Buying a new home can be intimidating. You want to make it as easy as possible on yourself, and by knowing what to expect and being educated can make the process much simpler. Here is a typical guide to the home buying process.
Prequalify for your mortgage
Know how much home you can afford, and figure out how much you will need to close escrow, and what your monthly payments will be. Most real estate agents will require you to prequalify first. After you have prequalified, your mortgage consultant will remain in constant contact with you to clear the way for a smooth process, by collecting necessary documents and clearing up loan conditions.
Find a realtor
Once you have been prequalified for your mortgage, you'll need to get a realtor, unless you plan to purchase a "For Sale By Owner" home. The most important part about finding a realtor, is finding one you trust. If you don't know any realtors that you would want to do business with, ask a family member of friend if their realtor was good. There are good realtors out there, and there are bad ones. Finding a good realtor can make all of the difference in the world.
Find a home
You and your realtor will probably get to know each other very well. Your realtor will take you out and show you homes that match your needs, wants, and price range. It may only take a day to find the home of your dreams, but be prepared for it to take longer.
Sign a purchase agreement
Once you have found the house you want, your realtor will negotiate for you the price of the home. Once a sales price and terms have been worked out, a final contract will be completed.
Once a contract is ready, your mortgage consultant will order an appraisal and title report on the home you are purchasing. Once these have been received by the mortgage consultant and final conditions for your mortgage have been cleared, then we just wait until your Close of Escrow date.
Going to the title company
Once all of the paperwork is done and your mortgage has received final approval, the mortgage documents will be drawn and delivered to the title company. Within a few days of your close of escrow date, you will go down to the title company, where you will spend a while signing an inch or two of paper.
The process will take generally 35-60+ days, depending on how quickly you are able to find a home. The exact timing of the entire process depends on important variables:
1-2 days. Be weary about lenders that say they can qualify you in an hour. This is sometimes possible, but don't count on it. It is better to have a thorough prequalification done for you, that way you won't be set up for disappointment. Too many times has it happened that someone has received a prequalification for more house than they can really get approved for. Getting a quick preapproval is setting you up for a potentially huge disappointment.
Find a Realtor Variable
1-2 days. Remember, find one that you TRUST. If you meet with a realtor and you have a bad feeling, find another one.
Find a Home Variable
This is the biggest variable. Some people are just really picky.
Negotiations may go very quickly and your first offer may be accepted. Then again, your realtor may have to do a lot of negotiating. Your realtor will negotiate to get you the best price and terms, so give them the chance. Your contract will usually be written with at least a 30-day close of escrow, in order for the seller to move out, and find a new place to live. Once the contract is written, it will be 20+ days before you own your new home.
Final Approval Variable
10-20 days. While you are finding a home, and negotiating the price, your mortgage consultant will be doing what is necessary to move toward final approval. Be cooperative with your mortgage consultant. The speed at which they can work, is 100% dependent on your cooperation. If they need some paperwork, be quick to provide it. If they call you, call them back ASAP. Once your final approval is received, all you have to do is wait for your close of escrow date.
Your Mortgage Consultant and Realtor will be able to provide you with a more accurate timeline, once they have had the opportunity to talk with you.