Once you make an offer on a home, how long will it take before you can finally hire the movers and start your new life?
Every situation is different, so we can’t tell you exactly how long it will be to the day, but we can give you some estimates for each part of the process, so you won’t be surprised at how long it takes. (And we know, if it’s taken you weeks or months just to find the right house, waiting even longer seems like a big hassle.)
Offer Acceptance: 24-72 hours
Once you submit the offer, the seller will typically get back to you within a day or two. They may reject your offer, make a counteroffer, or accept the offer as-is.
Mortgage Application: 24-72 hours
Once you’ve found your home, you submit your formal mortgage application. Because you’ve probably been pre-qualified (if you want to know more about that, read this post), you should move through this process smoothly. Be on the lookout for messages or calls from your lender, just in case they need any further documents. The faster you can provide any missing pieces, the faster your application can progress.
Loan Processing: 3-4 weeks
This step is the longest part of the process, and it includes a lot of actions that happen concurrently. Again, your lender may ask for more information during this time, and the faster you give them what they need, the faster your loan moves through processing.
Appraisal: 1 week
Your appraiser will use their professional judgment to assign a value to the home. This appraisal is critical to the loan process because your lender needs to authenticate the home is worth the amount they are willing to lend you.
Inspection: 1 week
This professional looks at the systems and structure of the house you’re buying to ensure that there are no safety or structural integrity issues. The report will give you recommendations on what you need to address immediately, what may be a problem, and what you can wait to handle. You may ask the seller to repair issues, or you may negotiate a lower purchase price to manage the repairs yourself.
Title Search: 1-2 weeks
Sometimes, homes have liens against them that homeowners may have ignored, forgotten, or never even known existed. A title search ensures that the seller can transfer the house to you free and clear. The title company will alert you and your home buying team about any issues they find, and the seller will need to address them before you can close on the home.
Underwriting: up to 2 weeks
The underwriting process is the final assessment of your creditworthiness and approval for your loan. The underwriting team will look at the documents you provided, assess your credit report, and verify any other details about your loan application.
Closing Disclosure: 3 days
Once your loan has made it through underwriting, your lender will present you with a closing disclosure that gives your final interest rate, closing costs, monthly mortgage payment, and any other relevant terms. This pre-closing document gives you time to make sure the loan terms will meet your needs and gather the cash you need for closing.
Final Walkthrough: a few hours
The walkthrough is your chance to make sure the seller has done the repairs you’ve asked for and that no new issues have come up since the inspection. Your realtor can work with the seller to address any outstanding issues you find.
Closing: 1 day
This final step is the day you’ve been waiting for from the start. You’ll sign the papers transferring ownership to you and agreeing to the terms of your loan.
You may do this remotely using a secure signature program, or you may do it in person. If you close remotely, you may wire the closing costs. If you do it in person, you may simply bring a cashier’s check.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions about the papers you’re signing, and don’t be surprised at the number of documents you have to sign. Stop and stretch out your hand if it gets sore (yes, that happens). After you finish signing everything, the house is yours! You’ll get the keys, and you can start moving in or do the painting, flooring updates, or other pre-move-in projects that are so much easier to manage before the furniture is in there.
You will get paper or electronic copies of all the documents you signed at the closing. Keep those in a safe place, either a fireproof container in your home or a safe deposit box, if that is convenient when you need to be able to refer to them or show a copy. If you receive electronic copies, make sure you keep a backup in a secure location, either in the cloud or on a physical device in a safe deposit box—or both. These documents may be necessary for insurance purposes or legal needs, so you want to be able to find them easily.
Although this is a complex process with many steps, now you know what to expect. During the loan processing, you can keep yourself occupied by discussing paint samples, upgrades you want to do, and making other fun plans for your new house.
Contact our team to get started.