How long does it take to buy a home?

Schedule of events for buying a home

The following are some of the “mile posts” involved with buying a home in the Santa Rosa area. There are many more “detail” items in-between these events, but these are the common mile posts and the associated timeline for each category. These time-frames are approximate as every deal is different. I have seen the purchase of a home, all the way through COE, go as fast as ten days and have seen it take one year. It all depends. Still, this is a typical schedule.

Planning and Preparation Phase (This typically takes 2-3 weeks):

  • Find a lender and identify your loan options. Submit full loan application docs
  • Calculate how much house you can afford and set a budget
  • Begin researching neighborhoods and Interview several real estate agents
  • If you find a good real estate agent, sign them up to work for you.
  • Identify funds to be used for the Earnest Deposit and verify availability

Finding the right home (This typically takes a minimum of 2 weeks, but can go much longer):

  • Touch-back to lender and get loan approval
  • Meet with your agent and tell them what type of homes to search for
  • Tour homes and make notes on what you like / don’t like
  • Identify one or two homes you really like and have your agent a complete CMA on each one

Prepare a written Purchase Agreement (This typically takes 1-2 days):

  • Determine your pricing and negotiation strategy for each house (who pays what, approximate timelines, seller actions & repairs, etc.)
  • Determine your required contingencies and the associated timeline (inspections, lending, date of possession, etc.)
  • Prepare all the documents required for an offer on the house you like best.

Offer and Acceptance (This typically takes 2-10 days):

  • Deliver the purchase agreement and Earnest Deposit to the seller’s agent
  • Work through the negotiation and counter-offer phase
  • Be mindful of the deadlines created in the offer-and-acceptance process
  • Secure a signed acceptance on your offer from the seller

The buyers due diligence phase (This typically takes 17 to 30 days):

  • Open escrow at a title or escrow office
  • Decide how you will take title to the property
  • Receive and review the preliminary Title report
  • Receive and examine the sellers “Property Disclosure Documents”
  • Receive and read any HOA documents that pertain to the property
  • Schedule the home inspection(s)
  • Schedule the lenders Wood Destroying Pest Inspection Report
  • Tie-up any loose ends on your loan approval
  • Coordinate and pay for the lenders appraisal
  • Return signed copies of Statutory and Lead Paint disclosures to seller
  • Obtain and read the C.L.U.E. Report on the property
  • Obtain and read the Natural Hazards Disclosures
  • Review the Pest Inspection Report
  • Provide seller with copies of all buyer inspection reports
  • Negotiate required repairs, if any are identified during buyer’s inspections
  • Complete all your due diligence investigations and release your contingencies
  • Schedule a final buyer’s walk-through
  • Get homeowners' insurance in place
  • Monitor loan process
  • Schedule utilities transferred into buyer’s name
  • Make arrangements to move your household possessions
  • Arrange for school transfers or registrations
  • Consider buying a home warranty if seller did not include one in the sale
  • Receive the seller’s “Statement of Repairs” made to the property and the receipts and documentation of these repairs.
  • Perform the final walk-through
  • Verify any final mortgage details
  • Confirm how much money you'll need at closing and get a cashier’s check
  • Verify closing details with escrow officer

Close Escrow (This typically takes 1-3 days):

  • Sign all lender and title documents at escrow office
  • Recording of documents for Buyer, Lender and Seller
  • Funds are distributed
  • Title policies are purchased
  • Move into new home
  • Final settlement statements are mailed

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