First Time Home Buyer Guide

Part IV: Home Buying Timeline

Well-priced Raleigh and Cary homes fetch multiple offers. Especially in lower price ranges (below $350k), be prepared to write more than one offer - in other words - you will have to keep an open mind to fall in love with more than one home because great homes sell fast in our market. For a standard sale, expect the closing to take about 30-45 days.

Here is a time frame that you can expect to be a rough guideline on a home purchase:

  • 1-2 months of looking at homes and writing offers
  • 2 days to 3 weeks for sellers to consider your offer
  • 3 weeks to 45 days escrow period for normal sale

Possible Closing Delays

Buyers often want to time their transaction perfectly when they are purchasing a home (this could be true for a first time buyer or move up buyer.) UNFORTUNATELY, there are too many things that can go wrong with a transaction – especially a financed transaction.

Triangle home purchase transactions can be derailed by a myriad of scenarios that could delay closing:

  • Inspection (eek!)
  • Appraisal (coming in low)
  • Financing Issues (extra documentation)
  • HOA Demands (not being ordered on time or HOA liens in collections)
  • Lender Required repairs (sellers being stubborn with fixing items required by lender)
  • Problems with title (especially REO properties)
  • Termites, mold, radon, along with lions, tigers, and bears, oh my! (Oz has nothing over Raleigh and Cary real estate when it comes to challenges!)

Timelines for Non-Standard Sales

Here is my current timeline for closing a financed transaction (provided nothing UNUSUAL goes wrong!)

  • Short Sale: 2 Months – 2 Years (Average around 6 months)
  • REO: 45-60 days
  • New Construction: Usually on expected completion. 30 days if standing inventory.
  • Probate: 2 weeks after court date is set. Court date is usually 45-60 days after executed contract

Tips for a Smooth Transaction

To keep things moving along, when someone asks you for something, make sure you can produce it quickly. Many buyers get caught up in asking “why is the lender asking for this?” in a last minute meltdown. Many lenders ask for things because you may fall in some sort of “risk” category, and they need extra documentation to the underwriter.

To keep your transaction moving smoothly, be prepared to:

  1. Act quickly
  2. Cry two times (my rule, haha!)
  3. Hit bumps in the road
  4. Experience a WILD ride!
  5. Have alternative living arrangements

Wishing you a "happy ending" to your bold new world of home ownership. – Marti Hampton

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