Timeline for Buying a New Home

   Hubby and I finally moved into our new home on July 20th! Hurray! Being the organizational nut that I am, I recorded our experience and thought I’d share them with you.  Below is the timeline we experienced, from the day we saw the first online photo of our future home, to the day we got the keys.


 Summer, 2012 Hubby and I decide to start saving up for land. We start keeping an eye out for suitable properties to build our dream home on.

Spring, 2013 By now we had a descent down payment set aside. Started calling lenders, find out very few lenders are lending for raw land—those that are require a 45% down payment.  We do not have a 45% down payment. I’m told I should qualify for a FHA loan at 3.5% down, but that would require an actual house.  I do the math, and to save up enough for a 45% down payment on land, then build a home, would be around 10 years.  Decide to start looking at homes.  I used sites like Trulia.com and Landwatch.com, both of which have descent search functions.  We viewed a few homes before hitting upon our current home.

Day 1 Find our future home on Trulia.com.  Send email to realtor.

Day 2 Realtor returns phone call, we set up date for viewing.

Day 4 The viewing.  We love it. It’s perfect. Receive property disclosure.  Find out the seller’s Realtor does business regularly with one of my co-workers.  Since we don’t have a realtor yet I call up said co-worker, confirm that his realtor is a good one.  We agree to sign up with seller’s realtor.  We are told we need to get pre-approved before we can put in an offer.  We hadn’t bothered getting pre-approved yet because pre-approvals have expirations and require a credit check which can look bad on your credit report if you don’t end up getting a mortgage in time.  We knew our needs were very particular, so we decided to wait until finding the right property before getting pre-approved.

Day 5 Set up appointment with my bank of 10 years.  Am told they will not touch this type of home (mobile home).  Call around to other banks, find a lender willing to work with me (Wells Fargo). Ask what paperwork they need and set up appointment.

Day 6 Meet with Loan Officer and get pre-approval letter. Easy. Call Realtor and set up appointment for next day to put in offer.

Day 7 Put in offer.  Hubby and I decided that the sellers were asking a more than fair price, it was affordable for us, and we didn’t want to pussy-foot around.  Plus we knew we would need some assistance for closing costs and would be asking the sellers to do some foundation work (required for an FHA loan on a mobile home), so we put in a full-price offer with $7,500 less closing costs and foundation costs.

Day 8 Get phone call from Realtor.  Sellers are freaking out about a financing issue they have had problems with in the past during attempted refinancing (FHA). They are scrambling for paperwork to resolve issue before accepting our offer.  During various renovations on the home, they had bricked-over the mobile home. They had also bricked over the tags on the mobile home.  Those tags, or certificates saying what those tags said, are a requirement for FHA financing.

Day 16 Seller’s paperwork issue resolved.  Sellers provide counter-offer regarding closing costs.  These changes were discussed earlier and were acceptable to us. Contract accepted!

Day 20 Meet with lender to put in mortgage application.  Told FHA loans typically take 30-60 days.  Receive Good Faith Closing Cost Estimates (three of them, actually) and a ton of other paperwork.  Interest rate locked in for 60 days.

Day 21 More paperwork requested from Lender.

Day 22 Requested paperwork submitted to Loan Officer.

Day 24 More paperwork requested from Lender.

Day 25 Requested paperwork submitted to Loan Officer.


Day 26 Seller completes foundation work stipulated in the contract.

Day 33 Home inspection completed and report received same day.  All minor issues, no deal-breakers.

Day 34 Send email to Realtor asking sellers to fix some minor issues found during home inspection.  Sellers agree.  First essay (Letter of Explanation) requested from Lender to explain a large deposit.

Day 35 First essay submitted to Loan Officer.

Day 36 Two more essays requested by Lender: How we plan to save up enough for closing costs (even though they can’t tell us how much that is going to be), and how we have budgeted for new home expenses.

Day 37 Both essays submitted to Loan Officer.  I’m told they look good.

Day 54 New bank account statements requested from Lender to show we have saved enough for closing costs.

Day 55 Bank statements sent to Loan Officer.  I’m told we have sufficient funds to cover closing costs.  I ask if they know how much the closing costs will be.  They say no.

Day 61 Receive call from Loan Officer saying we should have commitment letter in the next 1-2 days.

Day 65 Closing date approaching, still no commitment letter.  Very stressed.  Both myself and Realtor send out mass emails asking bank for update.

Day 71 Home Appraisal done.  Finally.

Day 73 Receive call from Loan Officer saying we should have commitment letter within next 2-3 days.  He tells me he is much more confident about this then the last time he told us that.  Appraiser asks for paperwork we already submitted.  I resubmit.  Any hope of keeping the original closing date is gone.

Day 76 Invited over to new home by Seller so they can show us how to restart the well and work the heat pump.  Also show us around the garden and point out what has been planted and what will bloom later, so we won’t dig it out thinking it’s a weed.  Very nice visit with very nice Sellers.

Day 79 Original closing date.  Still no word on commitment letter or appraisal.  Realtor, lawyer  and I send out another mass email asking for information.

Day 82 Receive call from Loan Officer saying he believes commitment letter will come tomorrow.  Rate lock expires today, and he did extend it at no charge as he promised, “because this delay is definitely not your fault”.

Day 83 Two more essays requested by lender: Explanation of an old address which showed up on credit report (the house I grew up in) and explanation of credit card payments on our bank statements.  Original contract has expired and Lender needs it updated.  I notify Realtor.  Ask for clarification on why they are wondering the reasoning behind us paying our Visa bill (essay #4).  No commitment letter.

Day 84 We have a commitment letter! Loan Officer calls with explanation about Visa essay and request for another essay (this would be #6) about our current rent situation (living with family).

