What does your timeline look like when purchasing property? How early do you get pre-approved, when do you start making offers, etc?
I'm looking to buy property in a little over a year, so I was just curious what your timeline looks like from the searching for property stage to actually buying.
Get preapproved first, this tells you what you can afford and how much cash you need just to close.
Once you have funds ready start searching for properties.
Once you find some that make sense start making offers. Make the offers quick and make many. Just because you make an offer doesn't mean you are buying it. Just because they accept doesn't mean you are buying, the home still has to pass many more inspections.
If you are thinking of buying next year it is most likely because you don't have the cash ready. Maybe consider lease with option to purchase.
In general, preapprovals are good for around 90 days. Reason being, lenders ask for two months of recent W2s and bank statements. After about 90 days they would need to refresh everything.
However, it's perfectly fine to build relationships now so that you can have a better understand of the financial process by the time you're ready to invest.
You can start your online searching now and attend open houses. But, if you aren't going to do any serious buying for another year, you'd be better off focusing on educating yourself and starting to network in your area.
From the property selection side of things, now is the time to learn how to properly analyze a potential property. You might have to go through several properties before you find the first one that fits your goals.
@Oscar Pinto You are correct about the cash ready. However, I am also currently in a lease until September 2018. (In hindsight, I would have passed on the lease).
If you were not in the lease, and had cash available, would the bank still lend you money? Will you still be able to get preapproved? If not now is the time to find out what you have to do to get ready. your lender will also tell you how much cash you need, and then you can start saving.
In my opinion you can get out of that lease if you find a suitable replacement tenant. You should ask your landlord how to get out of the lease since you're buying a house. He/She might just allow it or give you clear instructions on how to get out.