While it’s exciting to start the search for a new home, it’s likely you’ve got a few burning questions. First and foremost, you’re probably wondering: How long is this going to take?

There’s obviously no 100% perfect answer to that question because every house search and every homebuyer is different, but there are some calculations you can do.

You can break the home buying journey into steps and time each one out. This won’t just give you a rough estimate of what to expect, it will also help you figure out where to take time-saving real estate shortcuts and how to plan ahead for a quick and painless process.

Looking for a new home is undoubtedly exciting, but it’s not the kind of experience you want to drag on for months or years on end. With the right approach, you can maximize your chances of getting the home of your dreams in a hurry.

How long does it take to buy a house from start to finish?

Breaking the house search down into steps is the best way to time it out. Seeing how many days, weeks, or months each step tends to take will help you take in the scope of the journey.

These parts tend to consist of:

  1. Mortgage preapproval
  2. Shopping around, touring and inspecting houses
  3. Submitting your offer and finalizing financing
  4. Inspection and closing

Mortgage preapproval

Once you’re closing in on the home of your dreams, you’ll want to have reassurances that a lender will give you the mortgage you need to buy that house. That’s why you should start the homebuying process by applying for mortgage preapproval.

The home loan preapproval process itself, from submitting your documents to getting the preapproval letter, may take a week or less and is a critical step to understanding loan options and your total budget. There is some prep work that comes first, however. You’ll have to get your financial paperwork in order, from pay stubs and bank statements to tax documents, to demonstrate your income.

You should also bear in mind that the lenders you work with will likely run a credit check to verify your credit history, which can temporarily affect your credit score.

The real length of time needed to get a mortgage preapproval could be said to include the months you spend before the loan process. During this time, you should be saving up a good bank balance for closing costs and monthly mortgage payment expenses and building your credit score to make banks more likely to approve your mortgage application and to give you a favorable upper limit for your mortgage.

With the preapproval letter in hand, you’ll likely have a limited time in which to carry out the rest of your home search, typically between two to three months. Of course, if you need more time, you can ask the bank to extend the offer or apply again.

Shopping around, touring and inspecting houses

This is the heart of the homebuying process — looking at listings for homes and touring the ones that seem like good matches. It’s also the hardest step to predict the length of. After all, you could find a wonderful home the first open house you attend — or you could look for months without really connecting with any of the homes on the housing market.

It pays to not run for a proverbial bus. If you don’t find a house you like on your first few tours, don’t feel the need to settle for something inferior. Buying a home is a huge move, and it’s worth a little extra waiting to get the right place for you.

Working with the right partners can really help you speed this step up without having to compromise. Get access to great listings of houses in your chosen area, and you’ve already dispensed with some potentially wasted days or weeks.

If you’ve entered with a strong idea of what kind of home you’d like to live in, narrowing down the size, area, and asking price range, you’re on the right track for a quicker home search. This lets you narrow your focus to a few homes, making it easier to choose the perfect one.

Submitting your offer and finalizing financing

Making an offer for a home can be a very short step indeed. In fact, if your initial offer is accepted by the homeowner, this stage of the journey takes barely any time at all. Negotiations take more time, especially in a seller’s real estate market where there tends to be more than one prospective buyer competing for the same property.

Going back and forth for days and weeks is a hallmark of the classic homebuying process. It should be noted that there are alternatives, however. You can leave the bidding wars and hassle behind by creating an online offer in minutes when purchasing one of Bungalo’s new or renovated homes. Working with an all-in-one provider such as Bungalo is a way to get through this step smoothly, without wheeling and dealing, because it’s not about being the highest bidder on a Bungalo home but being the first bidder who pre-qualifies for the list price.

Once you have an accepted offer, it’s time to finalize your mortgage loan. Remember the first step, when you got a preapproval letter? That will make this process far easier, as you already have a mortgage lender that has committed to providing you with a certain amount of funding for your home purchase.

In a traditional sale, this step and the next overlap, as throughout the closing process, the lender will continue to perform due diligence when underwriting your home loan and setting your interest rate and payment structure.

Inspection and closing

The little steps associated with closing on a home tend to add up to one to two months of activity. This is the escrow period when your offer has been accepted but you haven’t yet put pen to paper and closed on the home. You’ll be asked to set aside “earnest money,” a sum that proves you are a serious buyer.

During this step, you and your mortgage lender will make all the necessary checks to ensure the home is sound and there are no problems that will either affect the sale price or make you reconsider the whole transaction.

