In 2002, we set a closing date when we signed a few pieces of paper for the offer, applied for the mortgage with a few more signatures, and then showed up at the closing to sign the lions share of the papers and turn over our financial input (which was the proceeds of the sale of our other house earlier that same day). After the signing we had the keys and the legal permission to occupy the property. On top of that, everything was done well before the closing. We did have a longer time between the accepted offer and the closing since we had to list and sell our other house in the mean time, so that may have helped - a bit.
But this time, we kept having to sign more and more papers, culminating yesterday with a very large signing at the title company which felt an awful lot like our closings in Illinois - and I did a total of 6 of them, three purchases, one sale and two refinances (the other two sales we missed for various reasons). We also turned over most of our financial input. (A slight glitch because of multiple estimates of closing costs, and the fact that we didn't get the final number until just before yesterdays appointment, cause us to have to wire some funds from Illinois this morning). Yet, we still don't have keys nor rights to officially occupy the property. Everyone is confident that we'll get these before Friday - our mortgage broker is talking about "funding" tomorrow. However, I'm not sure that funding will also let us record the sale and take ownership or not.
If I understand what our real estate agent says, we might be OK tomorrow since it is the end of the month. But it is also a state holiday in California, so the county recorder may be closed. So I'm hoping that we'll get the keys tomorrow or Thursday at the latest.
And, this would all be much less frustrating if I hadn't expected to have the keys last Monday since that was our closing date at the time of acceptance.