How Long it Takes to Close on a House



What Is The Time Frame For Closing on a Home?

One of the more popular questions asked from buyers and sellers is how long it will take to close on a house. When buying or selling a home, you feel relieved once the process closes and you have the home keys handed over to you.

There is a lot that goes on between the time you find your dream home vs. when you sit at the closing table.

Buyers and sellers want two questions answered. The first is how long do closings take, and the second is the time frame from offer to closing. The answer to the first question is super simple. For buyers, closings take around 30 minutes to an hour to complete. For sellers, closings are much faster, given there is only a couple of documents to sign for them.

The answer to the second question is a bit more complex because there are more moving parts.

In most Real estate markets, the average time to close on a house from start to finish is 45-60 days. Credit Unions and large banks sometimes take a bit longer than other mortgage lenders. Hence, the closing timeline depends on your lender.

There are things to consider that determine the closing time frame when buying a home. The mortgage lender, home inspection process, and appraisal process can all bear the time frame for the closing.

At the current time, the National Association of Realtors has stated the average time for a seller to receive an offer is 24 days. This is down considerably from previous years. So when you add that to the time it takes for a buyer to purchase a house, sellers can fairly easily vacate their properties in under 3 months.

Any hurdles that come in between buying and selling process could affect the closing date. The home buying process starts when an offer is signed, but many things can take place between the contract signing and closing that could delay the process.

Let’s take a look at all of the things you need to think about when it comes to closing time frames.

How long does a house closing take?
How Long Does a House Closing Take?

Steps That Contribute to The Time it Takes to Close

  • Negotiating the offer and establishing all the agreed-upon real estate contingencies.
  • Opening up escrow between buyer and seller.
  • Going through the inspection process.
  • Possibly renegotiating any substantial home inspection problems.
  • Going through the home appraisal process.
  • Having the property lines surveyed.
  • Getting a mortgage commitment from the lender.
  • Reviewing the title for liens and other encumbrances.
  • Clearing off any outstanding debt on the home.
  • Final walk-through.

As long as everything proceeds smoothly, there should be no reason you can’t complete the time frame agreed upon in the purchase and sale agreement regarding the closing.

Be alert to the everyday challenges that cause a delay in the closing timeline. Ensure you involve a real estate agent to assist in handling any complications that may come up. A smooth flow of communication will impact the deal positively and determine how long to close on a house.

Delays That Can Impact The Closing Time Frame

Financing: As a buyer, you have to ensure that your lender is ready and willing and all paperwork is in place to avoid any delays in purchasing your home. Part of this responsibility will be getting the required paperwork to the lender in a timely fashion.

Title Issues: The seller must clear the house title from any liens, bankruptcies, judgments, and other outstanding issues. Hiring a real estate attorney is advisable to help in working out the title issue, and it will have a direct bearing on how long to close on a house.

You can get a preliminary title report which will assist in knowing if any underlying issues can come up during the sale. Then, you can deal with them beforehand to save the time it takes to close on a home.

Inspections: Setbacks during inspections can affect the time it takes to close on a home. After opening an escrow, the buyer will order for an inspection of the house to be done. The home inspector will assess the property both inside and out, looking for issues. The home inspection company will typically provide a detailed report summarizing and problems. The inspection report will document problems such as:

  • The home structure
  • Electrical systems
  • Plumbing systems
  • HVAC systems
  • Roof
  • Infestation of pests or insects
  • A whole host of other items

Any significant issues that need repair can be a drawback that could potentially hold the sale up. The buyer and seller may need to renegotiate before moving forward. Sometimes this means having an estimate for repair work done which can be the cause of the delay.

Appraisal: Home appraisals can delay the closing timeline if the appraiser comes in too low in their report to the lender. The way the appraisal gets solved is often open for debate. A few options can take place, including the seller adjusting the sales price or the buyer coming up with additional down payment funding.

Final Thoughts on Closing Time Frames

The bottom line is, when you think about how long to close on a house, there are things you can do to keep your closing timeline on track. First, ensure that the buyer is pre-approved for their mortgage and applies in a timely fashion which will help ensure the financing proceeds smoothly.

Second, always take quick actions on requests like repairs and any extra documents required. It will help facilitate the agreed-upon closing time frame for the house.

Make timely and firm decisions and let there be a flow of communication throughout the process. Make the right concessions, stand your ground, and avoid lingering with negotiations to save the time it takes to close on a home.

If you work through problems quickly, there will be a smaller likelihood of extending the closing. When you are prepared with an efficient real estate agent, who is always facilitating the process smoothly, the deal will be closed as agreed.

Hopefully, you now have a better expectation on closing time frames.

Bill Gassett About Bill Gassett

Bill Gassett is a thirty-two year veteran to the real estate industry. He enjoys writing helpful articles for buyers, sellers and fellow real estate agents to make sound decisions. His work has been featured on RIS Media, National Association of Realtors, Inman News, Placester, RESAAS, Credit Sesame and here at Realty Biz News. He was the #1 RE/MAX agent in Massachusetts for 2018.