How long will it take me to buy a home?

How long will it take me to buy a home? This is a VERY IMPORTANT question for a home buyer but the unfortunate answer is, “well it depends . . . .”

Realistically the date from the time you begin looking for a home to the day you walk in your home “keys in hand” will be different for almost everyone. According to Realtor.com, the average is about 50 days (after you find the right home) but that depends on many, many along the way. Lets take a look at the typical steps below and some rough dates, just to give you an idea.

First, let’s assume you have been pre-approved by your Lender and already have a REALTOR, and if you don’t, of course I can help you with that one!

  • Finding your home. Locally we are in a very tight market for Buyers but for illustration let’s say you are lucky enough to find your dream home in 30 days.
  • Writing an Offer and Having it Accepted. Often negotiation takes place between Buyer and Seller with a possible counter but let’s say this is resolved in 5 business days.
  • Property Inspections. A property inspection gives the Buyer an opportunity to hire a professional (or professionals) to check for structural, electrical, mechanical, pest and/or environmental issues. Of course the seller won’t make this an open ended timeframe so let’s assume this takes 10 days.
  • Seller responds to repair request after inspection. If issues were uncovered during the inspection negotiation may be reopened between buyer and seller as to how these are resolved. Let’s assume this takes 7 days.
  • Formal Mortgage application and Appraisal. This can vary depending on the type of loan you use (Conventional, FHA, MSHDA, VA, Rural Development, etc). The appraisal process may be more extensive for Government-backed loans but in essence is the Lender’s way of making sure the house is worth what you are asking to borrow to buy the home. We will assume this phase takes 3 weeks.
  • Clear to Close complete. Assuming the appraisal is good to go, Underwriting and document preparation will take place. This will be approximately another week.
  • Closing Takes Place. Closing typically takes place at a Title company office and needs to be coordinated with multiple parties, Buyer, Seller, Lender, Realtors, etc. There are also occasions where the Seller has negotiated moving out after closing and “renting” back from the Buyer but we will assume for this example that the Buyer’s occupancy occurs at closing. We will assume one more week until closing is scheduled.

So what is our total time frame in this example?

  • 30 days to find your home + 5 days to Offer/Acceptance + 10 days for Property Inspections +7 days for Response/Repairs after inspection + 21 days for Mortgage Application & Appraisal +7 days for Clear to Close + 7 days until closing = 87 days or ~ 3 months from the beginning of your property search!

Of course many things can occur to speed up the timing: Finding your home quickly, no repairs needed, etc. There will also be elements that delay timing such as certain types of financing, extensive repairs and availability of inspectors/appraisers. There are also other activities NOT mentioned above that are going on simultaneously and if delayed can affect timing, these include Well/Septic inspections, Title Work, etc.

It is easy to get overwhelmed with the Buying process however having an experienced REALTOR guide you through the process can take away a tremendous amount of stress!  To be safe, start looking sooner rather than later. Give me a call and lets talk about your timing and process!