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What to Expect on Your Home Buying Journey

The Home Buying Process Demystified

The home buying process is filled with potential pitfalls and challenges, but when done right can be relatively painless. As champions of home buying, we’ve created this step-by-step guide to help you through the process.

Below you’ll find an overview of the home buying timeline as well as the major components of the home buying process with links to the various steps, tools, and information to educate and empower your home search, discovery, and purchase.

How Long Does it Take to Buy a Home?

Your timeline may vary, but the following is a good guideline

  • Preparing to Buy a Home: 3-4 weeks
  • Initial Search for Ideas: 1-4 weeks
  • Building a Team: 1 week (overlap initial search)
  • Pre-Approval of Mortgage: 12-48 hours
  • The Home Search: 4-8 weeks (depending on criteria)
  • Contract-to-Close: 14-60 days

On average, a homebuyer will spend 30-60 days shopping and 14-60 days from contract to close. For some folks, the process can be extremely quick taking as little as 30 days total, while for others, the shopping period alone can last several months.

How Much Home Can I Afford?

The first step in the home buying process is understanding if you have the resources needed to purchase a home. This includes knowing how much home you can afford, what type of down payment and monthly mortgage payment to budget for, as well as what type of loan program you’ll use to finance your new property. Need help? Get started on your mortgage in minutes.

Buying a home is a complicated process that requires a good deal of research. In the course of it, there will be a number of professionals and specialists involved. Once you’ve done your homework and assessed your resources, you’ll need to assemble your team.

Learn More About Preparing to Buy a Home >

Assembling Your Team

After you have a good understanding of your own wants, needs, and goals, it’s time to assemble your team and begin the home search! Who should be on your team? Who you’ll need to find on your own may vary, but the key team members could be: Real estate agent (could be a RealtorTM but not all agents are), home appraiser, title company, home inspector, insurance agent, and mortgage lender.

When selecting the members of this team, take the same amount of care as you would in choosing a home, because these people will be by your side throughout the buying process. Trust & communication are key considerations when working with your team.

Learn More About Assembling Your Team >

Sorting Out Your Finances

With the selection of a mortgage lender comes the application for mortgage pre-approval, a task that requires collecting the necessary financial paperwork to help obtain the approval. Once approval is obtained, the clock begins ticking as many pre-approval offers have a limited life-span before they expire.

Learn More About Mortgages & Pre-Approval >

Your Home Search

Now your search for (and discovering) your new home begins. Research, save, view and repeat. Remember, Homes.com has all the tools you need to find and keep track of your favorite properties and homes that have made it on your shortlist.

Learn More About the Home Search Tools & Process >

The Offer

You’ve got a mortgage pre-approval in hand and have found a property you can afford to purchase and see yourself living in. Congratulations! Now, it is time to submit a purchase offer to the listing agent or seller!

Once your offer has been accepted, the due-diligence period starts a timeline of checks and tasks for final mortgage approvals, appraisals, inspections, and other requirements that would be stated in the terms of the contract.

Learn More About the Offer, Negotiation & The Close!

Assessment, Conditions & Negotiation

Many consider this to be the most difficult part of the home buying process as it includes, but isn’t limited to, inspection, obtaining the final loan, purchasing insurance, and the potentially arduous negotiation. In this part of the process, every member of your team will be utilized, and the more homework you have done in building your team, the smoother this experience will go. Those who haven’t conducted their proper due diligence could potentially see the purchase fall apart at this point.

Closing the Deal!

A successful closing requires all of the team players to come together at the same time, with the same agenda, on the same date, with numbers and figures that match. From the start of the home search to the home inspection and closing the deal, the entire home buying process can take most homeowners about three months.

Read: 5 Tips for First-Time Homebuyers

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