In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “how long does it take to get a mortgage offer “.

How long does it take to get a mortgage offer?

It can take between 18-40 days to get a mortgage offer. This is the time it takes most borrowers on average to get a mortgage offer. The speed at which you can get a mortgage offer will heavily depend on the mortgage lender, your mortgage broker, the complexity of your mortgage application or case and how prepared you are.

What affects how long it takes to get a mortgage offer?

There are various factors that affect how long it takes to get a mortgage offer. These include:

How quickly you get an agreement in principle

Government schemes

The speed & experience of your mortgage broker

The speed and experience of your conveyancer

The complexity of your mortgage application

The number of people applying for the mortgage with you

Other people in your property chain

How quickly you get an agreement in principle

An agreement in principle, also known as a mortgage in principle is the mortgage lenders first indication that they are willing to lend to you.

During the mortgage in principle checks, the mortgage underwriter will do basic checks but enough to get an understanding of your finances and personal circumstances.

If your mortgage in principle application goes smoothly then this may very well be an indication that your mortgage offer application could be quick.

Government schemes

Government schemes can affect how long it takes to get a mortgage because before you are able to get a mortgage offer you will need to show the mortgage lender that you can fund the mortgage deposit in full. 

This means you will need to have made your application to the government scheme which you intend to use and have received an authority to proceed letter.

This process could very well take a long time and can result in the timeline to getting a mortgage offer being delayed or drawn out.

If you are considering using any of the government schemes below then you should ensure you have started the process as early as possible to ensure you can get your mortgage offer in a suitable time.

You should first use a government scheme calculator to see what government schemes you are eligible for before going on to confirm your eligibility with the scheme provider and then making an application.

There is no current guidance on how long it could take to get an authority to proceed letter with each government scheme provider but you should assume it will take between 2 and 4 weeks.

Aside from the authority to proceed letter, you will also need to get an authority to exchange letter but this should take significantly less time.

The Government schemes you could be eligible for include:

  • Lifetime ISA– gives you a government bonus of £1,000 if you save the maximum £4,000 a year.
  • Help to buy ISA– gives a maximum bonus us £3,000 if you save the maximum allowed of £12,000. Before you get either you should consider which is better. Lifetime ISA vs Help to buy ISA.
  • Help to buy equity loan- gives you up to 40% as a 5-year interest-free equity loan. You begin to pay interest at 1.75 % after the fifth year and 1% plus RPI for every year thereafter.
  • Shared ownership– You can buy between 25% to 75% of the property initially with a shared ownership mortgage and then buy more using a staircasing mortgage.
  • Armed forces help to buy– similar to the help to buy equity loan but specific for the armed forces personnel giving them an increased chance of acceptance.
  • Rent to buy– This is the right to buy scheme on which this guide is currently discussing. A different marketing name is just used. Watch out for this when shopping to avoid missing out on eligible properties due to confusion.
  • Right to buy– allows you to buy your home at a discount price.
  • Preserved right to buy- same as above.
  • Right to acquire- same as above.

Depending on where you live, you may also be able to take advantage of home buying schemes provided by your local council. Example: In Norwich, the local councils provide the Norwich home options scheme.

The speed & experience of your mortgage broker

The speed and experience of your mortgage broker will also play a very big part in how long it could take you to get a mortgage offer.

If you have an experienced mortgage broker who has established relationships with the different mortgage lenders then you may find it much quicker to get a mortgage offer.

An inexperienced mortgage broker will of course not do the job in a better time and there may be mistakes or issues which cause delays.

Choosing an experienced and quick mortgage broker should, therefore, be on the top of your list but what can you look for when choosing a mortgage broker? How do you know if they are quick and experienced?

You could look for things such as:

Good reviews

A large number of reviews in a short time

The use of technology- e.g digital mortgage brokers

You should also look out for any mortgage broker fees which the mortgage broker may charge.

The speed and experience of your conveyancer

The conveyancing process when selling or buying a house is a big part of the transaction and can cause incredible delays but this is usually because the mortgage lender has to be sure that there are no issues on the properties which they lend on and they have strict guidelines on what the conveyancer should check.

Your conveyancer will, therefore, be tasked with carrying out various checks to ensure that the property does not have any issues which you should know about and which could potentially leave you liable.

Getting a well-seasoned conveyancer will ensure you can get your mortgage offer and complete on your mortgage in as little time.

