How Long Does It Take to Buy a Home? A Helpful Guide

Of all the home sales that occur each year, around 34% are first-time home purchases. 

Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or not, you might have questions about the home buying process. For example, many buyers wonder: how long does it take to buy a home?

The answer varies, but knowing the process doesn’t happen overnight is helpful; buying a house takes time.

Keep reading this guide to learn about the steps of buying a house, as this can help you learn how long the process takes.

Steps to Take Before Buying a House

Buying a home is different than buying most other items, as the process takes time. You can generally purchase almost any other object and take possession of the item the same day. This isn’t true with a home purchase.

Home buyers spend time preparing for the home buying process by completing a few steps:

Preparing Financially

You won’t need a mortgage if you can pay cash for the home purchase, but this isn’t how most people buy homes. Instead, most people borrow money through mortgages when investing in real estate.

If you need a loan to buy a house, you might also need to spend a few months preparing your finances for a loan. 

Getting Preapproved

Secondly, you might spend a few weeks getting preapproved for a loan. You need a preapproval letter from your lender to proceed with the home-buying process, so you should work on this before shopping for a home.

Hiring a Real Estate Agent 

Another step is hiring a real estate agent. Your agent helps you with all the steps and offers home buying tips. 

These preliminary steps might take a few months or longer, depending on your situation. 

Searching for a Home

You can also expect to spend some time searching for a home. After all, you must find the right house to purchase. So, how do you find the right one?

You might start by viewing homes for sale online. The Internet contains lists of homes for sale and allows you to filter your results. 

The listings show pictures of the homes, details, and prices. You can spend hours, days, or weeks watching these listings to find houses you like.

Your real estate agent makes money only when you buy a house, so they’ll assist with finding homes for sale.

Agents ask their clients about their needs, as this provides the information they need to search the market for properties. 

Additionally, you can look at other ways to buy homes, such as searching for auction homes for sale

You can view the homes you’d like to see in person, and you’re free to view as many homes for sale as you’d like before selecting one. You can even view a home multiple times if necessary.

So, how long does it take to find the right property? It might take one day or months. It often depends on the current market situation and your budget and needs.

Negotiating an Offer

Real estate agents assist with writing home offers, but you shouldn’t write an offer until you’re sure about the house. After all, you’ll be obligated to purchase the home if the seller accepts your offer.

But, you must initiate the negotiation process by submitting an offer to the seller. The seller receives the offer and has a specific timeframe to review it and respond.

The seller’s response affects the timing of the purchase. For example, you’ll be closer to buying the house if the seller accepts your offer. 

However, sellers might counter the offers they receive. Countering an offer changes the purchase offer’s terms and requires the buyer to agree to it.

The negotiation process is a vital part of buying a house, but it also takes time. For example, you might spend a few days or weeks narrowing down the deal’s details. 

You can speed this up by making your best offer when you write the purchase contract. Your agent can also provide other helpful tips for writing an offer. 

Handling the Closing Process 

The next part of the home-buying process might take three weeks or longer, and you enter this stage when you reach a deal with the seller. Reaching a deal with the seller means both parties agree to the deal and its terms.

When you reach this point, you can proceed to the closing steps. Closing the deal won’t occur until both parties complete their steps. 

As the buyer, you’ll need to do several things. You can begin by contacting your lender. Your lender will ask for the purchase offer, as it contains the vital details of the deal.

Next, your lender will request numerous things, including the following:

  • Appraisal
  • Survey
  • Inspections

Your lender will also review your finances, employment, and credit. 

Additionally, the seller will work on things to close the deal. For example, they’ll have to work with inspectors to let them in the house to complete their assessments, and they might have to fix things around the house.

You can talk to your agent about arranging a meeting to see the house one more time before the closing date. If you’d like to do this, you should try to do it a few days before closing.

Closing Day

The final step is closing the deal. The closing occurs when you and the other parties meet to sign the paperwork. The appointment takes around one hour, and you’ll own the house when you leave this meeting.

How Long Does It Take to Buy a Home?

So, how long does it take to buy a home? It might take a few weeks to buy a house or several months. It depends on your situation and the methods you use.

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