Closings we have taken part in have been as short as 20 minutes from beginning to end, and as long as 4 hours. It all depends on who is involved and how organized those people are. Drama can make it take longer.

If the buyer is using financing to buy a home, that's normally going to be the longest part. There is a lot of paperwork to sign, and they have every right to understand that paperwork and read through it as they are signing. If a buyer is paying with cash, it will be much faster as there are only a few signatures needed. 

The lender can play a huge role... if they are organized and on top of things the closing will be smooth. If they are disorganized or do not verify simple things ahead of time it could be 4 hours long. We know which lenders have their ducks in a row, and also those who do not. Even if a buyer chooses to use a less than stellar lender we as Realtors can push to ensure the mistakes are minimal. No one likes drama at a closing table.

Funding the loan is normally done via wire transfer, as are cash deals. Most lenders are good about getting funds to the title company ahead of time, and some will fund immediately after the paperwork is signed. Once again, there are a few lenders who do not always fund until the next day, and that means possession does not transfer until it happens. How much fun do you think it is for both the buyer and seller that night between signing and taking possession?

The title company is also important, and a closer who is good at their job can make 2 hours feel like 30 minutes. You should always feel comfortable and informed, and the closer shouldn't be rude or hasty to get things done.  Regardless of how long it takes, a closing should be a pleasant experience.