Buyer Escrow Timeline
Congratulations! Your offer was accepted, and you have opened escrow on your new home. So what’s next? How long should everything take? Is there a general escrow timeline to follow?
It usually takes between 30 to 60 days for an escrow to close. Sometimes the escrow timeline can be shorter or longer. You and the Sellers agree to an escrow timeline during the contract negotiation.
Here’s a general escrow timeline for home buyers. While every sale is different, this should give you a good idea of what to expect.
Week One – Inspections and Disclosures
The first week of an escrow timeline is usually the busiest.
There are often four inspections during the first week of escrow:
- Home Inspection – The Home Inspection is ordered and paid for by you, the Buyer. The Home Inspector might recommend further inspections, such as a pool inspection or roof inspection, which are usually the Buyer’s responsibility. Read more about Home Inspections.
- Agent Visual Inspection – The Agent representing the Buyer conducts a visual inspection. The findings are written up in an Agent Visual Inspection Disclosure, and signed by Buyers and Sellers. This inspection usually takes place at the same time as the Home Inspection.
- Lender Appraisal Inspection – If you are taking out a mortgage, a lender appraisal is required. You will pay the lender for the appraisal, but you do not attend the appraisal appointment. Read more about Appraisals.
- Termite/Wood-Destroying Pest Inspection – If you requested a termite inspection in the offer, this inspection should also happen within the first week. Sellers usually pay for this inspection, and Buyers do not attend. The termite company will issue a report that is sent to both Buyers and Sellers.
Sellers normally provide a variety of disclosures to the Buyer. Most of these disclosures describe the property, and reveal any material defects or past issues. Read more about Seller Disclosures. Here in California, most seller disclosures are due to the Buyers within the first 7 days of escrow.
If the property is located in a planned community with a Homeowner Association, the Escrow Officer will order Homeowner Association documentation, and then send directly to you, along with the Preliminary Title Report.
Week Two – Loan Approval and Other Decisions
The second week of escrow is usually the “Decision-Making” week: the lender makes its final decision to approval your loan, and you review all the disclosures to make your final decision about buying the home.
Your lender’s underwriter may request additional documentation for final loan approval. Keep in touch with your loan officer, and continue to provide any information they request.
When the lender receives the Appraisal Report, the Seller will be notified if the appraisal has come in “at value.” In the event that the property appraisal value is lower than the purchase price, decisions need to be made. Sometimes, the Buyer will pay the difference between the appraised value and the purchase price. Sometimes, the Seller will lower the purchase price. It may be a combination of both solutions.
You will review the Seller Disclosures, including the HOA documentation. This will help you decide if you want to go through with the purchase of the home.
The home inspector will provide the you with a Home Inspection Report. You can submit a Request for Repairs to the Seller, which are repairs to be completed by the Seller before Close of Escrow. The Seller can accept or reject the requests. The Seller can also offer a credit to the Buyer in lieu of repairs.
The Request for Repairs can also include any termite repairs, if a termite inspection was ordered.
Week Three – Contingency Releases and Repair Completion
Buyers will sign Contingency Releases, to express your commitment to the Sellers to buy the home. This happens when all inspections are conducted, disclosures are reviewed, repairs are negotiated, and final loan approval is confirmed. In California, the default contract language requires most contingencies to be released on Day 17. The final Loan Approval contingency release is due on Day 21. (These deadlines can be modified during the contract negotiation period.) The number of days includes weekends.
Once all contingencies are released, the Seller will schedule any agreed-upon repairs.
Week Four – Final Details
During the final week of the escrow timeline, all repairs are completed, and receipts are submitted to the Buyer for review. The Buyer also conducts a Final Walk-Through, to inspect the repairs and verify the house is still in the same condition as when the offer was made.
Loan Document Signing – If you are taking out a mortgage, the Escrow Officer will contact you to schedule a loan document signing with a Notary Public. This often takes place at the escrow office, or you can have a mobile notary come to you.
Once the loan is funded, and the grant deed is recorded at the Assessor’s Office, you finally get keys to your new home!