I’ve met with several new buyers lately who always ask me the same question: how long does the process take? Is it too early to start looking?
Well, let me break down the process and you can decide when a good time to start looking would be:
1. Pre-Approval/Picking A Realtor: Meeting with a Realtor to establish what you’re looking for shouldn’t be more than a few days depending on availability of both parties. They can refer a lender or you can pick your own to help with the mortgage pre-approval process. A good lender should be able to turn around a pre-approval within 48 hours of receiving all of the necessary paperwork. How long it takes to get that all together is up to you. Things like tax returns, W2s, bank statements, etc. This part shouldn’t take more than a week, if you drag your heels.
2. House Hunting: This is the fun part and the unknown! This is when you start to actually visit properties you might want to buy. This is also the unknown in the process because you can’t control when the right house will come on the market. You could find the right property the first day you look or it might take months. It depends on how specific your criteria are and how picky you are. I’ve had clients buy the first day and some have looked for years. But….
3. When you find the house you want….contract negotiations should take a few days to get everything signed and agreed upon. During the negotiations, you’ll schedule inspections and closing.
4. Contract to close. If you’re getting a mortgage, generally this can be 30-60 days from the time the contract is accepted. It can be sooner if the lender can do it and you want to, but usually it’s not longer than 60 days because the rate lock is expensive. However, if you’re paying cash or doing private financing and the seller agrees, it can be as quick as a few days.
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