What Sellers Should Expect Before and by Closing Escrow
Average home closing time frame
One recent study found that closing times are getting longer—on average it now takes 50 days. And while that may seem like an eternity to eager buyers or sellers, there’s good reason this doesn’t happen lickety-split. For one, buyers who require mortgages must finish the loan process and property appraisal.
Get the repairs done
First things first: You’ve got to get those repairs done. We get it—the last thing you want to do now is work on a house you are about to sell. But if you agreed to make repairs or improvements, don’t put them off until the last minute.
The final walk-through
Before your closing date—often 24 hours before—the buyers and the buyers’ agent will do one more walk-through of the house (for which you should not be present). They will go through every room of the house, inside and outside—a process that typically takes about a half hour. Some buyers will go into detail, testing every light switch. But in most cases, the buyer is just looking to make sure agreed-upon repairs were made and no new issues have crept up before closing.
“Buyers are basically looking for anything unexpected in the home,” Jarvis says. “Say, for example, there was a rug covering a problem area.” (Not that you would do that, you awesome seller, you.) If the buyers do find an issue, you may have a chance to fix the problem ahead of time.
If the problem is big enough, you may have to delay your closing date to give time for the repair. But that only happens occasionally. Often, the buyers will take a trade.Many times, the buyers ask for money instead.
Many closings go smoothly. By this point, the buyers are excited to get into their new house, agreed-on repairs have been made, and the sellers are ready to get out. If things are going smoothly, the closing for you might boil down to a blur of paperwork.
Unless problems creep up—or the buyer wants to negotiate further—you only have two jobs: waiting and reading documents. Some are worth perusing more than others. For example, make sure you pay close attention to the settlement statement. There are other documents you’ll need to sign like a warranty deed and more.
And then comes the best part: You’ll get a check for the remainder, usually the same day or couple days after. Now, all that’s left is the fun part: Officially moving out and moving on!