How Long Does It Take to Buy a House?
How long does the Home Buying Process Take?
Maybe you’ve been scouring the web for home listings in your area, but how long does it actually take to buy a house once you’ve decided you’re ready? It’s an excellent question -- especially because the length of the home buying process can vary significantly. It all depends on the area you want to buy a home in, your eligibility, and several other variables.
Getting Pre-Approved for a Mortgage Is Often The First Step
Getting pre-approved for a mortgage is a vital first step in the home purchase process. In the pre-approval process, a home loan lender will take a detailed look at your credit score, your financial history, and your income (including your debt-to-income ratio, or DTI). The time it takes for pre-approval can vary widely from lender to lender, and can range from as little as 1 - 3 days to several months. The more highly qualified you are as a buyer, the faster you’ll get pre-approved.
Finding a Home and Negotiating a Contract
Home selection is another step in the home purchase process that can vary greatly in length. Searching for a house to buy can be fun, but it can be difficult if you can’t find something you like (in the area you want), that you can also afford. Despite the challenges, when you do find a place you think is worth buying, your real estate agent can help you put in an offer.
Typically, the seller will respond in between 1 - 3 days, and they’ll either reject, accept, or counter your offer with a different price. If you accept the offer, you’ll move forward with the inspection and appraisal process, which will often take around two weeks. Assuming there are no major issues, the sale will go forward. However, it could be delayed by minor issues, such as the need for a pest inspection or the need for the seller to complete minor repairs on the home.
Closing Timeline for Home Purchasing
Once you’ve selected the home you want to buy, the seller has accepted your offer, and the home has passed its inspections and appraisal, the next step is the closing process. If you’ve been preapproved for a mortgage, this might take around 30 days. If you haven’t, hold your horses, because you could be in for a 50-day wait or longer. And if you’ve experienced any major changes in your financial situation, such as a drop in your credit score or a major drop in your income, get prepared for a wait as well. These factors could have a big impact on whether your mortgage is actually approved.
In the end, a smart, qualified individual can become a homeowner in as little as three months, though in many cases it can take six months, one year, or even more depending on the homebuyer’s financial situation and the kind of home they want. No matter when you want to buy a home, it always pays to do research -- because the more prepared you are, the faster you can buy the home of your dreams.