How Long Does It Usually Take to Buy a Home?

Dated: September 13 2022

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Life is full of variables and fluctuations. Sometimes it’s a salsa beat, other times it’s a line dance, but either way it’s going to take blood, sweat, tears and motor skills. If you break it down step by step it’s much simpler to understand the length of the process:

1.       Looking for and finding a real estate agent.

·         This usually takes about 1.5-2 weeks. It may seem like a long period of time for this step, but you don’t want to have just any agent. Your agent should be someone knowledgeable in the location, or area, that you are interested in purchasing. This person should become an immediate asset to your property search, and should be able to answer questions and worries that you may have in a way that is honest and helps ease your doubts. It is essential to find an agent who you feel comfortable with, is an asset to your search and adds value and helps in any area that you may need a tip, or referral for any issue.

2.       Pre-approval is the name of the game.

·         Getting pre-approved will take around 1-2 weeks, but could take as few as five business days. You should research different lenders, different loan types so that you are getting the best deal on your property purchase. To save time you could research lenders while you search for your real estate agent, however an agent could also give you the best wisdom from their many transactions, on which lenders are recommended by past clients.

3.       Make a “needs” and “wants” list prior to your search.

·         It shouldn’t take you too long to come up with this, but most estimates are that you’ll have a more complete list within 3-5 days. You may want to go over this list with your real estate agent, that way you have a built-in soundboard and can better process what you absolutely need and what “sounds nice”, but you can live without. Prioritizing in this way will help you as you look online for homes, and can help you share properties with your agent that you feel fit the bill, and ones that you can afford. It’s an asset to do this process once you have an agent, that way you can take advantage of the benefit that comes with a professional and thought-out approach to the “wants” and “needs”.

4.       Get on your comfy clothes and walking shoes, we’re touring properties.

·         This part of the process will take anywhere from as little as a week to 4+ months. There are so many variables, because you could visit a property, make a same-day offer, and get a same-day acceptance. There are also the places where you’ll wait months for the right property to appear, or get outbid time and again before you get an offer acceptance. On average Zillow puts the time spend looking for your dream property at about four and a half months maximum.

5.       Make your offer and negotiate.

·         You have found your dream property. It is the one. Your real estate agent and you put together your offer. Then you start the waiting game, because you need to have “offer acceptance” from the seller to get this transaction really moving. If you’re purchasing a property that is in foreclosure this could be speedy, if you’re in a seller’s market there may be a longer pause for response. Your offer can be accepted or rejected by the seller, or you could get a counteroffer. This would begin the negotiation period. This process could take between 3-5 business days.

6.       Getting the loan approved.

·         The good news is that you already have your preapproval, now you have to gather all the documentation necessary for the lender to finish the underwriting process, resulting in loan approval.  Another name for this process is the “closing process”. This is slated to take between 1-2 months, the average time for this is about 50 days.

7.       Appraisal.

·         This step takes from 1-2 weeks, and can be done simultaneously with steps 6 and 8. In this step your lender will likely hire a professional that conducts property appraisals, that will determine your property’s value. The appraisal is usually scheduled within a week and usually takes between 3-4 days to receive the appraisal report back. The hope here is that the property appraises higher than your offering price, if it doesn’t you may have to negotiate with the seller again.

8.       Home inspection.

·         This is an inspection on a different level than the appraisal, and takes about 1-3 weeks to complete. A home inspector goes through the property looking for any surprises or damages that could become a bigger issue than it currently seems prior to your closing. You typically have 10-or-so days to complete this part of the process, and it could bring you back to the negotiating table if you feel that further contingencies need to be stipulated in your property transaction.

9.       Closing day!

·         This is THE DAY! You’ve done all the heavy lifting to get to this 1 day. And it’s here. You hand over the down payment and all closing costs that are pertinent to you, you sign every paper until your arm feels like it will fall off. At the end of this process, you are officially a homeowner!

Essentially, we’ve broken the process down to 9 steps, with all their timing taken into account, you could be looking at a property transaction that can go anywhere between 64-235 days. Having one of NextHome Merrick Realty Group’s Realtors® showing you the utmost trust, devotion, integrity, and reliability, a few of the qualities we hold close to each property transaction.

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Erica Riviere

I am the Social Media Coordinator for NextHome Merrick Realty Group in Coral Gables, FL.....

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