Many people, especially first-time home buyers, wonder how long a house can be under contract until sold. Most house sales that involve a mortgage take about 60 days to close. However, for a cash sale it can be as little as a week. On the other hand, if there are problems the process may take several months. Most of the time: 

  • Sales with a mortgage close about 45 days after the home inspection 
  • If a contract falls through, it is early. However, if the buyer has a problem securing a mortgage it may happen late 

The process may be much quicker with a cash buyer. A person who does not need a mortgage may close on a house in as little as one week.  

How Long to Close on a House After Inspection? 

According to Quicken Loans if there are no problems, house sales usually take about 45 days after inspection to close. It takes that long for the buyer to get their mortgage approval and then finalize the paperwork for the closing. 

If there is a problem with the inspection it may take much longer. Some problems are easy to resolve, but others are time consuming and may be expensive. If the buyer and seller renegotiate then they may resolve the problem quickly. However, if the parties agree that the seller will remediate the problem it may stay under contract or pending longer. 

How Long is a House Under Contract Before It Falls Through? 

Investopedia tells us that a house may be under contract for a short or long time before it falls through. Most of the time this happens within the first week. This is during the attorney review period right at the beginning of the process when the there is no penalty for backing out.  

Beyond the attorney review most contracts fail because of home inspection issues. Again, this is early in the process because this happens immediately after the review period. These issues are by far the most common reasons for buyers backing out.  

The other common cause for a real estate deal to fall apart is because the buyer cannot secure a mortgage. Since this is what takes the most amount of time it can happen late in the process, sometimes close to closing, 60 days in. 

Final Thoughts on How Long a House Can be Under Contract 

If you work with a professional real estate agent, you will be under contract about 60 days if the buyer needs a mortgage (which is most of the time). While the process is time consuming it is structured and consistent. About 90% of sales go this way. 

Becasue these transactions can be complicated, and problems do often arise it may take longer if there is a significant issue that needs to be resolved. Structural problems with the property and financing issues are the two most common problems that come up. 

Real estate professionals routinely guide buyers and sellers through the process within two months. You can help move things along by keeping good financial records and staying on top of paperwork and appointments.

Frequently Asked Questions