Determining Your Home Buying Timeline

There is a lot that goes into purchasing a home. Like with any large purchase, the home buying process takes time. But how much time is reasonable and how soon before I want to be in my new home should I start the process?

Especially for 1st time homebuyers, it can be a mystery as to when to start looking, how long the process should take and other timeframe uncertainties. Different states have different practices that determine their timelines so if you are coming from another state the timeline in GA may be different than what you are used to.

This outline will assist you in defining the time frame more accurately for your individual circumstances. If you are a seller with a home to sell before you can purchase a new home there are specific considerations you should factor in as well. If you are getting a loan versus paying cash this will also affect your timeline.

If you are getting a loan a ballpark timeline might look like this:

5-6 months Before Move In:                      

Start your online search. We can get you into an MLS search that will send you homes that meet your criteria daily, weekly or monthly depending on your target move in date. This will help educate you on inventory levels, what your money will actually buy you, common features you can expect in your price range, etc. This is an important learning process so when we start actually visiting homes in person you have a good base knowledge of what is out there and how abundant or scarce the inventory is that meets your criteria.

75-135 Days Before Move In:                   

Contact a lender to start the loan process. It is important to do this step very early in the process so if issues need to be corrected or addressed on your loan application it can be handled in a timely manner and not jeopardize the home buying process. You do not want to spend time and money inspecting a home that you cannot actually get a loan to buy.

68-128 Days Before Move In:                  

Start visiting Homes- Depending on how many homes you need to look at prior to deciding on 1 to make an offer on, the search time can differ greatly between buyers. If you and your partner are purchasing together it is important that you both look at the homes together so that you are both on the same page. This timeline can also be impacted by the amount of inventory, or lack of, that meets your criteria.

38-68 Days Before Move In:                      

When we write a contract generally it will take about 30-60 days to close. There are several factors that dictate if it is 30 or 60 days. Lenders can do it in less than 30 days but that is assuming you already have submitted a full loan package with supporting documentation, tax returns, etc. If you are getting a conventional or FHA loan and you are timely in getting documents to the lender as they are requested then 30 days is likely. If you are getting a down payment assistance type government loan you can expect it to take the full 60 days. Other activities are happening during this time as well like inspections, arranging for a moving company, title exams, etc.

8 Days Before Move In:                            

Closing- Generally we write the offer/contract to allow the buyer to gain possession on the day of closing, but that is a negotiable term and not all sellers will agree to that. Keep in mind that our contracts allow both parties under very limited circumstances to extend the closing by 8 days, so you will want to keep this in mind when considering your timeline. If you have to be out of your current residence by a certain date you should factor in at least an 8 day overlap to cover this rarely used extension. The last thing you need is one more stress point in an already stressful process.

Move in Day:                                     

Move into your new home!!