How Long Is the House Buying Process? A Quick Guide

Closing Day Date Calendar Word Circled Close 3d Illustration

If you’re considering purchasing a home, one of the biggest questions is this, “How long is the house buying process?”

From getting pre-approval from your lender to hiring an inspector after approval, there are over a dozen steps that you need to go through in order to get from your offer to close.

Read on for our quick and straightforward house buying guide and how long you can expect to wrap everything up.

How Long is the House Buying Process?

As of February 2019, the average time it took to close on a house was 47 days across all loan types. However, an accurate answer would also be, “It depends.” There is a large number of factors that can either expedite or slow down your timeline.

For instance, a third-party appraisal might reveal that the seller greatly inflated the home’s value. If this is the case, you’ll need to begin negotiations again in order to bring down the price.

Home inspections may also reveal termite damage that could take thousands of dollars to fix. Although this may make you feel even more nervous about the process, keep in mind that hiring a knowledgeable real estate agent can help smooth out the process and let you know what to expect.

What Can Delay the House Buying Process?

With an average of 47 days to close on a home, it’s important that you’re aware of the ways that your closing date can be delayed. Here are a few common issues that arise:

  • More debt is found on your credit report
  • There are new liens or judgments filed against the buyer or seller
  • There are missing bank statements, financial documents, or receipts
  • The buyer or seller gets married or divorced
  • There are substantial changes to fees in the loan estimate

Make sure that any problems are addressed before the loan goes to the underwriter. This will help mitigate any delays in the closing process.

How Do You Speed Up the Home Buying Process?

Now that you know what can potentially stall the close of your home, you may be wondering how you can make the process go as smoothly as possible. Here are some common recommendations:

Get Pre-Approved for a Loan

Getting pre-approval from a mortgage broker shows sellers that you’re serious about purchasing a home. They’ll also be assured that once you make an offer, there won’t be surprises that will slow the process down later on.

Pre-approval essentially means that while you don’t have the loan yet, you’ve gone through all the steps and are ready to finalize once your offer is accepted.

Before you settle on a lender, make sure that you shop around in order to choose one with the best customer service and rates.

Know What You Want

In a competitive sellers’ market, buyers are forced to make some compromises that they otherwise wouldn’t make. However, it’s important that you’re aware of what you absolutely need a home and what you can be flexible with in order to speed up the process.

For instance, if you have two children and want to expand from an apartment to a house, having three rooms and two bathrooms may be a necessity. On the other hand, you’re willing to sacrifice having a garage.

Sell Your Home First

Looking for a home before you even begin the process of selling the one you own currently can get complicated. This is because, in a seller’s market, the seller may rather work with someone who doesn’t need to add a contingency sale.

Selling your home means that you’ll have more cash in the bank which can greatly help with closing costs or higher down payments. You can also be more flexible for the seller with the closing date, which can be a huge advantage if they’re looking to sell as soon as possible.

Keep Contact

You’ll be speaking to a large number of people when it comes to buying your home. Although you’ll primarily be speaking with your realtor, you’ll also be speaking with service representatives when it comes to getting home insurance quotes, comparing rates from lenders, hiring the home inspector, and more.

For this reason, make sure that you keep your phone close to you at all times–including the weekend. The easier it is to contact you, the more quickly important decisions can be made.

Schedule a Home Inspection Soon

Once your offer is approved, you’ll want to schedule a home inspection as soon as possible. This is because the inspector can point out flaws in the home that may be more than you’re willing to pay for.

The sooner you find the damage, the sooner you can decide on whether you want to proceed with the sale, renegotiate with the seller, or decide that it’s not the home for you.

Home inspections typically take about three hours or more. If you feel intimidated by the home inspection process, you can take a look at these home inspection tips in order to mentally prepare yourself for the process.

House Buying Tips: Know Your Timeline

Purchasing a home for the first time is one of the most stressful things you’ll ever do. This is because it requires a variety of steps, and if any of the steps during the home buying process isn’t completed, you can set back your timeline significantly.

First, make sure you do your research on the home buying process so that you can know what to expect and how to move the timeline forward. It’s also recommended to hire a knowledgeable real estate agent that can help walk you through the process.

Ready for more home buying tips so that you can have peace of mind? Keep reading the blog for more straightforward strategies!