The home buying process is exciting but can be lengthy, especially if you have a purchase fall through and have to start over. How long should you expect it to take to buy a home from start to finish?
The overall home buying process can take around four months and can be broken down into three distinct phases: the search (two months), the offer (one month), and the financing (one month). Any one of these steps can take longer, so give yourself plenty of time when considering buying a home.
The National Association of Realtors found that most buyers in 2019 took between four and ten weeks to search for and find their new home. Buyers who used the internet to search typically took longer, closer to ten weeks, and those who relied on in-person searching only averaged four weeks. Give yourself three months to allow enough time to really do a thorough search and not rush into a home that it not the right fit for you because you are limited by time. Working with a real estate agent can help you make your home search efficient.
Once you find the perfect home, it’s time to make an offer and (hopefully) agree on a sales contract with the seller. If they accept your offer without any changes, it can be done in as little as a day. More likely, you will go back and forth a few times and wait for an inspection before your offer is completely accepted. Your real estate agent will come in handy again as they negotiate on your behalf with the seller.
Most lenders recommend allowing 30-45 days to get all financing documents together after having an approved sales contract. This is referred to as the time to close, or get to the final sale. The lender will get the property appraised and send your loan application through underwriting where they scrutinize your finances and ability to repay the loan.
Getting a pre-approval or pre-qualification before beginning your home search can save you time, typically one to two weeks. It can also cut down on negotiation time with the seller as they can see that you are ready to move forward with the purchase and may be more likely to agree to your terms, knowing that you are a reliable buyer.
Once you get the clear to close notification from underwriting, your lender will send over the Closing Disclosure documents. They are required to give you three full days to review these documents before closing and completing the sale.
Once you get to closing and sign all documents, the lender will hand over the keys. Congratulations! After months of hard word, you have bought a house!