February 3rd, 2017 5:07 AM by Jackie A. Graves, President
Homes aren’t impulse purchases. It takes time to sift through
listings and make your way from one home showing to the next; then, of
course, there are those agonizing hours you wait to find out if your offer
on a house was accepted, whether you can secure financing, and any number
of other holdups.
Just so you’re prepared to play the waiting game, here are
the steps to buy a house and how long they typically take, so
you aren’t sitting there holding your breath and wondering if something’s up.
Answer: A couple of
days to a few weeks
Your real estate agent should be your most trusted
consultant during the home-buying process. Don’t skimp on the search—even if
you’re in a rush.
“The home-buying process is a complicated one, and the chosen
agent must be the person who can best relay each step of the process in a
way that will be understandable and reassuring to the homeowner,” says Diane
Henderson, a Realtor® with McEnearney Associates in Alexandria,
“Find the Realtor that ‘fits’ you,” she adds. “The whole
process will go a lot more smoothly.”
Not sure where to find this special person? Head to realtor.com®‘s Find a REALTOR online tool to locate
Realtors in your area.
Answer: At least two weeks
Getting approved (or pre-approved) for a mortgage is no simple
process. Lenders need to examine your documentation, review your financial
information, and reconcile any problems. So even if all your documents are
in order and you’re a stellar candidate, expect to wait two weeks or more to
find out if you got the green light.
minutes to an hour
This one is largely up to you. A showing could be as quick
as five minutes if you immediately decide you don’t like the property. But
if you are interested, odds are you
will take your time, poking your head into every closet and turning
on every faucet.
That said, odds are you will know a home is The One
surprisingly soon: One study found buyers spend an average
of just 17 minutes inside a property
before deciding to buy it.
Still, it’s essential to buy a home with your head
as well as your heart, so go ahead and take your time to thoroughly vet
than three days
Unlike on “Property Brothers,” where offers are always accepted
in a flash, the real world takes a bit more time. You may be tapping your
toes in anticipation, but sellers have some leeway when responding to
an offer. They have three options, each of which needs to be mulled
over: Whether to accept your offer outright, counter it, or reject it.
Expect to hear back within three days (but
hopefully sooner). Foreclosures are exceptions; banks might take
up to 10 days to respond.
to three hours for the inspection, then 48 hours for the results
Buyers should attend the
home inspection, but be prepared for it to take a while.
Inspections typically take about two to three hours—enough time for your
inspector to examine the foundation, structure, fireplace, and other common
problem spots. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, even if it means taking 30
“This is the best time to investigate your new home,” says Jeff
Knox, the owner of Knox & Associates in Dallas. “After
all, you have a licensed home inspector by your side. Nothing in the house is
off-limits during your home inspection.”
Once the inspection is completed, expect to see a report in
two days. When you have it in hand, you can work with the sellers to
determine if any changes need to be made before closing.
Answer: Up to
Like a home inspection, the appraiser—the
professional who estimates the home’s value on behalf of your lender—might
spend a few hours examining the property (and this time, your
presence isn’t necessary). After viewing the house, the appraiser will
examine comparable homes in the neighborhood (“comps”) and look through the
Because their prepared report can be quite comprehensive,
sometimes reaching a hundred pages or more, its composition can
take some time. Expect your lender to receive the report within two weeks.
Answer: 50 days
closing times are lengthening, currently averaging 50 days. Yes, it’s a
pain. No one wants to wait more than a month to take
possession of their new home, but don’t rush due diligence. Your
lender will have a number of requirements, including providing paperwork like
tax returns, before underwriting is complete. You can expedite this
process (slightly) by having necessary documents prepared in advance.
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