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Buying a Home: How to Get from Offer to Closing

If you’re new to the home-buying game, you have probably been bombarded with new terms. Escrow, home warranty, inspection contingency—one of the most important terms to know and understand is “closing.”

What is closing?

Closing is an appointment, most often at an attorney’s office, where all official documents are signed by the seller and buyer. Closing a real estate transaction means that the sale is officially concluded. The seller and buyer do not need to be present at the same time and appointment, but both must sign all required documents, which will then be recorded with the local officials.

If you are the seller, this is the point in time when you no longer own the property and get paid for the sale. If you are the buyer, this is the exact date when you assume responsibility for the property, including paying your down payment, starting your mortgage payments, and getting all other utilities and services set up in your name. It is also the point where you walk away with keys jangling in your pocket and begin the process of setting up your home.

How long does it take to get to closing?

The time required to get from a purchase offer to signing all of the closing documents varies based on the lender, the type of loan, and the individual circumstances of the property, buyer, and seller. If the transaction is more complicated, such as when the property requires a lot of inspections or repairs, it may delay closing. The same is true when the borrower is using non-traditional financing or has a lot of questions come up during the loan process. The goal for most lenders in a non-complicated transaction is to get to closing around 30 days after a purchase contract has been agreed upon by both buyer and seller.

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