Living Green Olympia: More Questions Buyers Ask - "Once I Make An Offer, How Long 'Til I Can Move In?"

More Questions Buyers Ask - "Once I Make An Offer, How Long 'Til I Can Move In?"


Questions Buyers/Sellers Ask

Once buyers find the right house and are ready to make an offer, this question almost always comes up - "Once I make an offer, how long 'til I can move in?"  The short answer is the timing depends on what buyers and sellers agree to, as long as it is enough time for all the necessary steps to get done.

But what does that mean?  Here in the Olympia, WA area, what is really common is a period of 30-45 days from the time the buyers and sellers reach agreement on all of the details of the offer until the sale closes.  And that addresses the first necessary thing about closing dates - what does the buyer want?  what does the seller want?  What date can they both agree to?  Lots of factors here like whether the seller has already moved out of the house, are one or both parties trying to accomplish the move before school starts, or not until school ends for the year, does the buyer have to wait until the closing of their current home before they complete this purchase.

And beyond the preferences of both buyers and sellers, enough time must be allowed for all the necessary steps in the transaction to be completed.  This typically includes the buyer having an inspection done, negotiating over possible repairs and the seller then having agreed to repairs completed.  It includes the title company doing their title search to determine what liens may be on the property that need to be paid off at closing, as well as any other issues that must be resolved before buyer can get clear title to the property at closing.

Plus a major consideration in the closing timeframe - the lender must complete all of the necessary steps to approve the buyers for the amount needed to purchase the house, and have an appraisal conducted to verify that the purchase price is in line with comparable recent sales. Your lender will be able to give you an estimate of the time they will need for your loan to be ready.

Of course, if the buyer does not need to borrow money, the timeframe can change dramatically - I have seen cash sales completed in as short a time as a week.

But assuming that the buyer does need to borrow some funds to make this happen, figure on 30-45 days as a starting point.  Then factor in any other unique aspects to the sale and allow adequate time, come to agreement with the seller - and voila - you now have a closing date to plan around for your move!




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Nancy Conner, City Realty Inc,    360-701-1086      

Comment balloon 4 commentsNancy Conner • January 06 2011 03:17PM


I just had a transaction where the buyer was very easy and agreed to everything as long as he got the price he wanted and then he signed and we went into escrow.  After that he said when can I move in.  I told him the custom here is close of escrow plus 3 days.  He wanted to see the contract and I show him where he signed.  He made this big fuss about it being his house and the seller would be in it for three days.  Being new to America he did not understand our custom or did he read the contract. Since I had both sides of the transaction he thought I was not working in his best interest. 


Posted by Ronald S. Accornero (OC Signature Properties) almost 8 years ago

Oh that sounds like a frustrating thing for both the buyer and for you!  Possession and closing on the same day is more common here in Olympia, but still many buyers think they should and will get keys the instant they sign papers for closing.  Hard to make sure they understand the difference between when they sign, when the sale closes and what the contract says about when possession will be.

Posted by Nancy Conner, Olympia/Thurston County WA almost 8 years ago

Possession on the day of closing is also customary in Massachusetts.

Posted by Kevin Vitali, Helping Massachusetts Home Buyers and Home Sellers (EXIT Realty- Massachusetts Short Sales & Residential Sales) almost 8 years ago

Thanks for stopping by Kevin.  Our purchase & sale language specifies that buyer gets possession at 9 PM on the date the sale closes (unless otherwise agreed to of course).  Most of the time it ends up that buyers get keys by late afternoon but definitely unusual to see the 3 day after closing language here...Interesting how things vary by region, isn't it?

Posted by Nancy Conner, Olympia/Thurston County WA almost 8 years ago