First time home buyers are faced with many new challenges that they haven’t had any experience facing before in life. Many of the people working in the real estate industry, that deal with the ins and outs of buying and selling homes on a regular basis, can forget that first time buyers can get lost in the process, and may not know what to expect every step of the way. One of the common points of confusion for new buyers is in relation to how long it takes to buy a home.
Most things in life can be bought in an instant. Amazon even makes little plastic devices now that can order common household items with just a single click of a button, making the entire transaction take less than a second. For most people in their 20’s and early 30’s the biggest purchase they’ve ever made was buying a car, which can be accomplished in a single afternoon, in most cases.
Houses, on the other hand, take much longer, and with a lifetime of fast transactions to set the tone, the process can seem to take forever by comparison.
Before an offer is ever made, a buyer is going to need to be pre-approved for a loan, meaning that their finances have been checked by the bank, and they have the required credit and cashflow to afford the monthly payments.
After an offer is accepted by the seller, there is then a period of due diligence, where the home is inspected an appraised, making sure there are no major issues that need attention, and that it’s actually worth the selling price. That last part is important, because if the offer is higher than what the house appraises for, the bank isn’t going to finance the loan. Should the buyer default on the mortgage, and the bank forecloses on the house, they need to be able to sell it for the amount they lent in the first place.
So far, it’s normal for this part of the process to take ten to fourteen days. By this time, there has likely been a closing date selected, where all the final paperwork gets signed, and the buyers take ownership of the house. From the time of the offer, to the closing date, it’s typical for the whole purchase to take anywhere from 30-45 days, but sometimes longer. In some situations, the sellers will then need to find a place to move to, now that their house is being purchased. They may request some extra time in order for them to make an offer of their own.