How much time does it take to close on a house after contract?
The truth of the matter is that it varies.
According to a report and article by realtor.com, the average time from contract to close is about 50 days. Keep in mind, that means that about half of contracts may take longer – that is just the average.
This is mostly due to the time it may take for a mortgage lender to process the loan from start to finish, depending on the loan company and their processes.
What can cause a delay in closing?
Well, the mortgage, for one. Whether it be a discrepancy on a credit report that needs to be cleared, or a debt that needs to be paid off to bring the debt-to-income ratio down, or missing documentation that needs to be tracked down, loan approval is the biggest source of a delay in closing.
Second could be an issue with the appraisal. Though this often goes along with a mortgage approval, since many times a loan approval may be contingent on an appraisal at sales price, it can also be a condition of the contract. If the appraisal comes back lower than the sales price, this opens up the closing to more potential delays.
A third could be insurance issues. Buyers need to have insurance on the property if they are getting a loan, and they need to have it in place before moving in – and often the loan requires it already be paid (whether before closing or at the closing table.) If there is a reason that either the buyer is having trouble getting insurance, or the home has a history of claims that either 1) makes it harder to get insurance or 2) makes it more expensive, this could cause a delay.
A fourth could be if there are title issues. An unrecorded mortgage payoff from the past, or an unsigned deed, some blemish in the title could create a delay. Ordering title work as quickly as possible could help prevent a delay.
A fifth could be contingencies in the contract. Does the buyer have to sell their home before they can buy yours? That could potentially take time, and add days to the time to closing. Are home inspection repairs needed? If you are a seller, try to get them completed as quickly as possible to try to avoid potential delays.
There could be other issues that could potentially cause delays, but the house could still close.
Each situation and contract is different. Please know that I am not an attorney. If you have questions about a contract you already have in place, please contact your agent, brokerage, or an attorney.
If you are looking to sell or buy a home in Baltimore, I would love to help! I can help guide you through the process – delays or not!