How long does it really take to purchase a home after finding one?

Asked by Elich, Warren, RI Tue Jul 28, 2009

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Linda Martin, , Fairfax, VA
Tue Jul 28, 2009
Hi Elich, This is a question asked by buyers and sellers-- how long does it take? A buyer, working with a great real estate agent has already been intoduced to their Realtor's Team-- made loan application and is pre-approved for at least the amount of loan needed to buy in the proposed price range, understands the process including inspections & settlement-- all before falling in love with a property! That said, the inspection stage can take 7-10 days, and sometimes the appraisal is ordered right away, or not until after the "deal" is firmed up. With new appraisal requirements in effect since May 2009, it can take 30-45 days to get the appraisal done (avg 30 days). Some lenders require up to 5 days for ALL required documents, the appraisal and even updated verifications on you to be in hand, before they will permit settlement. The worst typical case would still be 45 days average, and up to 60 mdays if coordinating other factors is needed. That is usually also a workable timeframe for sellers to coordinate their move, and often allows you to give adequate notice on your rental too! I hope this will help you to plan-- good luck, and happy ownership!
1 vote
Eric Funk, Agent, Morristown, NJ
Tue Jul 28, 2009
Elich - is there a particular reason for asking? Something that's concerning you? Maybe we can help.
Good luck, Jackie
1 vote
Raymond Card…, , Middletown, RI
Tue Jul 28, 2009
Hello Elich,

These are all great answers. I agree that as a general rule you should plan on 4-6 weeks from the time of offer to the transfer of title. Some other factors can be contingencies such as " Subject to seller finding suitable housing" or any repairs that you may want completed before transfer. Usually, especially in this market, these items can be negotiated so as to keep to a reasonable timetable.
As Mr. Cox has stated, your Agent will guide you through the process. If you are not working with a Buyer's Agent I highly suggest you find one. They will help you find a home fast, advise you of its TRUE VALUE, assure that all the i's are dotted and t's are crossed and all at no charge to you!!! The Seller pays.

Ray Cardoza
Keller Williams Realty of Newport
0 votes
Christopher…, Agent, Providence, RI
Tue Jul 28, 2009
Hi Elich,

It can vary greatly. Not as much on the mortgage side as long as you have your paperwork together and can easily clear all of their requirements. The unknown side can often be the other stuff. For example if a title issue comes up where an old mortgage was not properly discharged it can take a couple of extra weeks to clear all of that. All in all, I agree with Sarah that a 30-45 day window should be sufficient assuming not a short sale. Your buyer agent should be working with you to make sure that you are comfortable with the timeline that you are putting forward and that it is realistic.

Hope that helps, Happy Hunting,
0 votes
Robert Hyder, Mortgage Broker Or Lender, Milford, CT
Tue Jul 28, 2009

It's very important to get a pre-approval (not pre-qualified) before you start looking. A pre-qualification is simply a letter issued to a borrower who is interested in purchasing a home. A pre-approval is a level above a pre-qualification letter. A pre-approval includes the verification of employment, credit history, down payment, etc.

Once this information is validated, the mortgage application is submitted to a credit officer (underwriter) to make a final decision. Once approved by an underwriter, a pre-approval certificate (commitment to lend) is issued. This commitment to lend allows for borrowers to close very quickly once a home is found. When a borrower has a commitment from a lender, it can drastically improve the negotiation of a sales price with a seller since it is as close as a borrower can get to actually having the cash in hand to pay for a home.

Best of luck!

Total Mortgage Services
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Sarah Klamm, Agent, Wellsville, KS
Tue Jul 28, 2009
There are a lot of factors. In my area it usually takes 30-45 days. A cash sale for a vacant property that is not a short sale can be purchased VERY quickly. Inspections, re-inspections, appraisals, bank approvals, etc can make it slower.

As a buyer, you can assist the process by having your pre-approval (not just pre-qualification) ready. I have seen buyers waste weeks trying to find all the documentation that their lender requires.
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