How long does a mortgage application take?

10 September 2022

How long does a mortgage application take?
Every mortgage application is different, and there are a lot of variables that will impact how long your application can take.

Whether you are applying for a first time buyer mortgage or moving home having previously applied for a mortgage, understanding how long a mortgage application takes is an important step in helping to ensure a move process that is as smooth as possible. Every mortgage application is different, and there are a lot of variables that will impact how long your application can take. Therefore, it is not possible to state an exact length of time for how long a mortgage application takes.

However, this guide sets out to give you the information needed to understand the process and to receive a rough estimate as to how long you can expect your mortgage application to take.

Stages of a mortgage application

When applying for a mortgage, there are a few stages you will typically go through. These include:

1)   Mortgage Appointment

Either before or after you have submitted the initial application for a mortgage, you will meet with either the lender or a mortgage broker to discuss your mortgage application. Be prepared for this appointment to cover important financial details such as your monthly expenditure, debts, commitments as well as your upcoming financial plans and circumstances. The purpose of this initial mortgage appointment is to ascertain which mortgage products would be suitable for you and your financial position. Typically, you might apply for a mortgage in principle before embarking on the full mortgage application process. A mortgage in principle is an indication of how much a lender would be willing to lend you ‘in principle’, that is to say that it is not a firm offer.

2)   Credit Checks

The lender or broker will undertake a series of credit checks to assess your current and historic credit rating. By doing so, they will be evaluating your trustworthiness and eligibility for a mortgage. A thorough credit history will help to show that you are a trustworthy borrower, an important determining factor as to your availability for a mortgage product.

3)   Home Valuation

Before offering a mortgage, the lender will want to ensure that the house you are in the process of purchasing is worth the sale price and thus the mortgageable amount. They will do so by valuing the new home. Expect the home valuation stage to take around two weeks to complete. The lender will arrange for a surveyor to visit, perform a survey and write their findings in a report. This report will be reviewed by the lender’s underwriter to ensure that the property value is accurate. If the survey identified structural defects or large issues that need addressing, this can slow down the mortgage application process as these issues either have to be resolved or the value of the property renegotiated.

There are a few factors that could slow down or possibly stop your mortgage application process. These include but are not limited to:

  • Poor Credit History
  • Buildings Survey
  • Not providing the right information
  • Chain falling through

Once these processes have been completed, your mortgage might be approved should the lender be confident that you are eligible and suitable for the mortgage product that you are applying for..

4)   Exchanging Contracts

If your mortgage has been approved and your offer has been accepted, you can proceed on to the exchanging of contracts stage. This process is when you make the sale legally binding, by paying the deposit and swapping contracts with the seller, often through the solicitor. This process of exchanging contracts can take around two months after the mortgage has been approved.

5)   Completion

The final stage of the process, if everything else has been approved and completed, is the completion process. Usually taking place between 7 and 28 days after the contracts have been exchanged, the completion process can vary in length. Once the completion process has taken place, and the solicitors of the buyers and sellers have exchanged contracts, you will have become the new homeowner!

Tips to speed up the mortgage application process

Regularly check your credit score

The lender will undertake a thorough credit check, including your historic finances. Mistakes, errors or missed payments will slow down the process as they will be investigated and you might need to provide explanations for them. By regularly checking your credit score, you are more likely to spot any mistakes and be able to rectify them before applying. You will also have a better understanding of how lenders will view your credit history, so you can be more confident of which mortgage products you will likely be eligible for.

Apply for a mortgage in principle before the application

Having a mortgage in principle might help to speed up the mortgage application process, as many of the pertinent checks and eligibility requirements will have already been indicated. However, as the name suggests, a mortgage in principle is no guarantee of the full mortgage being approved

Gather and deliver all relevant paperwork

You will be required to show your ID as well as payslips, bank statements and other pertinent documents required to prove your earnings and your identity. The length of time of payslip and bank statement you will be required to show will be dependent on which type of mortgage you are applying for and your employment status, as there are specific requirements for company director mortgages.

Find a property without a chain

Mortgages and property sales are complicated enough when there is just one property in the chain, let alone when there is a long chain with numerous different buyers, sellers, solicitors, lenders, surveyors and other important agents throughout the process. By finding a property without a chain, the exchange of contracts and completion process will be comparatively more straightforward in comparison to a long, convoluted chain.

If you are ready to start your mortgage application process, book an appointment to speak to our dedicated and friendly team of mortgage experts.

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