How Long Does it Take to Buy a Home in the Bay Area?

In theory, you could find your dream home tomorrow, submit a winning offer the next day, and close a few weeks later. In reality, it takes longer - potentially much longer, particularly in competitive markets like the Bay Area. Just doing the work to narrow your search to select neighborhoods, target price ranges and desired home criteria can often be an emotional and time consuming journey. And once you know what you’re after, there’s no guarantee that you’ll find it quickly or that you’ll be the winning bidder on the first home for which you submit an offer.

It’s hard to provide meaningful guidelines on how long the process takes. We’ve worked with buyers who quickly identify what they’re looking for and are lucky enough to find (and win) their dream home on their first or second bids. Even those rocket-fueled buyer stories typically take 2-3 months or more.

More often, though, the process takes longer. Sometimes much longer. On average, in the Bay Area, buyers will be “in the market” to some degree for at least a year, and will have put in at least 5 unsuccessful offers (sometimes many, many more) before finally closing on their new home.

We won’t sugarcoat it: the process is daunting, and you’re probably going to have some bad days along the way. That’s natural - don’t be discouraged! The important thing is to remember that home buying in the Bay Area is a journey - sometimes a frustrating one - but there’s a very big reward at the end of it! We’re not aware of anyone, no matter how painful the process, who closed on their new home and said “Boy, that was so painful I wish I hadn’t bothered.” When the closing date comes - and it will come, we promise - you’ll know that the process was worth it.

One postscript on timing: we often find that in the Bay Area, you’re either a committed buyer or you’re… well… not. Many people are what we call “contemplating buyers”. They’re periodically looking at listing sites, maybe attending an open house here or there, perhaps hoping that a unicorn property appears on their radar and they can quickly and opportunistically snatch it up. We hate to say it, but this rarely successfully works. Landing a home in the Bay Area in today’s market takes time and work, and if you’re not prepared to do the work, you’re likely going to be frustrated with the outcomes. So read up, read on, and learn how we can help you do the work to land your Bay Area dream home.

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Buyers' Guide