People buying a house with a mortgage loan will probably have to wait 45 to 60 days before closing. But for people offering cash, closing typically takes around two weeks.
Most buyers don’t have enough cash on hand and have to apply for a mortgage loan. Closing takes an average of 49.9 days for buyers applying for a mortgage, according to lending technology company Ellie Mae.
The average number of days varies by mortgage loan type.
- Conventional loans: 46 days
- FHA loans: 52 days
- VA loans: 53 days
Buyers can speed up closing by getting pre-approved for a mortgage and organizing their documents before applying. Sellers can speed up closing by getting an early inspection and handling any liens on the title before listing.
How long does it take to close on a house?
|💸 Buying with cash||~2 weeks |
Buyers don’t need lender approval, so cash offers have a shorter closing process.
|🏦 Buying with a mortgage||45 to 60 days |
The average closing time for buyers with a mortgage is 49.9 days. The time of year and the type of mortgage also impact this timeline.
Closing on a house with cash
🗓 Timeline: ~2 weeks
⛔ Possible delays:
- Title search: If the title has liens, the seller needs to address those before the transaction can continue.
- Home inspection: If the inspector identifies serious problems, the closing process might stall during renegotiations.
As long as the home is in good condition and the title has no liens, the closing process for a cash offer will move fast. Cash buyers can skip the long process of getting a home appraisal and getting approved for a mortgage.
To close on a home with a cash offer, the buyer and the seller will first need to agree on a sale price. Then, the buyer gives the seller proof of funds to verify that they have enough cash to complete the sale. The buyer will also make an earnest money deposit to show commitment to the sale and open an escrow account for closing costs.
Closing on a house with a mortgage loan
🗓 Timeline: 45 to 60 days
⛔ Possible delays:
- Special appraisals: Government-backed lenders have stricter criteria and tend to order more property inspections.
- Loan rejection: If the lender doesn’t approve a mortgage, buyers will have to go through another lengthy application process.
Mortgage lenders don’t like to take risks. They’ll do their due diligence to verify that a buyer can afford monthly housing payments. Lenders will typically scrutinize a buyer’s credit report, debt-to-income ratio (DTI), assets, and all sources of income. Before they approve the loan amount, they’ll also require a home appraisal to make sure the house is worth the sticker price.
How long does it take to close on a house with a conventional loan?
Conventional loans have the shortest average closing time — around 46 days. Conventional mortgages don’t require “special” appraisals or rigorous underwriting.
How long does it take to close on a house with a VA loan?
On average, it takes 53 days for VA borrowers to close on a home. VA loans take a bit more time than a conventional loan, because VA lenders require an appraisal by someone they approve. VA borrowers also need a pest inspection of the property before they can close.
How long does it take to close on a house with an FHA loan?
FHA loan borrowers take an average of 52 days to close. Like other government-backed loans, FHA lenders will accept a home appraisal only from an appraiser they approve. This can add significant time, especially if the FHA-approved appraiser is booked.
Steps to close on a house with a mortgage
1. Submit a loan application (~1 day)
Once you sign a purchase agreement, you can apply for a loan. You’ll need to provide the following info for your lender:
- Your name
- Your Social Security number
- Your estimated household income
- The property value (the listing price)
- The property’s estimated value
- The desired loan amount
2. Get a loan estimate (1 to 3 days)
After you apply, lenders will give you a loan estimate within three days. The estimate will include your projected interest rate, monthly payments, and total closing costs for your specific loan.
3. Submit all documents (under 7 days)
Your lender will now request documents that verify your income and assets. If you have multiple sources of income, such as from rental property or investments, this process could take some time.
4. Have the home appraised (7 to 14 days)
An appraiser needs to value a home before a lender will approve a loan application. The appraisal itself doesn’t last long, but it may be delayed if appraisers are in high demand.
5. Go through underwriting (1 to 3 days)
Your lender will hand your documents to an underwriter who will review them and measure them against loan qualifications.
|💡 Possible extra step: conditional approval|
If the underwriter needs more information from you, they’ll issue a conditional approval (7 to 14 days). They’ll ask you for documents that have the information they need before reviewing your application again.
6. Receive your “clear to close” (3+ days)
You’ll receive a “clear to close” confirmation from your lender that states that you can move forward with the home purchase. There is a mandatory three-day waiting period for you to review your closing documents, confirm loan terms, and resolve any errors.
7. Closing (~1 day)
Both buyer and seller will sign all paperwork and transfer the title of the property to the buyer.
Most common delays in closing on a house
The appraisal comes back low
Lenders will rarely approve loan amounts that are higher than the appraisal. If the appraiser values the house below the asking price, the buyer and seller will have to renegotiate. The buyer can also pay the difference in cash. Around 21% of closing delays are related to the appraisal, according to a recent survey by the National Association of REALTORS®.(2)
The buyer’s financing falls through
Even if a buyer has been preapproved for a mortgage they’re not guaranteed a loan. Lenders will often deny a buyer’s application if the buyer’s debt-to-income ratio (DTI) or credit score has been negatively impacted.
Unresolved liens, renovations made without a proper permit, or heirs laying claim to a property can delay a home sale.
Tips for a faster closing process
- Get a mortgage pre-approval. A pre-approval won’t guarantee you’ll get a mortgage. But it can make it faster to submit your loan application, because the lender already has your information.
- Stay organized. Keep all your documents in order so you can respond to lenders on time. The faster you can get your lender the information they need, the quicker the loan process will move.
- Avoid taking out large amounts of debt. If you can help it, don’t make any big credit card purchases, take out a car loan, or do anything that would damage your credit score.
- Order a home inspection ahead of time. Identify problems early and either disclose them to buyers or fix them yourself.
- Order a preliminary title search. A title search can help you spot title issues before you list the home. Title issues can take a long time to resolve. The sooner you know what they are, the sooner you can try to fix them.
How can I speed up closing on a house?
To speed up the closing process homebuyers can apply for mortgage pre-approval, which will make your loan application faster. You can also protect your credit score by avoiding any purchases that require you to take on debt.
How long do most houses take to close?
Home sales with a mortgage take an average of 49.9 days to close. The timeline also varies by the type of loan you apply for. On average, conventional loans close within 46 days, FHA loans take 52 days, and VA loans typically close after 53 days.