- 3 months ago
I wouldn’t start looking until you have your down payment saved – you don’t want to fall in love with something you can’t afford.
Pre-approval takes an hour or maybe a day; they just take your stated income and credit scores and do quick math to show the max loan they’re likely to approve. You still need to do the legwork on your end to figure out what monthly payment you can afford. The loan officer does not take into account your lifestyle (vacations, how much you spend on eating out or groceries) or your future expenses (daycare, tuition, etc). So the # they give you might be way more than you can actually afford.
From then to finding a home, it can take a day or years. It depends on how picky you are and how much there is in your price range. You may have to submit multiple offers before someone accepts.
Once you have an offer accepted, it’s about 30 days to close. You’ll get the home inspected and have an option to back out if it doesn’t inspect well. Your loan will go through underwriting which is when they verify your employment, tax returns, debts owed, etc. Tons and tons of paperwork! Closing takes about 1-2 hours to sign all the docs and then you’re a homeowner.