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The average time to buy a home is between 10 and 12 weeks from when you decide to move forward. It considers the time it takes to select a lender and get pre-approved and the time to find a home and negotiate a contract. The average time to close escrow after choosing a home and negotiating a purchase contract is 30 to 45 days. Depending on whether the house is on a septic system, needed repairs, how long it takes to get an appraisal, etc., this time can vary. However, cash buyers are often able to buy properties much faster than this.
Market conditions play a significant role in the speed at which homes sell. Hot markets may have more sales activity than usual, so it is possible to take longer to buy a house. During bidding war markets, you may end up making offers on several homes before you are the winning bid. Also, many parties involved in the transaction fall behind when business picks up. A spike in home sales may increase property appraisals and inspection times because of the increased workload. The turnaround times of lenders for loan underwriting may also slow down. Assuming all parties agree, they can extend the closing date.
The rising demand for homes in sellers' markets drives up the prices. Here are some of the causes for a seller's market.
A buyer's market is one that has declining home prices and lower demand. Many factors can affect buyer demand. For example, economic disruption - when a large employer closes down or lays off its workforce. Here are some of the main reasons for a buyer's market to occur.
Home shoppers pay little or no fees to a broker to buy a home.
Here is why:
Two real estate brokers are involved in most home sales: one representing the seller and the other representing the buyer. Listing brokers are brokers who charge sellers a fee to market their property. Advertising expenses may include photos, videos, a webpage, 3D walkthroughs, social media marketing, and more. Buyer brokers representing buyers will have the ability to search all listed properties in the Northwest Multiple Listing Service.
The listing broker pays the broker who represents buyers. The listing broker splits the listing fee when the property sells, so buyers don't have to pay their brokers. Sellers pay for both brokers, thus allowing for a broker working in the seller's best interest and a broker working in the buyer's best interest.
Most loan programs require FICO scores of 620 or higher. Borrowers with higher credit scores represent less risk to the lender, often resulting in a lower down payment requirement and better interest rate. Occasionally, especially with VA and FHA loans, lenders have approved loans with credit scores as low as 500! However, these are few and far between, and you need to know how to find them. Homebuyers with lower credit scores might need to contribute more money or accept a higher interest rate to offset the lender's risk.
Selling your home will, typically, provide you with enough funds to purchase a new one. However, it is possible to buy a new home before selling your present home. If you have enough equity in your current home, you could take out a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) to provide the funds for a down payment.
In some circumstances, depending on the equity in the home and your income, a Bridge Loan can provide temporary funds to purchase the next house while giving you some time to sell the first one.
Many homebuyers choose to make their home an investment property and rent it out. If you have a valid rental agreement in place, your lender will count a portion of the rent as income. Your loan advisor will still need information about your credit history and risk profile to determine if it's possible to purchase a home without selling the other one.
Many buyers have limited time to sell their homes when they move to another city due to job transfers. You may be moving to a new town but still working for the same employer. Check to see if the company offers relocation assistance to offset some of the cost.
Through technological advances, the home-buying process has changed dramatically. Before the days of opening up the inventory to the public through public search portals, buyers would sometimes physically look at dozens of homes. However, home shopping is now easier than ever. It is now possible to search for homes online and view photos, visual tours, 3D walk-throughs, drone photos, and even make an offer, all without ever leaving the comfort of your living space. The convenience of the internet is unparalleled. However, there is nothing better than visiting a home in person to experience how it feels.
In a seller's market, buyers tend to look at fewer homes because time is of the essence. In a buyer's market, they tend to look at more houses.
When you offer to buy a home, you will typically make a deposit known as earnest money, usually 1% to 2% of the purchase price. Earnest money proves to the seller that your offer is genuine. It is essentially a way to take the house off the market and keep it for yourself by telling the seller that you are a serious buyer. The more earnest money you put down, the more serious you appear.
For safekeeping, the earnest money goes into a trust or escrow account. The earnest money is then credited to you against the down payment and closing costs if the transaction closes. The money is returned to you if the deal falls apart, in most cases.
NOTE: Depending on how the transaction fails, you could lose your earnest money. Ask your broker for information about how to protect your earnest money deposit and what contingencies you can use to protect it.
Written offers should specify the response time by providing for an expiration date. Typically, it should not take more than twenty-four hours to respond. However, in multiple offer situations, the seller will sometimes specify a date for reviewing all offers. That date typically runs 3 to 7 days after the home is put on the market.
Sellers have the option to accept or reject an offer. However, there is a third option that sellers often choose. They can make a counter-offer. Remember: A deal isn't dead until it's over. If the seller makes a counter-offer, you are still in the game. You and your broker will need to go over the counter-offer and decide if it is acceptable. Approving the counter, in writing, clinches the deal immediately upon providing the seller's broker notice, in writing, that you have accepted their counter. Keep in mind, offers and counter-offers can go back and forth many times; this is not unusual, and negotiations are a part of what brokers do as a matter of routine. Each revision should bring the parties closer together regarding the terms of the deal.
NOTE: The seller may accept a different offer during the negotiations, even if they are negotiating with you. You don't have a deal until both sides agree to all terms of the transaction. Until then, either party may withdraw from the negotiations.
Home inspections can uncover hidden defects not easily identified without a professional inspection. Home inspections can provide peace of mind for one of your most significant investments. Some loan types require a professional home inspection. However, at this time, most do not. Some buyers will waive the inspection during strong seller's markets just so their offer is more competitive. Costly repairs may surface later. Also, some buyers will offer a pass/fail inspection. With this, the buyer will still have an inspection done but agrees not to ask for any repairs. It provides the buyer with the information needed to decide whether to walk away or move forward with the transaction.
Although it is not required, it is an excellent idea. Buyers have the opportunity to check that nothing has changed since their last visit. A follow-up visit is also highly recommended to ensure that any negotiated repairs were not only completed but done correctly.