How Long Does It Take to Buy a House? A Detailed Guide

If you’re in the market for a new property, you might be wondering “how long does it take to buy a house.”

It can be confusing to think about, considering that there are so many factors that go into the process. We’re going to take a look at the home buying process, giving you a little insight into how long it should take. 

Hopefully, a clear idea of the process of how to buy a house will give you a little more confidence as you embark on this journey. Let’s get started. 

How Long Does It Take to Buy A House?

The answer to this question depends on the individual and where you want to start. For example, do you have the funds needed to give a sizeable downpayment?

If not, the process of buying a house has to include the time it takes while you’re saving for a house. Many lenders require 10 to 20 percent of the home’s value in a down payment. If you don’t have that sum of cash, you might not be approved or you’ll be approved with an unfavorable mortgage rate. 

You’ve also got to consider the time it takes for you to find the home you want. If you’re pickier, that could add months, even years to the time it takes. Take a look at for a solid selection of homes on the market. 

That said, we’ll assume that you’re able to give the down payment and you’ve got a home in mind. Once you’re set on a particular home, how long can you expect it to take?

Preapproval and Shopping Time

Before you start, you have to be preapproved for a mortgage from your lender of choice. This makes it a lot easier to shop for houses because you know exactly how much money you can spend. 

If you start looking for homes without getting preapproval, you put yourself in jeopardy of getting refused a loan. Preapproval takes only a week or so, and it will save you a lot of time. The last thing you want to do is get your heart set on a property, only to find that you can’t get a loan to pay for it. 

You can expect the preapproval process to take about one week or less. Then, you start shopping around for homes. Don’t be too hasty when you select your home, either. 

Make sure to look for key issues that might make the deal a bust for you. For example, significant electrical or foundational issues can be very costly and well-hidden by sellers. 

It’s illegal to conceal that information, but there are instances of people being dishonest when selling their homes. 

Making An Offer

Once you’ve selected a home that you can afford, you make an offer on that home. Depending on the seller, you might find that your offer is welcomed and you start right away, or you might have a little trouble getting them to get on board. 

Expect the seller to reject your first offer. This is a common way of negotiating to get a higher price. If you can, try to offer a little less than you’re able to pay. That way, you can negotiate with them and fall on the price that you’ve been preapproved to spend. 

Don’t get too down on yourself if the seller refuses your offers altogether. There are plenty of homes on the market. 

This can take a couple of months depending on the seller. It’s also important to note that you can speed up negotiations by working with a realtor. 

Realtors are able to talk with sellers and other professionals to get you the best deal on a home. They’re privy to the lingo of the industry as well as the rules and regulations that bind home sales. Further, a measure of experience in these negotiations can help a lot when it comes to landing on a favorable price. 

Closing On The Home

Once you’ve got the agreed price from the seller, there are a few more things that have to take place. 

For one, you should schedule a couple of things with the help of your realtor. Have an appraisal done on the home to learn its actual value. Odds are that the price is pretty close to the one that you agreed to pay.

That said, some sellers list an unrealistic price for their home and expect others to pay it. You should also have a home inspection done around the same time. 

This ensures that the home isn’t harboring any damages or issues that might come around to haunt you later. If the seller didn’t disclose significant damages before selling to you, that’s a sign that there could be other issues with the home. 

An inspector will give you all of the important details about the things that you can’t find when doing a tour of the home. They’ll look at electricity, plumbing, foundations, and roofs. 

A solid inspection gives you the peace of mind you need to move forward with such a significant investment. Once you’ve completed all of that, you and your lender will work through a few documents that specify the terms of your loan.

You’ll sign on with the lender to acquire the value of the property. You have to take the information back with you and wait for a period of three days. The idea here is that you’re given enough time to read the terms of your loan and understand them fully. 

Once that happens, you go back in and finish signing the loan papers. You can clear up any issues then. Once you’re done, the home is yours!

Need More Home Buying Tips?

So, how long does it take to buy a house? It depends on your situation, but the average buyer might be able to get the keys in four to six months. There are different circumstances that could extend that timeframe, though. 

There’s more to think about, though. We’re here to help. Explore our site for more ideas on saving for a house, understanding appraisals, and much more.