The process of buying a new home can seem pretty intimidating, especially if you are a first-time homebuyer. There are quite a lot of steps involved in the home-buying proves, and here we will be breaking it down into manageable chunks.
Much like any other project, you’ll feel more confident and would want to learn more, taking it one step at a time to achieve your set goals.
Timing is of the essence when it comes to buying a house. Knowing how much time each step of the process takes can make the process of home-buying much smoother and less stressful. Here we have put together a timeline as to what you can expect from your home-buying journey so that you get everything right.
How Long Does It Take To Buy A House?
The house-buying timeline can be challenging to predict. It usually takes somewhere between four weeks to six months to find and close on a property. However, it can be quicker if you make a solid offer right away and slower if you have a difficult time finding a proper place or you keep getting outbid.
Here Is A Step-By-Step Timeline for Buying A House
Find A Real Estate Agent
Time: 1-2 weeks
You always have the option of going with the first agent you come across online, which could take as little as a few hours or a day. But it’s always a good idea to take some time and do a little research when finding the cheap houses for sale, through a real estate agent.
Once you have short-listed some real estate agents, prepare a list of questions, check out their expertise, and go through the customer reviews. Agents are an incredibly useful asset that costs you nothing, so make sure you find a good one.
Get Pre-Approved for The Mortgage
Time: 1-2 weeks
While it only takes about five business days to get a mortgage pre-approval, you should do some research to understand the various mortgage types and different lenders to make the most out of your deal.
You can look for a mortgage lender while you are finding a real estate agent, but note that the agents can often provide great advice on the mortgage lenders recommended by their clients.
Make A List of Requirements and Start Browsing
Time: 3-5 days
Spend some time thinking about the items that you will certainly be needing in your new house. For instance, decide on the number of bedrooms you need and consider omitting the things that you can probably live without, such as a hot tub. Make a well-articulated list and go over it with your real estate agent.
Having a list of must-haves and priorities will help you stay organized when you are browsing online for houses that fit your budget. Be prepared to make changes to your list as you evaluate what’s available out there in the market and how much your home can potentially afford.
Go to House Viewings
Time: 1 week – 4 months
Once you have decided on the houses you are interested in, and it is time to have your real estate agent set up the viewings of those properties. In certain markets, you might visit various houses and get your offer accepted on the very same day.
In other places, you might have to wait for months for your preferred house to enter the market, or you might get outbid repeatedly before your offer is eventually accepted. Zillow’s research suggests that the average time spent on viewings and shopping is around four and a half months.
Make an Offer and Negotiate
Time: 3-5 days
After going through the presumably lengthy phase of house viewings when you have decided on a house, your agent will assist you in putting together an offer. Once the offer has been made, it’s time to wait for the seller’s response; they might accept, decline, or negotiate on the offer.
The process of negotiation can be quicker if you are buying a foreclosure. However, in a seller’s market, you might have to wait slightly longer for a response. The seller you accept or decline your offer, and they may also present you with a counteroffer, leading to negotiations.
Get Your Loan Approved
Time: 1-2 months
When you have already been pre-approved for the mortgage, it is then time to collaborate with your agent and collect all important documents so that your lender can complete the process of underwriting and get the loan approved. This is referred to as the closing process.
So how long can it take for you to close a house? It approximately takes around 50 days, and the next two phases or steps must be completed during the closing time.
Wait for The Appraisal
Time: 1-2 weeks
Your lender will get a professional to carry out an appraisal to identify the value of the house. The appraisal is normally planned within a week, and it takes around two to three days for the report to be completed.
At this point, you don’t have to pay for anything. All you need to do is to wait for the results and hope that the value is higher than what you negotiated earlier. If it is not, you might have to renegotiate with the seller or raise your down payment.
Get A Home Inspection
Time: 1-3 weeks
You will also have to hire a home inspector to evaluate whether there are any setbacks or flaws that may be hidden in the property you are buying. You usually have around ten days to complete the process of home inspection.
It can take a full day to get your inspection results and then another week or possibly more to renegotiate on the off chance that you do find an unexpected problem in the house.
Close on Your New Home
Time: 1 day
All of the challenging phases are over, and now all you have to do is take one last appointment to finally close on your new house. After you have given the closing costs and the down payment and have signed an enormous pile of paperwork, you are officially a homeowner.
When you have a clear understanding of the timeline of the home-buying process, you can begin the process of looking for your dream house!