent a loan payoff notice telling you how much your final payment will be, including any fees and prepayment penalties.

Closing costs

Closing costs for sellers can be as much as 8–10% of the final sale price, but they vary based on your contract with the seller and the vendors you use throughout the closing process.

Your closing costs are made up of several smaller fees that can add up quickly. Some of the most common ones include:

Closing cost
What is it?
Average cost
Real estate agent commissions
Fees for the buyer's and seller’s real estate agents
Seller's agent: 2.5–3% of final sale price | Buyer's agent: 2.5–3% of final sale price
Title search
Covers a public records search that confirms you’re the property’s legal owner
$150–400
Title insurance
An insurance policy protecting the buyer from any title problems
$1,000–4,000
Escrow fee
Pays closing agent facilitating the sale; the buyer and seller usually each pay half
0.5% of the final sale price
Transfer tax
A tax (separate from property taxes) some states charge on the transfer of property
Varies by state
Outstanding amounts owed
Various expenses (like utilities and property taxes) prorated and paid up to the date of sale
Varies based on your local rates and when you sell the property

In some cases, sellers agree to cover some or all of the buyer’s closing costs. These expenses typically cost another 2-5% of the final sale price and include fees that cover loan origination, appraisals, and inspections, among other things.

If you're concerned about closing costs adding up, you can save thousands on commission by working with Clever. Our partner agents work at the nation's best brokerages and provide full service at a fraction of the cost. Best of all, you can interview as many agents as you like with zero obligation.

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When do you pay taxes after selling a home?

When you sell your home, you may have to pay both property taxes and capital gains taxes.

You’ll pay your property taxes at closing. Your total tax will be prorated from January 1 to the date you sell the property.

Capital gains taxes are due when you file your annual tax return. This tax applies to assets that appreciate in value — so if you sell your home for more than its original purchase price, it applies.

The exact rate you'll pay depends on how long you've owned the property, your income, and whether you're married or single.

» MORE: How to Avoid Capital Gains Tax When Selling a House

However, you may be able to avoid capital gains taxes altogether. The tax code includes some generous exemptions for capital gains on the sale of a home. You can write off up to $250,000 in profit on the sale ($500,000 for married filing jointly) if you meet three tests:

  • You’ve owned the property for at least two years.
  • You used the house as your primary residence for at least two of the last five years (these years don’t have to be consecutive).
  • You haven’t excluded the profits of another home sale in the last two years.

» MORE: Guide to Selling Your House After Just One Year

Save more when you sell

If you're ready to sell your home, we recommend talking to real estate agents who are familiar with your local area.

For example, Clever's partner agents can advise you on everything from establishing a listing price to getting the best possible offers from buyers to finding the best funding option.

And, when it's time to get paid for your home sale, you'll save thousands in realtor fees thanks to Clever's pre-negotiated low rates!

👋 Next Steps: Talk to an expert!

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Our fully-licensed concierge team is standing by to answer questions and provide free, objective advice on getting the best outcome with your sale or purchase.

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Give us a call at 1-833-2-CLEVER or enter your info below. Our concierge team will be in touch shortly to help.

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FAQs

When do you get the money from selling your house?

Home sellers get paid after closing. In most states, you can get paid right away, but a few states have a brief waiting period. The form of payment (wire transfer or check) can also impact when you get money from selling your house. Learn how working with a low cost realtor can help you earn more from your home sale.

How do you get paid when you sell your house?

When your buyer is approved for a loan, their bank sends money to your closing agent, who holds it in escrow until the sale is complete. Then, your closing agent uses the proceeds from the sale to pay everyone, including you. Though some sellers prefer a paper check, a wire transfer is usually the faster, safer option. Find out more about wire transfers here.

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