How long does a mortgage application take to be approved?

Mortgage Application Approval Time

There is no doubt that buying a property can be one of life’s most stressful experiences. A big part of this can be waiting to hear if your mortgage application has been approved. Read through our guide to find out how long you can expect it to take for your mortgage application to be approved, including all of the necessary steps.

How long does a mortgage application take to be approved?

The average time for a mortgage to be approved is usually 2 to 6 weeks. It can take as little as 24 hours but this is usually rare. You should expect to wait two weeks on average while the mortgage lender gets the property surveyed and underwrites your mortgage.

How using a mortgage broker can help speed the mortgage application approval time?

Using a mortgage broker will not only make your life easier but will also allow the mortgage application to process quicker. This is because your broker will liaise with the lender on a daily basis. If any extra documentation is required your broker will learn this and will quickly get in touch with you for the required paperwork. This makes the process more efficient by keeping down unnecessary waiting time and constantly working to progress your mortgage application forward.

How long does a mortgage application take?

The intention of this guide is to make sure you, as a first-time buyer or home mover, have an idea of how long each step takes in the process. First-time buyer mortgages needn’t be a headache and by the time it takes to read this article we hope you feel more confident about buying your first home.

Learn the time frames from initially speaking to a mortgage broker and getting a mortgage agreement in principle to you receiving your keys. We will then focus on the next stages of getting an application underway once the desired property has been chosen, to finally getting a mortgage offer. Then onto the most exciting part that is when a mortgage completes and you get to pick up your keys and officially own your very own home.

How long does it take to get a mortgage offer?

So, you are about to buy a house, or perhaps you are just about to start looking for a property and are thinking – “How long does it take to get a mortgage to be approved?”.

As a home buyer, the first piece of information you will need is ‘how much of a mortgage you will be able to get‘. Each bank and building society and even broker can produce an agreement in principle for you (also known as a mortgage in principle). All you need to do is ask them how much the maximum amount the lenders would be willing to lend you, based on your income and any debts you may have.

What is a mortgage agreement in principle?

How to prepare for a new mortgage application?

What documents are required for a mortgage in principle application?

It is always best to get your finances in order and your paperwork ready for a speedier mortgage application. Mortgage lenders require a handful of documentation from you in order to process your mortgage app. These usually include:

  • 3 months payslips (if you’re employed)
  • ID (usually driving licence & passport)
  • Proof of deposit
  • 3 months bank statements

Getting your full mortgage application started

By the time your broker starts your full mortgage application, you will have most likely already obtained an agreement mortgage in principle and gone hunting for a house. You will have already put in an offer on a property, it has been accepted, and now it’s time for the full application.

The application is usually a continuation of the agreement in principle. Therefore, you now need this to be progressed into a full mortgage application. In order to do this, the lender makes sure the price you have agreed to buy the property for, the address, the estate agent you are buying through and the solicitor you want to use for the purchase conveyancing.

How long does your full mortgage application take?

Before the lender can get started they will require your latest 3 months payslips, last 3 months bank statements and will also need to see your passport and/or driving licence, current address. Submitting a mortgage application takes 24 hours based on the assumption that you already have all the documents such as bank statements together ready for the lender.

There are a number of factors that can delay getting a mortgage but how long it takes can also be down to you as well as the lender. Any time spent by yourself at this later stage getting these items together will only add to the time it will take to get the mortgage application underway / the house buying process timescales. If you are worried about how long it takes and want to speed up your mortgage process as much as possible, then use a mortgage broker and make sure you gather your documents together as soon as possible.

What happens after the mortgage application is submitted?

Once your mortgage application has been submitted it is possible the lender may ask for further information. Once all further documents and information have been received the lender will instruct the surveyor.

How long after mortgage approval to completion?

After your mortgage application is submitted, your solicitor will receive a copy and start the local authority searches etc. From the moment your application is approved you can expect a timescale of between 7 – 9 weeks until you complete your property purchase.

How long does a property valuation take?

