You’ve found your new dream home and you can’t wait to move in and start making it your own.
Unfortunately, sometimes the time frame between an offer being accepted and receiving the keys can seem like an eternity. There are many factors that can affect how long it takes to close, and delays can occur for a variety of reasons.
It’s hard to stay patient when you’re super excited about embarking on a new adventure in life. But keeping a cool head and letting things take their course will ensure you can move into your freshly acquired home as soon as possible. Here’s what to expect while you’re on this wild and wonderful journey towards homeownership.
Get Your Ducks in a Row
While mortgage lenders may boast about granting approval in “as little as 30 minutes,” the reality is that getting your mortgage paperwork in order can typically take up to two weeks or more. You can drastically cut down on this wait time by having your documents ready ahead of time.
Lenders love paperwork, and getting it all together can be quite time-consuming. Start organizing your financial statements, W2s, tax returns, and any other pertinent documents ahead of time, before you apply for a mortgage loan.
Be sure to resist the temptation to keep secrets from your lender or lie on your application — credit, background, and employment checks will be performed, and loan fraud carries serious penalties.
Pre-Approval and Cash in Hand
Two of the tried-and-true ways to speed up the closing process are to come with a mortgage pre-approval or buy with cash. Sellers in this market want to deal with someone who’s already got financing in the bag.
If you’re serious about buying real estate, you should start by meeting with your lender (phone or web-based meeting works) ahead of enthusiastically attending open houses. A thorough review of your financial situation will help you set a realistic budget and receive a valuable pre-approval for a specific loan amount.
Purchasing a home with cash, if you’re so equipped, at the ready lets you leapfrog many of the steps usually involved in buying via a mortgage loan.
Of course, not everyone has hundreds of thousands of dollars just lying around, but if you’re able to proceed this way, it pays to do your due diligence before handing over a suitcase full of bills. There are both advantages and disadvantages to buying a home with cash that aren’t always obvious.
Note: “cash” sales are done via wire transfer — if a seller asks you for actual hard currency in a piece of luggage, that’s a big red flag.
Sometimes your closing will get held up by happenings beyond your control. The housing market is volatile right now, and everyone is busy, from real estate agents to title insurance advisors.
Due to the pandemic, new technology increased the accessibility of digital mortgages and online closings. These new advancements are helping more prospective home buyers reach their goals faster.
Appraisals and Inspections
A main reason your closing could be delayed is that the appraisal or home inspection didn’t come back as expected.
An appraisal is a value analysis of a property, performed by a third party that’s hired by the mortgage company. It isn’t required if you’re buying a home with cash, but it’s always a smart move to have any potential large investment evaluated by a qualified professional. Why wouldn’t you want to make sure you were getting the best value for your money?
If the official appraisal result comes in lower than the asking price, then there are going to be roadblocks to completing the closing process as originally anticipated.
On the other hand, a thorough home inspection is a crucial part of the property transaction. This process deals with the condition of the home and its components, such as the electrical system, plumbing, and roofing, and includes an evaluation of structural integrity, possible pest infestation, and the overall viability and safety of the property.
Receiving an inspection report with a laundry list of fixes isn’t the end of the world, but it could delay your closing while these issues are addressed.
The Bottom Line
So how long does it usually take to close on a home purchase? If you’re using conventional financing, you can expect to close 30-45 days after the contract is signed. Specialty programs like first-time homebuyers, VA, or FHA loans can take longer due to stricter requirements.
Sudden changes in your credit score or employment can throw up hurdles, and low appraisals and unforeseen repairs can cause inconvenience and stress. Buying with cash will speed this up, but might not be the best decision for you and your family.
Nobody ever said purchasing your dream house was easy, but owning your own home is worth every bit of hassle in the long run. If you’ve got questions about the best strategy for your homebuying journey, Landtrust Title Services is here to offer expert advice and professional guidance — reach out today!