So you’ve been looking at homes on the internet and you think you’re ready to buy. A common question that we get is, “How long does it take to buy a house?” Although this process varies for everyone, you can expect it to take from 30-45 days after signing a contract. So here is a breakdown of the home-buying process and exactly what you can expect when buying a house.
So the first step that we would recommend is to hire a realtor. Although you’re able to look at homes on the internet, you can’t always rely on that. These websites are not always entirely accurate and up-to-date. We’re not saying to avoid looking online at all costs, but they have their pros and cons. It’s great to have the ability to see the finishes and layout of a house before actually seeing it in person. However, some of the information on these sites can be inaccurate. By hiring a realtor, they are able to set you up on an MLS drip which sends you properties right as they are listed on the market. In addition to this, Realtors can also give great advice on properties, neighborhoods and much more. They have a lot of experience in the field so they know what to look for.
Your realtor can recommend a great loan originator or lender that will get you pre-approved. There are many benefits to getting pre-approved and we HIGHLY recommend that all of our buyers start with this step before looking at any houses. The main benefit is to determine a budget. A good loan originator will discuss with you a healthy price point to look for. Something that you can reasonably and realistically afford. There can be a lot of extra expenses that come with owning a house that you might not think of, especially if you’re a first time home-buyer. They will lay everything out so you’re fully informed on the purchase you are about to make. The second main benefit is the credibility that it adds to your offer. Most of the time, a seller would not even consider an offer that comes in from a buyer who is not approved.
Again, although the internet is an unbelievably useful tool, it’s not always the best way to do it. There is no better way to view properties than to physically tour them. Our agents highly recommend going to as many open houses as possible. You can do these on your own time and they give you a good understanding of what to expect at your price point. Watch 5 Reasons Why You Should Attend Open Houses. It is also a good idea to set up private showings with your realtor. You’ll get to walk through a listing with just you and your realtor, to get a truly personal tour. We also recommend that you always do a drive through of the neighborhood that a listing is in. It’s important to get a feel for the surrounding area, and you can’t see this on the internet listing.
So you find the house tat you love and you’re ready to make an offer. First, you want to work with your realtor to settle on an offer amount. This amount has to work for you budget and must also consider the seller’s asking price. After deciding on an offer amount, you will then go to your loan officer to get a pre-approval letter for the desired amount.
Once you submit an offer, you wait to hear back from the seller. There are a few outcomes that could happen at this point. They could reject your offer, which means you’re out of luck and have to move onto the next home. Or they could send a counter-offer. You’ll work again with your realtor to decide on an amount that works with you that will be sent back to the seller. Another possibility is a multiple offer situation. Watch 5 Ways to Win in a Multiple Offer Situation. The final outcome, and the one that you are hoping for is an accepted offer.
Your offer was accepted by the seller and now it’s time to sign contracts. This is also when you will present your deposit check to the seller. The home search can vary drastically for everyone out there. Some may fall in love with the first home they find, others may see hundreds of houses before making an offer. When you ask, “how long does it take to buy a house?” the process starts after you have an offer get accepted. So let’s get started!
As the buyer, you are responsible for scheduling inspections on the home. You can pick an inspector of your choice and you choose the day & time. You are also responsible for paying for the inspections out of pocket which can typically range from $350-$500. This must be done 10 days from the offer being accepted to conduct your inspections. After receiving the inspection report you have the choice to proceed, or to terminate the sale. If you terminate the sale, you will lose your deposit.
If you choose to proceed with the sale after inspections, the next step is to contact the title company. The main purpose of doing this is to verify that the seller has the rights to sell this real estate. They will also clear the property of any liens, easements, outstanding payments, etc.
The next step is to get an appraisal on the property. Mortgage lenders require an appraisal on every piece of property that they are involved in to confirm the home is worth the purchase price. Essentially, this is a way to protect their investment. Your loan officer will schedule the appraisal with the listing agent. As the buyer, you are responsible for paying for the appraisal as well. The average cost of home appraisals in Rhode Island is roughly $500.
A Mortgage Contingency is a clause that is written into the sales agreement that can void the sale if certain conditions are not met. More specifically, this clause is protection for if the buyer is unable to secure mortgage financing. The buyer must obtain a loan approval within 30 days from the signing of the contract.
“Clear to close” are a realtor’s three favorite words. This means that everything has been approved on the sale and we are ready to move forward with closing. After getting the clear to close, you can schedule a day and time for closing. Things are looking up at this point of the transaction.
The final walk-through is typically the day of closing, or the day before. You and your realtor will take one last tour of the house to confirm the property condition has not changed. Some things to look for are that conveying appliances are still in place, there is no new damage to interior features, new water leaks, etc.
This is the time we have all been waiting for. Make sure you are prepared to do A LOT of signing. You will go through all of the paperwork in the contract with the sellers and closing attorneys. Once finished, you will receive the keys to your new home! Make sure you bring the following to closing: a photo ID and a bank check for “cash to close” (contact your lender to get this amount prior to closing).
The final step, and the most relieving is moving in. The house is yours, now it’s time to make it a home. From the moment your offer was accepted, you can expect to move in roughly 30-45 days later. This is if there are no contingencies, delays or any other issues within the transaction.
We hope that this was able to answer your question of “how long does it take to buy a house?” Although the process will differ every time, this is a general time frame that you can follow.