Profile picture for mary a atkins

What is the average time frame to purchase a home from pre-approval to closing?

I am looking to move into a home later this year (between August - October). When should I obtain a pre-approval letter? When should I start interviewing real estate agents? When should I begin looking at homes?

Thanks!
  • January 21 - Houston
  • 2
    2Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

Be a Good Neighbor. Be respectful and on-topic. No spam or self-promotion! See our Good Neighbor Policy.

 
 

Answers (9)

Profile picture for New American Funding
Hello Mary,

You are receiving a lot of great advise from a lot of different loan officers with a common theme:

Check your credit now so if there are any challenges, you can address them know.
Ask a ton of questions and find the a loan officer that you can meet with face to face
Product selection can really drive the Note Rate so understand all production options so you can lock in, when the time is right, the best terms that best meet your needs.  These needs can include your goals - such as how long you may stay in the home for.....

Continue to do what you are doing - ask questions.

But, in the least, get your credit looked at now so you can prepare now for the best terms later.

Hope this helps and good luck!
  • February 17
  • 0Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

It is in your best interest to get mortgage ready now in that you work with a lender to evaluate your credit report to make sure there is nothing on there that will cause you any headache down the road. Also the Lender will be able to let you know how much you can qualify to spend on your home and if there is a need to pay down any debt to reduce the DTI (Debt to Income Ratio). You will get the official approval in June to give yourself enough time to find the right home for your family. Also this is the time of year that family will look to move in order to start the new school year right with kids. I will me more than happy to assist you in anyways that i can.
  • January 29
  • 0Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

Profile picture for Chris Boyles
I would start talking to a lender now to make sure that you have everything in place on the loan side, to many times I have worked with buyers that will wait to the last minute to talk with a lender and find out something that they did not know was on their credit, the upfront cost to purchase the home in the price range they wanted was more than they had, or the monthly cost was out of their budget.  Talking to them now and getting a good faith estimate on closing costs, down payment, interest rate, and estimated monthly cost will help you set your budget on where you want to be.  Once you have your budget, then you can start narrowing down the areas that you want to buy a house.  I would start interviewing agents in the next month or two so you can get a search setup and start watching the market in that area a little closer so you know what the homes are selling for, maybe even go preview some current listings now so you have a better idea of what your budget will get you so when the right one comes on the market, you will know it is a good value and be able to make an educated decision.  If you ware wanting to close between August and October, you should start looking around June.  That is a slow time of the year for new listings and there will be limited inventory in August and September because of school starting back up and no one wants to sale around that time that has kids.  Once you find a home and get a contract on it, you will on average 45 days to closing and then you have another 45 days from the first payment is due.  Hope this helps and would be happy to talk more about this or if you need help with finding a home.
  • January 29
  • 0Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

Hello Mary,

Thanks for the post. Congratulations on your decision to purchase a home. Based on the timeline that you are looking to move i would get with a lender to do a mortgage checkup on your credit to be sure your scores are 740+ in order to get the best rates, and if your credit should have and dings on it they will help you to raise those scores to put you in the best light. Also there are a few lenders as myself and a few others that has the ability to lock in the rate for up to 6 months without a property to ensure you will receive today's low rates. These lender will also discuss with you what are the best possible mortgage for you particular situation. Should you need my help you are welcome to reach out to me. Good Luck.

Lowell
  • January 21
  • 0Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

GREAT QUESTION! Believe it or not, I find that most buyers wait till the last minute before they really start exploring their options.

If you have good credit, a down payment and have been working in the same place for more than 2 years, it should be fairly easy for you to get a pre-approval. In this case you could most likely get a pre-approval from most lenders within a couple days (as long as you are prepared to supply them with the needed documentation). However, I would still suggest that you start the process of getting pre-approved within a few weeks before you are ready to start looking. 

If you are not sure about your credit and/or down payment and/or your employment, you may want to start the pre-approval process within a couple months before you are ready to start looking. You do not want to wait too long to find out that you do not have the qualifications that it takes to purchase a home. 

Either way, the earlier you start, the more time you will have to fix any issues that need attention before you are able to purchase. Also, there are many different programs available that have different credit score and down payment requirements. So, you will want to make sure that you have enough time to explore your options and ensure that you are getting the best deal for your situation.

