Buying a home is an exciting time, especially if you’re a first-time buyer. After all, you’re looking for the perfect future home that will serve you in the years ahead. But before you can put down those roots you need to navigate the home buying process. This can sometimes be a slow and frustrating experience. Even when both you and the seller want to close as soon as possible delays will pop up. If you want to get things moving as fast as possible then it helps to be prepared. Not every delay can be avoided. But with a bit of foresight, you can avoid the worst delays. Here’s how to speed up the home buying process.

Get pre-approved for a mortgage

In a slow market with little inventory and lots of buyers, it can be tough to get your offer noticed. Especially if you’re competing with all-cash buyers. The best way to make your offer stand out from any others on a home is to get pre-approved for a mortgage. Including a pre-approval letter with your offer tells the listing agent that you’re serious about the offer and can afford the home. Getting pre-approved for a mortgage will also give you an idea of how much house you can afford. This will help you narrow down your search and find a home within your budget.

Hire a full-time buyer’s agent

Nothing will speed up the home buying process faster than having the services of a full-time buyer’s agent. They’ll know the local market, can negotiate on your behalf and help iron out any difficulties that pop up along the road. Make sure you pick the right one as every agent will have their own style and you’ll work best with one that matches your own. For the very best results, you should go with an exclusive buyer’s agent. This is an agent that works exclusively with buyers, so you’ll know that they’re very familiar with every step of the way.

Have all the right people lined up

Any real estate transaction will involve several experts that will need to be called in when needed to move the deal forward. If you want to avoid even the slightest delay, have a list prepared beforehand of everyone you’ll need (or think you’ll need). Depending on where you’re buying you may need a real estate lawyer to conduct due diligence and close the deal. You’ll need a home inspector to check for any defects in the property. If any are found, you may need to bring in more specialized inspectors like a surveyor or electrician. Ask your buyer’s agent about who you might need. If they have experience helping buyers in your preferred area, then they should know all the right people.

Be ready for your mortgage

Securing a mortgage will take up the most time. On average, it takes 30-45 days from initial application to approval. This is a very thorough process in which your finances will be looked at very closely to determine if you can pay back the loan. Unfortunately, there is not a lot you can do to speed things up here. But you can avoid delays by having all your paperwork in order. Ask your mortgage lender beforehand about all the required documents you’ll need when making your application. They wouldn’t ask for it unless it was important, so make sure to include everything. Go a step forward and include extra documents. For instance, if asked for two months of pay stubs then include four.