The Home Buying Process Timeline 2022
February 21, 2022
You’re probably aware of the real estate boom that we’ve seen the past couple of years. The news is constantly a-flutter with updates on the housing market, interest rates, bidding wars with buyers offering over asking price, and more. If you’re considering buying a home this year, or you just want to understand the home buying process timeline, we’re outlining a realistic timeline for buying a house. Here’s what you should expect at various stages of the home buying timeline in 2022.
When it comes to shopping for resale homes, the 2022 timeline for buying a house can be hectic. You see a new listing pop up, you rush to tour it, you have strategy conversations with your realtor, your offer is accepted or rejected, and you repeat the process as many times as it takes to secure a home.
The home buying timeline on a new construction home is typically more predictable because you don’t have to worry about competing with other buyers at the front end. Once you’ve completed your contract, you’ll have a step-by-step idea of the home buying timeline and closing process on a house. In the past couple of years though, industry-wide delays have made some steps in the new construction home buying process timeline take longer than expected.
Whether you’re planning on purchasing a resale home or if you’re hoping to Live Up in a new construction home, there are some similarities in the home buying process timeline. Knowing the basics of what to expect can help you feel more prepared.
YOU'LL NEED PRE-APPROVAL
You can daydream on Zillow, but until you’ve gotten pre-approved, the timeline for buying a house hasn’t officially started. That’s because this step is required to determine how much house you can afford, and how much a bank will be willing to lend you. If you’re in the early stages of the home buying timeline, you can start by getting pre-qualified. This is a quick calculation using estimated figures to get an idea of the price range of houses you can consider. However, sellers tend not to take offers without formal pre-approval very seriously, so it’s better to work with a lender to secure pre-approval if you’re actually ready to start house hunting. The lender will use financial information like your income, employment status, and credit score to help determine what loans you qualify for. Your lender will then give you a pre-approval letter that can be used to accompany offers as proof that you’re capable of securing a mortgage.
Not sure where to start in terms of finding a lender? At StyleCraft, we have preferred lenders that can help you understand your buying power. The lenders we recommend are savvy with the new construction process too, so they can help you understand your mortgage options and the new construction home buying timeline from the very beginning through the closing process on a house.
THE FUN PART: HOUSE HUNTING
This is the part of the home buying timeline that most people look forward to, shopping around! Once you get pre-approved, you can start working with a real estate agent to tour potential homes. It’s common for people to be squeezing house-hunting in before or after work and on weekends. As a result, it’s not uncommon for this process to take weeks or months, depending on inventory, your must-haves, and a variety of other factors. If you’re trying to time a move with the end of a lease or another life event, a local realtor can give you a better idea of when you should start your unique home buying timeline.
With new construction, the house hunting process involves a lot less running around. Once you choose your builder, community, and floor plan – the home buying timeline is pretty straightforward. You’ve already secured your home, we just have to build it! At StyleCraft, your New Home Sales Consultant will let you know when you can expect your home to be completed, so that you can get all your ducks in a row in advance.
MAKING AN OFFER
Signs point to the 2022 housing market continuing to favor sellers, with low inventory making the home buying timeline tricky for buyers. That means when you find a home that checks all your boxes, you have to make an offer quickly. This is part of the reason you’ll want to have a pre-approval from your lender already taken care of. You’ll also want to have an experienced realtor in your corner to help you tackle this fast-paced part of the home buying process timeline.
If the description of making an offer on a resale home made you feel stressed just reading it, we get it. We’ve got good news. StyleCraft’s new construction timeline for buying a house is a breeze by comparison. You fill out a purchase agreement, provide necessary documentation, and sign on the dotted line. No holding your breath, no wondering if someone is going to swoop in offering over asking price. Once you make the decision, your future home is yours and the timeline for buying a house is underway.
Once you’ve waded through a few weeks of inspections and appraisals on the resale side, or a few months of the building process on the new construction side, you’re almost at the finish line. Three days before you’re set to close on your home, you’ll receive the Closing Disclosure from your lender. As part of the closing process on a house, you’ll need to review these documents in advance, and then you’ll sit down in person to sign them all. After this part of the closing process on a house is complete, the sale is final, and the house is all yours!
If your timeline for buying a house is a little further out, you’re off to a good start already by reading this! The earlier you start planning for the home buying process timeline, the better.
5 YEARS BEFORE BUYING A HOME — GET A HANDLE ON YOUR CREDIT
To ensure you’ll get approved for a mortgage, you’ll need to get your credit score in good shape. We recommend requesting your credit score from one of the three credit bureaus to get an idea of where you currently stand. First, look over the report for accuracy to make sure there aren’t any errors impacting your score. Then, look for opportunities to improve your score over time. Making timely payments, paying down debt, and keeping balances low are all factors that can help. It can take years to improve your score, so start early.
3 YEARS BEFORE BUYING A HOME — START SAVING
You’ve probably heard the term “down payment” even if you’re a few years away from the timeline for buying a house. It’s a sum of money that you pay as part of purchasing a home that reduces the amount of money you need to borrow. Depending on the home you’re buying, your personal financial situation, and the type of loan you choose, the amount required varies – but in some cases it can be 20% of the total cost. A helpful starting point can be to get pre-qualified (not pre-approved) to get a sense of where your finances stand and what sort of down payment you should start saving for.
1 YEAR BEFORE BUYING A HOME — EYES ON THE PRIZE
Doing a bit of market research before you’re in a time-sensitive home buying timeline can help you narrow down where you want to live and what sorts of things you’re looking for in a home. You can even visit a couple of open houses so that you have some experience to draw from once you’re officially in the market. We also recommend saving beyond your down payment to help offset closing costs or any miscellaneous new home expenses.
The home buying timeline all boils down to your personal situation, but there are a few milestones that most home buying journeys have in common. Starting a conversation with a qualified lender or realtor can help you understand where you might fall on the spectrum of readiness so that you can better prepare yourself for the next steps towards homeownership.