Can't Wait To Be A Homeowner? Here's What To Expect

The time between your decision to buy a home and when you get the keys can seem endless. In many cases, the process takes only a few weeks, but in some cases, it can take up to six months. The amount of time needed to go through the entire process varies depending on several factors. You might be able to predict a timeline and get an estimate of what to expect by breaking each section of the process down. Read on to learn more.

Get Pre-Approved

Before you begin to shop, you need to know what you can afford. A pre-approval can save you time by forcing you to focus your efforts on only properties that are in your price range. A pre-approval takes into consideration your debts, income, credit score, and more. In most cases, you can get a pre-approval in a few days or up to a week.

Find an Agent

The better your agent, the quicker you will find new home listings that you like and can afford. Full-time agents are key if time is an issue. Those with longer track records often posses inside knowledge about the local market that might put you in a position to scoop up a bargain before it even hits the market. You could be lucky and find an agent in a day or so, or it might take up to a week.

Go Home Shopping

Without a doubt, this part of the process can be the most lengthy. There is a lot you can do to speed things along, however. If you are eager to get started, don't be satisfied with having your agent do all the work. Spend some time driving around your target areas and looking for-sale signs. It's also a good idea to get on the internet and set up some search parameters on a multiple listing service (MLS) website. Depending on the market, you might spend up to three to six weeks at this stage of the process.


Once you make an offer on a home, there is typically a set period of time for the seller to respond (usually 24 to 48 hours). In most cases, the back-and-forth of making offers and counteroffers will take a few days to a week.

Loan Underwriting

Your pre-approval was the front-end of the process and the underwriting is the back-end. You will likely need to provide documentation to the lender, so be ready with proof of income, bank statements, income tax returns, and more. The process can take as little as a week or as much as several weeks.

If you sail through the above steps quickly, you might be in your home in as little as two months, but most sales take longer. Speak to a real estate agent to learn more.