There are three factors that will determine what your buying process will look like.
- Your mindset.
Are you a focused individual who makes decisions quickly or do you prefer to check out as many options as possible before carefully weighing your decisions?
- The type of home you are purchasing.
Are you buying an existing house? One not yet built? A vacant lot? A foreclosed property?
- The source of money to pay for the house.
Do you have available cash for a down payment or enough to pay cash for a property? Need to sell your last house? Getting a conventional loan? VA loan? Locally subsidized loan? Obviously, it takes longer to get approved for a loan than it does to access cash in your savings. Some loans take longer than others to process. For instance, USDA loans often have a 2-3 week delay due to typical back logs in the USDA offices.
It is rare for the purchasing process to be completed in less than two weeks, although it is possible if you are paying cash. More common closing periods are 30-60 days. In the case of a short sale, it may take months to close.
Not all buyers take every one of the following steps, but, in general, this is the process most go through.
(1) Visit a loan specialist.
(2) Decide what is important to you.
(3) Research the area where you are purchasing. Most people start by getting an idea of what their money will buy.
(4) Research buyers’ agents.
(5) Formally apply for loan.
(6) Decide on a part of town and/or a community.
(7) Visit homes.
(8) Evaluate homes.
(9) Select top three options.
(10) Visit at odd hours.
(11) Make offer.
(12) Negotiate offer.
(13) Select closing attorney or agent.
(14) Submit contract to lender and closing attorney/agent.
(15) Set up inspections.
(16) Negotiate repairs.
(17) Schedule re-inspections and confirm repairs.
(18) Confirm financing process is progressing without problems.
(19) Arrange for moving your belongings into the new house after closing.
(20) Set up transfer of utilities.
(21) Submit change of address forms to postal service.
(22) Transfer closing funds to closing attorney/agent’s trust account.
(23) Attend settlement (this step can usually be done via mail, if needed.)
(24) Wait for word that your deed has recorded.
(25) Move into your new home!