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How long does it take to close on a home?

It can take a few weeks to several months to close on a home, depending on how prepared the buyer and seller are.  Getty Images

If you're in the market for a new home, you're likely in for an exciting time. For many, there's nothing like shopping the inventory of available houses in search of one they can call their forever home. But the nail-biting — and the real work — begins when you find your forever home and make an offer that the seller accepts. 

At that point, you'll need to schedule inspections and surveys. You'll also need to be in regular communication with your mortgage company as they work to approve your loan. So, how long does this period of limbo between when your offer is accepted and when you close on your home last? 

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How long does it take to close on a home?

The average time to close on a home is between 45 and 60 days. It's tough to pin down an exact timeframe because there are so many variables at play. 

To close on a home, you'll need to have inspections done and get through the underwriting process. Unfortunately, there may also be hiccups along the way. 

"There are multiple factors that can delay a home closing, such as financing difficulties, appraisal challenges or inspection issues," says Bill Banfield, EVP of capital markets for Rocket Mortgage. "The best way to guard against any potential difficulties is to prepare well in advance — starting to do research early and getting all necessary approvals and documents in order."

How to prepare for a fast closing

If you want to close on your home as quickly as possible, there are a few things that you can do. Those include: 

Get preapproved

"One way to ensure financial readiness when buying a home is to get preapproved," says Banfield. "This helps give the homebuyer additional security and confidence in their offer. To take this one step further, Rocket Mortgage offers a verified approval, which reviews the buyer's credit, income and assets to confirm they qualify for the home loan. This verified approval gives buyers a competitive edge by proving to the seller that their finances are secure and will come through."

Aside from giving you a competitive advantage, getting a preapproval means you know how much money your lender is willing to let you borrow to purchase your home. As such, you're far less likely to run into financing headaches with a preapproval.  

Find out the mortgage loan amount you qualify for today

Avoid taking on any new debt

"One piece of advice homebuyers should keep in mind to ensure there isn't a bump in the mortgage process is not to take on any new debt - like financing new furniture or a car — between being approved for the loan and the mortgage closing," says Banfield. "While this time is extremely exciting, and there may be other large purchases on the horizon for the new homeowner, if the buyer's debt-to-income ratio raises before the mortgage closes it may reach beyond the threshold for qualification."

Of course, if you purchase something that puts your debt-to-income ratio over the approval threshold, you could delay your closing until you either reduce your debt or lose the opportunity to purchase the home altogether. 

Have your paperwork in order

Chances are that your mortgage lender will ask you for a lot of paperwork. If you want to expedite the process, here are the documents you should have in order before you start house hunting: 

  • Tax returns: Lenders typically require two years of tax returns to ensure that there haven't been any significant fluctuations in income. 
  • Pay stubs: Have at least a couple of months of paystubs on hand. If you're self-employed, you may need to prove your income with 1099 documents or other means.  
  • Bank statements: Your lender will likely want to see recent bank statements to get a better understanding of your financial habits. 
  • Gift letters: If your friends or family are helping you purchase your home with gifts, they will need to write gift letters. These letters prove where the money is coming from. 
  • Photo ID: On the off chance you don't have one, you should take the time to get one before applying for a mortgage loan. 
  • Rental history: If you don't currently own a home, your lender may ask for proof that you've paid your rent on time for at least the last year. You may need to offer canceled rent checks or have your landlord write a letter of recommendation.   

Learn more about your mortgage options now

The bottom line

You may be able to close on your home in as little as a few weeks — or it may take as long as a few months. Much of that timeline depends on how well-prepared you and the seller are once the seller accepts your offer. You can follow the tips above to help ensure you have the fastest closing time possible. 

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