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I am a first time home buyer and I've found a property I'd like to buy. Assuming I get a loan the first time I go to the bank, how long would the process take from then until I can start moving in?

A little background, I'm in the state of North Carolina, the property is a new construction so nobody needs to move out, and it's just a few miles from where I'm currently living so there's plenty of logistical support.

How long does the process usually take? Inspections, signings, etc. I know there are answers out on Google but I'm interested in hearing real anecdotal evidence.

Any advice or answers are welcome. Thanks.

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    Whatever the settlement period is in your contract. Where I am from the standard settlement is 6 weeks, but that can be changed by what period the buyer and the seller agree to in the contract. – Victor Sep 23 '17 at 4:41
  • @Victor That looks like an answer to me. – Ben Miller Sep 23 '17 at 12:15
  • @Victor Can you add any more on the six week answer? I am in US, and wouldn't ever use the word "standard". Banks turnaround on mortgage applications is all over the place. – JoeTaxpayer Sep 23 '17 at 13:20
  • @JoeTaxpayer - just as I said most contracts for sale of a property have a standard 6 weeks or 42 days settlement, in some mortgagee auctions the banks have reduced this to 30 days, and in some cases where both the buyer and seller agree, I have seen as long as 6 months settlement, but about 95% would be the standard 6 weeks. – Victor Sep 24 '17 at 21:45
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The fact that nobody has to complete a different real estate transaction to allow you to complete the purchase does eliminate much of the typical issue that can stretch out the time frame.

I am assuming that the construction is 100% done, and that somebody could start moving in today.

But the big unknown is how busy are the key players in this transaction. How quickly can the inspection be scheduled, performed and submitted. The same for the appraisal. How quickly can the mortgage company process your application and get it to a point where they are ready to fund the mortgage.

It also has to be assumed that there are no major issues found, and any minor ones can be quickly resolved. I have known of deals that collapsed because of corners cut by the builder, and they refused to make the fix.

The answers to those questions are dependent on the local market. Those same individuals are also processing refinances so that plays a role in filling their schedule. A local builder who completes these transactions will have a good idea of the time frame. So will a settlement company/attorney in your market.

The terms of the contract will have some language setting time frames for those events that the parties can start now, but it is hard to fix an end date without knowing the market.

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About a month, but can take a week longer if you aren't careful.

The mortgage is the only factor in this equation, everything else will be shorter. During the option period, which is your time to bail out of the contract before execution, you can schedule everything that needs to be done: inspection, bank appraisal, offer adjustments (from appraisal) and survey. Inspectors work by contact, you can sometimes get them there the same day as the offer acceptance. There's tons of inspection companies, they'll meet about any deadline. The bank appraiser is on the bank schedule, they'll work within your option period, usually 1-3 days. Many don't even appraise in person for new builds or recent appraisals. The survey isn't always necessary, depending on the last survey, but it's just like the appraiser, they'll work your timeline.

The mortgage is a different story. Pre approval takes 1-2 days, if you don't already have deep A+ credit. Terms and financial approval start after you tell them you're in contract, often the real estate agents will do this, but call them yourself. Your full credit report, which is the risk analysis performed by the bank, takes 3-5 days, depending on how big of a hurry they're in. This time is also used to get all the survey and proof of income and tax documents. To move the process along, you need to keep on your broker, the first part of the timeline is dependent on their due diligence. Then the loan moves to underwriting. This process is slow and your broker cannot speed it up. The underwriters have to do extensive verification, reporting, risk validation, balance an asset pool with your mortgage and many others. This takes 2-3 weeks. I have heard of deals falling apart because underwriting took too long. I've been told this happens for a variety of reasons, including imbalanced asset classes, large volume, a documentation error and "oops". After the broker gets it back, funding takes about a day after final signing.

Signing things happens in hours, but you have a separate meeting with the title and mortgage company, but this will all happen within your closing date. The agents probably know most lenders well enough to determine if your timeline will be a little different.

Also, you and the seller determine the closing date, so if you're planning this because of a move out time, you can certainly start early, but cannot start late.

  • As mhoran_psprep suggests, things might be different in different places. May I ask where you're located? – unforgettableid Nov 13 '17 at 3:39
  • In the dfw area, but I've purchased real estate in large and small towns, most after the new mortgage rules and more strict validations. I mostly use national mortgage companies. – user1442498 Nov 14 '17 at 4:36

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