How long does a mortgage application take?

Posted 23 October 2017 by Nick Parkhouse

How long does a mortgage application take? Our guide answers this question and more about the mortgage application process

If you’re buying a new property or moving your mortgage, your mortgage application is one of the key parts of the process.

But how long does a mortgage application take in the UK? How long is a mortgage offer valid for? And what can you do to speed up the process? Keep reading for answers to these questions and more.

How long does a mortgage application take?

Considering that no two mortgage applications are the same, and that there are dozens of lenders operating in the market, it’s impossible to say with any certainty how long your mortgage application should take.

Generally speaking, you should expect to receive your mortgage offer within 18 to 40 days of application.

The process is dependent on a number of issues including:

·             The valuation

·             How complicated your application is

·             How busy the lender’s processing centre is

·             Whether additional information and documents are needed

HSBC say that “if everything goes smoothly, it usually takes around four to six weeks from start to finish. However, every house purchase is different so this can vary.” This timescale is possible but would require your application to be straightforward and everything to go smoothly.

How long is a mortgage offer valid for?

Most mortgage offers are valid for between three and six months, and this varies from lender to lender.

Some lenders will begin the validity period from the date you put in an offer on the property, while others will start the clock from the date you submitted your application.

If you are buying a new-build property off plan, then you are likely to need to ask the lender to extend their offer so that you can time it in line with the completion of the property.

How long does a mortgage offer last?

Mortgage offers for purchases are normally valid for six months, while remortgage offers are ordinarily valid for three months. This is because purchases normally take longer from application to completion.

Some lenders have a completion deadline instead of a time limit. If you go past this deadline you can still use that lender for a mortgage but you may have to choose a new product from the lender’s current range. Some lenders may underwrite your application from scratch.

How long does it take to get a mortgage offer after valuation?

The valuation is one of the key parts of the mortgage application process. Some lenders underwrite your application and only instruct the valuation once your loan has been agreed, while others do these two things simultaneously.

NatWest say that once the valuation fee has been paid, they will arrange for the valuer to make contact with the seller of the property. They usually aim to conduct the valuation within 48 hours.

The valuation is then received within five business days. If the bank is happy with the details of the valuation, they will produce your mortgage offer within 48 hours.

Average time for mortgage approval

If your application is straightforward, and your lender is on top of their processing, you should get your mortgage offer within a couple of weeks.

However, there are a number of reasons why it may take longer to be approved. There could be a delay in getting the property valued, additional documents might be required, or your lender may simply be very busy with applications.

How can I speed up the process?

There are a number of ways that you can speed up the mortgage application process:

1. Get an agreement in principle

Getting an agreement in principle first can speed up the process. This is because the lender will already have some of your information and will be able to process your full application quicker. It should take less time for your loan to be approved.

Find out all about getting a mortgage agreement in principle in our guide.

2. Use a mortgage broker

Using a mortgage broker can help. As they are already familiar with the mortgage products on the market, including the specific criteria each lender looks for, they can place your application with the right lender.

This can considerably reduce the time you’ll spend doing your own research. It also means you won’t have to make appointments with or speak to individual lenders directly.

3. Have all your documents ready

Have all the documents you’ll need handy and provide them to your lender as soon as possible. These will include:

·             ID and proof of address

·             Payslips and proof of income

·             Property details

Read our guide on what income lenders will take into account when assessing your mortgage application.

4. Ensure your credit file is clean

Lenders will carry out a credit check and so being prepared can help. Make sure you’re registered on the voters’ roll and correct any errors on your file before the process begins.

If your mortgage application is declined, it may not be the end of the road. Read our guide on what to do if your application is rejected.

Getting your mortgage approved

Mortgage expert David Hollingworth says: “Not everything will always run smoothly.

“But the best way to make sure your mortgage application ticks over nicely is to find the right deal and make sure you fit the criteria. I’d also advise you to shop around to make sure you get the best all round value from across the market.”

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