The Escrow Process: Timelines for Buying & Selling a Home [VIDEO]

Fun fact: Warren Buffet could buy 10,000 homes in one day.  And play 18 holes.

Shocker: I’m not Warren Buffet.  (if you are, I’ve been trying to reach you— please call me!) 

For the rest of us, there is the traditional timeline and general order of events in large transactions such as buying or selling a home.

If you plan on doing either, it would behoove you to read on…


For both buying and selling a home, once you’ve got an accepted Purchase Agreement (learn more about the Purchase Agreement HERE), there is a timeline that follows up until the transaction closes, based on the terms agreed to in the purchase contract.  Now keep in mind that the specific time tables will vary, depending on what you agreed on in the contract, but let’s go over the typical time-frames for a thirty-day escrow.


Alright, so both sides have come to an agreement on the terms, the purchase agreement is fully signed and accepted by both sides.

Unless it falls on a weekend, escrow will typically be opened the following day.  At this point in time, the point of contact for escrow and title reps are typically provided to both sides.  Escrow will provide wiring instructions to the buyer for wiring their Earnest Money Deposit, (see HERE for helpful video about the EMD) and the seventeen day period for buyer investigations begins.


This is the first day of the buyer’s seventeen day due diligence time period. (see HERE for great detailed video about the Home Buyer’s due diligence period).  The clock is ticking.  During the seventeen days following the date that the offer was accepted, the buyer will have this time to review all seller disclosures, Local Area and Natural Hazard disclosures, Preliminary Title report, Home Owner Association documents and CC&R’s— if applicable— as well as have all inspections and investigations done on the property that the buyer chooses to, such as a Home Inspection, a Pool Inspection, etcetera.

During this time period, the buyer and the seller will be sent their escrow packages from the escrow company for completion.  If the buyer is getting a loan to purchase the property, the Appraisal will typically be completed within this time period as well.


By the end of day three, the buyer will have deposited the agreed-on Earnest Money Deposit into escrow, where it will be held for the duration of the transaction.


By this time, the seller should have completed and submitted all required seller disclosures to the buyer for their review. (go HERE for a video explanation of disclosures when buying a home).


Prior to the seventeenth day, the buyer will have the opportunity to submit any requests for repairs or credits to the seller, based on any new concerns or issues the buyer may have run across during the due diligence period.  Now the seller is not obligated to agree to all or any of the requests, although it is typically customary to take care some of the reasonable requests.

By the end of the seventeenth day, the buyer must remove their investigation contingencies or cancel the deal if they no longer wish to purchase the property.  When the buyer removes these contingencies, they are removing their right to back out with no repercussions (without putting their Earnest Money Deposit at risk), and they’re indicating that they plan on moving forward with the purchase and closing the deal.


By the twenty-first day, the buyer will need to remove their financing contingency as well, provided the buyer is obtaining a loan for the purchase.  Typically at this point, all contingencies have been removed by the buyer, and the buyer is working with their lender to wrap up the loan package and submit any final loan conditions to the underwriter.

The Week leading up to Closing

Several days before closing, the buyer should be signing loan documents with a notary, which will be sent to escrow and the lender for final review and approval.  Once all of the lender’s funding conditions have been met, the file is placed in line for funding.

24-72 Hours prior to Closing

Once the loan has funded— meaning the loan funds have been received by escrow— the funds are dispersed accordingly.  Typically later the same day, or the following day, the deed will be taken down to the county Recorder’s Office for recording. Upon confirmation of recording, the title has officially been transferred to the buyer and escrow is closed!

Although this timeframe may vary for different scenarios and transactions, this is the typical time-line for a purchase and sale transaction.

For more information on the buying or selling process, check out our website for tons of other resources for buyers and sellers.

We aim to be your go-to real estate team for life!

Let us know how we can help you!