Closing on a home isn’t like savoring a fine wine; prolonging the experience doesn’t make it better. Rather, the time between an opening bid and having the keys in hand can be an ever-increasing source of stress for the average homebuyer. Alleviating that stress is just one of the benefits of a fast purchase closing. Let’s look at a few more.
But first, what is a fast closing?
A fast closing is one that’s usually done in 30 days or fewer. This means less time for everything — a shorter time than usual to get the appraisal, the mortgage approved, the home inspection, and to take care of all the other important details involved in buying a house.
How long does closing on a mortgage usually take?
Closing on a house traditionally takes between 30 and 60 days. Refinancing can take longer. Real estate agents readily see why the former usually moves faster than the latter: with mortgage purchases you often have a home seller moving out and a buyer moving in and things could get complicated (and costly) if all doesn’t chug along promptly. Expeditious closings keep everyone happy.
Does the type of mortgage matter? The conventional wisdom held by many real estate agents is that conventional mortgages go faster than government-backed ones. The logic is that FHA-approved mortgages have more requirements and thus take more time. But recent data shows that the difference is negligible. From March 2020 to February 2021, the average closing time of a conventional purchase mortgage was 45 days, while FHA mortgages lagged only slightly behind at 47 days on average. Both landed fairly close to the center of the traditional average of between 30 and 60 days. So it’s the fortunate homebuyer who can come in under 30 days with a fast purchase.
Why is a fast purchase a good idea when buying a home?
It’s been said that waiting is the hardest part, and that’s perhaps never as true as when both considerable money and the roof over your head are hanging in the balance. Waiting for the underwriter, for employment verification, the appraiser. All the time wondering what is taking everyone so much time? These are things one normally can’t fully control, but some things can be done to streamline the closing process and bring about the resolution sooner. Keeping clients happy and freeing up listing agents to move on and sell more homes.
Some ways to avoid closing delays
Steer clear of busy lenders. When the market is in a lull, this isn’t as much of an issue. But with the current red-hot housing market, some lending firms can get overwhelmed with mortgage applications, causing longer wait times for much-needed services like inspections and appraisals. Best to stick with a well-staffed outfit like City Lending and its team of professionals, licensed in more than 15 states.
Early appraisals and inspections can make all the difference. Many real estate agents have been faced with the issue of having an appraisal that’s lower than the purchase price, necessitating the need for a second opinion, or the seller dropping the price. These things take time. Also, appraisals and inspections can reveal problems that require repairs or further negotiations. A delay in the appraisal could mean a delay in the closing.
The devil is in the documents
If a borrower doesn’t have the documents that the lender needs, a delay in closing could also result. So it’s important to have a checklist that includes credit card bills, employer income verification, federal income taxes for the past two years, plus any other documents the lender requires. And don’t forget to make copies of everything — just in case!
The benefits of a quick sale to the seller
Most of the focus on fast purchase closings is with the buyer, but sellers almost always like quick sales. The prospect of a fast closing makes an offer stronger. Why? That depends on the seller, but common reasons include getting the money they need quickly, meeting a deadline to move for a new job, or school enrollment for their kids. Then there’s the psychological relief that a deal is done — the longer it takes to close, the more time there is for something to go wrong. And from natural disasters to finance issues, real estate agents know the possibility that something could go awry hangs over just about every deal.
When is a good time to close?
If you can manage the timing, closing on a home during the first half of the month is optimal. Closing agents and lenders often push deals that have problems to the end of the month, leaving the first two weeks more open and making it more likely for the buyer to get the exact day they wish to close.
What could slow down the closing process?
If you’re going to hit a hitch that delays the closing process, it’s going to be in one of two areas: loan or property. Or both. With the former, borrowers should not engage in any behavior that could affect their credit as the closing is in process. That means not making any big purchases using existing credit cards and not opening any new lines of credit until the deal is finalized. Lenders will know if you do and it could impact your mortgage. The same is true for any large transactions; lenders need to be looped in on any large transfers, deposits, or withdraws that could change the terms of the mortgage.
What causes the most delays in real estate closings?
A survey by the National Association of Realtors found, unsurprisingly, that the number-one issue is money. A whopping 29% of closings hit roadblocks over financial issues, making pre-approved mortgages a good idea to have in place before a buyer chooses their dream home. Appraisals run close second in closing delays, coming in at 23% on the NAR’s survey.
For most, it’s best to get the keys to their new home in a matter of weeks with a fast closing rather than stretching out the mortgage process over two months or more. Contact an agent today to see about putting your fast purchase closing in motion.