Closing on a Home

Are you planning on buying a house? If yes, you know that it might not take long to negotiate a home purchase price with the seller. However, the home purchase process is not about talking to a property seller and agreeing on the price. You need to go through a complex process before the property becomes yours legally. A property becomes yours on the closing day—the day you sign a bunch of paperwork. The home closing process is not easy, especially when a homeowner needs financing. This article seeks to shed light on the steps that you need to go through in a home closing process:

How Long Does Closing Take?

One of the most asked questions is how long it takes to close a property. While knowing what to expect is suitable for planning purposes, there is no specific answer to the time you expect to close on a property. However, generally, closing takes an average of 45 days. Closing can even take a minimum of one week and a maximum of 60 days. The duration depends on the circumstances present after signing the purchase contract. There are a lot of processes that happen during the home buying process before there is an exchange of ownership.

Step By Step Process of Closing the House

If you are going through the home buying process, here are the steps that entail the home buying process:

Signing the Purchase Contract

This is the step that gives the home buying process a kickoff. The buyer negotiates a purchase price with the seller and signs a purchase contract. The contract contains an expected home closing date.

Deposit

The buyer pays the seller a certain agreed amount as a deposit. The deposit comes with an offer to buy the home. This amount is an earnest deposit and goes into an escrow account.

Home Inspection

A purchase contract provides provision for a buyer to conduct whatever inspection they require on the property. If the buyer concludes that the property needs repairs or renovations, they can back out of the purchase contract. Time to repair or renovate the property adds to the closing time. The duration to allow home inspection takes between 3 and 10 days. A buyer can opt to waive their inspection right and proceed to the next step.

Home Appraisal

Lenders require this process before processing a home loan. Buyers buying cash can skip this step, but it is a good idea. A home appraisal is a professional assessment of the value of a home. Lenders require this process to ensure they do not give out more money than needed. An appraisal will prevent a cash buyer from overpaying on the property.

Financing

This process does not apply to cash buyers. If you do not have the cash to buy the house, you need to get a mortgage. Getting financing for a home takes time. You need to follow the lender’s guidelines. Mostly, you will need to assess your income, assets, employment status, among others. A loan officer will review your qualifications against the property you want to acquire. A mortgage process can take up to a month. However, you can reduce that time by getting a loan pre-approval before shopping for a property.

See Also: Financing your Move

Home Sale Contingencies

There are home purchase contracts with a contingency that states that a home buyer should only follow through with a purchase contract when their home sells. In that case, a buyer should sell their property first. If the home sale process takes longer, there will be closing delays.

Also Read: Contingencies You Should Never Waive When Buying a Home

Hazard Insurance

This step is a must when you are getting financing for your home. However, a home buyer buying in cash should also consider this step. Hazard insurance protects you and the lender from scenarios of theft, floods, fires, storms, and any other damaging situations. A homeowners’ insurance policy covers you should another person get injured while in your home. You can go through our article to know all about Insurance.

Title Search

Also known as title insurance, a title search ensures that nobody can claim property after purchase. In the event of title issues, a title search protects you and your mortgage lender against any financial loss. A title company handles the title search, and it usually takes about a week.

Property Walk-through

On the closing day or a day prior, you have the opportunity to walk through the property. You will be checking whether the property is in good condition and that you are willing to take it as it is. A walk-through might reveal some things about a home, mainly because the seller’s furniture will not be present.

Transfer of Money

Before closing the property, a buyer needs to cater to the purchase and closing costs. A closing attorney handles the closing process and needs to receive money from the lender, the down payment, and the earnest deposit before the closing day.

The Closing Day

This is the final step of a home purchasing process. The closing process is as follows; the home buyer sits with a closing attorney. The attorney hands in a closing disclosure, a settlement statement, and other paperwork. After reading and understanding the requirements, you should sign the documents to own the property legally.

Benefits of Closing the Deal Early

Some of the benefits of closing on a house deal include:

No Title Issues

A title search can come clear or with a minor issue that is easy to handle. However, there can be a title issue that may hold the closing. Whenever a problem arises, the affected party realizes that the property is on listing and takes action before closing. When you close on a property early, there is a probability that you will not experience any title issues.

The End of the Month

Homebuyers renting their present homes often try to have the home closing at the end of the month. The reason for this move is so that the renter can get the most out of the rent payments. While homebuyers prefer closing at the end of the month, mortgage lenders encourage buyers to close early in the month. That is to help home buyers avoid paying the interest in arrears—often a requirement by most lenders.

Accurate Home Appraisals

Home appraisals create a difference in home sales in the real estate market. Home sellers will appreciate an accurate home appraisal, especially if they are paying off a mortgage. Or buyers, a high home appraisal equates to high initial equity—which is favorable if one wants to cash years after the purchase.

Reason for Delays

There is no guarantee that a home closing process will take the shortest time possible. Some of the reasons that a home closing process may experience delays include:

Inspection Issues

As mentioned earlier, a home inspection is necessary during the home closing process. Once a buyer notifies the home seller of repairs the property needs, the seller can neglect. During the final home inspection, the buyer may highlight these issues. Mortgage lenders will not approve the loan when the property is not in the condition stated in the contract.

Instrument Survey

Any home on a listing is prone to experience instrument survey issues. A home can experience boundary line encroachment disputes. Other issues that may affect the home include fences, property lines, and walls. When there is such an issue on a property, the parties need to solve the differences through signed documents. That will mean that closing on the property will take longer than expected.

Title Issues

Title issues are the most common reason closing on a property may take longer than expected. Most home sellers are not aware of previous liens on their property. Prior liens arise during the title search step of home closing. The buyer thus has to wait for the relevant parties to resolve that issue. Any homes seller should consider title release tracking to protect themselves from such a scenario that may cause a costly delay.

Appraisal Value

Theoretically, you would tell if there is an issue with the home appraisal value before the closing date. However, you cannot tell if there is an issue until closing in real life. Appraisal issues arise when a home’s appraisal value is either too below or above the sale price, and the involved parties do not get the information in good time. When there is an appraisal issue, the lender asks for changes before getting a second appraisal. The repeat of the appraisal process causes delays in the closing process.

Mortgage Issues

When a buyer is obtaining financing for their property purchase, any delay in securing financing will, in turn, affect the closing date. A buyer can have a loan pre-approval and still experience issues with the mortgage lender. Also, the lender may question the creditworthiness of a home buyer and thus deny them financing. Besides that, there may be a disparity in the figures—the property’s value that may require adjusting. That move would push the closing date further.

Finally, closing a home can be stressful, especially when you have an unrealistic timeframe. For instance, when the mortgage lender requests 30 days to close a loan, always expect the process to take more than that, say about 40 days. That way, you are sure that you will not be frustrated by the home closing process. In this case, a real estate transaction closing on a home is a complex process, especially when financing. Therefore, the process will take time; ensure that you go through the process diligently to avoid any issues that may arise later.

Also Read: Top Cheap Moving Companies in the US | Best Cities for First Time Home Buyers | What is Home Equity line of Credit?

Written by


Rostislav Shetman is the founder of 9Kilo Moving. He has been in the moving and relocation industry for more than 25 years, making him an expert in his field. Rostislav started as a helper, dispatcher and driver and has worked his way up to owning his own company. He takes great pride in his work and enjoys helping people relocate across the United States of America. When he's not working, Rostislav enjoys spending time with his family and friends. They are the light of his life and bring him happiness every day.