The excitement of buying a new home and the anticipation of closing when selling a house can feel like an eternity. Having the correct expectations and understanding of the process can help.
How long does it take to close on a house?
On average, 30 days if the buyer is purchasing with a loan and 15 to 21 days if the buyer is cash.
This article will walk you through the entire escrow process, including what to expect on closing day and how long it takes to close on a house.
The Escrow period is the time between offer acceptance and closing.
Closing day is when the deed is recorded and officially transferred to the buyer’s name.
In this article:
- How long does it take to close on a home?
- A timeline of the escrow process
- What documents will you sign at closing?
- Paying closing costs and down payment
- What happens on closing day?
- Common delays
Please note: All regulations and laws cited pertain to Nevada state law and contracts by the Greater Las Vegas Association of REALTORS®. Please check with a specialist in your area prior to acting on information we share.
How long does it take to close on a home?
The process of buying and selling a home has many moving parts. Not one transaction is exactly like the next. And, nearly everything is negotiable.
From offer acceptance to keys in hand, you should expect a 30-45 day escrow period.
You will inspect the condition, appraise the value, ensure the deed, and complete your loan while in escrow, with several small steps in-between.
Closing quicker with a cash purchase.
Purchasing with cash allows you to expedite the buying process. By skipping the appraisal and loan contingency period, you can close in days to weeks.
On average, 21 days is a comfortable timeline for a cash purchase. This gives time for the inspection, negotiation of a repair request, title company to provide a clear title report, and HOA documents to be requested, delivered, and approved—if necessary.
With no mortgage to sign, you can budget 30-45 minutes for your signing.
A timeline of the escrow process
After offer acceptance, the following stages are what to expect during the home closing process:
Escrow Opened (day 1): Congratulations! Your offer was accepted and your agent has opened escrow. Expect to receive a confirmation email and introduction from the title company.
Wire instructions for earnest money deposit (day 1-3): Shortly after escrow is opened, the title company will send wire instructions for you to send your earnest money deposit.
Due diligence period, home inspection (day 1-10): In your initial offer you request the days you need for due diligence. This is negotiable, but on average between 10-15 days. This is the time where you hire a home inspector to make sure there are no major mechanical or structural issues with the home.
Seller’s Real Property Disclosure Received (day 1-10): Prior to the home inspection, buyers should receive the Seller’s Real Property Disclosure. This seller’s disclosure is mandatory by law to provide buyers with transparency on known, or previously known, defects that may affect the value or livability of the home.
Request for repairs (day 1-10): After the home inspection, you may ask for repairs to be completed prior to closing. It’s important to give the seller time to respond, especially if they need a professional, like a plumber or HVAC specialist to gather their own opinion.
Receive preliminary title report (day 10): Within 10 days of escrow opening, the title company must deliver to you a preliminary title report. The title company searches for outstanding liens, easements, covenants, mineral and water rights, and ownership history.
Appraisal completed (day 12): Your lender will hire a third party appraiser to determine the value of the home. If the appraisal comes in lower than your offer price, you have the right to cancel or attempt to renegotiate the purchase price. The seller is not required to lower the price to match the appraised value. If you choose to move forward regardless, the difference will be paid by you at closing.
CIC/HOA documents delivered from seller (day 15): By day 15, the seller must provide the resale package if the home is in a common-interest community (HOA). The HOA resale package provides all of the rules and regulations of the HOA, their budget, and fees.
Approval of the CIC resale package (day 20): Once you receive the resale package, you have 5 calendar days to review. If you don’t approve of the bylaws of the HOA you may cancel the purchase agreement. If you elect to cancel during this period, there will be no penalty and you will receive your earnest deposit back.
Loan is fully underwritten and approved (day 21-24): If you’ve provided all the documentation your lender requires in a timely manner, you should have a fully underwritten approval by this time.
Closing disclosure sent (day 21-24): By law, the lender must send out a closing disclosure. This explains all of the fees being charged by the lender. Due to the Closing Disclosure 3-day rule, three business days must pass before you can close.
