June 26th, 2019 6:15 AM by Jackie A. Graves, President
house is thrilling, but it can take a lot longer than you might expect. Think
of all the financial hoops you’ll need to jump through before you get the keys,
not to mention finding a home you can afford that checks all of the boxes on
your wish list.
wondering how long it takes to buy a house, the answer is it depends. On average, a
homebuyer can spend a few days to go through the initial pre-approval process,
anywhere from a few weeks to a few months shopping for the right home, and 30
to 45 days to close the deal.
timeline can go faster or slower depending on what your local market is like,
your financing situation, the number of homes for sale in your price range, and
even the time of year you’re searching.
the buyers that have ‘window shopped’ previously, whether it’s online or
attending open houses, are more motivated,” says Jessica Soetan, a real estate
broker with Premier Midwest Realty in South Holland, Illinois.
many moving parts involved in buying a house that knowing what could expedite
or delay any part of the process. Understanding different factors will give you
a realistic insight as to how long it takes to buy a house.
How long does it take to buy a house?
A step-by-step guide
out your home-buying timeline, here’s a closer look at each step along the way:
Getting preapproved for a mortgage
Getting preapproved for a mortgage shows that
you’re serious about buying a house. It also confirms how much you can borrow.
Lenders typically ask for things such as your assets, income and credit history
to make their assessment. You’ll receive a loan estimate within three business
days after applying for a mortgage that outlines your loan amount, interest
rate and other loan details.
up your finances in order to get a preapproval can take longer, especially if
you need to pay down credit card bills or fix errors on your credit report.
general timeline of what you’ll need to prepare before submitting paperwork:
Finding a home
you’re preapproved for a mortgage, you can start looking for a house since you
know how much house you can afford. At this stage
in the process, you can find a real estate agent and start shopping around for
house-hunting process can go faster or take longer, depending on your desired
location, season, buying competition and available homes for sale that match
my clients look at around six homes before making a decision, but for clients
who are really specific with their needs, it can be up to 20 homes,” Soetan says.
Negotiating a contract
you’ve found the house you want to buy, your real estate agent will help you
put in an offer.
the seller must give you a reply within 48 to 72 hours,” Soetan says. “The
seller and buyer can go back and forth negotiating terms, such as price or
other contingencies, which could delay an approval.”
offer is approved, the next step is for you to schedule a home inspection. Depending on your state’s laws, a
home inspection typically needs to be completed within 10 days after you sign a
purchase agreement. If any major concerns crop up after the home inspection, it
could take more time to negotiate repairs or seller credits.
live, many homes still have septic tanks that need to be tested prior to a
house sale,” says Jennifer Mattson, a buyer’s agent with Nest Real Estate
in Manchester-by-the-Sea, Massachusetts. “I had one home where a new tank
needed to be installed, and it delayed the closing by three additional weeks.”
The closing process
home inspection is done, your lender will then move the loan into underwriting. You may need to submit additional
documentation for your lender to clear your loan to close, and the lender will
order an appraisal to assess the home’s value. It can take anywhere from 30 to
45 days to close a loan, depending on the lender and your loan program’s
on the type of loan you take out, it could take slightly longer because of the
types of assessments and paperwork needed.
the buyer may already be preapproved for financing, once an offer is accepted
on a property, the home is then assessed to see if it can be financed,” Mattson
says. “The lender needs to perform a series of steps to ensure this is a good
risk for them.”
example, an FHA loan or VA loan can take a few extra days to get final
approval because of additional documentation that is needed. And if there have
been major changes to your financial situation since you were preapproved, your
loan might be delayed as well.
mortgage is approved, your lender will give you a copy of your closing
disclosure at least three business days before the closing date. The closing
disclosure lists all of the loan details, fees and terms, as well as what
you’ll need to pay in closing costs to finalize the purchase.
asking yourself “How long does it take to buy a home?” the answer, as you can
see, isn’t precise. The earlier you get a head start on ironing out your
finances and credit, as well as securing a preapproval and saving for a down
payment, the better your chances are of ensuring you’ll have a smoother and
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