That lease you signed a year ago is finally up and there’s a nice little down payment stashed at the bank. The landlord is OK with you going month-to-month and you have even been in contact with a mortgage broker, who got you preapproved for a loan.
In short, all the hard work has paid off and it’s time to stop throwing money away in the form of rent every month. But how long will it take to find a home and move in? And how much notice should you give the landlord?
Even if the landlords are your parents, it’s nice to have an idea about the steps involved in the home buying process and how long it will actually take to escape your childhood bedroom. With that in mind, here are some of the most common steps in the home buying process and a general guideline for how long each one of them should take.
There is no hard-and-fast answer for how long it should take to find your perfect. Just because your Uncle Charlie said you should take three years to find the best deal doesn’t mean you have to listen.
Without question, however, buying a home is a big decision that should not be taken lightly. This is partially why this step in the process varies significantly from person to person. After all, some have an urgent need to move. Others have the luxury of waiting and more chances to weigh their options. Some of the most important steps involved in finding a home include:
All of this is assuming you have already found a local mortgage broker, sifted through your options for financing, established a budget, and obtained a letter of preapproval. Doing this first can ensure your hopes and dreams about a new home don’t get smashed on the pavement Humpty-Dumpty style.
Some of the most exciting and tense moments occur during the offer phase of the home buying process. After discussing what a good offer price would be, your agent will likely ask you the following question:
If the possibility of missing out on the home is alright with you, then congratulations, you occupy what is known as a strong negotiating position. If you are in love with the home, it may not be worth it to quibble over terms or small amounts. Thousands or even tens of thousands often don’t add up to much of a difference in monthly payments when stretched out over 30 years.
Sellers have three choices when they receive an offer. They can either accept it, counter, or refuse it. The entire period between offer and acceptance may only take three days, but the moments in between submitting an offer and receiving a response can seem interminable.
First comes love, then comes marriage.
Think of the escrow period as the courtship phase. This part of the process typically lasts anywhere from 30 – 45 days. The escrow period is your last chance to kick the tires, do all the necessary due diligence, and walk away without facing any major repercussions. The ‘to-do’ list for the escrow period is pretty extensive. Some initial items include:
All the work is about to pay off and there’s light at the end of the tunnel, which is a good thing since it’s likely you have been awake most of the night with butterflies in your stomach and pangs of anxiety mixed with excitement. Take a deep breath and stretch out your signing hand, this part of the process could take anywhere from 20 minutes to 2 hours, depending on the complexity of the transaction.
After the paperwork is done and the transaction has been recorded, your agent will give you your first set of keys to your new home. Most buyers will tell you this is an unforgettable, life-changing moment, whether it’s your first transaction or your 50th.
Get all that? Have questions? Considering the complexity of the process, the number of variables that can arise, and the sheer amount of information involved, it is easy to see why having a knowledgeable, trusted agent on your side can make such a huge difference. It’s also why the amount of time it takes to buy a home is unique to every buyer, though the steps remain pretty consistent for everyone.
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