You should note that some mortgage lenders will insist on having the details of your conveyancer before providing you with a mortgage offer but the actual conveyancing process usually takes place after you have gotten a mortgage offer.

The complexity of your mortgage application

The complexity of your mortgage application will, of course, play a big role in how long it will take to get a mortgage offer.

Once you have filled in the mortgage fact find your mortgage broker will usually advise you on how complex they expect your mortgage application to be.

In this case, you can expect that your mortgage application will be reviewed by the mortgage underwriter who will almost certainly come back with more questions and follow-ups to your mortgage broker.

Your mortgage application could be complex if you have bad credit, if you were recently bankrupt or if you just finished a debt management plan, if your home was repossessed, if you are a self-employed borrower or if you have a complex income.

Having a well-experienced mortgage broker who can get ahead of any issues and present the best mortgage application to the lender will be your best bet to ensure you can get your mortgage offer in a suitable time.

The number of people applying for the mortgage with you

The number of people applying for the mortgage with you is a big factor in how long it may take you to get a mortgage offer.

If you have more than one person then you will, of course, have to coordinate and plan with another person. 

They may be slow in responding, slow in finding and presenting their documents or they may have a more complex set of circumstances than you such as bad credit, being self-employed etc.

All of these factors could, therefore, increase how long it takes for you to get a mortgage offer.

Other people in your property chain

Property chains are one of the huge reasons why getting a mortgage offer could take much longer than before. In this case, the delay has nothing to do with you but rather someone who may have agreed to sell their house to you in principle but has not accepted your offer on the house.

You may choose to wait before making a mortgage application for a mortgage offer although you do not need to. 

Most mortgage lenders will still give you a mortgage offer even if you do not have an offer on a house accepted.

That being said, your mortgage broker may advise you that it is wise to get an offer on a house accepted before getting a mortgage offer.

A property chain is essentially a sequence of transactions including buyers and sellers. E.g person a is moving house and buying from person B who is also moving house and buying from person C.

Person A and B are therefore reliant on person C’s ability to make an offer on a house, get their mortgage offer and close on the house purchase in a swift manner so they can formally agree to the sale of their house.

FAQs: how long does it take to get a mortgage offer

How long does it take from offer to completion?

It can take between 2 and 4 weeks from offer to completion but this all depends on how quickly and efficiently your conveyancer could work to complete the conveyancing process.

How long is a mortgage offer valid for?

A mortgage offer will usually be valid for 6 months but you can ask for a mortgage offer extension if you are buying off-plan and you will not be ready to complete on the home purchase during the validity of your existing mortgage offer. Some mortgage lenders will offer you an extension which will make the mortgage offer valid for another 6 months but some will insist on carrying out new mortgage affordability checks on you.

What can you do to speed up your mortgage application?

You can speed up your mortgage application by having your documents ready and using a quick and experienced mortgage broker. You can also speed up your mortgage application by finding your conveyancer before you start the mortgage application.

Use an experienced mortgage broker for a mortgage offer

You may want to consider using an independent mortgage broker to get a mortgage.

Mortgage brokers are important as they can access mortgage products from across the whole of the market in some cases. This could be over 11,000 mortgage products. This may have some advantages than going directly to a mortgage lender.

A mortgage broker will look to understand your financial circumstances and then provide recommendations on which mortgage products may be suitable for you.

After giving you these mortgage recommendations, most mortgage brokers will seek your consent to apply for a mortgage in principle. 

This will allow you to shop for your home easier as more estate agents and sellers may take you seriously or it will give you confidence that your remortgage is indeed a possibility before you make a full mortgage application. 

Once you have found a home you want to buy or are satisfied with the mortgage offer for your remortgage then the mortgage broker will then look to get you a mortgage offer.

This will come with a key facts illustration document which details out the features of your mortgage including how much you will pay per month if there are any limits such as early repayment fees, or annual overpayment limits.

If you are happy with everything you can then go on to secure your mortgage with the help of a conveyancer. Your conveyancer will manage the legal searches on the property to ensure there aren’t any issues with it, they will oversee the sales agreement to ensure it is in your best interest, they will manage the transfer of mortgage funds, exchange contracts with the seller or their conveyancer and set a completion date with the seller or their conveyancer.

In this brief guide, we answered the question “how long does it take to get a mortgage offer “.

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.