Day 85 Submit Essays 4, 5 and 6 to Loan Officer.  Speak with sellers and ask for their old elevation certificate, they agree.  That saves us $1,000.  Hardcopy of commitment letter and appraisal comes in mail. Commitment letter states that it expired yesterday.  I contact Loan Officer who tells me not to worry about it. Nice to know they are on the ball.

Day 88 Contact lawyer to set up termite inspection.  Send another form to Realtor for sellers to sigh (another condition on commitment letter).  Loan officer says we will need an engineer to say the brick on the home is structurally sound, but we may not need a well inspection.

Day 89 Termite inspection and foundation inspection done, foundation report sent to Loan Officer.  Contract extension signed by all parties and sent to Loan Officer.  Certificate of Elevation sent to Loan Officer.  Proof of earnest check deposit sent to Loan Officer (all are conditions on commitment letter).

Day 90 Clean termite report sent to Loan Officer.

Day 91 Contacted Loan Officer.  He says he submitted all documents to the appropriate people and that it generally takes 2-3 days for the paperwork to be processed.  Said it is possible we may be able to close next week, but must wait for paperwork people to give the green light.  My cravings for sugar have reached epic levels.  I am so, so, so happy I packed up the bathroom scale weeks ago.


Day 95 Send in reminder to Loan Officer to extend my rate lock once again.  Interest rates have gone up a full percentage since this process began.  Get a call from my insurance agent asking if we have a closing date yet, as she needs that info to send in the policy information to the Lender.

Day 96 It has now been 11 weeks since we put in our mortgage application with Lender, nearly two weeks since we received our commitment letter and nearly three weeks since our original closing date.  Left messages for loan Officer.  Realtor, sellers, lawyers and myself all very concerned about closing date, which has not yet been scheduled.

Day 98 Loan Officer calls and says underwriter has reviewed the file (finally!) and needs two more signed documents.  Also, since this whole process has taken so long, the title is out of date and the lawyers are providing an updated title.

Day 99 I look at the online status of my application and notice that the underwriter is also asking for bank statement updates.  I send both requested documents and the last two month’s worth of bank statements to Loan Officer.

Day 103 Still waiting.  Talk with Loan Officer, who doesn’t know what’s going on.  I track down the CFO of home mortgages for the company and draft a letter asking for help, send a draft to Realtor for review, then email letter.  Within 1 minute I have a short response from the CFO saying he will assign someone to figure out what’s going on.  Within 5 minutes I receive a phone call from a lady from corporate saying she has been assigned to me and will go over my file.  She promises to call me back by 5pm.  At 4:45 she actually does calls me back and agrees there is no reason for my file to be taking this long.  Says she has requested a formal explanation from the underwriter and loan officer as to why it’s taking so long, and has requested my file be placed on rush status.  Says she will call me back by 1pm the next day with an update.

Between 5pm and 6:30pm that night I receive a flurry of correspondences from my Loan Officer, who is communicating with the underwriter.  Loan Officer sounds scared–Good. Loan Officer asks me for several documents I have already sent.  I tell him to search his email and open the attachment from two weeks prior.  He calls again and says he needs paperwork such-and-such to go along with the other paperwork I sent him two weeks ago.  I tell him to go to the same attachment and scroll down.  The last item he wants is the property disclosure, which has never been mentioned before and should have been asked for in week one.  I send the property disclosure within five minutes.

Day 104  More flurry of emails this morning between me, loan officer, realtor and underwriter.  Corporate lady calls me at 12:45 and says things are moving, just not fast enough.  She says we have a 50/50 shot at closing on day 107.  We are waiting on another company to do something with the title.

Day 106 The processor calls and asks me some questions about one of my essays I submitted two weeks ago.  I literally spend an hour explaining to three different people that the account number for my bank statement can be found at the top of the page where it says “Account Number”.  We obviously aren’t closing tomorrow.

Day 107 Sellers contact me and ask if I know anymore info on our status then they do.  Confirms that they will be happy to go out and mow the lawn (a request I made the week before) once they get a closing date, since it takes them five hours to drive down.  A very friendly conversation, despite how stressed out we both are.

Day 109 The processor emails me asking for my husband and my last two paystubs.  I anticipated this request and send them back within 45 minutes.  Corporate lady calls me and says to keep my fingers crossed that we get some paperwork from the DMV in today.  If so we could have everything wrapped up tomorrow.  Because having to depend on the DMV to do something quickly and accurately always reduces my stress levels.

Realtor calls me to let me know he has sent a copy of his realtor’s license to the Lender so they can confirm he’s not on a Terrorist Watch List before they issue him his check.  This is despite that face they have issued him several checks already this year without ever having asked for his license.  We share a giggle.

Day 110 The corporate lady and processor calls and says the file is complete and has gone back to underwriting for final approval.  Since we have already been through underwriting twice, they do not anticipate any problems getting a clear to close, hopefully by the end of the day.

Day 111 We have a Clear-To-Close! Closing day has been scheduled for the morning of Day 116. I call electric company and set up account for electricity to start day 116.

Day 113 Receive HUD-1 report and purchase cashier’s check.  Schedule locksmith, friends and doggy-day care for moving day.

Day 115 Hubby and I drive by the house and see that the sellers have indeed mowed the lawn, as requested.


Day 116 Closing Day! Remarkably anti-climatic, actually.  Only took about an hour and a half and that was with me reading everything to make sure there were no errors. We ended up signing less paperwork than we did when we first applied for the loan. We bask in the glow of homeownership, knowing that this home-buying nightmare is officially over and we can finally get on with our lives.

New Home

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