Our top picks of timely offers from our partners

More details
UFB Secure Savings
Learn More
Terms Apply
Up to 5.25% APY on one of our top picks for best savings accounts plus, no monthly fee
Accredited Debt Relief
Learn More
Terms Apply
Accredited Debt Relief helps consumers with over $30,000 of debt
LendingClub High-Yield Savings
Learn More
Terms Apply
Our top pick for best savings accounts for its strong APY and an ATM card with no ATM fees
Choice Home Warranty
Learn More
Terms Apply
Protects 25+ systems & appliances. Free quote + $50 off + 1 month free
Freedom Debt Relief
Learn More
Terms Apply
Freedom Debt Relief can help clients get started without fees up front
Select independently determines what we cover and recommend. We earn a commission from affiliate partners on many offers and links. This commission may impact how and where certain products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). Read more about Select on CNBC and on NBC News, and click here to read our full advertiser disclosure.

How long does it take to close on a house?

The closing process has so many phases, it can feel like a marathon.


People spend years working up to buy a home. Even after your bid has been accepted, however, getting to closing day can be a long, expensive and stressful process.

In the marathon that is homebuying, closing day is the finish line: Final documents are signed, the seller is paid and the deed to the house is transferred.

Before you get to closing day, there is a multi-step process that could take weeks (or even months) to complete. It begins when you sign a purchase agreement outlining the terms of the sale and ends when you sign closing papers and get the keys to your new home.

CNBC Select looks at how long it can take to close on a home, including the steps in the closing process and tips on avoiding delays.

What we'll cover

Compare offers to find the best mortgage

How long does it take to close on a house?

How much time it takes to close on a house depends on many variables, including when you can schedule appraisals and inspections and when the lender finishes the underwriting process.

In April 2024, the average closing time for a house financed with a mortgage is 42 days, according to real estate analytics firm ICE Mortgage Technology. (Paying in cash can speed the process along.)

What happens on closing day?

On closing day, the buyer will review and sign documents that spell out their financial obligations and rights as a new homeowner.

Closing paperwork typically includes:

  • Mortgage or deed of trust: An agreement granting the lender the right to foreclose if the borrower fails to make payment.
  • Promissory note. Details the borrower's obligation to pay their mortgage back in full and with interest by a specified date.
  • Closing disclosure: A five-page document that details your monthly payments and closing costs. The borrower should receive the disclosure at least three days before closing
  • Right-to-cancel form: Grants the borrower three business days to cancel the loan.

The buyer will also hand over a cashier's check for closing costs.

A look at the closing process

The closing process officially begins when the buyer signs a purchase agreement and ends on closing day, when they sign closing papers and get the keys to their new house.

Purchase agreement (up to 14 days)

After the price is agreed upon, the buyer signs a purchase agreement, which lists the terms, the target closing date and how much money needs to be put in escrow for an earnest money deposit. That essentially starts the clock ticking.

This phase can take just a couple of days, but the buyer and the seller typically have up to two weeks to sign the purchase agreement. Contingencies, like making the sale dependent on the inspection or title search, can slow things down.

Home inspection (up to 15 days)

After the purchase agreement is signed, the home inspection is scheduled. The inspector will check the house's physical structure — including the roof, windows and plumbing — as well as its wiring, appliances, HVAC systems and other elements.

You can find an inspector through the American Society of Home Inspectors or ask the real estate agent for a recommendation. Keep in mind that the home inspector's job is to look for areas that need repair, not address whether the home is worth the purchase price.

The timing is dependent on the inspector's schedule — it could be a few days before they're available, especially if the local real estate market is hot. The inspection itself usually takes just a few hours.

It could be several more days before a completed report is available, however.

Home appraisal (7 to 14 days)

While the buyer can have the home appraised before they sign the purchase agreement, this appraisal is on behalf of the lender. The appraiser determines the fair market value of the home, based on its age and location, square footage and acreage, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms and if any upgrades or renovations were made. They'll compare the asking price to the sale price of similar properties in the neighborhood.

Like the home inspection, the appraisal is usually just a few hours long but scheduling an appraiser can take time.

Mortgage underwriting (30 or more days)

After you complete the mortgage application, the lender assesses how much of a risk you are by verifying your identity, reviewing your credit score and confirming your income, assets and liabilities during the underwriting process.

Your application can be denied or suspended for many reasons, including if the underwriter can't verify your personal or financial information.

But if the application is approved, all that's left is signing the final bit of paperwork on closing day.

Title search (10 to 14 days)

Buyers typically need to order a title search to ensure there are no claims, liens or other issues with the property that could prevent the seller from transferring ownership legally. The search can be performed by a title company or attorney while the underwriting process is underway.

A buyer will usually ask for a title contingency in the purchase agreement specifying that the title search must come back clean for the sale to go through. They may be required to take out title insurance, in case someone comes forward with a prior claim.

Closing day (less than 1 day)

This is the final step of the process, when the buyer hands over the money and the seller transfers the deed to the house. There is no set list of attendees, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, but you can expect to see at least some of these people:

  • The buyer and seller
  • Real estate agents and attorneys for both parties
  • Escrow officer
  • Closing agent
  • Title insurance agent
  • A representative from the mortgage lender

If they haven't already, the buyer will typically pay closing costs, including lender fees and money for mortgage insurance, title search and insurance, and the lender's appraisal and home inspection. They may have to provide prepaid expenses, as well, like homeowners insurance, property taxes and the mortgage interest that will accrue between closing and the first monthly payment.

