Buying a house can be unnecessarily stressful, particularly to first-time homebuyers. The real estate landscape tends to be a competitive market. Every motivated buyer wants to stand out and close a house deal quickly, especially if there are few properties available.
Many homebuyers tend to go with the cash offer route to avoid issues like bidding wars, endless paperwork, home appraisal, unrealistic home purchase prices, applying for a pre-approval or a mortgage loan, dealing with mortgage payments, and interest rates. Cash offers have been a mainstay in the home buying process and have given cash buyers a competitive edge in the housing market scene.
Over the years, cash sales have become the more viable and attractive option to both sellers and buyers. Even industry professionals are contemplating the future of real estate and if cash offers will become the norm. In a seller’s market, cash buyers relatively have the upper hand in securing a deal. If you plan to place a cash offer on a house or consider selling your property for cash, here is a comprehensive guide that can help you throughout this endeavor.
How Long Do Cash Home Purchases Usually Take?
One of the most common questions first-time cash buyers ask is “how long does it take to buy a house?” Traditionally, the closing time in a conventional home sale can go as long as 51 days. From being approved for a mortgage, finding a house, placing an offer, ironing out the contract, scheduling the home inspection, ensuring there are no property liens, and waiting for the closing process to be completed, there are many obstacles you need to overcome before you can sign the final documents and secure your house keys.
Generally, underwriting a mortgage and the closing time takes up most of the home buying processing time. Alternatively, in a cash offer home transaction, the entire selling process is typically shorter and faster. Since you no longer need to deal with a mortgage lender, middleman, or even a real estate agent, it often takes as little as two weeks unless there are major issues you need to deal with first.
Cash home buyers and home sellers can skip several steps, which will save them valuable time and resources. However, there are still a few details that eager home buyers need to sort out first before moving into their new home. To give you a better picture of how long it takes for cash home purchases, here is a general timeline and its corresponding time frame:
- Unless you are negotiating for a lower price, it usually takes only one day for a seller to accept the home purchase price of a cash offer.
- In a conventional home buying transaction, mortgage lenders need to verify if the buyer is financially equipped to continue with a home loan. Since you are offering to purchase the house in cash, with no lender involved, the buyer will only need a written endorsement from your bank or proof like a bank statement, indicating that you have the necessary funds to proceed with the transaction. This verification process usually takes 24 to 48 hours to be finished. Additionally, searching for an escrow company to temporarily secure the funds will only take one day.
- To ensure that the property has no liens listed, you need to go through a title search. Regardless of whether you are paying it by cash, you need to ensure that your prospective house has no heirs or property issues such as foreclosures, as these can make the entire home buying process longer. It is also recommended that you purchase title insurance to avoid homeownership issues.
- Scheduling home inspections usually take two to four hours to be finished, while home appraisals can take anywhere from 15 minutes to five days. Mortgage lenders will usually require a home appraisal to avoid financial risks in a conventional home sale. While you don’t need a home appraisal in a cash purchase, it is still advisable to get one. You want to ensure that the property you are buying is worth your money.
- Before the scheduled closing, you should do a final walkthrough to ensure that everything you have agreed upon with the seller is taken care of. The whole process will only take a day unless additional issues materialize after your walkthrough.
Cash Home Buyer Laws in Idaho
It is important to note that there are a few laws and regulations that Cash home buyers in Idaho need to consider when buying a house. While you generally don’t need a real estate lawyer, it is still advisable that you seek professional legal assistance. Hiring an attorney may cost you more, but doing so will prove beneficial in the long run. Your real estate lawyer can help you steer clear from unnecessary legal headaches, iron out complex legal matters, assist you with negotiations, simplify complicated concepts, and generally prevent you from making costly mistakes.
As per Section 55-2508 in the Idaho code, home sellers are legally required to furnish a seller’s property disclosure statement to their prospective homebuyers. The purpose of this statement is to reveal details of the property, such as its current condition and problems that may significantly impact its valuation. Some of the mandatory disclosures include:
- Service systems and appliances included in the sale
- Property conditions such as zoning violations, encroachments, lot line disputes, and easements
- Problems that pertains but are not limited to heating, electrical, plumbing, drainage, well, septic system, roof age and condition, foundation, and basement water
- Presence of pest infestations and hazardous materials in the property
- Alterations or additions made without a building permit
- Any physical, legal, or other problems concerning the property
If the seller fails to disclose property defects, they can be held liable for these damages and might be subjected to pay for the consequences brought about by these damages. Aside from the property disclosure statement, home sellers also need to adhere to the federal disclosure requirement.
