Waiting to hear if your mortgage application has been approved can be a source of significant stress when buying a property. It’s natural to feel anxious during this time, as the outcome of your mortgage application can have a big impact on your ability to purchase the property.

The length of time it takes for your mortgage application to be approved can vary depending on a number of factors, including the complexity of your application and the efficiency of the lender’s process. 

In this guide, we explain the steps involved in the mortgage application process and how long each step may take:

How long does a mortgage application take to be approved?

The timeframe for mortgage approval can vary depending on various factors. In some cases, approval can happen relatively quickly, such as within 24 hours if the application is straightforward and there are no issues.

However, on average, it can take between 2 to 6 weeks for a mortgage application to be approved.

How a mortgage broker can help speed up the mortgage application approval time?

A mortgage broker can help speed up the mortgage application approval time in several ways:

  • Access to multiple lenders: A mortgage broker has access to a range of lenders and their products, including specialist lenders, which can increase your chances of finding a suitable mortgage product. They can help you identify lenders with faster turnaround times for mortgage applications.
  • Guidance on the application process: A mortgage broker can guide you through the mortgage application process, helping you to complete the application accurately and quickly. They can also advise you on any supporting documentation you may need to provide, ensuring that your application is complete and meets the lender’s requirements.
  • Professional advice: A mortgage broker can offer professional advice on the most suitable mortgage product for your needs and financial circumstances. This can help you to choose a mortgage product that is more likely to be approved and processed quickly.
  • Liaising with the lender: A mortgage broker can liaise with the lender on your behalf, providing additional information or documentation if required. They can also follow up with the lender to ensure that your application is being processed as quickly as possible.

Overall, a mortgage broker can help speed up the mortgage application approval time by providing expert advice, guiding you through the application process, and liaising with the lender on your behalf.

This can help to ensure that your application is processed quickly and efficiently, increasing your chances of a successful mortgage application.

Mortgage Application Process Timeline

The intention of this guide is to make sure you, as a first-time buyer or home mover, have an idea of the mortgage application process and how long each step takes. 

It’s important for first-time buyers to understand the mortgage application process and what to expect at each step. By being informed and prepared, you can make the process of buying your first home much less stressful.

How long does a mortgage application take?

Here’s an overview of the general time frames involved in the mortgage application process.

Stage 1: Speak to a Mortgage Broker and Get an Agreement in Principle 

The initial stage involves speaking to a mortgage broker to determine how much you can afford to borrow and obtain an agreement in principle (AIP). 

This stage can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days, depending on how quickly you can provide the necessary documentation and how busy the broker is.

Stage 2: Property Search and Offer Made

Once you have an AIP, you can start your property search. This stage can vary widely, depending on the current state of the housing market and how long it takes to find a suitable property. 

Once you have found a property, you will need to make an offer, and the seller will need to accept it. This stage can take several weeks or even months.

Stage 3: Full Mortgage Application

Once your offer has been accepted, you can begin the full mortgage application process. This involves completing a detailed application form and submitting various documentation to the lender. 

This stage typically takes a few days to a few weeks, depending on how quickly you can gather and submit the required documentation.

Stage 4: Mortgage Valuation and Survey

After you have submitted your full mortgage application, the lender will arrange for a valuation and survey of the property to ensure it is worth the amount you are borrowing. 

This stage typically takes a few days to a week, depending on the availability of the surveyor.

Stage 5: Mortgage Offer

Once the lender has received the valuation and survey report, they will make a decision on whether to offer you a mortgage. 

This stage can take a few days to a few weeks, depending on the lender’s processing times and whether any additional documentation or information is required.

Stage 6: Completion

Once you have received a mortgage offer, you can exchange contracts with the seller and set a completion date. 

On the completion date, the mortgage funds will be transferred to the seller, and you will receive the keys to your new home. This stage typically takes a few weeks from the date the mortgage offer is issued.

It’s worth noting that the timeline for each stage of the mortgage application process can vary depending on your individual circumstances, the lender’s processing times, and the current state of the housing market. Therefore, it’s essential to work closely with your mortgage broker and lender to stay informed throughout the process and ensure everything progresses as smoothly and quickly as possible.

What documents are required for a mortgage in principle application?

To apply for a mortgage in principle (also known as a decision in principle or agreement in principle), you typically need to provide the following documents:

  • Proof of identity – this can include a valid passport, driving license or national identity card.
  • Proof of address – this can include a recent utility bill, bank statement or council tax bill.
  • Details of your income and employment – this can include payslips, P60 forms, and bank statements.
  • Proof of your deposit – evidence that you have the funds available to cover the deposit required for your mortgage.

It’s important to note that the specific documents required may vary depending on the lender and the type of mortgage you are applying for. It’s best to check with the lender directly to confirm their specific requirements. When you make a full mortgage application, the lender will need more detailed information about your personal and financial situation.

This will typically include:

  • Personal information – your name, address, date of birth, and other personal details.
  • Employment information – your job title, employer’s name and address, length of employment, and details of your income.
  • Financial information – details of your income and outgoings, including bank statements, tax returns, and other financial statements.
  • Details of the property – the address, purchase price, and details of any survey or valuation reports.
  • Identification – proof of identity, such as a passport or driving licence.
  • Credit history – the lender will carry out a credit check to assess your creditworthiness.
  • Insurance – you may be required to provide evidence of insurance, such as buildings and contents insurance.

How long does a property valuation survey take?

Once you submit a mortgage application, the lender will typically arrange for a property valuation to be carried out by a surveyor. The surveyor will assess the property to determine its value and provide a report on its condition.