These home inspection and due diligence times differ based on your lender and loan type. Not every purchase is made with a conventional loan, after all.

The extra requirements and disclosures needed for a Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loan or a Veterans Administration (VA) loan can add some time to this step. Some loan products will call for a monthly mortgage insurance payment at first.

Once you’ve waited out the rounds of disclosure, verification, and home inspection is another step you may be able to significantly cut down by seeking an alternative homebuying process. A pre-inspected home listed through Bungalo, for instance, comes with an easy closing checklist to guide you to the closing date.

Once the closing comes, you can celebrate. It’s time to sign the loan documents and move into your new house.

Tips to speed the home search and get to your closing date

Taking each step of the home buying process just a little quicker can add up to big overall time savings. Slight changes to the way you’re doing things could feel minor while you’re doing them, but the results can be impressive.

Try these tips to get into the home of your dreams faster.

Saving and planning

So maybe you’re not quite ready to start the clock on your serious home search, but do you think it might be time soon? In that case, why not start setting aside money and making a list of must-haves for your new home?

Everything you think of in advance is one less thing to surprise you while you’re making a serious search, and each dollar saved will help you deal with expenses from loan application fees to closing costs.

The earlier you start working on and monitoring your credit score, the better shape you can be in when it’s time for banks to start the credit check process.

Fast home loan processing

Preapproval is your friend when you’re buying a home. Getting a preapproval letter lets you focus your search by informing you how much home you can afford. It also simplifies closing, demonstrating that there is a lender ready to extend you a mortgage.

Even with preapproval, there will be extra due diligence around closing time. With that said, it’s clearly beneficial to have the solid bedrock of a preapproval letter when you’re in final negotiations.

It’s always better to know the details of your financial situation sooner, rather than later. If your mortgage approval efforts end in rejection, this is just a sign that you need to work on your financial picture before trying again. Seeing where you stand as soon as possible lets the home search go smoothly.

Finding an alternative home buying approach

No matter how diligent you are about cutting down on time spent on the home buying journey, a few steps tend to just take time. For example, the inspections and negotiations during the escrow period are hard to shorten.

With that said, the whole home buying process has changed recently, at least for some buyers. Working with Bungalo is a way to take some of the complexities out of real estate, which is a great way to shorten the path between Point A, setting out on your search, and Point B, moving in.

By turning the winding path to homeownership into a more direct route, working with Bungalo could be the key to shortening your house search.

How long does it take to buy a house with an easy, technology-enabled platform?

To really demonstrate the potential of the Bungalo approach to home buying and real estate, you can run through the four stages of purchase again, this time thinking about how this easy, technology-enabled method handles them.

  • Mortgage preapproval: Getting a preapproval letter from a home lender is still the same with Bungalo as it is for any other home buying method. The difference lies in what this preapproval means. Later on, your letter will enable you to close quickly on a home, with no fuss or extended negotiation.
  • Shopping around: The listings of Bungalo homes are easy to browse by state and city. When it comes time to tour the house in question, it’s on your schedule. Any day of the week, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., you’re in.
  • Finalizing your offer: You submit your offer online with Bungalo. The process is simplified and takes minutes. You are no longer obligated to negotiate with a seller or participate in a long bidding war with other buyers. No matter what the housing market conditions are like, everyone gets a fair market price offer.
  • Closing: The closing process has been turned into an exact science with Bungalo. Just follow a simple checklist and you can be sure your purchase is on the right track. Before you know it, you’ll be unpacking boxes in your new house.

Once you’ve considered the length of the home buying process, and the little things that can slow you down along the way, the value of this revolutionized real estate path becomes clear.

A lot of the delays of the conventional model are tied to ambiguity: Will this offer be enough? What will turn up during the home inspection? By cutting out these unclear steps, you can get to your closing date more quickly, at a purchase price that makes sense to you.

The homes listed by Bungalo are protected for 90 days post-close. This trust-forward process is designed to provide peace of mind during the closing period and beyond. Each home has been inspected, and they’re all Bungalo Certified to ensure their quality. If there are any surprises that pop up during the 90-day period, we’ve got you covered.

Every home search is different, but some are simpler than others. Get started on yours today, and you’ll be moving in before you know it.

This article is meant for informational purposes only and is not intended to be construed as financial, tax, legal, real estate, insurance, or investment advice. Bungalo always encourages you to reach out to an advisor regarding your own situation.

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