2 min read

Once you make an offer, you’ll get under contract for your new home and need to set a closing date. What is a closing date, and why is it so important? Find out what the closing date is all about.

What’s a closing date?

One your closing date, your home purchase is official. It’s registered with the county, money has changed hands, and you’ve become the property owner of record.   

Setting a closing date

Setting your closing date needs to be done with forethought, not just slapping an X on the calendar and saying “that looks close!” Your closing date can be vital to making sure your loan doesn’t fall through. Miss the date, and your seller may be able to walk away from your offer, leaving you hanging.

Contract timelines

A closing date is usually around 30-45 days from the offer date. That said, in a competitive market, or if a seller needs to finish the sale fast due to a relocation, you might need to tighten this timeframe up to get your offer accepted. If you agree to a shorter closing timeline, you’ll need to make sure your lender will play ball. 

Getting preapproved can facilitate a faster closing and if you can get your underwriting out of the way as much as possible, do that as well. On a tight timeline, you may have to approve and pay for your appraisal before your home inspection report comes in, which can mean losing the appraisal money if you have to reject a home due to problems with a roof or foundation., 

Occupancy timelines

On the other hand, if your sellers need extra time to move after they sell, you might try to push closing out a bit, and even then you can agree to close and then let them ‘rent back” the home for a set period of time. Even if you are allowed to occupy immediately after closing, you also may need to arrange moving vans and so on.

If you have a contingency in your contract that allows for you to try and sell your house before you buy the home, you usually have until closing to sell. The seller can’t sell to anyone else during that time. If you can’t get your home sold, you may not make closing and the seller can move on.  

Getting your keys after closing

You’ve successfully purchased a new home – but you may not get the keys right away. Here are some common reasons for delays:

Slow seller signing

If you show up to closing, but the seller hasn’t signed, you might have to wait a bit to get the keys. Buyer and seller sometimes cannot sign on the same day. 

Slow document processing

If you sign late in the day, the records office might close before getting to your filing. This can mean a delay of a day or two as well before you can take possession. 

Slow funds transfer

If your wire for closing costs or down payment funds is delayed, this can throw a wrench in your closing plans. Try to have everything in order a few days early rather than a few days late. The house isn’t yours until it’s paid for!

Closing is where the magic happens, and you turn into a new homeowner. By setting your closing date carefully and keeping it in mind throughout the purchase process, you can finish your home buying experience on a positive note!

View loan limits in your area

Rates & Money is your go-to destination for free information about mortgages. Our home buyer guides and home loan articles are designed to help you make informed decisions when buying a home


Additional Free Tools

Use our free mortgage calculator tools to estimate your monthly mortgage payments based on your unique loan scenario. See how your monthly payment changes by making updates to your home price, down payment, interest rate, and loan term.

Stay informed with what's important to you

Subscribe for Notification

Notification popup

Selected options