When Is A Good Time To Start Looking For A Home?

I had met with a fantastic young couple preparing to buy their first home.  Our discussion touched on the time needed to complete the purchase.  Initially they were worried about starting the process too soon. They were concerned they might find a home they loved early in the looking process and not be able to purchase it because they need to finish paying their lease.  We outlined the most likely scenarios and it turns out their timing was nearly perfect looking for a home.

If you are in a lease for the next 6 months and wish to make a smooth transition to your new home, begin the process now to ensure you have time to select just the right house!

During the First Month: Spend time talking to friends and family! Ask for referrals to Mortgage Officers, Inspectors and Realtors whom they recommend.  Get several names and do some research to see which people are right for you.  Gather the documentation needed for mortgage application. Also, start searching online for homes in your price range and drive by homes which catch your interest. This is a great way to explore neighborhoods and commute routes which you may not have noticed previously.  Be open minded this month and explore a variety of places! You might discover awesome opportunities looking for a home.

During the Second Month: Meet with your selected professionals and begin the organized searching phase.  Expect your Realtor to set you up with a detailed search coming straight from our MLS system. This will provide you with the best data possible. Schedule a time to meet with your mortgage officer to go over the details and turn in your documents.  Once your mortgage process in underway, you should be out looking at homes.  I recommend we see quite a few homes in our first two outings.  It’s important to see 4-6 homes during the first few times out looking.  These long sessions provide an accurate view of home values in the shortest time. This also allows me to really understand what you are looking for in a home!

looking for a home

During the Third Month: We are usually ready to make offers at this time.  There are many multiple offers out there, especially on the rock bottom priced bank owned foreclosures.  You might be surprised to see how tough it can be to secure one of those desired deals.  Once an offer is accepted, your inspection contingency and appraisal contingency can take  2-3 weeks to complete.

During the Fourth Month: Some buyers are still searching and need this extra month to find the right property. This is especially true if their needs are very specific or their search area is very small.  If you are having enormous difficulty finding a property, this is the perfect time to modify your search criteria.  Expand your geographic area, decrease your expectations, increase your price range or slightly modify all three.  If you have been looking for a home for two months and haven’t found anything to get excited about, you are probably looking for a needle in a haystack.

During the Fifth Month: You will be preparing for closing.  Your mortgage officer often requests several follow up documents at this time.  It’s important to respond quickly and provide all documents they request. Underwriters review everything more closely now than they did a few years ago.  You will also work closely with your Realtor and title company representative on the closing procedures. For more information you can read 5 things you should know to prepare for closing.

During the Sixth Month: You will be packing and arranging your move!

There is plenty of wiggle room in this timeline. You can certainly search for a home, purchase, close and move in less than 6 months.  I often see buyers who waited too long to begin the process and wish they had given themselves more time.  It can be stressful looking for a home, especially your first home! The last thing you need is to feel pressured and hurried.

As always, the Selling South of the River team is always happy to help and answer any questions you may have. Please call Sheryl Petrashek at 612-889-6496 or email at [email protected]

Read what Sheryl’s clients say about working with Sheryl and the Selling South of the River Team!

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Sheryl Petrashek
[email protected]

Sheryl Petrashek is a Realtor with Re/max Results. She is based in Apple Valley and Sells Real Estate in Apple Valley, Burnsville, Eagan, Lakeville, Farmington, Prior Lake, Savage and Rosemount MN.



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