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What Affects The Time it Takes to Close on a Home

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Executive Realty 91362

What Impacts The Time it Takes to Buy a Home?

Found the home of your dreams? Well, almost every time, the purchase of a new house brings three intense moments. There is first is getting past the home inspection. The second is waiting to hear your mortgage approval has come through, and lastly, getting to the closing table.

All of these home buying milestones are “the only thing” standing between you and your new crib. Thus, the anticipation and worrying. About the latest, you need not worry any longer.

We have gathered all the critical information. We're going to let you know exactly how long it takes to buy a house, so all your tension and anxiety can go away.

Let's take a look at everything you need to know about expected closing time frames when purchasing a home.

The Waiting Game

After the good news of your loan being approved (at least by one lender, or even better, by several lenders, so you can have your best choice), another waiting period starts. Your nerves might get tensed all over again.

You select the best lender and place the offer for the house you desire. Then the underwriting process starts. Every day until you can finally sign the mortgage and receive the keys to your dream house might seem endless.

The average closing time frame goes from 30 to 45 days after the loan starts being processed. Then only the actual signing of the final documents remains.

The Time it Takes to Close on a House

The average duration for closing on a house, of one and a half months, is actually the short answer. The extended answer to your inquiry is actually a two-step process.

There is the sequence of time it takes to close on the house from the moment you submit the mortgage. The mortgage process is usually in the 30 to 45 day period we’ve just mentioned. However, the good news is that with all the new technologies and online databases, the time frame can sometimes become shorter.

The latest data, which review the last 12 months until December 2020, indicate an average of 47 days. This was calculated for the time frame for closing a loan on a purchase, calculated by Ellie Mae, a technology company that provides services for lenders.

Home Inspection and Mortgage Process Can Slow Down The Process

One of the most common contingencies in real estate is a home inspection clause.

Most buyers purchasing a home have a contingency for a home inspection. The inspection period will allow a buyer to escape the sale if they do not like the outcome.

If there are home inspection issues that are substantial, it could slow down the process. When there are large problems pointed out by a home inspector, they often need further investigation. Can the problem be easily corrected? How much is it going to cost? Is the seller amenable to taking care of the problem?

Sometimes negotiating home inspection issues can take a week or more which can impact the closing. The mortgage commitment could also be slowed down if the bank does not get documents from a buyer in a timely fashion. Occasionally, the buyer's credit situation changes which could also affect the process.

There is a chance that having an extended mortgage commitment date could, in turn, impact the time frame of the closing taking place.

Cash is King

Some buyers are in the fortunate position that they don't need a mortgage. When paying for a home with cash, the time to close can be moved up quite a bit. In fact, if you don't need a mortgage to purchase a home, you could close as quickly as a week.

One of the things that will need to occur is a title search making sure there are no encumbrances or liens.

How Long Does The Closing Take?

How about how long it takes for the closing itself? The best-case scenario is to gather all the parties simultaneously, at the same table, to sign the paperwork.

After waiting for so long to finally close the deal, the whole signing should not last more than a couple of hours. If the signing occurs at different moments for all the parties involved, it might extend to a few days until all signatures are gathered.

However, technology comes at hand once again. Believe it, or not many closings are now done online with the buyer and seller not even sitting in front of one another at a closing table.

Here are a few other elements to keep in mind when you are about to close on a home.

What does the mortgage loan closing mean?

You have to review the legal documents needed for the issuance of a mortgage loan and the transfer of the property from the previous owner to you. If everything is all right, you only have to sign. The former owner will receive the purchase amount.

What the paperwork closing on a house must contain:

  •  Promissory note – your engagement to cover the loan.
  • Deed of Trust or Mortgage – the lender is entitled to foreclose on the home if you don’t repay the loan as provided.
  • Escrow Disclosure – it presents in detail the monthly fee you have to pay for insurance and taxes.
  • Right-to-cancel form – your three days escape. Meaning you have a period of three days after the signing when you can withdraw from the entire deal with no consequences or fees.
  • Several other standard disclosures, disclaimers, governmental documents.

What You Need For The closing

Your legal representative will let you know in detail what documents you need to bring for closing on the house. Generally, the following are common for each closure:

  • ID, for example, driver’s license;
  • The Closing Disclosure – a document you receive three days before the signing. You need to analyze them and check if what you sign are the same documents as those in the disclosure.
  • Proof for the payment of the property price – might be a wire transfer receipt or a cashier’s check.

Final Thoughts on House Closings

Both buyers and sellers need to understand that the agreed on time frame for closing is negotiable. While there are some common time frames for closing that does not mean the parties cannot agree to something different.

For example, a buyer may be renting an apartment where their lease is not due for another 6 months. Maybe an extended closing is negotiated. On the other hand, a seller may have closing time needs.

Negotiating the closing time frame is one of the most important aspects of a real estate contract. Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of what to expect.

Posted by

With three decades of experience, Bill Gassett is an authority in the real estate sector. Bill writes informative articles for numerous prestigious real estate sites to help buyers, sellers, and fellow real estate agents. His work has been featured on RIS Media, the National Association of Realtors, Inman News, Placester, Realty Biz News, Credit Sesame, and his own authority resource, Maximum Real Estate Exposure. Reach out to Bill Gassett for his real estate, mortgage, and financial expertise.


John Pusa
Glendale, CA

Hello Bill Gassett very good report about what affects the time it takes to close on a home.

May 28, 2021 08:10 PM