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How Long Does a Mortgage Application Take?

Mortgages are a tricky business. You need nerves of steel, have to be prepared for every bump in the road and need patience since applications take a while to approve. How long does a mortgage application take to approve? Here’s all the information you need.

A mortgage application can take anywhere from three days to two months. The duration of this process depends on many factors, but most are related to the amount and type of documents you hand in for a review. It also depends on your willingness to be straightforward in answering questions and sharing information that could help you get approved faster.

A man off-screen holding a colorful model house

The mortgage application process doesn’t have many steps, but they’ll all end quickly if you’ve been honest and upfront with your paperwork. Still, there’s a lot to learn about how to apply for a mortgage and the application’s duration, so keep reading.

How Long Does a Mortgage Application Take?

The question most borrowers think of before heading into a home loan usually is, “how long does it usually take for a mortgage application to be approved?” While there’s no universal answer to this dilemma, there is a way to comfort any first-time home buyers.

The mortgage application process takes anywhere from 72 hours to several months. The most important part of it is the paperwork you submit for processing and reviewing. You can also look into the best time to apply for a mortgage since that plays a big part, too.

Why Is My Mortgage Application Taking So Long?

If you think it’ll take less time to review fewer documents, which leads to submitting less than asked for, you’re wrong. The less you submit, the longer it’ll take to get approved because the lender will keep asking you for detailed paperwork and information.

If you’re currently in the middle of a mortgage application, and you’re wondering why it’s taking longer than expected, ask yourself if you’ve answered all of your lender’s questions truthfully and submitted all the paperwork they required.

If you’re also curious about how quickly you can pay off your mortgage or even how to lower mortgage payments, it’s essential to educate yourself on all these topics before going to lenders.

A person off-screen signing papers

What Are the Stages of a Mortgage Application Process?

There aren’t many stages in a mortgage application, but they all have different durations. Here’s what your lender may ask you to submit to begin the process:

  • Personal information and documentation – anything from your marital status to social security number. The most important papers here are your employment and residence history, typically over the past two years,
  • Financial information – pay stubs, credit reports and checks, bank statements, bankruptcies, owner or renter papers, tax returns, and alike. A lender has the right to check your entire credit and financial history if they consider it necessary.

Read more on how to get approved for a mortgage and what else it might take. Additionally, the easiest mistake to make in this situation is not submitting enough papers about your tax payments. Learn how many years of tax returns you’ll need for a loan, and don’t submit anything less than that.

Your First Step Should be Applying for a Prequalification Letter

The mortgage lender issues the prequalification letter, and you’d typically apply for it before you even start house hunting. This letter is a rough estimate of the amount your lender would be able to offer you.

Before getting a prequalification letter, you must submit information on your estimated income, credit history, assets, debts, and down payment. The more accurately you give this information, the faster it’ll all go.

This phase can take between one and three days, and you won’t have to submit any documents. Most information will be based on your estimate, and you’ll learn how much mortgage you can afford with everything you have.

You’ll Need to Go Through the Pre-Approval Process, Which Can Last Up to Several Months

The pre-approval process is a must for most home sellers. Having this will not only make it easier for the seller to take you seriously, but it’ll help speed up the final step in the mortgage application, which is the final approval process.

The necessary paperwork in this stage is primarily financial documentation. The lender will tell you exactly what they need you to submit, but that would typically be:

  • Driver’s license,
  • Social security card,
  • The past two years in tax returns,
  • The past two months of bank statements,
  • The past thirty days of pay stubs,
  • The past two years of W-2s.

Pre-approval could take between three days and several months. Again, the emphasis is on being open and transparent about your history. Don’t hide any information or paperwork because you’ll have to submit it at the end and prolong the already arduous process.

An important note is that the pre-approval letter is valid for around 60 to 90 days.

The Mortgage Final Approval Comes After Your Offer Gets Accepted

After the pre-approval, you can make offers on mortgages. Then comes the final approval phase. Since your lender already has all your financial documents from the previous stage, you can rest assured that the final step won’t ask you for more.

Of course, before any final approvals are provided, the lender will do a home appraisal to verify that they can give you a correctly estimated loan amount. This part of the process may be the longest in this phase.

The appraiser may not be available immediately, so the timing also has to be good. Unfortunately, you may not be in control of this part. The final approval phase can take up to two and a half weeks.

A small house made out of $100 bills

The Best Way to Get Your Loan and Mortgage Approved Is by Being Transparent

The importance of openness and transparency has been emphasized in this text a few times, so hopefully, that’s enough motivation for you to display those qualities when asking for a mortgage loan. You’ll speed things up by doing that, and your lender will likely be more willing to work with you.

There’s no way to avoid getting appraised or reviewed, so it’s not in your power. Go into your mortgage application with all the necessary paperwork, and you’ll be fine. Do some research or ask your lender for a detailed list of required documents, which will help you keep tabs on your papers and get approved sooner.