How Long Does It Take To Buy A House

How Long Does It Take To Buy A House

Buyers often wonder how long it’ll take to find the perfect home, so they can plan when to start their home search in earnest.

Well, according to the National Association of Realtors®, the short answer is that it typically takes about 10 weeks for a buyer to find a home, based upon the most recent data. That might sound like no time at all, or it could seem like an eternity, depending upon how urgently you need to find a home.

The reality is, buyers often take as much time as they have to work with. For example, if you’re not in a rush and time is on your side, you might take way more than 2.5 months (even over a year!) to find a place. On the other hand, if you need your home search to be as quick and concise as possible, there’s a good chance you’ll do what it takes to keep the time it takes to a minimum.

Unfortunately, there’s no way to actually predict how long it’ll take for you to find the perfect house, because there are a lot of factors to consider. First and foremost, it really depends on the current market conditions. For instance, if there are a lot of houses for sale in the areas and price range you’re looking in, and not that many other buyers competing for those homes, you’ll have a lot more control over how long it takes to find a home you want to buy. But if there aren’t that many homes for sale, and there are a lot of other buyers competing for them, then your home search may take even longer than 10 weeks.

However, while you can’t control supply and demand, there are some things that often cause buyers to prolong their home search, which you do have control over and can be avoided. So, in order to make your home search as efficient and stress-free as possible, here are 5 things to be aware of when searching for a house to buy:


1. Know the areas you’re interested in ahead of time

You’re certainly entitled to pivot during your home search and look at areas you might not have been considering before, but the more you can hone in on the areas you’re interested in, the better off you’ll be. Buyers who focus on the houses that appeal to them first, and then back into deciding whether the overall area is a good fit for them, often find themselves wasting time looking at homes in areas that they don’t end up wanting to live in.


2. Know what to expect in your price range

Buyers will often joke about how they’re just being “picky” about the houses they’re seeing, and forgo completely great houses in their price range because they don’t want to settle for anything less than perfect. It’s understandable for a buyer to want as nice of a house as possible, but it’s usually not a matter of buyers being too “picky,” so much as it’s a matter of them not accepting the reality of what they can afford. It might sound harsh, but the more realistic you can be about what your dollar can get, the more quickly you’ll be able to hone in on the perfect house for the money you can spend.


3. Don’t waste time looking at houses above your price range

A lot of buyers say they just want to see what they could get in the next price range above their limit. Then it stretches into another price range above that. And another. It’s a slippery slope, and it’s usually pointless because, unless a house is grossly overpriced, the odds of negotiating the price down into the price range you can afford is slim. It ends up making it even more difficult for a buyer to like the houses they can afford, when they fall in love with houses above their price range, which are typically more appealing since they’re worth more money. Not only is it a waste of time spent looking at houses you can’t afford, but it often adds time to the process due to the subtle psychological and emotional tolls it takes on a buyer during the process.


4. Go see houses as soon as they’re listed

House hunting isn’t a weekend warrior effort anymore. Buyers are often aware of new listings in their price range the minute they hit the market. The most serious buyers in the market will do everything they can to go see a new listing as soon as possible. While this might sound like an obvious thing to do in the fast-paced real estate market, it takes many buyers time to figure this out when they first start their search, and only learn just how fast they need to be once they’ve lost out on a house or two because they waited until the weekend to go see a new listing.


5. Make strong offers right away

Some buyers think there will be all the time and options in the world when they first get started on their home search, and will make offers that aren’t as strong or aggressive as they should be. Many buyers waste time making weak offers until they’ve lost a house or two because the owner wouldn’t accept their offer, or they lost to other buyers’ higher bids.

While you can’t control supply and demand, or overall market conditions, those five things will certainly help keep the time your house search takes down to a minimum.


The Takeaway:

According to the most recent data, it takes around 10 weeks for homebuyers to find a house. While supply and demand often impacts how long it takes a buyer to find a home, there are some things buyers can do (or avoid doing) in order to keep the time down to a minimum, such as:


  • Knowing the areas they’re interested in ahead of time.
  • Knowing what to expect in their price range, in terms of the size and condition of homes.
  • Not wasting time looking at houses above their price range.
  • Going to see houses as soon as they’re listed.
  • Making strong offers right away.


Are you thinking of buying, selling, or investing in Florida? Click here for our FREE FLORIDA REAL ESTATE MARKET UPDATE to help you make informed decisions.

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