When a contract is written, who gets to choose the closing date, the buyer or the seller?
The normal range for closings is 30 to 60 days after ratification of the purchase contract, but other factors--such as contingencies--can influence how long a closing will take. Contingencies, including those for the buyer's financing, for property inspections, and for title examination, must be satisfied before closing can go through.
In terms of financing contingencies, for example, it may take as much as four weeks to approve a mortgage; however, borrowers who obtain pre-approval before placing a bid on the home are likely to go to closing more quickly because they have already been approved for the loan. A cash buyer, on the other hand, can close in a matter of days--although getting the property inspected should add at least another week or two to the process.
Finally, closing does not have to coincide with the actual possession of the property by the buyer; sellers who cannot move out right away or buyers who want to take advantage of low interest rates before they climb instead can arrange a rent-back agreement that allows the two sides to close on the deal. In this case, the buyers rent the home back to the sellers for a set period of time before actually taking up residence themselves.