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How long does it take to remortgage

Whatever your reason for remortgaging - whether it’s to save money on your monthly payments or to release equity - you're probably wondering how long it takes to remortgage. We set out the timeframe from application to offer, explain how long your offer will last, what causes delays and how to speed things up.

how long does it take to remortgage

How long does it take to remortgage?

As of April 2022, it typically takes at least 2 months to remortgage but this can vary considerably. You should allow longer than that if you can.

According to David Hollingworth at award-winning mortgage brokers L&C:

“You should start the whole process 3-4 months before the end of your current deal so there’s plenty of time for a smooth switch. However, it may not take that long if everything is straightforward, you respond to requests in a timely fashion and there are no hitches along the way.”

“However, with rates going up, you might want to start the process even further in advance. Six months before the end of your current deal should be within range. But, check how long the mortgage offer will be valid for and at what point the offer period starts. For some lenders, the time period the offer will be valid for will start on the date you apply. For other lenders, this period will start from the date the offer is made. And other lenders will state a fixed date you’ll need to have completed by.”

“If you do start the search 6 months ahead, bear in mind, not every lender will have 6 month offers. So there might be a trade-off in the choices available if you start earlier.”

Due to the current high demand, it is taking longer to remortgage than in previous years. So how long do remortgages take in 2022? The answer is it could be longer than usual or longer than the last time you remortgaged.

Check out how much you can save by remortgaging with our online calculators and speak to fee-free mortgage experts today.

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What’s the fastest way to remortgage?

The fastest way to remortgage is to get a new mortgage with your existing  lender; this process is called a ‘product transfer’.

Time scales vary but product transfers take around a week.

Product transfers are quicker to arrange because you won’t need to provide the same number of documents, you won’t need a mortgage valuation or to appoint a conveyancing solicitor to process the transfer.

You can arrange to switch at the end of your current deal. Or, some lenders may let you switch to the new rate straight away even if you’re in the lock-in period.

But, to make sure you’re getting the best mortgage for you, it’s a good idea to shop around first. You can start the remortgage process online or over the phone with our fee-free mortgage partners at L&C. They will search the market for you. If a deal with your current lender is the best option, they can process the product transfer for you.

How bad timing can cost you

If you don’t time your remortgage right, it could cost you thousands of pounds. If you remortgage too early, while you’re still in the initial period of your mortgage, you might need to pay a hefty early repayment charge.

But if you leave it too late, until after your deal has expired, you’ll be rolled onto your lender’s Standard Variable Rate (SVR). This is the lender’s ‘default’ rate and it could be much higher than in your initial period which means you’ll face higher mortgage payments. So, you’ll want to get the timing right – this is another benefit of using a mortgage broker. However, if you go directly to a lender, they should also ensure it’s timed correctly too.

Explore remortgaging options with fee-free mortgage experts at L&C today

Is it worth remortgaging early?

So, is it worth remortgaging early? It depends. There are lots of reasons that can arise during your mortgage term that might make you remortgage early.

Remortgaging to take advantage of lower interest rates before – as most commentators suspect –  they continue to rise this year is one valid reason to remortgage early. Perhaps locking into a fixed rate mortgage for the next 2-5 years will lower your monthly repayments and help you cope with the current rising cost of living.

Or, perhaps you’re looking to invest in a big home improvement project, and remortgaging to extend your borrowing and release equity is a good option. If you have debts you want to consolidate and pay them off, remortgaging before your deal is up might make good financial sense. Or if you’re faced with a sudden bill, for example private school fees, remortgaging may be the most sensible option.

But it is a good idea to get mortgage advice on these options and think about the implications for your finances now and in the future.  A fee-free mortgage broker will help you work through the costs and can flag up any early repayment charges and where they would outweigh any monthly savings.

Remortgage timescales

Here are the steps to remortgaging with timescales:

1. Shopping around for a mortgage deal (1 day)

Try to give yourself plenty of time to do your research and find the best mortgage deal. Most lenders allow you to apply and secure a rate 3-6 months before you complete. This allows you to secure a deal before it disappears from the market and increases the likelihood that you’ll be able to move straight from your old deal to your new one.

When it comes to shopping around, you can speed the process up by using a fee-free mortgage broker. If you use a broker the process is as follows:

  1. Initial contact form. Fill in some details online or over the phone.
  2. Fact finding call. A broker will call you to do some fact-finding about your circumstances, and the type of deal that will suit you. This could take as little as half an hour but may take longer.
  3. Explanation of options. Your mortgage broker will go away and do some research. You could hear back with options on the same day but if your situation is more complex, they might need to speak to different lenders. If this is the case, you should expect to hear back in 1-2 days.
  4. Choose your mortgage product. Then it’s over to you to decide what to do. So when you’re asking how long does it take to remortgage, bear in mind the quicker you decide which product to choose, the quicker the remortgage process will be.

However, not everyone uses a mortgage broker. Some people will choose to look for a mortgage themselves — often this is by using price comparison sites. The length of time remortgaging by yourself takes will depend on the amount of research you’re prepared to undertake. Note that if you use comparison websites, you won’t be getting mortgage advice.

Alternatively, you may choose to go direct to the lender. You can either make an appointment in branch, over the phone or review options on lender websites. How long this takes depends on speed of appointments and how many lenders you are approaching. Looking at several lenders will be more time consuming.

Shop around for the best deal. Take a look at our online mortgage finder from L&C to see what mortgage deals you are eligible for from over 80 lenders.