The surveyor’s office will contact the estate agent to arrange access to the building you are buying so that they can carry out a building survey. Most surveyors will complete their report on the property the same day as the building inspection. This will be sent electronically to the lender for the lenders’ underwriter to make a decision on the true value of the property. This sometimes differs from an estate agent valuation which can cause issues. It is important that the valuation given to your lender isn’t inflated as it will only be downvalued and could disrupt your mortgage application timeline.

It usually takes 7-14 days from the mortgage application until the property valuation is completed.

The underwriter will be looking for confirmation from the surveyor that the property is worth the amount that you are buying it for and that the building is structurally sound.

How long does it take between mortgage valuation and offer?

Once the mortgage valuation survey has been received from the surveyor, the lender’s underwriter will have everything at hand to make the final decision and take the application forward to a mortgage offer.

When the lender is willing to go to offer you will be mailed the formal mortgage offer. The solicitor carrying out your conveyancing will also be sent their own copy of the mortgage offer. It can take up to 17 days to receive an offer (although it can be as quick as 2 days or it could take longer).

How long does it take to exchange contracts?

Once your solicitor receives the mortgage offer, they should be fairly close to being able to exchange contracts which usually takes around 8 weeks.

While your mortgage application was underway, your solicitor has been proceeding with the conveyancing needed for your purchase. The solicitor will have applied for the local authority search which takes approximately 4 weeks, depending on the local authority and how busy the housing market is at that point in time.

Your solicitor will also have been communicating with the necessary vendors’ conveyancing solicitors, asking any questions and making any enquiries.

Once your solicitor has your mortgage offer, local authority search and enquiries they will arrange for you to visit their offices for a pre-exchange meeting. At this meeting, they will cover any problems or concerns that have been highlighted and you will also be asked for any preferential completion date.

How long will it take for your mortgage to complete?

The day for picking up your keys and moving into your new home is nearly here. Once you have exchanged contracts your solicitor will arrange with your lender to draw the funds down so that you can complete and officially own your new home.

The time between the exchange of contracts and completion can vary as it is decided by the owner and buyer. The quickest possible time from exchange to completion is 1 week, as it takes this long for the solicitor to give notice to your lender that they require the funds to complete. The average time between the exchange of contracts and completion is 4 weeks. Occasionally it could take longer.

What time on completion day will I be able to pick up the keys?

You’ve learnt how long a mortgage takes but when can you expect to actually get your keys. This really depends on where you are in the chain and how long the chain is.

  • Empty Property – If you are a buyer who is purchasing an empty property, then the completion will be quick and there is no reason why it can’t be before lunchtime.
  • Chain – The higher you are up the chain, the later in the day it is likely to be. When the chain is very long (8-10 properties) completion can be as late in the day as 4pm.

How to speed up the mortgage application timeline

Buying an empty property

One of the reasons that the process of buying a home/property can take so many weeks is down to the length of the chain. Therefore, if you find a property that is unoccupied this will more than likely mean that the chain will be very short and may also mean that the owner will be keen for the sale to proceed as quickly as possible. Ask the estate agents for unoccupied properties.

Use an independent mortgage broker

A lot of the time it takes to get a mortgage can be delayed due to poor communication between the estate agent, solicitor and lenders. How long it takes to get your mortgage will depend on if you have a broker or not.

Using an independent mortgage broker can shorten the process leading to mortgage offers by as much as 2 weeks.

Mortgages don’t need to be slow and in fact, a broker will speed the whole process up as they will communicate with all the different parties. It is essential that mortgage applications get off to a quick start and a mortgage broker will have an understanding of any banks and building societies that have issues with the speed at that time. The broker will, therefore, be able to avoid these mortgage lenders. Once the lender has been chosen, your broker will also know what documents and information will be needed and will be able to submit this with the application.

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Steve Roberts
Steve Roberts

Stephen Roberts MAQ is the founder of YesCanDo Money, Hampshire's largest no-fee mortgage brokers. With over 30 years of mortgage experience, he has advised and helped thousands of First-time buyers buy their first home and home movers buy their dream home. Speak to a mortgage expert today by completing our contact form:

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