1. Consultation to Evaluate your budget and your wants vs. needs analysis - know what you want to spend for a down payment as well as monthly expenditures (ie: maintenance or common charges and real estate taxes, monthly mortgage payment, utilities & parking) Review your credit report and be sure you have enough money to cover your down payment and closing costs. Then, talk to a lender and get pre-qualified for a mortgage. This will save you the heartache later of falling in love with a house you can't afford.
2. Obtain mortgage pre-approval - this is a must if you plan to finance your purchase, all offers submitted will require the pre-approval submitted within 7 days of acceptance and many sellers now would like to see it submitted with the offer.
3. Prioritize your needs - square footage, neighborhood, location, bedrooms, light, views, building amenities, etc. Decide what features you most want to have in a home, what neighborhoods you prefer, and how much you'd be willing to spend each month for housing. Are you looking for a starter house with plans to move up in a few years, or do you hope to stay in this home for a longer period? This decision may dictate what type of home you'll buy as well as the type of mortgage terms that will best suit you. It's OK to be picky, but don't be unrealistic with your expectations. There's no such thing as a perfect home. Use your list of priorities as a guide to evaluate each property.
4. Don't ask too many people for opinions - It will drive you crazy. Select one or two people to turn to if you feel you need a second opinion, but be ready to make the final decision on your own.
5. Identify your time line for moving - When is your lease up? Are you allowed to sublet? How tight is the rental market in your area? All of these factors will help you determine when you should move.
6. Explore different areas - to identify your preferences for your search
7. Research - schools, crime, walk-score in the selected neighborhood(s) if necessary
8. Evaluate - access to transportation and freeway in the selected neighborhood(s) Evaluate building amenities and CC&R's in terms of your needs (ie; gym hours in building, pet policy, storage facilities, concierge, security etc.)
9. Review Documents & Financials - Once home has been selected, review HOA Docs & Financials with Attorney and Insist on a home inspection. If possible, get a warranty from the seller to cover defects for one year.
10. Finalize Mortgage - Work closely with your mortgage broker to gather support materials for you mortgage application and work diligently to close on time!
Average Time line for Purchasing (This may vary tremendously bases on current market conditions).
Seek pre-approval for a mortgage:
Typical time frame: 1 - 2 days
Find an Home or Condo:
Typical time frame: 2-6 months
Negotiate on the Home or Condo:
Typical time frame: 3 days to 2 weeks
Sign a Contract:
Typical time frame: 1-2 weeks
Apply for a mortgage:
Receive Commitment Letter from Lender
Typical time frame: 21 - 45 Days
Total Time: Typical Time Frame it takes from beginning to end is averaging 2-5 months