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How long does it take to get a mortgage?

Buying a home is a tricky business, and aligning all the different factors can pose a logistical nightmare. You’ll want to get your mortgage advice, deal, lender and agreement decided as soon as possible so you can act fast. We look at how long it takes to get a mortgage, the impact of coronavirus, and what you need to consider.

How long does it take to get a mortgage

How long does it take to get a mortgage agreement in principle?

A mortgage agreement or decision in principle, which states what a lender is likely to lend you based on some information online or over the phone, will usually be instant but there’s a chance some lenders can take a bit longer. It involves you providing some basic information about your finances and a credit check, but it’s not a 100% guarantee you’ll get the full mortgage until all the paperwork has been done at a later stage.

How long does a mortgage application take?

In terms of securing a mortgage offer, there’s no hard and fast rule over the time it takes, but, in normal circumstances, most of us can expect to wait 2-4 weeks from application to mortgage offer – provided the process goes smoothly and your application is relatively straightforward.

See if you can get a mortgage agreement in principle now with our free mortgage advice service

What coronavirus means for getting a mortgage

The mortgage industry has largely adjusted to changes caused since the first lockdown. However, the stamp duty holiday in place until the end of June and tapering until October means that the housing market is experiencing a mini-boom and lenders are handling an increase in mortgage enquiries. This increase in demand means that processing of applications is at the upper end of the usual time frame and it is safer to plan on the process taking 4 weeks or more to get a mortgage offer.

The approval process will increase with a complex situation, for instance people who are self employed, can be subject to more robust checks.  Having all of your paperwork organised will help to meet the lenders questions more quickly.

Products have been improving as well with way more 90% rates on offer now and the government 95% mortgage guarantee scheme returning in April.

If you’re applying for a remortgage or mortgage while on furlough, then you may find it harder to get your mortgage approved than was possible in the first lockdown. In the main, lenders will now want to see that borrowers are back at work and can evidence that with payslips.  Whereas lenders were accepting furlough income for affordability in the first lockdown, that’s not likely to be the case now (although some lenders can have a little more flexibility).  Once borrowers are back at work, they should find mortgage choices are not heavily constrained, although there could be more questions for those in industries that have been heavily impacted by the pandemic to ensure the mortgage will be sustainable.

Once you have found the right mortgage product for you, be aware that high demand and some extended questions could extend the processing time of your mortgage, but it’s a touch more stable than at the peak of last year. Still, many brokers are asking applicants to wait patiently to be contacted following application rather than phoning for updates.

So if you are looking to see how much you can afford, start sooner rather than later.

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Why does getting a mortgage take so long? How can I speed things up?

In normal conditions, mortgages can take a while because they involve a huge number of checks and information processing.

There is a range of information the lender will have to check, so make sure you have the following to hand so you are “buyer ready”:

  • 3 months of pay slips, bank statements, last P60 and/or self-assessment returns (if self-employed) to verify your earnings
  • Details of your outgoings, including childcare costs, so the broker can assess your financial commitments
  • Proof of ID and current address. Being on the electoral role helps
  • Proof of deposit (a gift from parents needs to be backed up with their bank statement and letter confirming it is a gift)
  • Details of your solicitor who’ll carry out the transaction
  • Details of the estate agent you are buying through

The lender will then want to conduct a mortgage valuation survey (not to be confused with a building survey) of the property you want to buy. Depending on how busy their surveyors are this can take a few days or more than a week.

If the lender is happy with your personal financial situation, and the outcome of the valuation survey, they will offer you a mortgage.

How can I speed up my mortgage application?

A mortgage broker can help speed up the process, because they are already familiar with the mortgage products on the market, including the specific criteria each lender looks for. This can considerably cut back on the time you’ll spend doing your own research and having to make appointments with or speak to individual lenders directly.

You can help speed up your mortgage application by having all the documents you’ll need handy and sending them through as soon as possible. It’s also a good idea – but not a stipulation – to make a list of all your financial outgoings as well as your income because your broker/lender will want to know that you’ll find the mortgage affordable.

Speak to our award-winning fee free mortgage brokers at L&C now

How long does a mortgage offer last?

You’ll find a standard mortgage offer is typically valid for up to six months, whereas a re-mortgage is usually valid for three months (although it can also be six months). The difference is down to the fact that a purchase will typically take longer from application to completion.

Some lenders have a completion deadline instead of a time limit. If you go past this you can still use that lender for a mortgage but your criteria will be re-assessed so you’ll be starting from scratch again. If your circumstances have altered you may be offered a new deal.

Use our online mortgage finder, or speak to our award winning mortgage brokers for free expert advice, to start getting the best deal today


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