Buying a Home: The Timeline from Deciding on a Home to Closing and Moving In

Shelley Wenger
Photo byShelley Wenger at Canva

Once you find the home of your dreams, your journey is just beginning. This is especially true if you have to get a loan to purchase your first home. There are certain steps that you have to take in order to get to closing.

Here are the steps that you will need to take, from deciding on a home, until you get to settlement.

Start the negotiation process. Once you choose the perfect home, it is time to write a contract with your real estate professional. He or she will guide you through this process. If you put a low offer in, you may get a counter-offer. Buyers and sellers can go back and forth several times until the contract is approved.

Then, you will schedule inspections. Even though it isn’t necessary, you should really think about having inspections on the home before you buy it. That being said, you may be required to have inspections completed for your mortgage loan. You may not be able to get a loan if you don’t have certain inspections completed.

Inspections are done to make sure that the house is in good condition before you move in. You can do several types of inspections, including a whole house inspection, water, and sewer. A whole-house inspection checks the foundation, roof, plumbing, electric, and everything in between.

If something doesn’t pass inspection, you will end up back in the negotiation process. You may not want to continue through the process if there is something wrong with the house. If you still do, you may be able to get the house for a lower price or you may request that the sellers fix the problem. If you aren’t happy with the negotiation process, you may be able to walk away from the contract.

You will have to schedule an appraisal. An appraisal is really important if you are getting a mortgage loan. This is when you find out how much the house that you want is worth. You won’t be able to get a loan for more than the house is worth. An appraiser will look through the house and compare it to other homes in the area that have recently sold to come up with a good price.

If the house doesn’t appraise for the agreed on price, you will have to do more negotiations. This isn’t very common but could happen. Since you won’t be able to get a loan for the home at that price, you will either be able to get it for less, or you may have to walk away.

You will wait for a final loan approval. After all of the paperwork, inspections, and appraisal are all done, you will get your final loan approval. Then, it is time to wait for settlement. You are getting close to getting the keys to your new home.

Usually, thirty to forty-five days after you start the process, you will be able to close on the home, so you can get ready to move in. It can be a stressful month, full of negotiations, inspections, and an appraisal. It can be even scarier when you are at settlement signing the paperwork and signing a check for your downpayment and closing costs. However, at the end of the whole process, you will be a proud owner of your very own home! It will be worth it to wake up in your very own home.


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Shelley is a small town farm mom of two boys. She is a veterinary technician, so she is proud to write about all kinds of animals and their care. She also loves to write about writing, running a business, working from home, and much more.

Glenville, PA

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