Find An Agent

Summer is up and coming, and you know what that means? It's house buying season! Around this time every year, people everywhere begin their house hunting adventure. Many of them are in a race against the school season, hoping to find their new home before the kids start school. Because of this, many ask the same question: How long does it take to buy a house?

How to Purchase a House

The process tends to take as long or short as you want-- depending on you or your agent's negotiating power and the amount of money you have available to you. Because the stakes are so high, it is essential that you find a real estate agent you can trust who knows the area you are looking in well. This agent will be the one to go barter on price for you, and you want them to be willing to do their job well. You also want one who knows the market you are looking in as well. If you are looking for a million dollar home, you may want to use an agent who has experience in million dollar home deals. Agents who work in similar markets will be more in tune with the types of amenities and features you're looking for as well as the amount of negotiating power you have.

Along with a trusted real estate agent, you want to get a mortgage broker you can trust. Use a one that will help you understand your pre-approval rate and take the time to explain your loan options and the paperwork. Knowing your options in advance will help you decide on a house that fits your needs as well as your budget. They will also give you advice about credit repair, purchases during the process, and any information about the loan. Finding a mortgage broker that fits your needs might be a bit of a hassle. Ask your real estate agent for recommendations if you are having trouble locating a great mortgage broker.

Now that your team is assembled, it's time to look for your house. This is where that top agent comes into play. They'll help you narrow down your choices to a few really great ones that fit your needs and budget accordingly. From there, the decision is all yours. Once you decide on the home of your dreams, it's time to put in an offer. If that offer is accepted, you'll go to closing which we'll cover more below.

What do I need to buy a house?

As previously mentioned, it's a good idea to find a great real estate agent and mortgage broker, but what else do you need? For starters, you need money. And not just the loan, although that is important. Most homes require at the very least earnest money and a down payment, as well as other closing costs. You'll also need a fairly decent credit score for some of the loans. If your credit score is not as high, now's the time to either work on repairing it, or using a loan that uses collateral instead.

Another thing you'll need that not many think about is a Social Security Number or an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number. This is so the government knows who to charge for taxes involved with purchasing a house.

How long does it take to close on a house?

From the time your offer is accepted on the house, you have begun to close. Closing involves everything from inspections to contingencies and usually take between 30 to 60 days. During this phase, the buyer can choose to walk out on the deal only if they are in alignment with the provisions outlined in the contract.

Sometimes things turn up in the inspection that needs to be addressed. These things could be water damage or a roof that needs replacing. At that point, the buyer can either negotiate with the seller to repair the damage. The seller could also take money off for the repair, offer credits toward the renovation, or back out. An extension can be made to the closing date if the repairs take longer than the offer is valid.


  • Find your real estate agent and becoming pre-approved for a loan- 1-2 weeks
  • Finding the property that is right for you: Depends on your preferences, most take 30-60 days on average
  • Placing your offer and receiving an answer: Usually under two weeks
  • Closing process: 30-60 days

Average total time: 5 months

Tips to make the process go by faster

If five months seems like a stretch for you or you are on a shorter timeline, there are some things you can do right now to speed the process up.

Repair Your credit

The better your credit is, the better loan you're going to get. Certain loans take longer than others due to all the stipulations that come along with them. Pay off any credit card balances you have. Create a history of on-time payments with your responsibilities to see your credit climb. Remember: your credit cards are one way to build your credit, so don't close the account entirely. Just make sure you pay off the entire balance whenever you purchase something on it.

Gather Your Closing Costs

While you don't know the exact amount your closing costs will run you, it's generally a good idea to have between 2% and 5% of the amount you're planning on buying the home for, on top of your down payment. Are you taking advantage of the FHA loans ability to have the down payment gifted to you? Get a letter in advance from the gifter that states the amount of money they are gifting you. Make sure they also include the reason they are gifting it to you, adding that they expect nothing in return.

Pick Your Battles

Now's a good time to make a list of what you want in a home, and what you're willing to negotiate on. Also, note if you can do any repairs on the property or if you need a turnkey home. If you know this before actively searching for homes, you'll end up finding the right one a lot quicker.

Psst! Are you looking for a top-notch agent to help you search for that dream home of yours? Look no further. We at Clever only work with the top-rated agents, helping you get the house you want faster. Call us at 1-833-2-CLEVER or complete our online form to get connected a top-rated local agent that will list your home with a discounted commission rate.


Ben Mizes

Ben Mizes is the co-founder and CEO of Clever Real Estate, the free online service that connects you with top agents to save thousands on commission. He's an active real estate investor with 22 units in St. Louis and a licensed agent in Missouri. Ben enjoys writing about real estate, investing, personal finance, and financial freedom. He's a serial entrepreneur, having run several successful startups before Clever Real Estate. Ben's writing has been featured in Yahoo Finance, Realtor News, CNBC, and BiggerPockets.

See all Ben's Posts

Find Your Dream Home With A Top Agent And Save Thousands

Learn how you could save thousands when you buy a home with Clever!