How Long Does it Take to Buy a House?

How Long Does it Take to Buy a House
by Tamara Rein - September 19, 2022,

It takes an average of 4-12 months to browse for a home, plus an additional 30-45 days to close once a contract is signed. However, the timetable might vary significantly dependent on seasonality, your financing needs, the sort of property you're seeking, and the local housing market's inventory.

Many people's greatest financial investment is the purchase of a home. Therefore most purchasers take the time to make an informed selection. In addition, the amount of time required to purchase a property depends on the condition of the local housing market.

Time-consuming Steps Of Buying a House

Here are some of the most time-consuming tasks that might prolong the home-buying process. If you can move swiftly through these processes, you will be able to buy a home a bit faster than usual.

Searching And Finding The Right Home

You want to locate a home you adore, but if the inventory of properties that suit your requirements is limited, it might take a long time.

Getting An Offer Accepted

In a competitive market when many buyers are vying for a small number of houses, you may have to submit many offers until one is approved. This can also occur if you are purchasing with finance and competing with several cash purchasers.


It might take time for a buyer and a seller to reach an agreement that satisfies both sides. Multiple rounds of repair and appraisal-related counteroffers and negotiations can be time-consuming.

Financing And Pre-approval

Cash offers might speed up the home-buying process, but it takes time to be pre-approved and complete the loan application and appraisal when financing.

According to the research, 18% of purchasers found it difficult to locate all of their personal papers for the sake of obtaining a loan, and 18% had trouble navigating the underwriting process with their lender.

How Fast Can You Buy a House?

There is no time limit for purchasing a property, although paying in cash might expedite the process. If you're financing the property and want to expedite the process as much as possible, there are a few things you may do. Complete all necessary documentation promptly, arrange your inspection as soon as possible, and ensure that your agent is in continual contact with the listing agent. Due to the complexity of the underwriting and title transfer processes, however, you have little control over the loan approval timing.

Even if you discover the ideal property immediately, it may take some time to negotiate all the terms with the seller, assuming you can make it work.

Knowing the stages involved in purchasing property might assist you in preparing to take the process ahead.

1. Start Financial Preparation

If you haven't already, begin saving for your down payment (often 20% of the purchase price) well before you purchase. In addition, purchasing property might incur additional fees; thus, you should set aside 2-5% of the purchase price at least six months before you begin house hunting to pay closing costs.

Examine your credit profile in advance and determine what you can do to improve your score (which can get you a better interest rate). Request copies of all of your credit reports, begin paying down your credit card balances, and address any anomalies or inaccuracies you discover.

6 months prior to purchase

  • Put money aside for a down payment.
  • Define your budget
  • Put your finances in order.

2. Get To Know Your Market

Start your online search for houses for sale. Attend open houses to get a sense of the market and to narrow down your list of must-haves in terms of property type, features, and location.

You should also familiarise yourself with the local professionals who can assist you with the acquisition process, especially a real estate agent (if you choose to use one). A skilled real estate agent can help you through the entire process and link you with additional professionals, such as an inspector, attorney, mortgage broker, or lender.

You should also be conscious of your spending and its influence on your credit report at this stage. Large loans might negatively impact your credit score and debt-to-income ratio, which is used by lenders to assess how much you are eligible to borrow. Any significant changes to your income or work may affect your capacity to get financing.

4-5 months prior to purchase

  • Start your house search online.
  • Define your needs and desires
  • Hire a real estate agent
  • Keep tabs on your expenditures and credit card use

3. Get Pre-approved And Start Searching

Choose a lender or hire a mortgage broker to guide you through the financing procedure and assist you in locating the ideal lender. Get pre-approved by the lender of your choice so that when the time comes to make an offer, sellers will know you are serious. You will require bank statements, pay stubs, and tax records to get pre-approved. Most letters of pre-approval are valid for sixty to ninety days.

If you haven't already, bookmark online searches so that you are alerted when new houses that suit your criteria become available. Your agent should also be searching for houses to show you on the local MLS. Once you see houses that interest you, have your realtor arrange for viewings.

2-3 months prior to purchase

  • Get a pre-approval letter
  • Online search history saved
  • Commence scheduling exhibitions

4. Make An Offer

Once you discover a house that you adore, make an offer! Keep in mind that it may not be approved immediately. When they respond, they will either immediately accept your offer or you will engage in pricing and conditions negotiations. Once everyone is in agreement, both sides will sign the contract, and the acquisition process will officially commence.

1-2 months prior to purchase

  • Find the ideal dwelling
  • Make an offer and, if required, negotiate
  • Sign the agreement

5. Complete Escrow-related Tasks And Finalize Plans

During the 30- to 45-day escrow period, your lender will establish various criteria for their underwriters to approve the loan. This may involve a house inspection, an appraisal, and requests for more documents. This procedure may take longer if you are applying for an FHA or VA loan, which may require additional documentation. If your credit or income has changed after you were pre-approved, further verification may be necessary.

Schedule the examination.

You should schedule your inspection as soon as possible after entering into a contract, preferably within the first week. Typically, the buy and selling agreement specifies that you must complete the inspection within 10 days of entering into the deal. Any inspection-related demands, such as requesting repairs or a refund, are likewise subject to a deadline.

Start moving preparations

Now is also the time to plan your relocation with a local moving company. You should submit a change of address form to the post office and investigate how to set up utilities at your new residence.

If you are already renting, you must give your landlord notice in accordance with the terms of your lease, which is typically at least 30 days.

Maintain communication with your team

Maintain contact with your lender while the loan's specifics are confirmed. Be timely when sending any needed paperwork. Additionally, you must inform your lender of your desired house insurance provider. As you strive to finish your loan, you should keep your real estate agent and the attorney informed.

Below one month

  • Find a home inspector and finish the inspection
  • Obtaining homeowner's insurance

6. Close To Your New Home

Either the morning before closing or the evening before, you will do a last walkthrough to physically assess the property's condition. This is particularly significant if you requested house repairs following the home inspection. Next, you will visit the office of the title firm to sign your closing documents. Depending on the intricacy of the transaction, this may take many hours.

Closing week

  • Schedule final inspection.
  • Sign paperwork
  • Get your keys!
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