Once the Purchase Agreement is signed, you may think negotiating is over. But after you accept an offer on your home, there are still several steps until closing, and buyers could back out of the deal. It typically takes 4-8 weeks from the time a purchase agreement is signed until closing day, although the time can vary based on the agreement between the buyer and seller.
Here is what to expect during those weeks when you are waiting to close:
- Earnest Money. Once the home goes under contract, earnest money is deposited into an escrow account. This lets you, as a seller, know that the buyer is serious about the home.
- Home Inspection. Usually, within 7 days of a contract being signed, a home inspection will occur. The inspector looks for all issues with the home. Once the report comes back, the buyer will usually ask for certain items to be fixed. You can fix these items, or negotiate with the buyer. The buyer can back out during this time, so you’ll want to keep that in mind as you negotiate.
- Appraisal. Within a few days of the inspection, the appraisal takes place. If the home appraises for the selling price or higher, there will be no issues here. If the appraisal comes back lower, the buyer can, and probably will, ask for the price of the home to be lowered to the appraisal price.
- Pack Up. Once the home inspection and appraisal are cleared, begin packing up. You will want to make sure the home is cleaned out before the day of closing.
- Cancel Utilities. Call your utilities and disconnect for the date of closing. The water company will be the only utility you cannot cancel until the new owners have a closing statement.
- Clear to Close. One to three days before closing, the buyer’s “clear to close” will come through from their lender. This means they are fully approved and ready to sign paperwork at closing. If buyers haven’t met all the conditions of the loan, the closing date could get pushed back.
Remain in communication with your real estate agent as you near your closing date. This will ensure everybody is on the same page throughout the final steps and allow you to close on time.