If you’re in the early stages of house hunting, you might ask yourself, “How long does it take to buy a house?”
Buying a home involves a number of different steps, with each one taking anywhere from a few days to several weeks. Some days, the answer to your question, “How long does it take to buy a house,” can feel longer than ever.
But with a little understanding of the process, you’ll not only know where you are in your home buying journey, but you’ll understand what to expect from each step.
How long does the home buying process take?
In general, it takes a little more than 50 days to close your mortgage.
But the entire home buying process can take longer—especially if you’re looking for a specific type of home, if the market is super hot, or if there are a limited number of properties available.
You can help speed the process up by getting your finances and credit information in order before you apply for mortgage preapproval.
Mortgage preapproval is one of the best things you can do
With preapproval, a lender carefully evaluates your financial information and provides an official letter offering you the funds to finance your home purchase.
A mortgage preapproval letter is invaluable, especially in a competitive market, because it lets sellers know you can afford to complete the purchase.
Additionally, more and more sellers will now only accept an offer to buy that is accompanied by a mortgage preapproval letter.
Working with a reputable local real estate agent can also help expedite home buying—and potentially save you money.
The right real estate agent will have access to current home listings and a comprehensive understanding of the local market. That local knowledge can help you get into an up-and-coming neighborhood before prices jump.
How far in advance should I begin preparing to buy a house?
Have you heard the joke about the best time to buy a house? The punchline goes like this: The best time to buy a house was yesterday; the second best time is today.
There’s a lot of truth hidden in that joke. The earlier you start the process, the fewer headaches you’ll have.
There’s little worse than finding your dream house and having to walk away, start a mortgage application, and wait for preapproval—hoping someone doesn’t buy your home while you’re doing paperwork.
A good place to start is to get a free copy of your credit report and review it for any errors or omissions.
If you notice any mistakes, you can reach out directly to the credit reporting agency and request a correction. Once a correction has been made, you’ll receive a new, updated copy of your credit report.
Next, take a few days to gather documents supporting your financial situation. Your mortgage lender will need proof of income and information about any debts (such as student loans, credit cards, car loans, etc.).
Income tax returns, pay stubs, and investment account bank statements are also typically required. If you’re self-employed, your lender may ask for additional documentation. Check with your local mortgage lender for their self-employed borrower requirements.
Once everything is in order, spend some time getting mortgage quotes from several lenders. Not every lender will offer the same loan products, terms, or interest rates, so getting quotes from a few lenders can be very useful—it could even save you money.
Speaking with a loan officer about your specific situation can help you get detailed information and answers to any questions you might have.
You can reach out to a licensed loan officer at AAA Banking Monday through Friday, from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm EST, by calling (844) 878-4764.
What are the steps to buying a home and how long does each step take?
Once you feel prepared and comfortable to start the home buying process, follow these steps to get started.
Once you find a mortgage lender you want to work with, it’s time to apply for mortgage preapproval. Because you’ve already collected your paperwork, this can be done quickly, usually in about a week.
Do this before you begin your house hunt so that you have a ballpark number of the purchase price you can afford.
Partner with a real estate agent
Finding the right real estate agent can take a few minutes to a few weeks. Be sure to read reviews and get referrals from family and friends.
At AAA Banking, our HomeScout program helps lenders connect with a trustworthy, reliable local real estate agent committed to helping you find the house you want for the price you can afford.
Find your home
This can range from a few days to several months. Many home buyers start by searching on an online listing service for properties in their desired area.
HomeScout allows home buyers to browse new property listings from multiple listing services (MLS), save favorites, and receive notifications if anything changes with a favorite property.
Make an offer
Once you’ve found your home, it’s time to put in an offer to buy. Attaching your mortgage preapproval letter can help your offer stand apart from others. Sellers can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days reviewing offers before they accept, refuse, or make a counteroffer.
Because no two home sales are identical, every home buyer’s closing is different.
How long does it take to buy a house once the offer is accepted? Once the seller accepts your offer, your real estate agent will help negotiate the best closing date for everyone involved. Some closings happen fast—within a few weeks, while others might take up to three months.
During this last step, you’ll also finalize several details about your home purchase, like setting up homeowners insurance, getting underwriter approval for your mortgage, and doing the final walkthrough. If you’re getting a home inspection or appraisal done, it will also happen during this step.
Make your search easier with HomeScout
HomeScout gives you everything you need—in one place—to help streamline the home-buying process. You can search property listings, save favorites, and keep in touch with your lender and real estate agent, so you never miss a message.
HomeScout also offers a free Home Valuation Report to help you understand your current home’s value—to know whether selling it might be right for your situation.
Start your home-buying journey with AAA Banking today
At AAA Banking, we focus on ensuring you have the information you need to make the right home buying decisions for your specific situation.
We are here to support you along every step on your road to homeownership. Start your application today.
Photo by Kindel Media