How Long Does It Take to Buy a House?

If you are a first-time homebuyer, there is likely one big question you want an answer to before starting your home buying journey: “How long does it take to buy a house?” Your unique timeline will be heavily influenced by a variety of factors including your financial situation and the current housing market among others. 

For some homebuyers, the process may take as little as 30 days while others may be looking at a timeline of six months or more to purchase their first home. Explore our guide to learn how long it takes to buy a house and discover ways to expedite the home buying process so you can move into your dream home faster! 

What Are the Steps to Buying a House?

While the home buying experience is different for everyone, the basic framework for purchasing a house typically remains the same. The first step you will take is deciding what kind of home you want. Are you upsizing or downsizing? Are you willing to make compromises so long as the house is in a specific area? Having a wish list ready and in hand can expedite the process and help you start attending viewings and open houses faster—and with the average search for the right home taking around four and a half months, getting a jump start can make a big difference in your total home buying timeline. 

This is also the stage in which you should start thinking about cleaning up your finances in order to be preapproved for a mortgage. Not only does this show buyers that you are serious about buying a house, but it also confirms how much you can borrow. While it only takes a few days to receive a loan estimate, you must resolve any discrepancies in your credit report before you apply—this may take up to six months to complete. First-time homebuyers can even take advantage of several loans and programs to help cover the cost of the down payment. 

Once you have found a home that meets your needs, it is time to make an offer through your real estate agent. An offer is a written agreement between you and the seller which they will either accept, reject or counter. Most real estate contracts set time limits for the seller to respond—some states even have prescribed limits for all contracts. However, most sellers typically have about 72 hours to respond to an offer. 

Once the seller has accepted your offer, the contract-to-close process begins. During this time, your mortgage company will appraise the house and process your mortgage. They will also provide you with a loan estimate so you know what you can expect to pay on closing day. Title attorneys will then check the title of the home for potential issues to ensures your name can be transferred to the title and deed. Additionally, your home insurance provider will set up the insurance for your new residence and determine what your premium will be. Contract to closing typically takes 30-60 days, but it is wise to factor in extra time in case you encounter setbacks during any of the steps. 

How Can You Speed up the Home Buying Process?

The fastest way to speed up the home buying process is to purchase a house with cash. The mortgage process is not required for cash buyers—this means the time from contract to closing will be shorter, allowing you to move into your new home quicker. If you are getting a mortgage, however, there are a few steps first-time homebuyers can take to speed up the process: 

Get Preapproved for a Mortgage

Being preapproved shows the seller you can afford a house in the range they are selling it for. The whole process from contacting a mortgage company to receiving the letter typically takes a few days. If you are qualified for a loan, however, the mortgage process will be quicker once initiated than if a lender were to identify concerns about your qualifications—even if you are not preapproved.

Find a Good Real Estate Agent

A trusted real estate agent will help you find a home, schedule a visit and make an offer within a reasonable timeframe. Additionally, they will also guide you through home inspections, walk-throughs and closing day for a faster, more seamless process.

Have Your Closing Funds Ready

Make sure you can easily access your bank account to move your money to the right place when closing time comes.

It is also important to come prepared for closing to help avoid delays. The escrow company, or escrowee, may request photo identification, funds, a homeowners insurance certificate or other materials to complete the closing process. Be sure to ask what you should bring with you before arriving at your appointment. 

How long does it take to buy a home? Well, the answer will vary from buyer to buyer. However, it is never too early to start the search for your dream home. Explore and compare Perry Homes’ move-in ready properties in Texas’ most desirable communities to get a head start on finding your dream home today!