How Long Does It Take To Buy A House

Dated: August 9 2019

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The homebuying process can be confusing and feel overwhelming. It is normal for first time homebuyers to wonder how long it will take until they can call a house their own. While there are many factors that can influence the timeline, you can expect to complete the following steps when buying a house:

Pre-approval. The first step you will want to complete when planning to buy a house is to obtain a pre-approval. A pre-approval is a letter from your lender which states that they are likely to approve you for a mortgage and what that mortgage amount is. This amount can help you stay within your budget when looking at houses. Expected timeline: less than seven days.

Find an agent. You will also want to find a real estate agent who is familiar with the local market in which you are trying to buy a house. During this time, your agent will help you narrow down your homebuying options. They will set you up with an automated list of new properties that are based on important features to you like the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, yard size, basement, garage, and location. Expected timeline: less than two weeks.

Begin looking at houses. You might find your perfect house on the first day or it could take many months. Busy real estate markets can influence this step because other buyers can put in an offer before you ever decide if the house is right for you. Expected timeline: varies.

Make an offer. Once you have found your dream home, you and your agent will draft an offer. Your agent will write up a purchase agreement which will include the offered price, lending terms, and any other special terms that might accompany the offer. The seller could accept the offer, counter-offer, or turn down the offer, each of which could result in a different timeline. Expected timeline: varies.

Pre-closing date events. If your offer was accepted, your lender will begin the process of closing. This timeline varies, depending on the lender and the specific terms of their loan. During this time, they will likely schedule an inspection, an appraisal, and they will begin underwriting your loan application. This includes collecting income statements, credit reports, and any other financial information. Expected timeline: between 30-60 days.

Closing. Once you have a closing date with your lender, you and your real estate agent will do a final walk-through of the property sometime before. This ensures that the property is in the same condition it was when you made an offer. It also ensures that any special terms were completed before you officially close on the house. Once you meet at the closing table and sign all of the required paperwork, the process is complete and you are now officially a homeowner. Expected timeline: 1-2 days.

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Avo Derbalian

Avo Derbalian became Owner/Salesperson of a real estate company in early 2016 after being a Realtor® for a year and a half, providing services all over Bergen County and Passaic County. Since then, ....

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