A common point of confusion for people when they are purchasing a home is how long the home buying process will actually take. Some folks think that it all comes together immediately, while others assume that if will take months before they move into their dream home. The truth is that there are a couple of different components which can either expedite the process or prolong it. Here is a quick look at a few of the stages of the homebuying process, and different factors that affect the length of the experience.

First and foremost, when you begin to look for a home, you should be prepared to allot however much time you will need to find the house of your dreams. The amount of time it takes to find your chosen home can vary for many reasons, first and foremost being that your market and the time of the year you are shopping will dictate the housing inventory. If the inventory is low, it may take you a little more time to find the house that’s just right. Finding a house with any unique features that you want may also take you a little while longer. Your motivation and personal timeline will also impact how quickly the shopping process can take. On average, though, buyers may typically look for a home for about 30-60 days before ratifying a contract.

Contract To Close

Once you ratify a contract on your home there’s a time period called contract-to-close. This part of the transaction can have two possible timelines, one for a cash purchase and one for a financed transaction. A purchase that is not contingent upon obtaining financing can be significantly quicker than one that has a mortgage. A reasonable timeline for a cash purchase could be as little as two weeks. Traditionally that timeline is determined by how quickly the closing attorneys can perform a title search, get the title binder together, and prepare other necessary closing documents.

A contract contingent upon obtaining financing can take approximately 45-60 days from contract to close. Additionally, some loan types can require additional underwriting (such as a FHA or VA loan) and may need as much as 60 days for processing. Obtaining loan approval tends to be the longest stage so it’s always best to be on the conservative side when estimating timeline.

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