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How to buy a home quickly

Buying a house should never be a rushed decision, but there are times in the home-buying process when it’s important to act rapidly and decisively. Otherwise, you risk losing a bid for a property in a competitive market, or cause a deal to fall through by failing to meet a deadline.

So carefully consider whether or not to buy a house, but once you’ve made your decision, knowing how to buy a home quickly should help you effectively follow through on your decision.

5 tips for buying a house quickly

1. Build your down payment ahead of time

If you think buying a home might be in your future, start putting aside some money for a down payment even before you begin looking at properties. A larger down payment is an important first step in determining how to quickly buy a home. It can make you more attractive to home sellers and mortgage lenders alike, so focus on building a solid down payment before you start house-hunting.

Securing your down payment in advance should help you be ready to act once you start looking at properties. Even if your plans change, a little extra savings never hurt anybody.

2. Check your credit report

Your credit history may go a long way toward determining not only whether you get approved for a mortgage loan, but also what interest rate you get.

Credit problems can take a while to fix. If there are mistakes in your record, you’re going to have to gather up some documentation and engage in some back-and-forth with the credit reporting bureaus and possibly some creditors to set the record straight. There are three major credit reporting bureaus, so this can take some time.

If you have actual late payments or defaults in your history, you might need to make up for those payments and possibly allow time to establish a more reliable payment history before your credit record recovers.

3. Get pre-approved for a mortgage loan

Your credit history isn’t the only thing that gets factored into your loan approval. Lenders want to know the size and stability of your income, and the extent to which that income is offset by ongoing debt payments.

Mortgage pre-approval is a process where a lender looks at your qualifications in detail to determine whether you’ll be approved for a loan and if so, for how much. There may be fees involved in getting pre-approved for a mortgage, but in return you should get past any surprises before there is an actual deal on the line. Also, in competitive markets, sellers may favor someone who is pre-approved for a sufficient size mortgage because that reduces the chances of the deal falling through.

4. Research the local market

In order for you to make an effective offer on a house when the time comes, it should help to know something about local real estate market conditions. Are homes in your target area being snapped up as soon as they go on the market, or are they lingering in the listings for weeks or months? What are some recent sale prices for properties similar to what you want to buy? Are local sellers typically getting the price they listed?

This information can inform how aggressive you should be about how to buy a house, including how quickly you need to come to a decision and how much you should offer.

5. Maintain liquidity

There are various points in the home-buying process when you need to come up with cash promptly—from putting up a good-faith deposit to producing your down payment and closing costs. To be ready with this cash, once you get serious about house hunting, don’t lock up your savings toward a home in volatile assets or long-term CDs.

A savings account is a good waiting place for your down payment, so it can keep earning interest, while a checking account might provide more frequent access for money set aside for fees and closing costs.

Once you make an offer on a house, the home-buying process can get hectic. These tips for quickly buying a house should help you prepare as much as possible in advance, so you can be ready to succeed once the process starts.

Disclosure: This information is provided for informational purposes, may not be applicable to all situations, and is not intended to provided legal, tax, or financial advice.  For specific advice about your unique circumstances, you may wish to consult a qualified professional.