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When you’re ready to buy a home, there’s an anxious excitement that’s within you, making you feel like a small child on Christmas night. One question that is probably burned in your mind throughout the home search process is, “How long is this going to take?”
If you’re a first-time home buyer, you’ll likely be using some programs through the Federal Housing Administration, also known as the FHA. With any kind of home loan, there’s many variables that can affect how long the process will take. This can be due to many factors including the seller’s circumstances and the nature of your loan.
When you’re securing a home loan backed by the FHA, you may wonder how long it’s going to take for the entire process to finish from beginning to end.
Variables That Affect The Loan Process
This is one of the variables that can fluctuate the most in the home loan process. Once you have found the home that you love, the lending process can take a few weeks beyond the point where you sign a contract. This part could entail many different steps that may become hurdles for you as a borrower. Your loan officer can also have an impact on the length of the process. Some loan people are just faster than others!
Keep in mind that you can’t close on an FHA loan until you get through the underwriting process. In the underwriting process for an FHA loan, it will be assured that you meet all of the criteria necessary for securing the loan, such as the standards that have been established by the HUD (Department Of Housing and Urban Development).
Closing On An FHA Loan
While it’s difficult to say the exact amount of time that it will take for a loan to process, there’s some things you can do ahead of time to prepare. If you apply for an FHA loan before you have even found a home, you’ll expedite the process a bit. If you have been pre-approved prior to making an offer on a home, you’ll likely be in a better position than if you haven’t yet met with a lender. This will also make the underwriting process move a bit faster for you, provided there aren’t any major red flags on your paperwork.
FHA appraisals do differ a bit from appraisals for a home with a more conventional loan. With an FHA appraisal, the appraiser must look for things in two main areas including any health and safety issues and determine the market value of the property as well. This process will most likely only take a few days. Part of the appraisal process may include the appraiser looking at similar properties in the area in order to get a bit of a comparison on the value of the property.
Can You Speed It Up?
If you have everything in order before you even decide that you’re ready to go on the house hunt, you’ll discover that the process of securing an FHA loan will be a bit smoother. Talk to a lender before you start the process so you can familiarize yourself with the requirements. Once you can present the lender with the right documents, they’ll be able to do their job with little intervention on your part.
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There are a lot of ways a real estate agent can help you find the best home for your needs. However, the final decision always rests squarely on your shoulders.
The challenge for many home buyers -- especially first-timers -- is to keep everything in perspective and avoid sacrificing features that are especially important to you.
Developing a carefully thought-out priority list, consisting of both necessities and "wish list" items, is an essential starting point for getting what you want in a new home. Even though house hunting can potentially wear you down, it's important to hang in there and stay true to your priorities.
While everyone has different expectations, lifestyle needs, and personal requirements, some things are bound to create issues down the road.
- Being too close to neighbors: Depending on your need for privacy, this may or may not be a problem for you. However, if you don't want your life to feel like a reality show (with your neighbors being the audience), then it would probably pay to maintain a comfortable distance between houses. Unfortunately, that's not always possible. For example, if you're in the market for a home in an urban environment or a townhouse setting, then close proximity "comes with the territory". If living in suburbia is your objective, though, it's often feasible and desirable to keep some breathing room between neighbors.
- Basement laundry: Having to go up and down an extra flight of stairs every time you do your laundry is not the worst thing in the world, but it can make laundry day more of a hassle. The inconvenience of a basement laundry is multiplied if you have to do several loads of laundry every week. To make that chore even more unpleasant, unfinished basements are often dank, musty smelling, and not much to look at! Regardless of the condition of the basement, though, having a first-floor laundry does make life a lot easier!
- A tiny yard: A spacious yard is not a feature all house hunters require, but if you have dogs, kids, and the occasional backyard barbecue, then you'd probably find a good-sized yard to be more satisfying. On the other hand, if your short-term plan includes moving in a few years, then yard size might not be a major issue.
- Being too far from conveniences: Do you have your heart set on a rural setting for your next home? If so, you may have to sacrifice being close to shopping, entertainment, friends, and work. It is a potential trade-off that you and your family will need to consider carefully. Reaching a consensus on what you must have versus what you'd like to have in a home will hopefully help ensure a decision you'll all be satisfied with.
You've won!Congratulations! By reading this article you've won an all-expenses paid trip to the destination of your dreams. One of the most common scams affecting homeowners come in the form of phone calls, mail, or even door-knockers informing you that you've won some kind of prize. Unless you've specifically entered to win a certain prize, you can almost be certain that this is a scam.
Identity crisisWe've often heard of the dangers of identity theft, but homeowners in particular are an at-risk demographic. Identity thieves attempt to steal your personal information in order to commit fraud or crimes. To avoid identity theft, be responsible with your mail. Always shred mail with personal data and be sure to have someone take care of your mail for you when away from home for extended periods.
I noticed your roof needs to be repairedMany scams come in the form of people knocking on your door to offer a great deal on a service. People who solicit you and ask to be let into your home or onto your property to "inspect" part of your home should never be allowed in. They may actually be a roofer attempting to convince you to repair your roof (regardless of whether it needs to be repaired). Or, they could be a would-be burglar scoping out your residence. These scammers will attempt to sell you anything from "subsidized" and "energy efficient" home energy products all the way down to fixing imagined water/moisture issues in your basement.
Make $60k a year working from home!Work-from-home jobs do exist, and they're growing in number as technology makes it easier and more efficient than traveling. However, some job offers are too good to be true. Be wary of job offers that require you to enter personal information like your social security number before ever having met the employer. Many of these "too good to be true" jobs can be spotted when they ask you for money to get started. They may say to need to pay for your own training but then can make thousands, or will ask for a company buy-in that will pay off later. Regardless, never give money to a potential employer.
I came to read the metersSomeone in a safety vest with a name tag and clipboard knocks on your door and says they're from the energy company, water company, etc. They seem legitimate and tell you how important it is to have your meter read. The might even say you're eligible for a refund or subsidy. It's important to always ask representatives to show you their ID or ask them to call and make an appointment before letting them enter your home.