How Long Does It Take to Close On A House?

How Long Does It Take to Close On A House
by Kevyn Pitts - September 19, 2022

The closing process for a house purchase can take anywhere from one week to sixty days, depending on the kind of property, whether or not a mortgage is involved, and the type of loan being used. The closure procedure comprises two different phases:

The escrow period is the time between when you and the seller sign the contract and the closing date.

Closing day is the date on which you sign all the necessary documents, receive the keys, and become the legal owner of a home.

How Long Does It Take To Close On a House With Cash?

Financing restrictions are part of the reason why closings take so long, therefore buying with cash can speed up the process. If you are ready to waive contingencies, you can close within seven days after contract completion if you are paying with cash. Nonetheless, according to a report, just 23% of purchasers purchase their houses with cash.

How Long Does It Take To Close On a Mortgage-backed Home?

Buyers utilizing traditional financing might anticipate a 30-to-45-day closing period once the contract is signed. Special loans, like first-time homebuyer programs, VA, and FHA loans, might take longer to finalize due to their tougher standards.

In 2020, conventional mortgages took an average of 47 days to close, as reported by Ellie Mae, a software business that processes almost a third of U.S. mortgage applications. VA loans took 51 days on average to close, while FHA loans took 52 days on average.

The Escrow Process Timeline

After making an offer on a house, agreeing to conditions (including price and closing date), and signing the contract, you are in escrow. These are the processes that are commonly included in the escrow procedure, as well as the typical duration of each step. Keep in mind that the escrow procedure and timeframe might vary depending on the market, lender, property type, financing type, and overall transaction complexity. You should also notice that several of the below processes occur simultaneously.

  • Sign the contract and verify the closing date
  • Establish the escrow account (a few days)
  • Complete requests for inspection and repairs (1-2 weeks)
  • Application and underwriting for a mortgage (5-20 days)
  • Appraisal (1-2 weeks)
  • Purchase both homeowner's and title insurance (1 day)
  • Obtain loan approval, often known as "Clear to close" (1 day)
  • Perform one last walkthrough (1 day)
  • Attend your closing and finalize the purchase of your new home (1 day)

The Process Of Buying a House With Cash

If you're purchasing a property with cash and still include standard conditions (such as a home inspection contingency), the procedure will be identical, with the exception that you won't need to submit a mortgage application or wait for loan underwriting and approval. Some cash purchasers choose to forego contingencies, which can expedite the transaction.

How Long After The Appraisal Can You Close?

Assuming there are no problems with the appraisal, the lender will issue the "clear to close" around one week prior to the closing date. If you have chosen a longer escrow term and a later closing date, you may receive the "clear to close" well before your closing day.

What Causes Delays When Closing On a House?

Typically, your closing date will be negotiated with the seller during offer negotiations. Your closing date might be delayed by a few days (or even weeks) due to unforeseen complications. Here are some of the most frequent causes of closure delays.

Buyer Financing

Most often, delayed closings are caused by the mortgage process. This might be due to appraisal issues, a lack of financial documents, or an unskilled loan officer.

Changes To Your Creditworthiness

Your lender may need to re-evaluate your credit profile, which can take time if you've made substantial purchases, taken out another loan that negatively impacted your debt-to-income ratio, or had a significant change in your income between the time you were pre-approved and closing.

Low Appraisal

If your evaluation comes in at or above the agreed-upon sale price, everything should go smoothly. However, a poor assessment may require you to haggle with the seller or come up with sufficient cash to pay the gap between the home's evaluated worth and the sale price.

Title Issues

If the seller has unresolved liens or judgments against the property, or if other ownership difficulties are discovered during the escrow procedure, the closing may be postponed until these issues are handled.

Homeowner’s Insurance

You must provide proof of homeowner's insurance coverage in order to close on the property you're purchasing. If you miss this step or lack the necessary paperwork, your closing might be delayed.

Home Sale Contingency

If your contract states that you cannot close until your former residence has sold, your closing might be delayed if the sale takes longer than anticipated.

Slow Repair Requests

Both the discussions and the repairs themselves might lengthen the closing process if you and the seller disagree over the necessary repairs based on the home inspection report.

Unsatisfactory Walk-through

Just prior to closing, you will do a last inspection of the property. If the house is not in the same (or better, if you negotiated repairs) condition as when you made your offer, you may postpone the closing until all concerns are fixed.

Tips For Staying On Your Closing Timeline

Even if you're one of the 77% of purchasers with a mortgage, you can assist speed up the closing process by being prepared, responsive, vigilant, and decisive both before and throughout the escrow period.

Get Pre-approved

Before you begin your house search, take the time to be pre-approved for a loan in the amount you need. This will ensure that you are qualified for a loan in the amount you require. Not only will it help you avoid delays during the escrow period, but it will also make any bids you submit appear more credible in the eyes of the seller, as they will be aware that you have the means to purchase the house.

Paystubs, bank statements, and tax returns are acceptable forms of income verification for pre-approval. You should also ensure that your credit report is error-free since your lender will do a credit check as part of the preapproval process.

Schedule The Inspection As Soon As Possible

Schedule a home inspection as soon as your offer is approved, and the contract is finalized. In some states, you must arrange the inspection within seven to ten days. You will have a few days after receiving the inspection report to study it and seek repairs or credits from the seller. Remember that the seller will also have a few days to react.

Have a Backup Plan In Case Of a Low Appraisal

Rarely do two experienced appraisers assign the same value to a residence. If the appraised value of the home you're purchasing is less than the purchase price, your lender will not allow you to finance the whole purchase price. You have two alternatives if your appraisal comes back low: either make up the difference in cash or renegotiate the sale price with the seller. In a market where sellers have numerous offers to choose from, you should not expect the seller to reduce the price to meet a poor assessment.

Hire An Experienced Lender

Find an expert lender that understands the complexities and needs of your market for a smooth and transparent closing procedure. Choose an online lender to enhance your experience further. In 2019, 15% of homebuyers who utilized a mortgage to fund their purchase did so through an internet lender. However, younger purchasers are more likely to choose an online lender.

Be Quick To Respond To Documentation Requests

As they prepare your loan for closing, your lender will likely want updated financial papers, signed disclosures, and other information. Your title or escrow firm may also need you to perform specific activities. Respond as promptly as possible to all inquiries to keep the escrow process going ahead.

How Long Does Closing Day Take?

Closing day, the day you go to the closing agent and sign the final papers to purchase a property, normally takes between 1.5 and 2 hours if everything goes properly; nevertheless, you should leave sufficient time in your calendar in the event that it takes longer.

During your closing session, you will sign paperwork (see below for a list of common documents) and make a down payment. At this point, your lender will also wire the remaining balance of the purchase price. The closing will be facilitated by the title or escrow agent, but your agent and/or attorney should also be present. The closing attorney can facilitate the closing appointment. Bring your identification, a cashier's check, proof of insurance, and the buy and selling agreement.

Buyers are often required to attend this meeting in person, although sellers can occasionally sign their papers in advance.

What Documents Do Buyers Usually Sign?

  • Issuance of a promissory note
  • Mortgage/trust deed
  • Escrow disclosure
  • Signature affidavit
  • The initial payment on a mortgage
  • Evaluation acknowledgment
  • HOA paperwork (if applicable)
  • Assurance of occupancy (new construction only)
  • Disclosure of Equal Credit Opportunity Act
  • Disclosure of loan terms
  • Mortgage fraud statements
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