How long does a mortgage application take?

How long does a mortgage application take?

This page was last updated on 1 April 2021

How long does a mortgage application take?

When buying a property, you might have a lot of questions about the process of getting mortgages. In this article, we map out the entire mortgage application process timeline. 

It is really helpful to know the rough timelines when buying a home. If you are a first time buyer this is particularly true, since you have no prior experience.

With so many different parties involved (the estate agent, lenders, your solicitor, etc.), it is crucial to avoid hold ups at each stage to shorten the time it will take to get approval.

Topics that you will find covered on this page

You can listen to an audio recording of this page below.

How long does a mortgage application take? 

There are multiple stages to applications for mortgages in the UK. Generally, they are as follows:

  • Find a mortgage deal you want 
  • Speak to an advisor to get a mortgage in principle 
  • Complete the mortgage application
  • Await the valuation from your estate agent
  • Get your solicitor to authorise the completion of the mortgage on your property

Due to the number of stages and different parties involved, it can be a long process. Typically, you might be looking at 4-6 weeks, if everything runs smoothly.

Here is a short video that explains the process in more detail.

How long does it take for a mortgage to be approved?

After sending off the final application waiting for the decision can be frustrating. Many prospective homeowners ask ‘how long does it take?’ but the truth is the mortgage approval process is always different for each customer.

The average time for mortgage approval is around 2 weeks. Some people might get their proposed mortgage contract approved in as little as 24 hours, though this is rare. 

When getting a mortgage, the mortgage lender has to complete a mortgage valuation and underwrite the mortgage. They will also do things such as a credit check. 

How long does a mortgage offer last? 

Typically, your offer will last for 3 to 6 months. The exact length of time will differ based on the service lenders provide. 

What can I do to accelerate my application?

Most people asking ‘how long does it take’ understandably just want to move in as soon as they can.However, there is no set way to speed up how long it takes. That said, there are a few things you can do to try and make the mortgage application process quicker:

  • Get mortgage advice from a mortgage broker. A mortgage broker helps ensure you get your mortgage application right, first time. This reduces your chances of errors and having to reapply.
  • Being prepared for your appointment with your mortgage broker. To speed up the process further, go to your mortgage broker prepared. Take all the documents they will want to see, such as bank statements for proof of income and current address. 
  • Get a mortgage agreement in principle. 

Another helpful tip is to start applying for mortgages before you start serious property hunting. This saves time, since it shows you what you can afford/borrow. It also means that the process of buying your new place is not delayed due to complications in getting a mortgage. 

"A mortgage broker can give invaluable mortgage advice when buying a home. Their service can be especially important if you are a first time buyer, or want to speed up the process of getting a mortgage."

Where can I get a mortgage broker? 

A mortgage broker can give invaluable mortgage advice when buying a home. Their service can be especially important if you are a first time buyer, or want to speed up the process of getting a mortgage. 

A mortgage broker will help you get the correct documents prepared, and check over your mortgage applications forms. As errors in a mortgage application lengthen the mortgage application timelines, a broker can help you get a mortgage much quicker. 

A mortgage broker will also be experienced with the different mortgage lenders on the market and their deals. They will know what bank or building society is most likely to approve you, given your personal situation and current mortgage rates

When purchasing a property, you can find a broker service and solicitor online. However, be sure that any service you use is authorised and regulated by the financial conduct authority

How do I know if my mortgage will be approved?

There are a whole multitude of different variables considered when you apply for a mortgage. The outcome of your mortgage application depends on proof of income, your financial commitments, and your credit rating/credit history. 

A broker can help assess whether your mortgage request is likely to be approved by lenders. They will also be able to make a recommendation of the type of mortgage products that might be best for you. Finally, they can also give you a mortgage in principle. 

Is there anything else I should do before agreeing to a mortgage?

One thing you might wish to do, particularly if you are a first time buyer or worried about future maintenance costs, is get a buildings survey. 

The buildings survey checks the condition of the property you are buying, to make you aware of any flaws or future repairs the place might need. This can help avoid future financial shocks or surprises. 

This is sometimes included by lenders in their mortgages, though not always. If it is not included you might want to pay for an independent survey.

What is a mortgage offer?

This offer is the official confirmation from your mortgage lender that they are willing to allow you to get a mortgage. After getting this, all you need to do is agree to the offer and set a date for moving home. 

You should note that an official offer differs from a mortgage in principle (AIP).

An AIP does not guarantee a successful mortgage application. It is simply an estimate, based on factors such as your credit score, of what you might be offered when you make your mortgage request. 

How long is a mortgage offer valid?

An offer for a property can be valid for different lengths of time, based on a number of factors. One key determining factor is whether you are applying for a remortgage, or just a standard mortgage.

Another thing that impacts how long the offer on your property is valid is the terms and conditions of your lender’s mortgages. 

For example, one lender might give you 6 months from the date you submit your forms, whilst another might give you 6 months from the date the mortgage on your property is approved. 

Remember, if you think you are going to run out of time ask your lender to extend the offer on your property sooner rather than later. 

mortgage approval process

What happens if my mortgage offer expires? 

Moving home can be a long process with unexpected delays. Many buyers find that mortgage lenders approve their application, but that the offer expires.

If you experience delays when buying a home, let your lender know as soon as you possibly can. Typically, your lender will allow you to renew your mortgage with them, though legally they do not have to. 

What is a mortgage offer in principle?

A mortgage agreement in principle is an initial prediction of what you might be offered for your property.However, it in no way guarantees you an amount, or even that you will find a mortgage. 

