BuyersSellers November 9, 2017

Transaction Timeline: How long does it take to close on a house?

We’ve talked about the buyer’s timeline and the seller’s timeline, but what happens once a buyer and seller agree on an offer? Unfortunately it’s not as simple as just passing along the keys. It typically takes about 30-45 days. So this week we’re chatting all about the transaction timeline and everything you can expect during it.

Days 1-4: Purchase and Sale Agreement

Once a buyer gives a seller an offer, the seller can accept or counter back with a different offer. It usually takes a couple of days for the Purchase and Sale Agreement to be finalized.

Days 4-14: Home Inspection

Once that Purchase and Sale Agreement has mutual acceptance is, a home inspection is typically the next step.

The home inspector will inspect every nook and cranny of a house, to see what repairs are needed. Once the inspection report comes back, buyers can negotiate with the sellers to make certain repairs or make a pricing reduction. Think of the inspection process as making sure the house is exactly what you thought it was when you bought it. It isn’t the time – especially in a seller’s market – to ask the seller to fix a laundry list of things. However, if the roof is at the end of it’s life, the furnace is on it’s last leg or the foundation is shifting…these are all things you want to know going into buying a home.

Days 4-closing: Work with the lender

From signing to closing, your lender’s underwriting team might have some questions or concerns…and they may occasionally request documents, explanations or signatures. Sometimes the lender will need you to stop by their office and other times they will mail documents to you. Make sure to get them the items they need as soon as possible. The longer you take, the more likely it will be that the closing will be delayed.

Days 15-25: Homeowners insurance and an appraisal

Assuming the inspection went well, it’s time to get quotes for homeowners insurance and to get the property appraised. You’ll want to apply for homeowner’s insurance soon, so that you know if any additional insurance – like flood insurance – is needed, AND what you can expect your monthly payment to be.

The mortgage company will be the ones to order the appraisal. This is done to get an estimate on the value of the property. If the appraisal comes in low, the lender will only loan out the amount the home was appraised for. If this happens, your real estate agent will go over the options with you.

Days 25-45: The Home Stretch!

This is the mortgage approval home stretch! There may just be few minor loose ends to get fully approved, but once you are, you are “clear to close”… and those are three beautiful words to hear from your lender. You are done jumping through the hoops, and only the formalities of closing and signing are left.

Signing and closing are usually two different days. These are typically 30-45 days from the day the offer is accepted. Signing will happen at the closing office, and takes about 15 minutes, if you’re the seller and 30-45 minutes, if you’re the buyer. Once the papers are signed and you’ve paid your settlement fees, the closing office will get it over to the courthouse – usually later that day or the following morning. The courthouse will record the documents and officially transfer the house into the buyer’s name…and once that happens, it’s all official!


If it’s a cash deal, this whole process is sped up quite a bit. Once the buyers and sellers agree and the inspection issues are resolved – you can close. It typically only takes a week or two.