Quite a bit goes into purchasing a home, but how long does the house buying process take? Here’s what you can expect in the typical home-buying process, from pre-approval to closing.

By Kate Ashford | August 7, 2020

A standard, financed home purchase takes 30 to 60 days, depending on the local market, seller preferences and loan type and lender . “In some cases, a seller may prefer an extended closing to give them time to make their next move, even if a buyer can close faster,” said Kate Ziegler, a realtor with Arborview Realty in Boston, MA. “In other cases, a seller may already have moved on, and closing as fast as possible is more competitive.”

Beyond the typical timeline, however, it’s possible for the process to happen faster. All-cash purchases tend to be quicker. “When it is an all-cash deal, it can close as quickly as seven days,” said Eddie Chang, a managing broker with Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty in Bellevue, WA. That may not be true everywhere, but cash deals are usually faster than deals involving financing, since there’s no bank involved.

That said, it can also take longer than 60 days, usually because the seller can’t vacate the property for some reason, or when the property needs to go through probate before it can sell. “Other minor delays can be caused by a backup on the lender’s part, or delays in final smoke detector inspections or other necessary paperwork on the seller side,” Ziegler said.

Having a realtor can help keep things moving, both as a buyer and as a seller. “On the seller side, hiring an agent ensures that you have a professional handling access for showings, inspections and appraisals, to free up your own schedule,” Ziegler said. “For buyers, an agent can help advise on timelines when drafting an offer, and often can work with their own network to move things along more quickly than if you were managing those details on your own and researching anew at each step.”

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