How Long Does It Typically Take to Find a House?
Whether you’re new to home buying or a seasoned investor, you still may be wondering how long it will take to find a house. The average time to find a house can vary depending on market conditions and time of year. In a seller’s market, inventory is low, and demand can be high.
This means that homes sell quickly and for top dollar. On the flip side, if you’re in a buyer’s market, there are far more homes on the market, giving buyers more options and better leverage. On average, it can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months, depending on the circumstances and timing.
The average time to find a house will greatly depend on where you’re starting. If this is your first home purchase, you can expect to spend more time preparing for and finding a house. There are some steps you’ll want to take before getting out and touring homes.
- Find an Agent: Do some research and interview a few agents to find the one that fits your personality, buying preferences, selling style. This relationship is one that could last a very long time, given that most people buy and sell more than one house in their lifetime. If you’re happy with your agent, you’ll likely use them in the future.
- Get Pre-Approved: This is an essential step in finding a house. It’s necessary to know how much house you can afford before entering the market.
- Know Your Wants & Deal-Breakers: Do you want to be near the beach? Is the school district important? How many bedrooms and bathrooms do you need? Maybe you don’t want to be near public transportation. These are all details you’ll want to consider before looking for a house.
If you’re new to home buying, determining these factors will shorten the average time it will take to find a house. On the other hand, if you’re experienced in the real estate market, you’ve probably already considered these factors and are ready to begin your search.
How long it takes to find a house will depend on some additional factors. First, how many homes would you like to see and how much time do you have for showings. If you’re limited to looking on weekends, the process could get stretched out.
Another factor that could lead to a longer buying process is how many homes you’d like to tour. In a seller’s market, you’ll have to make a quicker decision to have a chance to buy before the acceptance of another offer, so you may not have the luxury of touring several properties.
Many times, buyers love the first house they see and want to write an offer immediately. If that’s the case, it could take as little as 30 days or less, depending on the length of escrow. Conversely, if you have particular needs, it could take searching many properties to find the right fit. If you’re not in a rush and aren’t concerned about possibly missing out on an opportunity, you can take your time. In that case, you’ll be looking at weeks or months with an additional 30-45 days of escrow before the deal is done.
Additionally, the time of year can affect how long it takes to find a house. Generally, summertime is the buying season. People want to make moves while their kids aren’t in school, so it becomes ideal to buy a house. Around the holidays, the market tends to slow down. Most sellers don’t want the disruption of people coming in and out of their homes during the holidays, so there are generally fewer properties available. This could work for or against you, depending on your desired timeframe and urgency around finding a house.
Keep in mind that finding a house could be the easy part. Once you make an offer, the sellers will have 24-48 hours to accept, reject or counter the offer. Depending on the back and forth in negotiating, that could add a few days. In addition, you’ll have the escrow period for inspections, loan approvals, and other due diligence. While this is usually about 30 days, delays could stretch it out. It’s best to be prepared for things to come up.
All in all, how long it takes to find a house is dependent upon many factors that are in your control and some that aren’t. If you do your research, plan accordingly, and prepare ahead, you’ll be controlling as much as you can. This preparation will give you the best odds at controlling your search and ultimately finding your dream home.