After three consecutive months of decline, the S and P Case-Shiller 20-City Composite Index remained nearly unchanged in February. Year-over-year home prices rose by 12.90 percent in February as compared to 13.20 percent in January.
How long does it take to buy a home in Washington State, on average? This is a common question among first-time buyers, and we’ve covered it at length below. We’ve given you a short answer, followed by an in-depth explanation of the buying process.
How Long it Takes to Buy a Home in Washington State
Short answer: It can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months to buy a home in Washington State, depending on the circumstances.
Housing hunting is one of the biggest variables. Some buyers find a suitable property within days, while others search for many weeks to find the right house. There are other variables as well, and they are explained in detail below.
Here’s a quick overview of how long it can take to buy a home:
- If you’re a proactive home buyer, and things go smoothly for you, you could find and purchase a house in two months or less. That’s from the time you first start looking until the day you close.
- If it takes you a while to find a suitable property, and/or you have trouble qualifying for a loan, the timeline could stretch to three or four months. In rare cases, it can take up to six months to buy a home.
But there are many variables at work here, and they can influence the time it takes to purchase a house in Washington State. Financing is one of those variables. So let’s talk about that next.
Mortgage Loans vs. All-Cash Offers
Will you need a mortgage loan to buy a home in Washington State? This can affect how long it takes you to close. Cash buyers tend to have more flexibility in terms of their closing dates, simply because they don’t have to wait for mortgage underwriting and approval.
Using a home loan won’t necessarily slow you down. It just adds a few more steps to the process.
In Washington State, the average escrow period (between offer acceptance and final closing) generally lasts for 30 – 60 days. This usually provides ample time for mortgage processing and underwriting.
According to Ellie Mae, a company whose software is used to process millions of home loans each year, it takes an average of 45 days to close a purchase mortgage loan. But that’s just an average — it can be done faster than this.
If the mortgage underwriter identifies issues or “conditions” that must be resolved prior to approval, the process can take longer. Again, it varies from one home buyer to the next.
Getting Pre-Approved Can Save You Time
Some people rush into the house-hunting stage before they’ve even spoken to a mortgage lender. As a result, they might spend a lot of time looking at homes that are above their price range.
This is just one reason why it makes sense to get pre-approved for a loan before shopping for a home. It helps you narrow down the market by price point, which can be a real time saver.
There are other benefits as well. Real estate agents will be more willing to work with you if you’ve been pre-approved by a lender. More importantly, sellers will be more inclined to accept your offer (compared to a buyer who doesn’t have a pre-approval letter).
Research the Real Estate Market Ahead of Time
Researching the local real estate market can also help you speed up the home buying process. Start with sales prices. Spend some time on the big property listing websites, like Realtor.com and Trulia, reviewing recent sales prices in the area where you want to buy.
You want to enter the market with price awareness, and a sense of what you can buy within your budget. This will save you time during the house hunting process. It will also help you make a smart offer based on current market conditions.
Conclusion, and What to Do Next
Now you can see why it’s hard to answer the question: How long does it take to buy a home in Washington State?
There are a lot of variables that can affect timing, and the process varies from one home buyer to the next. It might take a few weeks, or a few months, depending on your circumstances.
But there are things you can do to speed up the process. Have your financing lined up before you start shopping for a home. Research the local real estate market, so you can move quickly with an offer when the right house comes along. Work with an experienced real estate agent who knows the market.
In short, be prepared and proactive for a smoother home buying experience.