2. Get a mortgage agreement in principle (instant)

Before you apply for a remortgage, you’ll usually complete a Mortgage Agreement in Principle first. This is also known as a Decision in Principle or a Mortgage in Principle. This will show you how much a lender is prepared to lend you ‘in principle’ based on information you give them online or over the phone. You can usually get one instantly.

3. Submit your application (20 minutes)

Once you’ve decided to go ahead, it’s time to make your mortgage application. If you use a mortgage broker they can do this for you. There will be extra questions you’ll need to answer and you may need to give supporting documents at this point.

4. Assessment (from 2-4 weeks)

After you apply, the lender will then need to assess your income, financial commitments and outgoings to make sure the mortgage will be affordable. They’ll also check your credit rating and carry out a valuation of your property. You’ll also typically be asked for supporting documentation like pay slips and bank statements. The sooner you supply the documents you’re asked for, the better. Once the lender has everything they need, if they accept your application, they’ll then give a formal offer.

The timeframe from application to offer varies quite substantially. It’s typically 2-4 weeks but it can go beyond that.

5. Remortgage completion and conveyancing (allow 4 weeks)

Once you’ve received your mortgage offer and accepted it, your conveyancer will undertake all the necessary legal work and take the process through to completion by arranging for the funds to be transferred to your previous lender.

However, while this is basic legal work, there can be some capacity issues due to the volume of remortgages being processed. So you should allow 4 weeks for the conveyancing process. Read our guide to Do I need a conveyancing solicitor when I remortgage?

How long does it take to remortgage and release equity?

If you’re borrowing additional money, this won’t usually cause any delays in your application providing the lender is happy with your reason for borrowing more. But, you should be ready to show evidence of why you want to borrow more. For example, if you are releasing equity to build an extension, the lender may want to see quotes for the work.

And if you’re borrowing a high LTV for debt consolidation, lenders might have questions around that. But if they’re agreeable to your reason for releasing equity, it shouldn’t take any longer unless the lender asks for supporting documentation. Read our guide Can I remortgage to pay off debts?

What other factors might make it take longer?

If your situation is more complex it might mean your options are more limited and you may need to go with a more specialist lender which might take longer.

If you haven’t started the remortgage process early and you are concerned about timing, a mortgage broker may be able to factor your timeline into the recommendation. They can flag whether certain lenders are taking a long time. For example, they might say there’s a cheaper rate with lender x but they’re typically slower than lender y. Nothing is set in stone though and they won’t be able to guarantee how quickly any lender will be able to act.

Timescales, therefore, could factor into what lenders to consider. But if you choose a lender to try to get a quick turnaround, you might not be able to get as good a rate compared to what you could get otherwise.

What can cause delays?

When it comes to how long does it takes to remortgage, there are various reasons why you might get delays. These include:

  • Conveyancing. Due to the volume of remortgages being processed, it’s possible to encounter delays in the conveyancing process.
  • Busy mortgage lenders. And when you’re asking how long does it take to remortgage, bear in mind, mortgage lenders are busy too. Rates have been moving rapidly which brings applications in spikes. If you use a mortgage broker and time is of the essence, they’ll be able to guide you to lenders that aren’t taking as long as others. Although they’ll highlight to you that there may be a trade off in terms of the rate you get.
  • The complexity of your mortgage application. Another common cause of delays is if your case is more complex. For example, the underwriter could ask for more information and if they do, this will take extra time.
  • Problems with your credit report. When you apply to remortgage the new lender will check your credit score with credit reference agencies. So ensure every detail in your reports is correct because even a minor spelling mistake on your address could cause a problem.
  • Missing paperwork. You’ll need to provide various documents like payslips if you’re employed and copies of accounts if you’re self-employed. So find out what you’ll need to submit in advance and keep these documents to one side so you’ll be able to provide them without delay. In terms of how long it takes to remortgage, keep in mind that if you take a long time pulling these documents together the whole process will take longer.
  • Discrepancies with the property valuation. If there are any discrepancies in the valuation of the property this might cause delays. The lender might be more cautious about lending above a certain loan to value (LTV).
  • If you’ve changed jobs recently. If you’ve changed jobs in the last few months, it can make it harder to remortgage, especially if you have become self-employed. So if you’re asking how long does it take to remortgage, this could have a bearing.
  • You took Government Covid support. If you’re self-employed, you may have difficulties if you took help such as the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) grant. There have been reports that some lenders are deducting the SEISS grant from borrowers’ incomes for the 2020/2021 tax year. This reduced the size of mortgage people have been able to qualify for and sometimes whether they’ll pass affordability checks. While there have also been reports that some people who took bounce-back loans have also encountered problems, particularly if they haven’t paid the loan back in full yet.

What happens if you remortgage mid mortgage term?

How long does it take to remortgage if you’re switching mid-term and need to pay an early repayment charge? The good news is there is no reason why this would typically cause any delays.

How long does a mortgage offer last?

The length of time mortgage offers last for varies. It’s usually 3-6 months. However, it’s important to note that some will have completion deadlines. So rather than the mortgage offer lasting for 6 months from when the offer is issued, it might have a complete-by date, which is usually the end of a particular month.

And bear in mind, that some offers will be valid from the date the offer is issued while other lenders say the offer is valid, for example for six months, from the application date.

So check this carefully. If you don’t meet the deadline, you might need to choose another product and could end up having to go through another credit score.

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