26 Aug How long does it take to buy a house?
Last week I met a delightful young couple from an online request to show one of my listings. Currently they are looking online for houses, then contacting the listing agents to see individual homes. It’s a normal way to start the process of buying a home, years ago this was done by going to open houses all weekend long.
I offered to be of more help to them in their search to Buy a House South of the River. Sheepishly, they told me, “it’s too early for us to start working with a Realtor”. They don’t want to bother anyone until they get closer to being able to move, their lease isn’t finished for another 5 months.
Turns out, they have perfect timing and it really isn’t too soon to start the Search for a New Home!
The timeline for purchasing a Home, especially for a first time Buyer is approximately 3-5 months. Below is a typical 3 month home purchase timeline.
Week One: Obtain preapproval for financing. In today’s marketplace the preapproval process can often take several days or more. If a first time Buyer does not have established Credit, this can be overcome by ‘building them a credit rating’. A good Mortgage Officer can submit a letter from your current landlord and information of timely payments on such items as utilities and cell phone bills.
Week Two: Begin the Search for your Home. This week is usually spent touring homes with your Realtor in blocks of time. Seeing 4-6 homes on each outing is very valuable as it highlights the differences in properties and sharpens your searching skills.
Week Three: Re-evalutate your Home Search Criteria. Bythe end of week three we have seen nearly all homes that met your initial parameters. It’s time to re-evaluate or expand your initial criteria to include more inventory. Changes in parameters include expanding the geographic locations slightly, revising your minium square footage, bedrooms or baths downward, allowing other styles of homes into your search or boosting your price range slightly. Sometimes, search parameters cannot be expanded or changed. If that’s the case, waiting for new properties to hit the market is the next step.
Week Four: Place your First Offer on a Home. The first offer may be accepted and if all goes smoothly, you will be on the 3 month timeline. If you face a multiple offer situation, or the home is a short sale and needs extra time to get approved, the timeline expands towards the 4 or 5 month timeframe.
Week Five: Home Inspections fill this week. Assuming the offer you placed was fully negotiated and accepted during week four, this week will be filled with the Home Inspections and results. In addition to the standard inspection, some transactions will require a Well Inspection, Septic Inspection, Radon test and more. The time to schedule, conduct and receive results on these inspections can easily consume a full week.
Week Six: Hooray, you have a property and the inspections all went well. This week is a flurry of requests from your Mortgage Officer, these may include updated paystubs, signed disclosures, explanations for underwriters or gift letter forms from family. Even though you were pre-approved there will be a lot to do this week.
Week Seven: Appraisal Results should be back. We have seen lots of fall through on home purchases in Lakeville, Rosemount, Farmington, Apple Valley, Burnsville, Eagan, Savage and Prior Lake due to Low Appraisals this year. If this happens to you, review the posts entitled Low Appraisal? and Reasons for a low appraisal. If all is well with your appraisal, it’s on to packing.
Week Eight-Ten: Pack Pack Pack! In many transactions, this is the week your Mortgage Commitment Letter is due. For more information and explanation of this step, visit. What’s the Difference between a Mortgage Pre-approval and Commitment Letter?
Week Eleven or Twelve: Closing! It’s now been 3 months since you started the process and we have finally arrived at closing. For more details about closing and how to prepare, see my post of 5 things you should know to prepare for closing.
The timeline to purchase often gets expanded during weeks four through six, it can take some Buyers several extra weeks to find their property. The timeline also expands if the first offer doesn’t work out and we need to find a new property.
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