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How Long Does It Take to Buy a House?

Monday, October 11, 2021

About 64% of millennials that have purchased a home regret making that purchase. Sometimes people get too excited about the idea when they want to buy a house, so they don't pay attention to the little details that go into the whole process.

The truth is that buying a house can be a stressful process, but it is rewarding in the end if you do it right. Whether you're moving to be closer to work or just because you want to upgrade, planning ahead of time and doing your research will help you have a better experience! 

Are you thinking about purchasing a home? If so, knowing how long it will take for you to actually get the new place is pretty important.

Keep reading to learn about the process and how long it takes overall to buy a house.

Start the House Buying Process With Finding a House

After you figure out how much you can afford, you will want to start searching for the perfect new home.

The amount of time that this part of the process takes is going to vary from person to person. Things like the state of your local market, the timeframe you have available to find a new home, and how picky you are will all go into how long this takes.

In order to be certain that you're only looking at homes you can actually afford, it may be worth it for you to speak with your mortgage lenders regarding how much you likely will be able to get for the mortgage. Doing this in general puts you in a more favorable position for dealing with future real estate agents and sellers, but it also will help you have more power when negotiating the overall price when you're ready to buy. 

Once you know that you have the home you want and it is available at the price that works, make your formal offer. Include the pre-approval letter you have in the offer and pay the seller their earnest money. This process can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months for most families that are trying to find a home.

Exchange Contracts Between Buyer and Seller

At this stage, you'll sign legally required contracts with the seller to commit to the sale. You're committing to that specific property. 

You'll be able to work with your real estate agent closely at this stage to ensure that you get the best price, contingencies, and other terms within the deal. You may not get your original offer accepted before contracts are signed, and that's perfectly normal! Be prepared with a counteroffer that you can respond with as soon as possible so other buyers can't swoop in at the last second. 

This whole process will take about a week, but it can take less time than that if the seller is very motivated to sell to you. 

Get a Mortgage From Your Preferred Lender

While you may have been pre-approved for a mortgage already, you need to apply for the actual mortgage at this stage.

There are many reasons that a mortgage application might be delayed, so you need to make sure that you have all documents and information needed available before you apply. This will include things like:

  • Pay stubs
  • Bank statements
  • Tax returns
  • Renting history
  • Government-issued photo ID

You also may want to take a look at your credit report before you apply to see where your credit score stands. 

It may take about a month for the application to go through and for you to receive your formal offer from the broker or lender. For this reason, you'll want to start on this right away.

Obtain an Inspection and an Appraisal

Once you have completed the offer, gotten your mortgage, and are ready to take the next steps, it's time to book an inspection. It can take several days to schedule this, but the actual inspection should only last a few hours. 

The report should come to you fairly quickly following the inspection. You'll likely be able to see photos that the inspector took referring to different parts of their report.

If you find that there are some issues that the inspector finds, the report may take a little longer to get to you. Depending on the type of problem that was found, the repair for that issue can take anywhere from days to weeks

Your home appraisal will happen next, and this is a crucial step to getting your mortgage solidified. If the home isn't worth as much as the mortgage amount, you'll have to renegotiate with the lender and possibly put more money down.

Once your house is under contract, it's time to get in touch with an appraiser. This report is going to go to the lender instead of directly to you, so be aware that it might take a little longer (five to ten days) for the appraiser to do research on homes in the area. 

Insurance, Closing Funds, and a Final Walk-Through

Once everything else is completed, you will want to obtain homeowner's insurance. Someone may need to come to walk through the home to assess the property, so plan for this to take a couple of weeks

Your real estate agent will work with you to transfer your closing funds to the selling party. You can do that digitally, but in some cases, the seller may prefer a different method of payment, such as a money order. This should only take a few minutes if done digitally but may take a couple of days if completed otherwise. 

Next, it's time to do a final walk-through to make sure that the sellers completed any repairs they agreed to and that they left the property in good condition. Once that's done, it's time to close on the house and obtain your new deed.

How Long Does It Take to Close on a House Overall?

Every step leading up to closing on the house after you place an offer is part of the closing process. Overall, the process can take about two months for the average homebuyer. 

Once you're ready to close, you'll be required to sign a lot of paperwork, which may take a little bit of time. However, getting the keys to your new home will take mere seconds once everything else is done! 

Prepare to Be Patient When You Buy a House

When you decide it's time to buy a house, it's simply not going to happen overnight. There is a lot that goes into the whole deal, from searching for the home to signing paperwork to closing on the home.  

Luckily, getting help from the professionals that deal with these transactions every day will make your life much easier during this process! 

If you're in search of extra protection on the home title before you buy, we are here to help. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help your home buying experience safer and more secure. 

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