The Cash Offer On House Process in Idaho
To give you an overview of how it works from a homebuyer’s perspective, here is the general process in an all-cash deal:
- The first thing you need to do is to secure your funds. Ensure that you have all your cash in one place, and remember to discuss with your bank regarding your financial liquidity or implications of clearing out your accounts.
- The next step is to obtain proof that you are financially capable of closing the deal. Request a letter from your financial institution stating that you have enough funds at your disposal. You can attach it with your offer to help it stand out.
- After securing your cash and knowing how much you can afford, you can now start the home-searching process. Once you find a house that meets your needs and preferences, make an offer and settle a home purchase price with the seller. Provide them with your proof of funds and other financial statements that can help you with the home sale. Ask your attorney or a title company to open an escrow account where you can place your earnest money deposit.
- To ensure you are getting your money’s worth, make sure to get a home appraisal and home inspection. While some cash homebuyers opt to do away with the inspection contingency and appraisal contingency, it is still advisable for you to get one. Keep in mind that even if you don’t need a financing contingency, there are still certain contingencies you need to consider to save you from financial complications later on.
- Conduct title research to ensure that the property doesn’t have any liens or other potential title issues. Consider getting title insurance to prevent unnecessary homeownership rights problems.
- Make sure to consider other fees you may need to pay. Ask a professional or your real estate agent who pays the closing costs and additional charges aside from the purchase price that you need to settle. Get your finances together by securing a cashier’s check or plan out how you will be transferring the money. Remember to deduct your earnest money deposit or down payment amount to get your remaining balance.
- Do a final walkthrough to ensure that you will receive the house in the condition that you have agreed upon. Finally, wait for the closing process to be officially completed and get ready to accept your house keys.
Signing the Contract
Once the seller formally accepts your cash offer, both parties will now draft the terms and conditions of the home sale. Ensure that you understand and agree to everything stated on the real estate purchase and sale contract. Have your real estate agent or lawyer go through the legal items.
The Home Inspection
Most homebuyers will request a home inspection. Usually, an inspection contingency will be included with the cash offer. An inspection contingency is an addendum which states that the cash buyer will pay for the home inspection, but they have a choice to renegotiate the home purchase price or request repairs depending upon the home inspection results. Once everything is resolved, both parties are now ready for closing.
Escrow and Other Payment Processes
In a cash offer home-buying sale, cash buyers need to open an escrow account, where you will place your earnest money deposit until the deal is finalized. It is the responsibility of the escrow company to ensure that all the conditions initially agreed upon are met. Some of the documents they require include:
- Title insurance policies
- Conditions and terms of the sale
- Fire and insurance policies
- Tax statements
- Loan documentation
If you are selling a house in Idaho, here are some details of the escrow process you need to remember:
- The buyer, seller, and your real estate agent or lawyer will work together to develop the terms and conditions. All parties must agree to all items.
- The minimum escrow amount usually ranges from 3% to 5%.
- After an offer is accepted, the home buyer needs to make an initial earnest money deposit.
- The buyer needs to make the second installment payment after due diligence is performed.
- The earnest money is forfeited if the cash buyer backs out without a valid cause.
- If the seller backs out without a reasonable cause, the earnest money will be returned to the home buyer.
- The escrow process is completed once all the terms and conditions have been met, and all required signatures have been enacted.
Closing Documentation and Transfers
On the closing day, there are important documents you need to take care of. Some of them are:
- Title report
- Release of a mortgage lien
- Transfer documents
- Deed to the home
- Maintenance and warranty receipts
- Bill of sale
- Lease agreement
Documents You’ll Need to Sell the House
If you are planning to sell your house for cash, there are certain documents you need to secure. Some of the key paperwork includes:
- Homeowners insurance records
- Original sale contract
- Homeowners Association (HOA) documents
- Mortgage statement (payoff amount)
- Maintenance and repair records
- Past utility bills
- Comparative market analysis
- Proposed marketing plan
- Pre-listing inspection report
- Home appraisal report
- Home inspection report
- Affidavit of title
- Property tax statement
- Settlement statement
There are several reasons why home sellers prefer cash. Cash offers can save both parties from going through the rigorous underwriting process, help them avoid certain contingencies, mitigate financial risks, and generally makes the overall real estate transaction more straightforward and hassle-free.