Typical FSBO Contract Timeline

Typical FSBO Contract Timeline

For your FSBO, here is a typical contract timeline based on the standard CAR form purchase agreement:

  • Start of the process – Purchase agreement is signed. All days in the contract are counted from this date (such that the signing date is Day 0).  For example, if you sign the contract on June 17, then Day 1 means June 18.
  • Day 1 – Buyer provides the signed purchase agreement to Buyer’s lender for next steps in the loan application process. It is the Buyer’s responsibility to work with their lender throughout the loan approval process, to provide the lender any information and documents requested, such as proof of income.  
  • By Day 3– Buyer opens escrow, and Buyer gives the initial deposit (earnest money) to the escrow company.  The initial deposit counts toward the purchase price. 
  • By Day 4– Buyer and Seller coordinate a convenient date/time for any inspection(s) by Buyer’s contractor(s), such as a pest inspection and home inspection.  Under the standard contract, Buyer pays for inspections, but neither party is required to do any repairs. 
  • By Day 5 – Escrow sends Seller the initial escrow packet/info-request.  This is a simple form requesting some profile information to confirm the Seller’s identity.
  • By Day 6 – Escrow sends the preliminary title report to the Buyer.  This is the document that explains the title history.
  • By Day 7 – Seller provides disclosures to Buyer.  There are many required disclosures in California.
  • Within 10-days – Buyer’s lender contacts Seller to coordinate a convenient date/time for the lender to complete the appraisal (if any)
  • By Day 16 – Seller provides escrow with answers to any questions in the initial escrow packet.
  • By Day 15 – Buyer’s contractor(s) completes any desired inspections.
  • By Day 16 – The lender’s appraisal is complete.
  • By Day 17 – Buyer releases the following contingencies: inspection, investigation, and appraisal.
  • By Day 19 – Buyer has provided to Buyer’s lender all documents requested by the lender.
  • By Day 20 – Buyer confirms with Buyer’s lender that the lender approves Buyer releasing the loan approval contingency (in other words, the lender has provided final approval for the loan).
  • By Day 21 – Buyer releases the loan approval contingency.
  • By Day 22 – Each party requests from escrow an advance copy of their ‘closing documents’ so they can review. 
  • Approximately Day 25 – Escrow contacts the parties to schedule signing appointments for closing documents.  
  • By Day 26. This is a good time for Seller and Buyer to discuss final items (i.e., final walk through (optional), transfer of keys, utilities, any appliance warranties).
  • Approximately Day 28 – Loan documents are provided to escrow. Buyer makes the final deposit with escrow. The parties sign and notarize their respective closing documents (this can be done separately, no need for everyone to sign at the same time or place). 
  • Day 30 – Close of escrow, all funds are paid, deed is recorded with the County. It’s official.  

The summary above is a general guide, but your specific contract terms will determine the actual dates. Additionally, there may be other items to consider or include, depending on your specific contract such as:

  • HOA. If the property has a Homeowner’s Association, then you need to order HOA documents as soon as possible
  • Repairs. Most sales are as-is, so no repairs are required. But if your contract requires you to complete repairs, then that needs to be included in your contract timeline.
  • Local Requirements.  Some cities have special requirements (such as sewer lateral inspection), so it is smart to check this.

Need some help with forms, disclosures, anything? Call me or email anytime!

Greg Glaser, Attorney at Law
I help home buyers & sellers throughout California
209-785-8998 — [email protected]
Flat Fee Packages Available (no commission) for Buyers and Sellers Without a Realtor


  1. As an experienced FSBO seller needing to brush up, I can say that this is one of the most useful articles in this highly useful and informative blog. Well done, and thank you!

  2. I have noticed that on day 21, it’s stated that the buyer releases the loan approval contingency. However, I’ve been contemplating whether it might be beneficial for the seller to request proof of funds or a pre-approval letter from all potential buyers, possibly even before scheduling property showings. Implementing this requirement at the outset of the process could potentially mitigate the risk of buyers canceling their offers later in the process due to financing issues.

    1. Good question. Many agents like to pre-screen buyers before showings and the agents consider this one of their brokerage services. In my experience this doesn’t happen with FSBOs, and indeed there is a finesse to requesting proof of funds and loan pre-approvals ahead of time. The most important thing is you don’t want to turn away interested buyers, or imply distrust early in the relationship. On the other, you don’t want to waste your time. Sellers should trust their instincts here. In my experience FSBO sellers are comfortable showing homes without previewing a proof of funds.

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