How long does it normally take a first-time homebuyer to find the right home? Websites that post these stats?

Asked by H.Washington, Los Angeles, CA Fri Oct 17, 2008

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Dorene Slavi…, Agent, Torrance, CA
Sat Oct 25, 2008
It depends upon the pocketbook and criteria of the buyer....and the availabiltiy. I would say the average is three months though (in my professional experience)
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0 votes
jet, Home Buyer, Los Angeles, CA
Mon Oct 20, 2008
i have been looking for a home in LA since feb and haven't found it yet. i have been using the internet,
local papers, open houses, maps. have had 2 realtors, and have been looking on and off,beginning to zero in on specific locations. i would like to find a place by years end.
0 votes
Gregory Masi, Agent, Los Angeles, CA
Sat Oct 18, 2008
Hi H,

All I can tell you is that the statistic is so variable. In my own experience, I have worked with many first time home buyers and the length of time each allowed for finding the right home truly varied.


Buyer A needed to own a home because she didn't want to get hit so hard by taxes at the end of the year. As a result, we went out one Sunday, found a place she liked, and we were in escrow by the end of the week.

Buyer B spent about 8 months going to open houses and searching the internet for homes before coming to me. Once he connected with me, we spent 1 month looking before we wrote an offer to purchase a home.

Buyer C was not an internet user and relied solely on finding a home by going to open houses and private showings set up by me. It took buyer C about 2 months to find his home.

My point is that it all depends on you. Are you the type of person who likes to look at homes online and use this to mold your ideas for what you want, or do you need to see everything that might match your criteria so that you are confident that the home you finally choose is the best one for you? The latter of these two would indicate you need more time finding the right home.

Also, what is your motivation? Do you NEED to find a home or do you WANT to find a home? This will dictate how long your search will last. Buyer A above was someone who NEEDED to find a home and the search was short.

Lastly, the reality is that the number of homes for sale that match your needs is limited. If you can find a place that meets 80% of what you need, then you have a great match. It is the details you add after you move in that makes the house YOUR home.

Best of luck!

Greg Masi
0 votes
Bill Eckler, Agent, Venice, FL
Sat Oct 18, 2008

Unfortunately, I think you are looking for information that may not exist. But we feel the answer rests upon three important factors. 1. How prepare you are as the buyer. 2. The agent you use. It's important to use a "full time" real estate professional. 3. Your search location.

Let us take a look at what you can be doing to get ready:
1. Identify your realistic price range
2. Clarify the search criteria for your perfect home
3. Do preliminary searches on the internet to get a feel for the market
4. Get a loan pre-approval letter for your specific amount
5. Identify your target locations

With these things in place you are well on your way to using your time efficiently and getting the job done in a timely manner.

Many buyers and sellers under estimate the importance of working with a "full time" real estate professional. A full time agent spends mush more time collecting information, becoming an expert in their market area, and therefore have the ability to provide a much higher level of service for their customers.

As a participant and a serious buyer, to a degree, you can control the time involved in the buying process.

Good luck
The "Eckler Team"
0 votes
Sean Seckar, Agent, Santa Clarita, CA
Fri Oct 17, 2008
Every buyer will have a different story on how long it took to find a home so there is not one answer to your question. It depends on the area, inventory, buyers needs in a property, financing and even the Realtor. If you are looking for a 4 bedroom property but only want to pay what a 2 bedroom property is selling for, it will take you much longer than the person looking for a 2 bedroom in the same price range. A good Realtor should be able to tell you up front if what you are looking for is realistic or not. The less realistic, the longer the search. Throw into the mix the length of time it takes to get a response from the bank and you can be looking at an additional 90–120 days in many cases. Your best course of action is to have your financing lined up prior to looking, interview several Realtors and be realistic. There may be a surplus of bank owned homes and shortpays but the banks are not giving them away. Homes will still sell at a fair market value in most areas.

Best of luck on your home search.
Web Reference:
0 votes
Alexandra Pa…, Agent, Montebello, CA
Fri Oct 17, 2008
Here is a good website that answers a lot of questions for buyers.
0 votes
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