How long does it really take to buy a house? The ultimate guide to your home buying timeline
The answer to the question of how long does it take to buy a home really depends on your individual situation. Sometimes it’s the selling of your current residence that takes longer than that of buying your new one, or it’s the finances and paperwork of being approved for loans and mortgages that take the longest. The best way you can shorten the timeline is to make sure everything that you need to do is in order so you’re ready to begin this exciting adventure. Here are a few steps that might help you with the process:
Do your homework
Timeline: 1-14 days
This is 100% something you can control if you’re trying to speed up the process. Figure out your home wishlist, ideal location(s), budget, price range, finances, and paperwork that need to be done before diving into the market. Especially keep in mind how long the process could be to gather your paperwork and get pre-approved for a loan. This also includes making a general assumption of how much money you are comfortable using as a down payment keeping in mind the costs of the move itself and potential improvements to your new home.
Find an Agent
Timeline: 1-7 days
Finding an agent will be critical in your buying experience and ultimately how quickly you find the right house for you. They should be very knowledgeable about the area you’d like to move into, the houses that are available in your budget, and should be not just honest, but forthcoming with the best information & data you need to make the best decisions. Something Freebird prides themselves in doing very well).
Get Pre-Approved for a Loan
Timeline: 5-8 days
Like we mentioned earlier, the time for loan approval can vary depending on the extent of your paperwork organization and your financial circumstances. Make sure to have the documents ready to go that a lender will need from you, like bank statements, pay stubs, and tax returns. Once you have those ready to go, all you have to do is wait for the approval.
Timeline: a few days to a few months
This is another part of the process that can be completely up to you when it comes to how long it takes. Perhaps you’ve done a lot of research and already know the properties and areas you want to see. Maybe you have an idea of what you want and you’re good with letting your agent guide you, or maybe you feel like all you have is an area in mind and how many beds and baths you want. All of these are good, just remember the shopping process should be fun and you should enjoy the process whether it takes a week or a couple of months.
Offer & Contract, then Mortgage & Approval
Timeline: 1-2 weeks
After you’ve done your shopping and picked your new dream residence, it’s time to put your money where your mouth is. Making an offer means you’re discussing with your agent the amount you’re willing to pay, what your initial offer price should be, and always considering how much you need for the down payment and/or renovations. Include with your offer the letter of pre-approval you have from a lender so you look as legitimate as possible.
Timeline: 3-7 days to schedule, a few hours to inspect
Home inspections generally take a few hours, depending on the home, but it’s important that you schedule one as soon as possible after the contract for the house is accepted. This is a critical step in the buying process as it will expose any issues s that might need addressing that could lead to a contract renegotiation and ultimately delay closing.
Timeline: Up to 3 weeks
Your insurance company may want to do an inspection when it comes to figuring out if there are any future risks you need to be prepared for, as well as to ensure the home is in suitable condition to insure. Additionally, you’ll need title insurance, to make sure that you will own your new residence without having any liens or claims to the residence.
Closing on the Property
Timeline: A few days to a few weeks
The exciting light at the end of the tunnel will be your final walk-through and closing. Depending upon the extent of your renovations and the timing of your move, you’ll need to schedule the contractors, complete the improvements, and schedule the movers. This is something you can control when it comes to the amount of time it takes if you did preplanning picking your colors & finishes and some advance research for moving companies ahead of time.
Buying a home may seem like a lengthy process, but it should never be hard or stressful. If you’re looking for anyone to help your buying process in the Fort Lauderdale area, reach out to Freebird with any questions you have. We’re more than happy to help you find that perfect home!