In this brief blog, we are going to answer the question “ how long does a mortgage application take “ and what you can do to reduce the time a mortgage application may take.

How long does a mortgage application take?

A mortgage application can take as much as 3 weeks to process but some mortgage applications can take as little as one week. The time it takes for a  mortgage application will heavily depend on the type of mortgage and the specific circumstances of the borrower.

A mortgage application could also take as little as 24 hours. It all depends on the type of mortgage and the strength of the mortgage application which is made.

If you use a mortgage broker who has some experience of dealing with and making mortgage applications then the mortgage application may take shorter than usual as the mortgage broker may know what sort of documents may require, how to prepare the mortgage application, if you are likely to be accepted for a  mortgage and may even be able to give you a guide on how long a mortgage application takes based on their own experience.

A broker who has experience with making mortgage applications may also have working relationships with underwriters from the mortgage lender and hence be able to chase up your mortgage application as well as get more concrete guides on how long your mortgage application should take.

The key stages of the mortgage application are

Mortgage or decision in principle

Mortgage application

Mortgage valuation

Mortgage offer

Conveyancing

completion

Mortgage or decision in principle

A mortgage decision in principle essentially gives you an indication on whether a mortgage lender is willing to lend to you and how much they are willing to lend to you. It is the first stage in most mortgage application processes and if this process takes longer, it could be an indication of how long the mortgage application may take with this particular mortgage lender. A mortgage in principle will give you more credibility with home sellers and real estate agents but it isn’t guaranteed. A mortgage in principle can be withdrawn or declined.

Mortgage application

Once you have found a property you can then go on to make a mortgage application. You can do this over the phone, in branch or online. If you are using a mortgage broker then your mortgage broker will fill in the mortgage application form for you. At this stage, you can ask the mortgage lender how long the mortgage application will take.

Mortgage valuation

Some mortgage lenders do desktop valuations which are carried out online whilst others will instruct a surveyor to inspect the house. This can be a drive-by survey where the survey is simply from the outside of the house or a more in-depth survey where the surveyor will go into the home (with permission) and look everywhere.

If the mortgage lender finds that the home is valued less than you are buying it for then they may reduce their loan to value rate on the mortgage which will mean you need to put down a bigger mortgage deposit.

If you are not already using a government first-time buyer or home mover scheme then you may want to consider if you are eligible for any to see if they can increase your mortgage deposit or reduce the total cost of purchasing the property.

You can also carry out a more in-depth survey at a cost to you if you dispute the valuation provided by the mortgage lender or if you just want some peace of mind.

Mortgage offer

At this stage of the mortgage application, the mortgage lender will then provide you with a mortgage offer as long as everything is fine with your mortgage application. If anything has changed since you first made your mortgage application then you may want to declare this change of circumstances to the mortgage lender or they may withdraw the mortgage offer if they find out. Some mortgage lenders may provide you with a mortgage offer before or after the mortgage valuation.

Conveyancing

Your conveyancer will then begin the conveyancing process and carry out all necessary searches to ensure everything is fine with the property you are buying. They will also manage the contract process.

Completion

At this stage of your mortgage application, you are now ready to complete on the home purchase. This will be handled mostly by your conveyancer and the seller’s conveyancer.

How to reduce how long a mortgage application takes

A reasonable way to reduce how long a mortgage application may take is to ensure you have prepared your application in the most efficient way and provided all supporting documents necessary.

Some of the documents you may need include:

  • Your bank statements for the past 3 months
  • Your payslips for the past 3 months
  • Your tax returns
  • Your utility bills in your current home
  • Your driver’s license
  • Your passport
  • Your contract if you are a contractor
  • An accountants certificate for a mortgage if you are self-employed.

You must also ensure you are applying for the right mortgage as applying for a mortgage which you are not suited for will only increase how long your mortgage application will take. 

This means you should only apply to a mortgage which you are likely to be eligible for based on the mortgage product criteria.

If you are unsure you can do this on your own then you can contact the mortgage lender to help you or contact a mortgage broker who has some experience of dealing with the type of mortgage you are applying for or with that specific mortgage lender.

How long does a mortgage application take to be approved UK?

In the Uk, a mortgage application can take on average between 18 and 40 days to be approved but this all depends on the circumstances of the borrower, the strength of their mortgage application, the type of mortgage they are applying for, the complexity of the mortgage application and the average speed of the mortgage lender. As mentioned previously, a mortgage application can take about 6 weeks on average to process and be approved. 

What is a valuation for a mortgage application?

A valuation for a mortgage application is what mortgage lenders will do before or after they give you a mortgage offer. A valuation for a mortgage allows the mortgage lender to get an independent assessment of the value of the home they are lending to. This ensures that the property is worth as much as you say it is and that the loan to value they are offering you is at the right property value. It also ensures that the security(home) they have given you a mortgage on is a worthy asset which they can repossess and sell if they had to.

A valuation for a mortgage can either be done in person or over the desktop. This is referred to as a desktop valuation. 

Things such as a mortgage valuation can increase how long a  mortgage application will take if it is done before a mortgage offer is produced.

How long does it take between mortgage valuation and offer?

The time it takes between a mortgage valuation and a mortgage offer will differ from one mortgage lender to another but most mortgage lenders will look to provide a mortgage offer or decision within 48 hours after the mortgage valuation.

How quick does a mortgage application take?

The time it can take for a mortgage application will differ from one mortgage lender to another. The time a mortgage application takes will differ based on the strength of the mortgage application, the complexity of the mortgage application, the circumstances of the borrower, the type of mortgage and the average processing time of the mortgage lender.

A mortgage application can take from between 18 to 40 days to process on average.

As mentioned before a  mortgage application will take on average 6 weeks to process.


In this brief guide, we answered the question “How long does a mortgage application take  “

If you are worried about how long your mortgage application may take then you may want to contact and get an estimate of their current mortgage application processing times.

If you are also unsure you will be able to put your mortgage application together then you may want to go in-branch or call the mortgage lender on the telephone for them to assist you with your mortgage application.

John Bate

John has 22 years of experience in financial services. This spans across financial research, financial services (As a qualified mortgage broker and underwriter), financial trading and sales at global investment banks. While working as a publishing research analyst, he covered European bank credit and advised institutional clients on investment strategies at both JP Morgan and Societe Generale. John has passed all three levels of the CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) programme.