Home Buying in Columbia>Question Details

Eric, Home Buyer in Lexington, SC

How soon should we start a serious house hunt if we want to own by October?

Asked by Eric, Lexington, SC Wed Jun 22, 2011

Our lease is up at the end of Oct and we've driven around to various homes that we found here on Trulia just to check out some of the different areas. There are a couple of houses that we saw that we would be very interested in looking into more but I'm not sure how soon is too soon to really start making things happen. Any help and advice is greatly appreciated. Thank you!

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June 15.

I've got to agree with Lew.

Work backwards. Your lease ends October 31. Allow 60 days (45-60, as Lew suggests) for the financing and other steps you'll have to go through. That brings us August 31.

Now, how long do you want to look for houses? True, you could find one on your first day out, but more likely it'll take longer. And you don't want to feel pressured at having to buy. Certainly a minimum of a month. That brings us to July 31.

Then there's the prep work involved. You should be interviewing Realtors. You also should be getting pre-approved for a loan. (And if you find out you need to work on your credit scores, you need some breathing room, there, too.) Allow a couple of weeks to interview Realtors, check references, and select the one you like. That brings us to July 15.

Now, build in some breathing space. Suppose there are things on your credit report that you do need to clean up? Suppose you make an offer on a property and, after some back-and-forth negotiations, it falls through and you need to start from scratch. Suppose you don't want to move out on October 31. Maybe a few days earlier would be better. And suppose the house you buy needs a little bit of work--nothing major, but stuff you'd like to take care of before you move in. Maybe refinishing the floors or putting in new carpet. Let's allow 30 days for all of that.

That brings us to June 15.

Ummm. Today is June 22. You're already behind schedule.

Hope that helps.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 22, 2011
Don Tepper, Real Estate Pro in Fairfax, VA
The best deals go the fastest and they may not be available if you wait until you're ready. Start looking now and get advice from a top agent who can help you with the timing. We do this all the time so we can help you navigate through the details.

Good luck!
Jae Kim, Broker/Owner
EXIT Real Estate Solutions
Web Reference: http://www.jaekimhomes.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat May 5, 2012
Hi Eric,
I would recommend meeting and speaking with agents to start the process now. You probably want to be under contract next month if possible. A buyer's agent can walk you through all the steps necessary. You are definitely not starting too soon at this point. Please let me know if I can help you in any way.

Best wishes,

Leah Henderson
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Aug 20, 2011
Now is a great time and it is truly a "Buyer's Market." You never know how long or short the process will take but I would definitely start now. There is so much to see and prepare for many rental agreements will let you out early if they can rent it quickly. I personally just sold a house in March to someone who was just getting started 6 months before his lease was up and his leasing agent let him out with no fees because she was able to rent it quickly.

Your first step is to get financing set up and that way you can confidentially find something you know you can afford. there are so many great financing perks out there for first time home owners, Community service professionals, rurual housing, and many more.

If you would like assistance in finding something, please don't hesitate to call.

With warm regards,

Kim Livoti
ColumbiaLand realty
803-318-9549 Cell
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 28, 2011
I agree wholeheartedly with the others. Now is certainly the time to start the "shopping" part of the process. Once you identify the home you wish to buy, there's still much work to be done. Loan processing, especially for programs designed to offer assistance for first timers, can take longer. You want to build in ample time for any unforeseen delays.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 6, 2011
I was just looking through my Facebook correspondence from about the middle of June 2010. I started working with a client the middle of June and we closed the 3d week of September. And this was a traditional transaction where we didn't see a ton of homes. As Lew says, it takes awhile.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 22, 2011
What? You're not seriously looking now? You're just 4 months away from moving!

It usually takes time to find the right home, negotiate with the sellers, and get everything lined and ready to go for moving day. It's not uncommon today for the mortgage process itself to take as long as 45 - 60 days. You want to allow for underwriting contingencies as well as the appraisal process - if there are any 'hiccups' along the way, you'll have time to get them resolved instead of being 'under the gun' to get it done!

If you haven't already, you should get yourself pre-approved for a mortgage. Then, with a mortgage pre-approval letter in hand, you should seek out the services of a professional real estate agent to act as your Buyer's Agent for the area you want to live in.

You should (hopefully) have found a home and be ready to move forward with the purchase and mortgage application by the end of August. If you wait until the end of September, you might be disappointed if settlement doesn't occur by the end of October.

Good luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 22, 2011
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