How long does it take to buy a house?
Many people wonder how long it takes to buy a house, and the answer is easy and complicated all at the same time. Depending on the buyer, the process can take as quickly as one month or as long as a year – it really depends on the buyer. The best part about it is that you, the buyer, get to decide how quickly you move.
From listing your home, or finding a real estate team to choosing the perfect house and picking a closing date, the whole process can be done as quickly or leisurely as you like. Having worked with many different styles and types of buyers over the years, we have a good idea of how long it takes.
If you are curious to know how long it would take to buy a home, here is a typical timeline based on the average buyer.
First step: Hire a realtor (1 week or as you take to find the perfect fit)
Finding a realtor is one of the most important parts of the home buying process. Your realtor is going to be the one who knows the market, searches for your new home, advocates for you, and negotiates for you. You want to make sure you find the right person for you and your home buying needs. Read more on finding a Realtor
Spend some time researching realtors, make some calls, as some friends, and have a few initial consultations with realtors. If you feel torn, call some references too. This can be done as quickly as one day, or as long as a week or more. It really depends on how fast you pick!
Second step: Secure the funds (24 hours)
Getting pre-approved for your mortgage is the fastest way to ensure you have the money to buy your home. Pre-approval will allow you to know an estimate of how much money you can spend, while also ensuring that your credit and documentation to get the mortgage is all in good order. This is beneficial because it means there will be no surprises for you down the line when you make an offer on a home.
Third step: Find a home (1 month to 3-4 months)
Finding a home is the only step in the process that depends on the buyer and the market. Your realtor is going to work hard at finding you listings that you are going to love. Some buyers are in a rush and want to secure a place ASAP, while others are pickier and want to find “the one”. Remember, you may not find your dream home when you are buying your first home.
To help this process go smoothly, write out a list of must-haves and compromises you are willing to make with the right listing. Also, give yourself a deadline too so you do not house hunt for way too long and face search exhaustion.
Also, depending on the market and time of year, listings may be in short supply. This can also affect timelines outside of your control and your realtor will be able to work with you, providing relevant market information.
Fourth step: Making an offer (less than 24 hours)
You found your home! Congrats! Now, it is time to give a competitive offer. Your realtor will be able to crunch the markets and come up with a plan to write you the best competitive offer to win you the house of your dreams within your ideal budget.
They will work as quickly as possible to get this done, as to not risk being the last to bid. This process is crunch time and timing is everything, so as a buyer ensure you are doing your part too and being available to chat with your realtor to collaborate on the final offer.
Fifth step: Seller’s response & negotiations (2-4 days)
Usually, the seller will respond either within a few hours but sometimes they might take a day or so to think about it. In our experience, you can expect a reply from the offer within 24 hours.
Once you get a response, your realtor will work on either a counter-offer if one comes in or work on fine tuning some of the nitty gritty details of the sale. This process again really relies on both the buyer and the seller being communicative with the real estate teams.
Sixth step: Move in (1-2 months)
Now that the money is all settled, it is time to work out all of the other steps to complete your loan application and get your move ready. After you sign the papers to own the home, there are some things that you need to do before you can actually live in the home. These are:
- Schedule and finish inspections (one week or less, depending on whom you hire)
• Home inspection requests to work out with the seller
• Home appraisal (One month)
• Finalize loan application (One month)
• Final walk-through before move-in (hour or less)
• Document signing (an hour or less)
All of these dates can also be impacted by your move-in date timeframe – some people wait three months up to six months before they choose a closing date on a home. Again, it really depends on both the buyer and the seller.
You can choose how quickly to move the process along, and your realtor will work within your timeline to the very best of their ability. We have seen people into a new home within a month, with others checking out the market for a few months and taking their time getting all the paperwork in order. Buying a home is a choose-your-own-adventure and your realtor is here to help guide you along the way.
Have questions or just want to chat? reach out to us and schedule a buyer’s consultation here.