How Long Does It Take to Close on a Home? 

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Buying a new home ranks among the most significant events in life, often accompanied by considerable stress. This article demystifies the home purchase journey and outlines the typical duration of a closing process.

How Long Does It Take to Close on A Home

The Home Buying and Closing Process

The experience of purchasing a home varies by individual circumstances. Below are the common steps involved:

  1. Loan Preapproval and Financing: Begin by getting preapproved for a loan to understand your budget.
  2. Home Search: Explore the housing market in your preferred areas.
  3. Realtor Assistance (Optional): Consider enlisting a realtor familiar with the area to aid in your search.
  4. Market Analysis: Examine comparable sales to gauge local home values.
  5. Appraisal and Offer: Determine your target home’s appraised value and make an offer to the seller.
  6. Negotiation: Engage in negotiations, potentially with the seller’s realtor.
  7. Financing Finalization: Once your offer is accepted, finalize your mortgage or other financing arrangements—this stage may be time-intensive.
  8. Closing: Complete all contingencies and financing prerequisites to finalize the purchase.
Home Buying and Closing Process

Closing with a Mortgage

Most homebuyers secure their purchase with a mortgage, which is typically the most prolonged phase. Post-acceptance of the purchase offer, closing can span from 30 to 45 days. However, following the steep increase in home prices since 2020, some regions have reported extended closing times of 48 to 60 days. Prepared buyers with organized finances and paperwork can expedite the process.

Closing with Cash

While less common post-2020, cash purchases are the fastest route to closing, circumventing the need for mortgage underwriting. Legal formalities and contract contingencies can still introduce delays. Nevertheless, a full cash payment can reduce closing to a brief 7 to 10 days.

What Documents Are Needed to Close on a Home?

Irrespective of the payment method, closing on a home necessitates a significant amount of paperwork. This includes the review, signing, and proper filing of documents to transfer funds and ownership. The paperwork is more extensive when securing a mortgage. To facilitate a swift closing, buyers should have the following documents prepared:

  • Proof of Payment: This is typically a cashier’s check or wire transfer confirmation, including the down payment and closing costs.
  • Promissory Note: Signed by the buyer, this document is a commitment to repay the loan.
  • Identification: Legal identification is necessary for all parties involved.
  • Escrow Statement: This outlines how property taxes and home insurance premiums will be paid.
  • Inspection Reports: Documentation of the home’s condition and any inspections required.
  • Homeowners Insurance: Proof of a valid insurance policy.
  • Closing Disclosure: This allows buyers to verify all financial details before the final transaction.
  • Deed: Necessary for the legal transfer of property ownership.

The actual closing meeting is typically brief, lasting about 1 to 2 hours, during which lawyers and real estate agents review and finalize the paperwork with the clients to ensure a seamless transition of property and funds.

Potential Delays in the Home Closing Process

Delays can arise from various sources, most notably the mortgage underwriting approval. This can vary based on whether the mortgage is a fixed or adjustable rate due to differing financial policies and regulations. Some common causes of delays include:

  • Credit Issues: A poor credit score may require the buyer to seek alternative financing.
  • Lifestyle Changes: Significant life events, such as job changes or divorce, can affect financing.
  • Property Liens: Existing liens can complicate the seller’s ability to transfer a clear title.
  • Legal Challenges: If the seller is entangled in legal proceedings, it may delay the process.
  • Incomplete Documentation: Missing financial statements can hold up the process.
  • Insurance Issues: The absence of confirmed homeowners insurance may cause delays.
  • Unexpected Fees: Additional costs can emerge during closing.

Other delays not directly related to financing might include:

  • Property Issues: Significant problems discovered during the inspection could stall proceedings.
  • Appraisal Discrepancies: A second appraisal significantly differing from the first can cause delays.
  • Unmet Contingencies: Conditions such as the buyer needing to sell their current home or the seller required to make repairs before closing.


The timeframe for closing on a home largely hinges on the preparedness of the buyer and seller, as well as the buyer’s financing method. Mortgage closings can range from 30 to 60 days or longer, while cash purchases may close in as little as 7 to 10 days. Diligent preparation by the buyer, including loan preapproval and organizing necessary documents, can accelerate the process. Similarly, a seller can facilitate a quicker sale by ensuring the property is in prime condition and resolving any financial or legal issues beforehand.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are typical closing costs?

Closing costs usually range from 3% to 8% of the home’s purchase price, varying according to negotiations and services provided.

Who is responsible for closing costs?

The allocation of closing costs is negotiable; they can be divided between buyer and seller or covered entirely by one party to sweeten the deal.

When does mortgage payment commence?

Mortgage payments begin on a prearranged date after the loan is finalized and the seller has received payment from the lender.

What does the Closing Disclosure include?

This document details the loan’s interest rate, payment schedule, total loan amount, and any additional fees.

What occurs post-closing?

Once the deal closes, the seller hands over the keys, and the buyer becomes the new homeowner, with the title and deed transferred to their name.