The Commonwealth Blog

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

How Long Does It Take to Close on a Home?

You’ve done all the steps correctly. You got pre-approval, you searched and found the perfect home, and you negotiated with the seller, and your offer was accepted. Now what? How long will it take for closing—and what needs to be done? You’ve already done everything, right? Not so fast, be patient and be prepared for an average 44-day closing.

With steps including deposit of your earnest money, home inspection, appraisal, escrow, and significant lender activity, every day is essential. If you’ve already been pre-approved, you can speed the process up somewhat, but be prepared for delays.

What Can Slow Down a Closing?

There are plenty of necessary items that must occur during the closing process, and upsetting any of them can affect the timeliness of the process, including:

  • Home Inspection Issues — You may have found something negative during the inspection, like bad electrical, plumbing, or even a foundation issue. These problems will require further negotiation or a repair before you can move in.
  • Lower Appraisal than Expected — If you’re financing your home, you’ll need an appraisal for the lender. If it comes back lower than the selling price, the lender can refuse your loan, and you may need to renegotiate terms.
  • Credit Issues — Your credit will be checked multiple times during the homebuying process, don’t open new lines of credit or stop making payments on anything. If your report shows any issues, like new debts or recent late payment, it can be a kink in the works.
  • Problems with the Title — If there issues with the title, such as additional liens or other claims to ownership, this can slow down your home sale
  • Additional Required Documents — Depending on what you’ve provided for your pre-approval and your credit situation, your lender may require additional documents and letters of explanation for your finances. Any name changes, divorces, or bad marks on your credit will need documents for an explanation.

By anticipating these issues, you can expedite the closing process as much as possible. Some problems, like home inspection issues, can’t be planned for, so make sure you have a buffer of time and a place to live if closing does take longer.

How You Can Close Quickly

While you certainly can’t control all aspects of your financial history or the lives of financial professionals, there are certain steps you can take to close more quickly, in as few as 30 days:

  • Keep Your Finances Clean — Don’t miss any payments or open a new line of credit during the mortgage process. If you’re planning to celebrate the new house, wait until after closing to buy a new car or open a new credit card.
  • Communicate Quickly — You’ll be called on to answer a lot of questions, provide documents, and go to meetings. Make sure to answer your phone and be ready to provide whatever is necessary. Staying on top of any issues will speed up the process.

Closing can be a stressful time for any buyer. Follow these tips and don’t make it take longer than it needs to. Be prepared for all eventualities, and it won’t be too painful.   

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