Need to know how to buy a home fast since you’re hoping to be settled in before the holidays? Then the pressure’s definitely on at this point! If you have any hope to host your Thanksgiving feast (or at least Christmas dinner) in your new digs, you’ve got to get the ball rolling on a home purchase as soon as possible.

However, anyone who’s ever purchased a home will tell you the home buying process can be drawn out, complicated, and piles of endless paperwork. With the potential for problems to arise at any moment. While all that may be true in some cases, there are certain strategies that can speed up the home-buying process.

Find 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. Co-ops can take six to eight weeks to get a board interview scheduled, finalized, and approved. Since many folks may be traveling over the holidays, there could be further delays.

Also, avoid bank-owned homes or foreclosures, which generally take much longer to close. A far faster best is to focus on condos or new developments. Closings in condos and houses in new developments, even with financing, can happen in as little as three to four weeks. Most new developments have preferred lenders who are already approved for the building and ready to go.

Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

You may be tempted to check out as many open houses as possible, but it’s more important to be strategic. Don’t waste time touring homes that are well beyond your budget. With that in mind, your first step should be finding exactly what you can afford.

Get pre-approved for a mortgage by a local lender rather than big banks or internet lenders, this will help you stay on track to close on time. This step allows buyers to determine their budget based on what the lender will extend. Unless you are so wealthy that you’re going to buy your own home, you will definitly need a home loan. Whether you decide to go to a bank or a credit union, your lender will need to qualify you to see how much you can afford to buy.

Being pre-approved 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 up front.

Get Your Documents in Order

To speed up buying a home for the holidays, buyers should start putting together all of the documents and paperwork that are usually 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
  • Pay stubs for the past month

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. There will always be one more thing that is needed with the loan application process, but it is much easier and faster to track down one document here or there versus having to provide stacks of documents within a few week period.

Work With The Right Realtor

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, is key. Having the right agent can make all the difference in sealing the deal, particularly in a time-critical situation. They will know how to connect the buyer to te right inspectors, contractors, and other professionals involved in bringing the transaction to closing. Once you have the right agent in your corner, don’t be afraid to let the pro know what you want.

Send your agent listings you find on the internet so that he/she can get an idea of exactly what you like. He can also evaluate each property and check the taxes, underground oil tanks, whether the house is bank-owned, pretty much everything.

Consider Shortening Contingency Deadlines

While 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.

This will also be appealing to the seller. The buyer should work with their 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. In order to close within 30 days, loan approval may be needed in 20, which is why having all loan documents in place with the lender before writing an offer is key.

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.

Stay on Top of Everyone

Once under contract, you want to press all appropriate vendors – inspectors, appraisers, lenders – to stay on track. From the initial offer stage all the way through closing, there is a considerable amount of “elapsed time.” if you consider how many people are often a party to the home purchase transaction – seller, buyer, two attorneys, two real estate agents, mortgage lender, home inspector – then it’s easy to understand that there is a lot of time when someone is waiting to get an answer to a question or a document. And when there’s is a tight window of time, it’s critical that communication between all the parties moves smoothly and swiftly.

Do Some Groundwork on Moving

You may be focused on your new home, but don’t forget about your current space, where your belongings will need to be packed up. Interview movers and make sure they are available for a move before the holidays. if you plan on painting or any kind of cosmetic work, get quotes and make sure the person doing the work will be available.