Tips to Help You Buy a Home

7 Tips to Help You Buy a Home Before the Holidays

If you’re hoping to buy a home before the holidays so you can host Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners in your new digs, you better get started on a house purchase immediately. While the home-buying process can be a lengthy one, there are certain strategies that can speed up the undertaking. Here, offers expert advice that should see you putting out your new welcome mat in no time.

  1. Hone in on the right kind of house

If you’re hoping to move in a hurry, avoid homes that may entail an interview with their boards, namely co-ops, where it can take six to eight weeks to schedule a board interview. Since many people travel during the holidays, there could be further delays. Also stay away from bank-owned homes or foreclosures that usually take much longer to close. A better bet? Condos or new developments, which even with financing can happen in as little as three to four weeks as most developments have preferred lenders who already are approved.

  1. Get pre-approved for a mortgage

Don’t waste time touring homes that are well beyond your budget. Instead, find out exactly what you can afford by getting pre-approved for a mortgage. This step allows buyers to determine their budget based on what the lender will extend. Being pre-approved also puts a buyer in a position of strength, as it will put the seller and their agent at ease, knowing that the buyer has done the heavy lifting upfront.

  1. Get your documents in order

The more legwork a buyer can get out of the way before starting their home search, the easier it will be to go under contract and close on a home in time for the holidays. Toward that end, begin compiling all of the documents and paperwork that usually is required during a home loan review. Generally, a home buyer will need the following: Federal tax returns for the past two years; supporting information (W-2, 1099 or other tax forms) for the past two years; two months’ worth of statements from any checking and savings, 401(k), retirement and other accounts; and pay stubs for the past month.

  1. Work with the right real estate agent

Having the right agent can make all the difference in sealing the deal, particularly in a time-critical situation. Working with a proactive real estate agent who knows the area, as well as how to leverage technology and social networks to make things happen, will know how to connect the buyer to the right inspectors, contractors and other professionals involved in bringing the transaction to closing. 

  1. Consider shortening contingency deadlines

Although buyers should almost never consider waiving any home inspection or financing contingencies, they can offer to shorten the time frame on those contingencies to effect a faster closing. Work with your agent to propose a realistic time frame that can be met considering the entire scenario. For example, if it’s normal to provide 10 days for all due diligence in a purchase situation, offering to complete it in five to seven days may be looked at more favorably by the seller and more realistic. Depending on the nature of the issues found during home inspections, buyers could negotiate a credit toward their closing costs in lieu of repairs being done by the seller, saving valuable time.

  1. Stay on top of everyone

Once you’re under contract, you want to press all appropriate vendors—inspectors, appraisers, lenders—to stay on track all the way through to closing. When there is a tight window of time, it’s critical that communication between all the parties moves smoothly and swiftly.

  1. Do some groundwork on moving

You’ll want to interview movers to make sure they are available for a move before the holidays. If you plan on painting or any kind of cosmetic work, also get quotes and make sure the person doing the work will be available.

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