Buy a Home
Buy a Home

By Alena Kairys

Oct 10, 2020

Buying a home can be both exciting and confusing—there’s so much to think about! You’ll probably have many questions during the process, with one of the most pressing being how long until you can get the keys to your new home. If you’re thinking of becoming a homeowner, read on to get an estimate of how long it takes to buy a home.

Preliminary Steps – About 6 Months

Get Finances Straightened Out

You might think that the homebuying process begins when you find the home you want to buy, but you actually need to start the process at least 6 months before looking at homes. Take time to improve your credit score, pay down large debts, save money, and reassess your spending if needed. This can take longer if you’re at a rough starting point. You don’t need to resolve every financial issue, but you should try to appear as financially responsible as possible before you seek out a lender.

Find a Lender

Find a trustworthy lender to help you get preapproved and discuss what loan type is best for you. Preapproval will help you determine how much home you can afford and shows sellers you’re a committed buyer. In the meantime, don’t make any large purchases, like a car or furniture.

Find an Agent

The next step you’ll take is to find a real estate agent. Even though you haven’t begun looking for homes, you need to have an agent for when you’re serious about a house. The last thing you want is to find your dream home and be scrambling to find someone to help you.

Home Search – About 2-6 Months

Home Search

Now comes the exciting part—going home shopping! Whether you’re scrolling through listing sites, taking virtual tours, or going to an open house, explore what’s out there and contact your real estate agent when you’ve found “The One”. Depending on your preferences and the local housing market, finding an appealing home can take as little as a few weeks to several months—be patient and don’t get discouraged!

Mortgage Application– About 30-45 Days

Mortgage Application

If you’ve found the home of your dreams and are able to come to an agreement with the sellers, you can submit your mortgage application. Understand that if you did not apply within 60-90 days of getting preapproved, you will need to get an updated preapproval letter. Be prepared to give your lender numerous important financial documents in preparation for the next step of the process.


Underwriting can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to complete because of the thorough risk analysis that is being performed. In this step, the underwriter will examine pay stubs, W-2’s, bank statements, and other information to ensure everything checks out financially and that the loan can be approved. This process won’t take long if your paperwork is solid, but it can take longer if your situation is very complex or if the underwriters need to dig deeper. The underwriter may request more files, so make sure you keep in close contact with your loan originator in case they need additional information.


You’re finally ready to close on your new home! Here, you’ll be signing documents to legally transfer the property to your name. Signing papers usually takes around an hour, and you’ll be doing it in the presence of your lender, the buying and selling agents, a title insurance agent, and the buyer and seller’s real estate attorneys. Once everything is finalized, you can officially celebrate!

While these timeframes can give you a general idea of how long you can expect each part of the homebuying process to take, remember that your experience may differ depending on your unique circumstances. You won’t be able to control every aspect of the process, but being flexible and prepared are the best things you can do to expediate everything. No matter how long it takes, it will all be worth it when you’re able to own the home of your dreams.

If you have any questions about the home buying process, contact one of our licensed Mortgage Loan Originators. If you are ready to begin the home buying process, click here to get started!

The pre-approval may be issued before or after a home is found. A pre-approval is an initial verification that you have the income and assets to afford a home up to a certain amount. This means we have pulled credit, collected documents from you, verified assets, submitted your file to processing and underwriting, ordered verification of rent and employment, completed an analysis of credit, debt ratio and assets, and issued the pre-approval.

These blogs are for informational purposes only. Make sure you understand the features associated with the loan program you choose, and that it meets your unique financial needs. Subject to Debt-to-Income and Underwriting requirements. This is not a credit decision or a commitment to lend. Eligibility is subject to completion of an application and verification of home ownership, occupancy, title, income, employment, credit, home value, collateral, and underwriting requirements. Not all programs are available in all areas. Offers may vary and are subject to change at any time without notice. Should you have any questions about the information provided, please contact us.