How long does it really take to buy a home?

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That’s a huge question, especially for buyers who are looking to close at a specific time. Whether the end of your lease or the start of the school year is looming, this can be a time-sensitive issue that will need to be managed. Usually you can expect your home-buying process to take three to four months. With a timetable like that buying a home clearly should never be an impulse purchase. Here are some stages you can expect to pass through on your way to ownership.

Your first step is to contact a lender regarding a pre-approval letter if you are financing the property. You will want to start this process as early as possible to help avoid any issues that may come up. Even though you may have perfect credit in your eyes, the lender may look at things differently. It will also take a little bit of time to gather all the documents the lender will be requesting from you, which includes tax returns and pay stubs for a specified period of time. This process will also help you determine what price range you will be able to search within.

Next comes finding the right home, which sometimes can be easier said than done. I always recommend gathering a list online of your favorites to see in person. According to, the average buyer will visit 10 homes in person before making an offer on one of them, but for some, that number can be much lower or higher. The last thing you want to do is feel rushed in your decision and regret it later on.

Once you have found the perfect home and have made an offer that the seller has accepted, it’s crunch time! You will only have a couple of days to complete a property inspection and about 30 to 45 days to complete the mortgage process from the time you go under contract on a property in order to close without delay. Financing is the number one reason a closing can be delayed. That’s why it’s extremely important to complete the pre-approval process before starting to look. A seller will not wait around for you, especially in a hot market. During this time as well, your attorney will be working behind the scenes with the seller’s attorney on different terms in the sales contract to ensure you are fully protected.

Many times a seller or a buyer will say, “It took forever to close,” but consider this. Much of that time is taken up with making sure that you’re fully protected and completely able to buy your dream home.

To contact me, call 708-583-8300, email or visit

About Giuseppe Zerillo

Giuseppe Zerillo is the managing broker and owner of Zerillo Realty Inc. He is active on many boards, serving as village trustee of Harwood Heights and corporate secretary for Casa Italia. In 2011, he received the IANU Foundation's 2011 David Award for outstanding promise in the field of real estate, and in 2012 he was honored by the Illinois State Crime Commission for his community outreach. Constantly seeking opportunities to give back, he donates to several charities and raises money for children with disabilities.

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  1. Great post, Very informative and useful for new home buyers. Thank you

  2. Giuseppe your advice is 100% on target for both buyers and sellers. Linda DiBenardo, CIAO member

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