How Long Does it Take to Buy a House?
Finding the right house in the Bay Area can be challenging. But there’s nothing like getting the keys to your first home.
If you’re tired of paying rent in San Francisco and ready to move into a place of your own, you probably have a lot of questions. One of them might be: how long will it take to buy a house?
The short answer is that it’ll probably take anywhere from two or three months, but it could be longer. There are a lot of things that could help speed things up or slow things down.
We know that when you’re ready to move, you’re ready to move. So, here’s everything you need to know about buying your house, the steps involved, and how long it could take from start to finish.
Steps to buying a house
Just like any big purchase, there are a lot of steps involved when buying a house. Knowing what you need to do can help speed up the process and put those keys in your hands quicker.
1. Finding the right home
The first thing you want to do is figure out exactly what you’re looking for in your new home. Is this a starter house? Are you ok with a fixer-upper? Or are you looking for your forever home?
Use our helpful calculator to figure out what kind of home you can actually afford.
A clear understanding of how much you are spending will help you decide how much you can afford to spend on a new house. Your budget is just one of the factors in finding the right home.
Bay Area real estate can be challenging and competitive. Our partnership with HomeAdvantage provides tools and resources that can help make the process easier. This free service includes:
- Rebates.Members who work with an agent in our network earn an average of $1,500 back in savings. These rebates can be used to reduce closing costs, reduce agent commissions, or be taken as cash back.
- Searching for homes. Search for homes on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) for free, and find the home that fits your needs. And unlike other services, HomeAdvantage will not sell your information.
- Listing alerts. Save your favorite searches and get email updates when new listings become available.
- A real estate agent network. Choose an agent from a network of experienced, hand-picked real estate agents ready to help you buy or sell.
2. Make an offer on a house
After you’ve found the house that fits your needs, you’ll want to make an offer through your real estate agent as soon as possible.
The seller can choose to accept, reject, or counter your offer. If they accept, congratulations! You’ve now entered into a contract agreement and can move on to the next steps.
3. Closing on a home
After the seller has accepted your offer, the closing process starts. Here’s what you can expect to happen during this time:
- Your lender will start to process your mortgage, set up an appraisal of the house, and make sure they have all the documents they need from you.
- You’ll get a loan estimate, which includes a breakdown of what you need to pay when you close on the house.
- Title attorneys will take a look at the title and make sure there’s nothing stopping them from transferring the title and deed to you.
- Your home insurance provider will set up your insurance policy and let you know what the annual premium will be.
Closing on a home is a process and can take time. Typically, it can take about 30-45 days. However, in some cases the process could take up to 60 days.
How to speed up the homebuying process
Being prepared for a big purchase is always a good idea. Of all of the major purchases you might make in your life, buying a house is probably at the top of that list.
Going into the home buying process with a good idea of what to expect can help speed things up. Here are some things you can do.
1. Get the documents you need
You’ll need to gather some important documents before you start looking for a new house. These include:
- Paycheck stubs
- Bank statements
- Tax returns
You might need to have these throughout the entire process, so make sure you keep them close by.
2. Get a preapproval letter
A mortgage preapproval letter shows both the seller and real estate agents that you’re a serious and qualified buyer.
Getting this letter before you start shopping can give you a big advantage over people who haven’t taken this step.
3. Pick the right real estate agent
Picking the right real estate agent for your specific needs is important. A real estate agent will help you navigate the process from negotiation to closing.
Our experienced Real Estate Loan Officers understand they unique challenges of the Bay Area housing market. They’ll treat you like a person, not a number, and take the time to get to know you and your situation.
4. Have your closing costs ready
Make sure you have easy access to the money you’ve saved to cover the closing costs.
It’s been a long road to this point, from searching for the right home to applying for a mortgage, and now you're ready to close on a house.
You’ll want to make sure you can easily access your account and move the funds to the right place when the time comes.
We’re Here to Help
When it comes to buying a home, it’s important that you understand the process from start to finish. Make sure you’re financially prepared and that you know exactly what you’re looking for in your home.
If you still have questions about the homebuying process, applying for pre-approval, or anything related to your first mortgage, our Real Estate Loan Officers are here to answer your questions.