How long is the process for buying a house usually?

...assuming you've already found the house.

We've been looking online and driving by the houses. Judging from the photos online and from seeing the outside in person, we think we know which one we want (yes, I know this can easily change once we see the inside in person).

We go to the bank and realtor this week.

Also, if you have any words of wisdom, please share. :)

5 Answers

  • Best Answer

    A couple of different points to consider:

    1.) Driving by and looking at homes will not be the same as looking at the home and reviewing any inspections and disclosures about the home. Be ready for some surprises that you can't see via photos or windows.

    2.) Have your loan figured out before you are ready to make an offer. You will need to provide information to the loan officer. For a list of necessary items . They will want to run your credit report. If you plan on shopping around for loan and rates - run the credit report yourself (big 3 credit reports will be best) - and provide a copy to the loan officer. Ask them not to run your credit at this time as you are shopping.

    Once you have settled in on a loan product and a loan officer - ask them for a pre-approval letter. This will tell you what you can afford and what conditions must be satisfied to support that pre-approval amount (like appraisal, clear title etc). Your real estate agent will most likely want to get a specific pre-approval letter for the exact address you are writing the offer and for an exact amount. Why? Say you are approved for $600K but are only making an offer at $550K. You don't need to let the seller know you can afford more. Have the approval letter reflect the offer amount. If they counter and you decide the home is work $560K, you can have the loan officer revise.

    3.) Once you have the pre-approval process complete, decide which real estate agent you are going to work with. Find out if they know the neighborhoods you are interested in. Ask for competitive market analysis on homes you are interested in. Ask for trend reports. Ask for references. Ask about how they work. What hours? How often do they return calls/time frame? When do they show homes? This is someone you should feel like you can trust. That gets what you want and will fit how you want to work. Keep interviewing until you find that right fit.

    4.) Before you make the offer, see the comparables, know your low price (what a deal!) most likely price (comps), and highest (I love this house and don't want to look anymore) and the walk-a-way point - (these people are crazy!) . Knowing this before you write the offer will help you stay above the emotional side that comes with house hunting. For short sale expect a minimum of 45 day reply. On foreclosures expect 3-7 days. On a private sale - expect 3 days unless the sellers are out of town or live in another state - then add two more days.

    5.) Offer is accepted and now you have contingency periods for inspections, appraisal, title clearance, loan approval - and lots of other little things spelled out in your contract. Standard for California is 17 days. I have written contracts with as short as 7 days. ( Try to get the longest you can without compromising your bargaining position if there are other offers.). These days are calendar days and not business days. They fly by... This is the time period that you cancel the contract without risking your deposit. (Have your agent explain this in detail.)

    6.) Once contingency periods are released , most loans can close in two weeks. Time to draw up documents, sign off, transfer money, record title. If it is a FHA /VA loan expect 45 days to close. If it is a conventional (20% down) expect 30 days.

    Things to consider - loan locks cost more the longer close of escrow is. If the seller needs more time to get out of the house, consider renting back to them at your mtg payment (PITI).

    Remember there can be hiccups even in the most perfect transaction. Work closely with the professionals and make sure you are responsive to their request and they are most certainly responsive to yours.

    Good luck!


  • 4 years ago

    It can take a couple months. It all depends on how fast your lender completes the loan process. Plus if it's a short-sale, I have heard it taking up to a year because they have to get your offered amount approved by all of the lending companies involved. If it's not far for you to drive to the school everyday (if you can't get into the house by the first starting day of school). The school shouldn't have a problem if you are for-sure moving to the area, and letting your child begin the year there rather then transfer. J

  • 10 years ago

    If it isn't a foreclosure or short sale, you can ask for as short as a 30 day escrow. Depends on what happens when your loan gets to underwriting and how fast everyone can put things together. My escrows were always 30 to 45 days after the offer was accepted.

  • Anonymous
    10 years ago

    By the time you look for and find a house, make an offer, secure financing, have it inspected (if it's not a brand new house), get mortgage approval and close you're looking at around 1 month's time

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  • ?
    Lv 7
    10 years ago

    4 months. Check your credit history free at

    Take your last two years of tax returns, bank statements and pay stubs with you to the bank

    They want to see your income, expenses and debts. They also want to see the money you will use for a down payment and closing costs.

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