The time it takes for the surveyor to complete the valuation can vary depending on factors such as the location of the property, its size and complexity, and the availability of the surveyor. Generally, it can take anywhere from 7 to 14 days for the valuation to be completed.

Once the valuation report is received by the lender, the underwriter will review it to ensure that the property is worth the amount you are borrowing and that there are no significant issues with its condition. 

If the underwriter is satisfied, they will proceed with the mortgage application, and the process of finalising the loan can begin.

Upgrading your survey 

Whether you’re buying your first flat, your dream home, or your fifth investment property, a house survey is the best way to check it’s structurally sound. There are many different types of property surveys, and they’re all intended for different situations. Here’s our breakdown of what each type includes.

In the UK, there are several types of property surveys available, including:

  • Condition Report: This is the most basic type of survey, which provides an overview of the condition of the property and any significant issues that may need attention. It is generally suitable for newer properties or those in good condition.
  • HomeBuyer Report: This type of survey is more detailed than a Condition Report and is suitable for properties that are older or have some defects. It includes an inspection of the property and a report that highlights any issues that may affect the value or safety of the property.
  • Building Survey: This is the most comprehensive type of survey and is suitable for older properties or those that have undergone significant alterations. It provides a detailed assessment of the property’s condition and structure, as well as advice on any necessary repairs or maintenance.
  • Specific Defect Survey: This type of survey is focused on a particular issue, such as subsidence, damp, or rot. It provides an in-depth assessment of the problem and advice on how to remedy it.
  • Snagging Survey: This type of survey is carried out on new-build properties to identify any defects or issues with the construction that need to be addressed before completion.

It’s important to note that the names and exact details of these surveys may vary depending on the surveyor or the region of the UK. It’s always a good idea to discuss your needs with a qualified surveyor and choose the type of survey that best meets your requirements.

How long does it take to exchange contracts? 

The time it takes to exchange contracts can vary depending on a number of factors, such as the complexity of the transaction, the number of parties involved, and any issues that may need to be resolved before exchange. Leasehold purchases (flats) generally take longer than freehold houses.

Once instructed, your solicitor will need to carry out various checks and searches to ensure that the property is suitable as security for the mortgage.  This can include verifying the property’s title, checking for any restrictions or covenants that may affect the property, and assessing the property’s value.

Assuming that there are no issues that need to be resolved and all parties are ready to proceed, the exchange of contracts typically takes around 8-12 weeks. However, it’s important to remember that this timeline can vary depending on the specific circumstances of the transaction. 

For example, if there are any issues that need to be resolved, such as a boundary dispute or an issue with the property’s title, the process may take longer. 

Additionally, if there are delays with the mortgage application or other aspects of the transaction, this can also impact the timeline for exchange.

Speak To an Expert

Whether you’ve just had an offer accepted on a property and you’re ready to go, or you’re simply wondering how much you need to save for a deposit, it’s never too soon to reach out.

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How long do solicitors’ local authority searches take? 

The time it takes for solicitors to obtain local authority searches can vary depending on the local authority in question and the workload of the relevant department. 

In general, it can take anywhere from a few days to several weeks to obtain the necessary search results. In some cases, the local authority may be able to provide the search results within a few days of the request. 

However, in areas with a high volume of property transactions or where the local authority has a large workload, the search may take longer to complete. This can cause delays in the conveyancing process and may impact the overall timeline for the purchase.

To minimise the risk of delays, it’s a good idea to instruct your solicitor to carry out local authority searches as soon as possible after the offer has been accepted. This can help to ensure that any issues that arise can be dealt with in a timely manner and that the conveyancing process can proceed as smoothly as possible.

Why is my mortgage application taking so long?

There can be a number of reasons why your mortgage application is taking longer than expected. Some of the most common factors that can cause delays include:

  • Documentation issues: Your mortgage application may be delayed if there are any issues with the documents you have submitted. This can include missing or incomplete information or documentation that does not meet the lender’s requirements.
  • Valuation delays: The mortgage lender will need to carry out a valuation of the property you are looking to purchase, and this can take some time to arrange. If there are any issues with the valuation or if further assessments are required, this can also cause delays.
  • Credit issues: If you have a poor credit history or if there are any issues with your credit report, this can also cause delays in the mortgage application process.
  • Employment issues: If you are self-employed or have recently changed jobs, this can also cause delays as the lender will need to verify your income and employment status.
  • Backlog of applications: Finally, it is worth noting that some lenders may have a backlog of mortgage applications due to high demand or staffing issues, which can also cause delays in the processing of your application.

How to speed up the mortgage application timeline

Use an Independent mortgage broker

 One of the key benefits of working with a mortgage broker is their expertise in navigating the mortgage application process and working with multiple lenders to find the best mortgage product for your needs.

A knowledgeable and experienced mortgage broker like Strive, can help ensure that your application is submitted correctly and that all the necessary documentation is provided, which can help to speed up the underwriting process and reduce the overall time it takes to get your mortgage application approved.

Buy an empty property

The length of the chain can have a significant impact on the time it takes to complete a property purchase.

 A property chain is a sequence of buyers and sellers who are all linked together because they are buying and selling properties from one another.

If you are able to find an unoccupied property, this can potentially shorten the chain significantly and make the transaction process quicker and smoother. 

In some cases, the seller of an unoccupied property may be more motivated to complete the sale quickly.

Get in touch with Strive Mortgages

If you’re thinking about buying a home, we would love to hear from you, so contact us today. Whether it be your first purchase, home move, or you’re an experienced investor, we’ve got an experienced team on hand ready to help.

For more information on the mortgage application process, please contact a member of the Strive team, by emailing [email protected] or call us on 01273 002697.