An agreement in principle is something a buyer can get on the day they meet with an advisor, theoretically. Sometimes, it can take just a couple of hours to generate an agreement in principle. 

A lender or advisor will ask you for certain details, such as your credit score, to assess whether you could get a mortgage, and for what amount. However, as it is not a full or complete mortgage application, it does not mean you will definitely get this amount. 

Will a mortgage agreement in principle (AIP) be useful?

A mortgage agreement in principle can be beneficial, especially if you are a first time buyer or want to speed up your mortgage application timeline. 

This is because it shows that, in theory, you should be able to get approval for a mortgage on a property (depending on the property valuation, of course). Most estate agents will expect potential customers to have an AIP. 

It can also be useful when hunting for a property. With your AIP you get an idea of your price range, so you can shop the housing market efficiently.

If you’re self-employed or have a zero hours contract, you could be required to provide more documentation in order to get an agreement in principle. 

mortgage application timeline

Does the process differ for buy to let mortgages?

If you are looking at purchasing a property as a buy to let property then you might need to give additional details during your application.  However, if you are prepared this wont necessarily lengthen the process. 

The main additional detail you need to give for a buy to let mortgage is the rent you expect to receive. This forms part of your affordability assessment. You will need to do this even if you are just wanting to remortgage your current buy to let mortgage. 

After I get an offer how long does completion take?

How long it takes really does vary greatly. Normally, things are much quicker if buyer mortgages are chain free. 

The good thing is that after you have an offer from a lender the time it will take to get completion is normally shorter. Sometimes, though, problems can arise. This can make the time it will take to get completion longer. 

How do I get approved for a mortgage? 

To get approval you will need to give a range of details. These include proof of your income, details of your financial commitments and/or any debts, proof of your current address, and a full credit history. 

Once you have provided these details, with sufficient evidence (e.g. bank statements) then you can submit your application. Also, you will be asked for details of your estate agent. 

Then, the lender will undertake some checks and come to a decision. These include a mortgage valuation survey, and investigating whether you have a good or bad credit score. 

Some people seem to think they must have life insurance to be able to get themselves a mortgage. Life insurance is not a requirement for a mortgage, though it can help protect your family’s new home in the event of your death. 

how long does a mortgage application take

What information do I need to provide? 

When buying a property or getting a remortgage, evidence of your income, address, and credit score will need to be provided. A mortgage broker can help ensure you provide sufficient evidence, which speeds up the process as a whole. 

If you are self-employed you will likely need to give more comprehensive evidence of your income, to prove you can afford the mortgage. This can make the process take longer, so we recommend using a broker service to reduce the time it takes to get approval.

What can I do if I have bad credit history?

If you find that your lender rejects your application due to a bad credit history, there are some options available to you. 

You could try to source a larger deposit, to lower the financial risk to your lender. You might also want to try and improve your credit score, for example if you have a credit card be sure to make all payments on time. 

How long after valuation to mortgage offer?

A valuation is undertaken in order to confirm your property is correctly priced and is in suitable condition for mortgages to be taken out against it. 

Once independent estate agents or a surveyor have completed the valuation, then your solicitor will let you know if you have an offer. Typically, offers for mortgages after valuation take around 5 working days to come through. 

How long does completion normally take? 

The completion date is the day you have been waiting for- when you finally become a homeowner! It occurs once contracts have been exchanged and your mortgage finalised. 

For completion to occur, your solicitor will let your lender know that a moving date has been agreed upon. Then, you will normally wait around a week to receive funds. So, all in all you can expect exchanging contracts and reaching completion to take around a month. 

mortgage application

Learn More About Mortgages In The UK

How do mortgages work in the UK?

Buying a home or land is expensive. A mortgage is a financial product that helps people purchase their own home or land.This is especially true for a first time buyer, as it might be the only route onto the property ladder.

The minimum credit score for a mortgage

ou can still be approved for a mortgage to buy a property if you have a poor credit score. However, someone with a poor credit score will probably have a higher interest rate than someone whose credit score is good. Buyers with a low credit score may also need to pay a bigger deposit.

fixed term Contract Mortgages

A fixed term contract is a way of describing certain types of employment. If your current employment contract is due to end after a certain period of time, or after a specific piece of work is complete, you are likely on a fixed term contract.

how long does a mortgage application take?

After sending off the final application waiting for the decision can be frustrating. Many prospective homeowners ask ‘how long does it take?’ but the truth is the mortgage approval process is always different for each customer.

how long does conveyancing take?

The entire conveyancing process will normally take anywhere between 8-12 weeks, however you should be prepared for this to take much longer depending on your circumstances and wider factors. This articles explores what the timescale involves.

Mortgages if You are bankrupt

There is no hard and fast rule when it comes to what lenders will accept your mortgage application if you want to get a mortgage after bankruptcy. They will lend to discharged bankrupts and consider each case individually.

what stops you getting a mortgage?

Everyone wants to get the best deal when it comes to buying a home and getting a mortgage when they buy a home. However, being too ambitious can lead to your application being rejected.

how much do mortgage advisors charge?

Fees for mortgage brokers can be off-putting. A mortgage is an expensive financial product, and often buyers want to save as much money as possible. This might limit their options when it comes to using a mortgage broker.  However, not everyone advisor charges a fee.

IVA Mortgage

When you have an IVA, mortgage acceptance is still possible. However, involuntary agreement mortgage lenders can be hard to find. Typically, a high street company will be more less keen to give you a mortgage.

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