Buyer Closing Process
After the last buyer or seller has signed the purchase & sales agreement, that date becomes the "Effective Date" of the contract and it is deemed "Executed".
In Florida, the buyer of a property receives the deed and if there is a mortgage, the lender holds the lien. When you buy a property, it is not yours until you officially "Close" on the property. If you are buying a home, that means you can move in until the closing is finished and then you are handed the keys!
Closings in Saint Johns County are most often handled by a title company that will take care of all the details. The closing will be at their office. Most often you will meet the seller(s) there, the seller's sales associate or broker, and any other parties involved in the transaction. If you are doing a mortgage, sometimes the loan officer you have been working with may be there too.
The closing process starts right after the sales agreement becomes "executed" and becomes a contract. An all cash transaction can be closed in a very short time. I've even closed one in one week. If you getting a mortgage, that process with the lender can take up to 45 days or more. Typically if the buyer has already been pre-approved (made application with a lender and produced all the documents the underwriters will require), that can be as little as 20-30 days.
During the closing period, there are all kinds of things that can speed up or delay a closing. First is the home inspection. If it is satisfactory to the buyers or some defects presented to the seller will be taken care of, then the process can continue. During that same period, a survey if a current one was not provided by the seller will be scheduled. It usually takes about 7-10 days for that to be completed. When the underwriters at the lender have all the documents processed and becomes acceptable, then the lender will order an appraisal. This can take another 7-10 days before the lender receives it. At that point, the lender will need a few more days to become ready to close..
Needless to say, a lot has to happen between the time your offer was accepted by the seller(s) and the closing day. This is when you will appreciate having a good realtor at your side handling it for you.
Very Important: All critical dates start with the effective date and depending on the type of contract, some deadline dates use calendar days and some other terms may exclude weekends or holidays in the counting of days. Critical dates include the number of days for your earnest money to be delivered, the date the home inspection period is completed, the date for lender loan acceptance, and more.
It is critical to not miss a deadline - doing so can nullify the contract. This is where it pays to have a good Realtor working for you that keeps you on track so you don't get in trouble.