Most pre-approval letters are good for 60 days and most credit reports are good for 90 days. Although, it is very easy for lenders to update pre-approval letters and/or credit reports if you need more time. A good way to start getting prepared is to ask 

Now, in regards to finding a Real Estate Agent, you should start the process of interviewing Realtor's within a couple months of being ready to purchase. However, you can start at anytime as it doesn't hurt to start getting prepared. 

Zillow can be a great tool for finding Realtor's. Click on the "Find a Pro" button at the top of the page and
read through some of the profile pages. Take a look at properties they have sold recently to make sure that they are familiar with the area you want to buy in and read their reviews.

Hopefully you find this information helpful (if so, feel free to click the thumbs up button). I wish you the best and hope that you find a great home!
  • January 21
  • 1Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

Hello!

Right now it would be a good start to get with a lender you know and trust and have him/her get you pre-qualified. You may want to speak with several lenders to see who is offering the best rates. They will check your credit score and history and give you advise going forward. Example, if you need to improve your credit score, payoff debt, etc. The higher your credit score the better interest rate you will receive. After they have confirmed all of the information you have provided them they will then give you a pre-approval letter with the amount you are now pre-approved for which needs to be updated every 30 days or so. Keep in mind there are different types of loans and talking with a lender will help you decide which is best for you. Conventional, FHA, etc.

Then, you can interview a few agents in your target area. Most brokerage firms have websites where you can check out agents' Bio's and experiences. Some maybe Certified in Buyer Representation or New Home Construction, for instance. Maybe go to an Open House in your target area and chat with an agent. Ask friends or colleagues for referrals.

As an agent I set my clients up to receive automatic listings of homes that meet their criteria and price range. You would get up to date information as the home changes status. I would start taking my client out as necessary to accommodate their target Closing date. This could be taking them out 2 months before Closing or up to 6 months. It just depends.

To answer your question it takes 30-45 days typically to Close on a home. So, once you find a home you are ready to make an offer on it would take 30-45 days. Sometimes more sometimes less. Short Sales and Foreclosed homes can take longer to close.

I hope this helps and please feel free to contact me if I can assist you in the Greater Houston area.

Good luck,

Dee Driscoll, Realtor
  • January 21
  • 0Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

It depends, many people find their home within a week or so. The best question here is, once you are under contract, how long would it take to close and the answer is 20-30 days. That being said if you are looking to move in the next three months now is a great time to get pre qualified and start shopping. Keep in mind you will not have a payment for 30 days from closing. Meaning if you close in February first payment is not until April, etc.
  • January 21
  • 0Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

The time frame varies from property to property based on situation. If the home is vacant the time frame can be within 30 days, if it is owner occupied sometimes the closings take longer to allow the owners time to find and or move to a new location. 30-45 days from the day you have an accepted offer is standard. If you are looking closer to the end of the year it is not the best time to obtain your pre-approval letter, as the letters are time sensitive and will expire by the time you will need it in August-October. Now would be a good time to build a good relationship with a Realtor and start getting and idea as to what you like on the market. 

Good luck on finding your new home! 
  • January 21
  • 0Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

Profile picture for Owens Realty Group
Hi Mary, it depends on how fast you are looking to purchase and how long your lender takes to complete your loan. If you are pre-approved today and take only two weeks to find a property, make an offer on the property and have it accepted, you can normally expect anywhere from 4-6 weeks from contracting to closing on the property. The 4-6 weeks from contract to closing depends on your lender primarily, but if you are working with a short sale or some third party on the selling side it may take longer. So, overall approximately 8 weeks on average. I hope this helps. Best of luck!!

-- I just saw the rest of your questions. You can begin interviewing agents now if you like. A pre-approval letter is normally good for 60-90 days so you wouldn't need to be pre-approved until about mid-July. However, I would suggest you go ahead and speak with a lender now to make sure you will be set financially and credit wise leading up to those months.

It is a good idea to start looking at homes online about a month or so in advance so you can have an idea of what is out there and what the market is like. However, I would suggest not going to see a single home in person until you are fully pre-approved. Good luck!
  • January 21
  • 0Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.