Final-walkthrough (day 27-30): Prior to closing, you will complete what’s called a final walkthrough. The purpose is to verify all repairs you requested are completed in a satisfactory manner, and the property is in the same condition as when you completed your inspection.
Signing with the Escrow Officer (day 28-30): Signing day is here! You’ll schedule a time to meet at the title company and sign the deed and loan documents.
Wiring your down payment and closing costs funds (day 28-30): During your signing, all costs will be discussed and shown to you on a settlement statement. You’ll leave with that statement and wire instructions to send the exact amount to title.
Closing Day (day 30): Recording of the deed is the final step in closing. Your lender will “fund” the loan by wiring the loan amount to the title company. Once all funds are received, the title company sends the file to the county recorders office to record.
Congratulations! Your new home is officially recorded, you can now pick up the keys.
What documents will you sign at closing?
Escrow officers and title companies are third party vendors. Their job is to follow the purchase agreement instructions, provide title insurance on a clear title, facilitate the closing process, and send the file for recording.
Escrow officers are very knowledgeable about the process and the documents. If you have questions, never hesitate to ask.
When you show up for your signing, expect to see a large stack of papers and to sign your name many times.
List of general buyer documents:
- Promissory note
- Deed of trust
- Escrow disclosure
- Signature affidavit
- HOA documents
- Equal Credit Opportunity Act disclosure
- Truth-in-Lending disclosure
- Mortgage fraud statements
- Settlement statement
Make sure to bring your driver’s license or photo ID as your signature will need to be notarized. You may request a mobile notary if you are not able to make it to signing within business hours. It should cost $150 to do so.
Paying closing costs and down payment
Once you complete your signing, you will know your exact closing costs and the total dollar amount you need to send to close. This amount, plus your agreed-upon down payment, will be wired to escrow for closing.
For instance, if you buy a $500,000 home with a conventional 20% down loan, you would be sending $100,000 plus your closing costs.
Closing costs may include the following (with estimates based on $500k):
- Escrow fees: $462.50
- Lenders title policy: $777.00
- Loan origination fees: $1,500-$5,000
- Recording fees: $250
- Prorations/Adjustments (reimbursement to the seller for items paid in advance, eg. property taxes): $400
- Escrow impounds (collecting in advance for taxes, interest, and homeowner’s insurance): $3,087.50
The earnest money deposit will be applied to your closing costs and down payment.
What happens on closing day?
A property isn’t officially sold until the county recorder’s office records the deed.
On closing day, and once all funds are received, the title company will send an email to inform the agents that the file has been sent to record. County clerks will record files as received.
Once your file is recorded, the title company informs all parties. You can now pick up your keys!
Since there are so many moving parts, all parties need to work hard not to allow them to delay closing.
In the event of a delay where the closing date needs to be extended, the opposing party can charge a fee, cancel, or even remove concessions previously agreed upon.
Delays caused by lending
The most common delay is on the lending side. More often caused by buyers not working diligently to deliver the documents a lender requested.
Some lenders, like large banks, don’t move as quickly. This is why your Realtor needs to speak with your lender before writing an offer. Lenders know how much time they need to close.
Delays caused by the seller
The final walkthrough could uncover issues that may cause a delay as well. Common reasons are repairs not being completed properly, damage to the home, and missing appliances.
One example on a closing of ours, the seller abandoned a car and left it in the garage, which would have become the buyer’s responsibility. In another closing, the appliances were gone when contractually agreed upon they would remain.
While there are always situations out of your control, our best advice is to work quickly and diligently when your agent or lender asks something of you.
How long does it take to close on a house?
- When purchasing with a loan, 30-days on average.
- When purchasing with cash, 15-21 days.
Buying a home seems intimidating, but it’s s rewarding, fun, and exciting experience.
A Realtor is your trusted guide through the home buying journey. Working with a professional will help keep you on track and informed.
Good luck on your home journey.