How long does it take with cash?
Part of what makes closings take so long is the financing requirements, so buying with cash can expedite the process. If you’re buying with cash, you can close as few as seven days after contract execution, assuming you’re willing to waive contingencies. However, only 23% of buyers purchase their homes with all cash, according to the Zillow Group Consumer Housing Trends Report 2018.
How long does it take with a mortgage?
Buyers who use conventional financing to purchase a home can expect to close 30-45 days after the contract is signed. Special loans, such as first-time home buyer programs, VA and FHA loans can take longer to close because the requirements are stricter.
The escrow process timeline
After you’ve made an offer on a home and both you and the seller have agreed on terms (including price and closing date) and executed the contract, you’re officially in escrow. These are the steps that are usually part of the escrow process, and how long each step typically takes. Keep in mind that the escrow process and timeline can vary based on your market, lender, property type, financing type and the overall complexity of the transaction. You should also note that some of the steps below happen concurrently.
- Execute the contract and confirm closing date
- Open the escrow account (~1-3 days)
- Complete inspection and repair requests (~1-2 weeks)
- Mortgage application and underwriting (~5-20 days)
- Appraisal (~1-2 weeks)
- Acquire homeowner’s insurance and title insurance (~1 day)
- Get loan approval, commonly called “Clear to close” (~1 day)
- Do a final walk through (~1 day)
- Attend your closing appointment and close on your new home (~1 day)
To make sure you fully understand the steps, stay in close contact with your real estate agent, loan officer and real estate attorney. They will be able to answer any questions you might have and provide documents and forms you need to sign, so make sure to be available to turn those requests around as quickly as possible.
Anyone who’s gone through the home buying process can understand those numbers. Touring dozens of homes, and facing all sorts of deadlines, often short-circuits the viewing process.
But whether you’re going to spend hours or minutes deciding whether a house is your dream home – and offering to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on it – you owe it to yourself to make the most of that time.
How do you do that? By asking the right questions.
Here’s a guide on what to ask. It should be particularly useful for first-time homebuyers.