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What is the length of time it takes to get everything finalized after you find the home you want?

My husband and I are moving in about 17 months, when my husband starts his new job.  We are going to be first-time home buyers and we want to have a smooth transition.  When should I start looking for a home?
  • January 28 2011 - Hermantown
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Answers (13)

Start by getting pre-approved.  After you find a home that you want to offer on it usually takes around 6 weeks from your acceptance to close if you are going with a traditional loan.  Good Luck
  • January 31 2011
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Profile picture for the_country_hick
Also, Peter Schiff: Here's Why Home Prices Have To Decline At Least 20% And Probably More keep an eye on house prices for the next year. Do not be surprised if prices fall during that time.  

Looking at the thread below gives you charts of what house prices have done over the past 100 years. It shows how a bubble was formed and what prices need to do to become normal once again.
Do you know what the housing bubble really looks like? ... - Zillow Real Estate Advice

Do not feel you must buy quickly to get good deals. It will be a few more years before that is a reality.
  • January 31 2011
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Profile picture for the_country_hick
First you should find out if renting or buying is the best choice for you. Part of this depends on how long you will stay there. It takes about 7 years paying on a 30 year mortgage before you cover the costs of buying and selling a house if house prices do not change. Part depends on rental rates. After all, if you can rent a house for $1,200 a month buying the same kind of house for $4,000 a month makes no sense.

The blog below shows how using your financial numbers to see if renting or buying makes the most economic sense for you.
"Does it make more sense to buy, or to rent? Here is the way to find out for sure."

Sometimes paying a slightly higher monthly payment renting is really the best and cheapest way to go. For a very different perspective read below.
"Why rent if you could buy for less money? Valid reasons inside."

If those were helpful look at my zillow profile for more helpful real estate buying blogs including things to look for when buying a house that could be expensive mistakes if missed. 
  • January 31 2011
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Pre-approval is essential before the house hunt. Being pre-approved will tell you what you can afford saving you time in your home search and it lets seller's know you are serious when you do find a home you're interested in. In today's buyer's market, multiple offers are becoming more frequent. When you're pre-approved you will have the confidence the seller's know you can get the financing to purchase their home oftentimes making you're offer more attractive. I recommend starting the pre-approval process at least 120 days before you want to close.
  • January 31 2011
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Profile picture for Ofe Polack
The first step should be for you to get pre-approval from a lender.  If you were to have to improve your credit you may have enough time to do it.
It is never too early to start feeling the market once you know your pre-pre-approval range.  Definetly,I would dedicate 3-4 months for the focussed search.  VA and FHA loans take the longest, conventional loans move faster.  The whole process from the time you sign the purchase and sale to closing could take 6-7 weeks.  Whatever you do, try to avoid short sales, since they can take a long while from offer to closing.
  • January 29 2011
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Profile picture for jstersacct
The only other thing you need to think about is job history...if he's starting a new job (in a new field) and doesn't have 2 years employment history, FHA might be harder to get. 
  • January 29 2011
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3 months prior however remember to get prequalfied before you start looking at homes...best of luck
  • January 29 2011
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I would say you must plan on 60 days. Your mortgage lender can hlp you to know if they can get you financing earlier than this timeframe
  • January 29 2011
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Hi there,

I would recommend 6 months to 7 months time. For the browsing to turn into buying.

Although the loan process can be streamlined, If you make an offer on a distress property, the home may fall thru even though your lending didn't. So you may want to give yourself time for glitches.

However! If you stick to homes that are not distressed, plan for 45-60 days to close.

Good Luck
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  • January 29 2011
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it depends on your payment.  ALL CASH - 30-45 days.  Mortgage - 2-3 months.  Look more at a 3 month time frame. from your 1st offer to closing.
  • January 29 2011
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Profile picture for Connie Klemme
30-45 days is typical-it always depends of course on all the details.  but it's a good idea to start casually looking early so you can scope out where you want to be, what you expect to pay and so on.  Use that time to also find out if there is bond money available or other programs in the area that might be good for you.  It's not to early to get to know both an Agent and a lender.  Get a feel for them as people so that when you are ready to do business with them you'll know the as partners instead of strangers.  (just tell them now your real time frame so they invest their time in you appropriately)  
  • January 28 2011
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Profile picture for Paula Wright
I would suggest you start looking 3 months before you want to move.  A typical closing is scheduled for 30-60 days from the day you write your contract.  Take some time to get familiar with local areas by searching your local MLS site and narrowing down your Wish List to determine what's a Must Have vs Would Like.

Happy House Hunting!
  • January 28 2011
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The typical closing is 30 to 45 days (the longer end is for FHA, shorter for conventional). It's possible to close more quickly but leaving a good chunk of time to close will ensure that once closing day comes around there won't be surprises that delay your closing.

Just as a heads up, if you want to close within that time frame, you should avoid short sales as they will require the approval of the bank that owns the loan. Short sales are notorious for not closing either quickly or sometimes at all.

Minnesota has a short real estate 'season' with most folks looking for homes beginning in February/March and ending right after school starts in September. After September/October many homeowners will pull their home off the market and relist in the spring
  • January 28 2011
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