Timeline Guide for Buying

Timeline Guide for Buying

How long does it take to buy a home?

The process can be very fast or take quite a long time.  It depends on a few key factors: How strong or weak the market is and the supply of homes,  how prepared you are as a buyer, how important an absolutely unique home or feature is to you as a buyer. If you are seeking a home in a market where there are plenty available in your price range the search can be relatively quick.  However, no matter what the market I always recommend looking at enough homes so that you are comfortable understanding what home values are in the area you are looking. If you are seeking something completely unique it can take much more time. 

Once you have found a home the process of making an offer and negotiating mutually acceptable terms can be as fast as the same day or may take up to a week or more.  If the property is under duress, in default or bank owned, this process can take much longer.  Depending on the market conditions and what bank owns the mortgage this can cause a delay in some cases of months. 

When an offer is accepted the purchase agreement will spell out all the time lines. The processing and final approval of a buyer's loan is often the part of the process that determines the timeline.  Loans generally take two to three weeks to be fully approved and another week or so to finalize the paperwork, draw documents and close.  However, under the right conditions with good lenders this can sometimes be done in a week or less. Conversely, if the proprty is complicated or has unusual issues or the buyer has a complex personal financial picture it can take much longer.  Aside from the loans contracts ususally provide for a period for the buyer to inspect the property, search records, feel out the neighborhood, etc.  This "due diligence" by the buyer is customarily written in as a contingency of the deal and the buyer may elect to not proceed if not satisfied.  This period is generally between ten days and three weeks, but can be longer or shorter as negotiated and as needed depending on what needs to be explored about the property.  This due diligence period usually runs concurrently with the loan process. So a typical transaction from accepted offer to closing is often 30-45 days total.  But it is not unusual for it to be a bit shorter or longer.