Closing on a mortgage refinance

Closing on a refinance is similar to a home sale and takes about the same amount of time 42 days on average, according to ICE Mortgage Technology.

You'll need the same documents, which your lender will use to assess your ability to pay the new loan back. You should know if you have been approved for refinancing within three days, according to Freddie Mac.

Your home will need to be appraised and go through the underwriting process, though, which could take up to two weeks.

If you're looking to refinance, PNC Bank offers several options — including cash-out, jumbo and government-backed loans. It services customers in all 50 states and has physical locations in 23.

PNC Bank Mortgage Refinance

  • Annual Percentage Rate (APR)

    Apply online for personalized rates; fixed-rate and adjustable-rate mortgages included

  • Types of loans

    Fixed-rate, adjustable-rate, FHA loans, VA loans and jumbo loans

  • Fixed-rate Terms

    10 – 30 years

  • Adjustable-rate Terms

    Available in periods of 7 and 10 years for a fixed rate, followed by an adjustment period when the interest rate may increase or decrease on an annual or semi-annual basis

  • Credit needed

    Not disclosed

Terms apply.

Rocket Mortgage works with borrowers with credit scores as low as 580 and applicants can get pre-qualified online in minutes. In addition to conventional and jumbo loans, it offers VA Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loans, which streamline the refinancing process and can help homeowners switch from an adjustable-rate to a fixed-rate mortgage, lower their interest rate or change their repayment terms — often with simplified underwriting and no new appraisal required.

Rocket Mortgage Refinance

  • Annual Percentage Rate (APR)

    Apply online for personalized rates

  • Types of loans

    Conventional loans, FHA loans, VA Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan (IRRRL) and jumbo loans

  • Fixed-rate Terms

    8 – 29 years

  • Adjustable-rate Terms

    Not disclosed

  • Credit needed

    580 if opting for FHA loan refinance or VA IRRRL; 620 for a conventional loan refinance

Already have a mortgage through Rocket Mortgage or looking to start one? Check out the Rocket Visa Signature Card to learn how you can earn rewards

How to speed up the closing process

A lot about the sprint to closing day is out of your hands, but there are steps you can take to make it a smooth ride.

Get preapproved

Preapproval can help you close on a home faster: Ally Bank says it preapproves borrowers in as little as three minutes and that its customers close an average of 10 days faster than the industry average.

Ally Home, the bank's mortgage division, offers conventional, jumbo, fixed and adjustable-rate mortgages but not government-backed or home equity loans.

Ally Home

  • Annual Percentage Rate (APR)

    Apply online for personalized rates; fixed-rate and adjustable-rate mortgages included

  • Types of loans

    Conventional loans, HomeReady loan and Jumbo loans

  • Terms

    15 – 30 years

  • Credit needed


  • Minimum down payment

    3% if moving forward with a HomeReady loan

Terms apply.

PNC Bank touts that its online preapproval process takes as little as 30 minutes and, unlike Ally, it offers FHA, VA and USDA mortgages. With a PNC Community Loan, qualified borrowers to put down as little as 3% without private mortgage insurance.

PNC Bank

  • Annual Percentage Rate (APR)

    Apply online for personalized rates; fixed-rate and adjustable-rate mortgages included

  • Types of loans

    Conventional loans, FHA loans, VA loans, USDA loans, jumbo loans, HELOCs, Community Loan and Medical Professional Loan

  • Terms

    10 – 30 years

  • Credit needed


  • Minimum down payment

    0% if moving forward with a USDA loan

Terms apply.

Get your paperwork together

Keep the closing process on track by keeping all your documents organized and accessible. Ask your lender for an itemized checklist, but the underwriter will usually require:

  • Photo ID and Social Security number
  • Two years of tax returns
  • Recent pay stubs
  • Proof of other income or assets
  • Recent bank statements
  • Details on auto loans, student loans or other major debts

On closing day, you'll need:

Inaccurate, incomplete or missing information can delay closing.

Don't change jobs

Lenders will typically review your employment history to ensure you have a steady income. A job change during the mortgage approval process might make it take longer to verify your income.


The average amount of time it takes to close on a home is 42 days. Collecting crucial documents and being on top of your application can speed up the process.

Closing costs are typically 2% to 5% of your overall home loan, but they vary based on your lender and the size of your loan.

It depends on the terms of your contract: You may be able to negotiate an immediate possession date and move in the same day you close. In other cases, the seller may request an additional 15, 30, 60 or even 90 days of occupancy after closing.

Subscribe to the CNBC Select Newsletter!

Money matters — so make the most of it. Get expert tips, strategies, news and everything else you need to maximize your money, right to your inbox. Sign up here.

Bottom line

Closing on a home may feel excruciatingly slow, but you don't want to rush the process. Communicating with your lender and the seller's representative can help ensure you're submitting the necessary documents and scheduling inspections and appraisals promptly.

Catch up on CNBC Select's in-depth coverage of credit cardsbanking and money, and follow us on TikTokFacebookInstagram and Twitter to stay up to date.

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.
Learn More
Terms Apply
Chime offers online-only accounts that minimize fees plus, get paid up to 2 days early with direct deposits
Find the right savings account for you
Learn More
Terms Apply
Help your money grow by finding the savings account that offers the best rates and features for you