Back To Blog

Ask Charles Cherney - Question #50 - What is the normal real estate transaction timeline?


What is the normal
real estate transaction timeline
in Cambridge and Somerville, MA?

What is the normal real estate transaction timeline in Cambridge and Somerville, MA?
The short answer is that from accepted offer to closing,
the typical timeline is four to six weeks.

Many buyers and sellers often ask what the normal real estate transaction timeline looks like in Cambridge and Somerville, MA.

Here is summary overview:

An offer is made and accepted. A check ("The binder") is presented with the offer. Generally speaking, the check is made out to the listing broker office for the property. Current pre-approval letter or proof of funds is attached to the offer.

Inspections: If the offer accepted includes any inspection contingencies, the next step is completing inspections. Most common is a home inspection. A buyer may also have a pest inspection or other inspections done. By law, for properties built before 1978, the buyer has 10 days to have a lead paint inspection completed. The buyer indicates on the lead paint form if they are accepting or waiving their right to this particular inspection. Typically, inspections are completed within 7 days of offer acceptance.

Purchase and Sale Agreement: If the Buyer is satisfied with the results of any and all inspections, the Buyer will usually secure a real estate attorney at this juncture to begin communicating with the Seller's real estate attorney about the purchase and sale agreement - "The P&S." The P&S replaces the signed, accepted offer as the document binding Buyer and Seller in the transaction. Usually, the purchase and sale is signed a few business days after the inspection period time frame ends. A second check, usually for 5% of the purchase price, is written by the Buyer at this stage. It joins the first check (the binder) in the escrow account established for the transaction.

Mortgage Commitment: Generally speaking, for a deal with a mortgage contingency, the mortgage commitment letter is issued by the lender three to four weeks after the signing of the purchase and sale agreement. The mortgage contingency is usually the last contingency to be satisfied. Next step is the closing! 

Closing: The date arrives for the transfer of real estate. Generally speaking, the closing date is four to six weeks after offer acceptance.

I help Buyers BUY and Sellers SELL in Cambridge and Somerville, MA. Here to help you. Let's talk.

Call me at 617-733-8937 or email me.

See answers to frequently asked real estate questions at

Check out all editions of the Cambridge Somerville Buy Sell Report at         

Cambridge and Somerville Real Estate Blog