Finding the perfect home is quite the project, but it’s just the start. You still have to get the sellers to accept your offer. You’ll likely go back and forth with the seller a few times before you agree on both sides. Once accepted, the process goes fast!
Knowing what to expect and your role in the process is important for a seamless sales process from start to finish.
Tell your Lender about the Offer
You should have gotten pre-approved by a lender before you bid on a home. Once the seller accepts your bid, give your lender the executed sales contract right away. The escrow countdown starts the minute you sign the contract and the loan closing process can take 30 days or longer.
Give your lender as much lead time as possible so you close on time.
Provide your Lender with Documents
If your pre-approval included conditions, make sure your lender has everything needed. This may include income documents, employment information, asset documentation, or proof you resolved issues on your credit report.
Stay in contact with your lender throughout the process so you know what they need.
Order an Inspection
Lenders don’t require it, but a home inspection could save you thousands of dollars. An inspector will find issues with the home appraisers wouldn’t find.
If you have an inspection contingency on your contract, you have a limited time to have the inspection completed and to decide if you want to move forward with the sale. If the inspector discovers serious issues with the home, such as a cracked foundation or water damage issues, you may want to reconsider the purchase.
Decide how to Proceed
After you receive the inspection report, decide what you want to do.
Here are your options:
• Accept the home as-is and fix any issues the inspector found after you close
• Re-negotiate the contract, asking the seller to fix the issues
• Re-negotiate the contract, asking the seller to credit you the money for the cost of the expenses
• Walk away from the sale
After the Inspection
Once you finalize the purchase contract and all contingencies are exhausted, you’ll complete the underwriting process with the lender.
The lender will order an appraisal on the home. This ensures the home is worth at least as much as you agreed to pay. This is important as it determines how much collateral the lender has if they approve your loan.
The Bottom Line
Overall, the process should take 30 to 45 days but can go faster if you’re prepared. Getting the pre-approval first is the key. Next is ordering the inspection immediately following executing the contract.
The faster you complete these items, the smoother your closing process will go. Remember to negotiate a closing date with the seller that works for both parties. Give yourself enough time to clear all necessary conditions, but don’t take so long that the seller accepts another buyer’s bid.