Congratulations! You have accepted an offer for the sale of your home, and opened escrow. 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 is shorter. Sometimes it’s longer. You and the Buyers agree to a timeline during the contract negotiation.
Here’s a general escrow timeline for home sellers. While there may be variations in your sale, this should give you a good idea of what to expect.
The first week of an escrow is usually the busiest.
If the property is located in a planned community with a Homeowner Association, the Escrow Officer will order Homeowner Association documentation, which is sent directly to the Buyer. The Escrow Officer will contact the Seller to pay for the document fee.
Most home sellers have an outstanding mortgage on the home they are selling. The Escrow Officer pays off that mortgage as soon as the Buyer pays for the property. The Escrow Officer sends the Seller a number of forms to complete, to start the mortgage payoff process. The Escrow Officer will also invite you to the office to sign the Grant Deed with a Notary Public.
There are often four inspections during the first week of escrow:
Home Inspection – The Home Inspection is ordered and paid for by the Buyer. The Home Inspector might recommend further inspections, such as a pool inspection or roof inspection, which are normally paid for by the Buyer.
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 the Buyer is taking out a loan to help pay for the home, an appraisal is required. The Buyer pays for the appraisal, but does not attend the appraisal appointment.
Termite/Wood-Destroying Pest Inspection – The Buyer may request a termite inspection when making the offer to buy your home. 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.
The second week of escrow is usually the “Decision-Making” week. Buyers receive the information they need to decide how to proceed.
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. Sometimes, it’s a combination of both solutions.
Buyers will review the Seller Disclosures, including the HOA documentation. This will help them decide if they want to go through with the purchase of the home.
The home inspector will provide the Buyer with a Home Inspection Report. Buyers 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.
Buyers will sign Contingency Releases, which firm up their commitment 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. The number of days includes weekends.
Once all contingencies are released, the Seller can schedule any agreed-upon repairs.
During the final week, 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.
Once the Buyer signs loan documents, the loan is funded, and the grant deed is recorded at the Assessor’s Office, the Buyer takes possession of the property. The Escrow Officer will wire transfer the Seller’s Net Proceeds, and the sale is complete!