What to Expect from the Home-Buying Timeline
Are you thinking about buying a home? If so, knowing the timeline may help you plan and prepare for your move. Every home search is different, but below is a realistic timeline for a motivated, organized home buyer.
Market Research - 2 Weeks
Once a home buyer decides they would like to buy a home, the first thing they need to do is research the market in the area where they'd like to buy. Knowing the cost of homes in the neighborhoods where buyers are thinking about purchasing a house can help them decide what home size and features are realistic for their budget.
During this time, it's also a good idea for the home buyer to start packing. Most home buyers need at least a month to pack, so starting early can make the process less stressful and more organized.
It's also useful to find a real estate agent during the market research phase of the home buying process. Interviewing real estate agents can help the home buyer find a real estate professional who is a good communicator and who has a history of success helping buyers in the area. Working with a real estate professional from the very start can make the home buying process easier.
Get Pre-Approved and Pre-Qualified - 1 Week
Once a home buyer has seen homes in the neighborhoods where they would like to purchase a house, the home buyer can contact a lender to find out whether they will qualify for a mortgage. Some home buyers stop at getting pre-qualified, but many home sellers prefer to sell to buyers who have been pre-approved. Getting pre-qualified takes about 10 minutes, but getting pre-approved can take days, as the home buyer must collect documentation about their financial status.
Find a Home - 2 Weeks or More
For a motivated buyer who knows what they want and who has already done real estate market research, finding a home can take as little as two weeks. However, some home buyers spend months or years looking for just the right home. A home buyer who is trying to estimate how long they will take to find a house to make an offer should take into consideration how competitive the market is. A buyer who is looking for something very specific and hard to find, or a buyer who is purchasing in a very competitive market, may experience a much longer waiting period to find a home.
Make an Offer - 1 Week
Negotiating an offer can take about a week or longer, depending on how far away from a deal the two parties are when they start. It can take much longer if the home buyer is purchasing a short sale, as short sales can take months during the negotiation process, and some banks may not respond to offers at all.
Working with a good real estate professional can help speed the negotiation process, because a good real estate professional can help the home buyer determine what would be a fair and likely starting price.
Escrow - 1 Month or More
Once an offer is accepted, the home buyer must go through the escrow process. Most of the time, the escrow process takes about one month or more. During the escrow process, the home buyer may need to accomplish many tasks, including:
- Get a home inspection.
- Get an appraisal.
- Negotiate any repairs.
Working with a real estate professional can make the escrow process easier. Most home buyers also take this time to make plans, pack, take measurements and get ready to move into their new house.
Contact a Real Estate Professional
Altogether, many home buyers take at least two and a half months to purchase a house, from the time they decide to buy a home to the time they close escrow and move into their new house. Talk to a professional real estate agent to get started with the home-buying process.