It usually takes four weeks at the lower end to six months (or longer) to buy and close a home. But it can be faster if you make a strong bid right away in a fast-moving market or slower if you struggle to find the right place or continue to be outbid. On average, it takes 4 and a half months to buy a home, plus an additional 30 to 45 days to close a home once it's under contract. But, of course, the time frame can vary widely based on factors such as the time of year, your financing needs, the type of housing you are looking for, and the inventory in your local market.
The Federal Housing Administration's formula, used by many lenders, recommends allocating no more than 31 percent of your monthly income to your housing payment. Once you get pre-approved for a mortgage, you can start looking for a home because you know how much you can afford. Right now, many homebuyers are feeling some pressure to buy a home quickly, fearing that mortgage rates (which have doubled from 3% to 6% in the past year alone) may increase even further, increasing the cost of financing a home. Open houses can help you get an idea of the housing stock in the area and what is meant by a dog-trotting house or a railroad floor.