How Long Does a Mortgage Application Take Through a Broker?

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Have you wondered how long your mortgage application will take or whether using a mortgage broker can speed up the process? You are not alone, and many people feel stuck during the house buying process with few updates and seemingly endless paperwork.

Using a mortgage broker can hasten a mortgage application process and fill in the gaps when you feel lost or unsure of what is happening during your property purchase.

This guide breaks down everything you need to know about how long a mortgage application takes and how a good mortgage broker can help you.

Mortgage Application Process

The mortgage process boils down to two main stages:

  • The Decision in Principle stage (sometimes known as an Agreement in Principle)
  • The Mortgage Application stage

Below we outline both stages and the expected timeframe to complete each part of the mortgage application process.

The Decision in Principle Stage

Initially you will complete a detailed personal and financial questionnaire known as a Fact Find. The purpose of this is to ascertain who you are, what your income and expenditure is and the type of property you are looking to buy. A mortgage broker will either complete this over the phone with you or online using their dedicated mortgage portal.

Depending on how prepared you are with information to fill in the answers, a Fact Find can take between 30 minutes and 1 hour to complete. It will be lengthier when completed over the phone as you will need to relay information to a broker who then completes the form manually.

After Completing a Fact Find

Once you have completed your Fact Find a broker will request time to review the information and then provide advice. They will look at the mortgage market and draw up quotes that best suit your needs.

The advice/quote phase is normally completed by a broker within 24 hours. Once you accept the advice, the broker will complete the Decision in Principle and issue you a document to take to Estate Agents and make bids on properties. Estate Agents may encourage you to use their in-house brokers to generate a Decision in Principle. Just know that you are not legally obliged to proceed with their services.

The Mortgage Application Stage

The great news is by the time you have found a property and had an offer accepted, most of the mortgage groundwork has been done. Your broker will complete the full mortgage application and submit it to the lender. Completing the application form typically takes between 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Once submitted to the lender, they will either have an automated process or refer the application to a mortgage underwriter. If the process is automated the decision can be back shortly after the broker applies on your behalf. Believe it or not, some mortgage applications are offered on the day of application, especially when remortgaging.

Ordinarily a lender will need to complete property checks, or the application may be referred for an underwriter to assess. You should assume a timescale of between 24 hours and 3 weeks for the application to be accepted and offered.

Documents You Need to Provide

Along the way (normally after you have completed the Fact Find), a mortgage broker will request various forms of documentation from you in anticipation of the mortgage application. This documentation is typically:

  • Personal I.D. such as a scanned copy of your Passport
  • Income proof such as payslips
  • Bank statements (normally 3 months’ worth)
  • Supplementary evidence a lender may request

The faster you collate this documentation and provide it to your broker the faster the mortgage application process can get underway.

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How Can You Speed Up the Mortgage Application Process?

The mortgage application from start to finish can be completed in 1-3 weeks, so you may be wondering why it is taking months for your property purchase to complete.

The truth is, although the mortgage application is a big part of the process you are involved in, a lot happens behind the scenes that you will not be involved in such as conveyancing.

Most completions are delayed due to the time that conveyancers take to process the legal documentation rather than the mortgage application itself. In rare cases, you may find that mortgage acceptance takes longer than you expect. This will normally be due to one of two things:

  • A lender needs more information about your income
  • The property has an issue the lender wants clarity on

If the lender requests more information about your income it is best to ask the specific documentation a lender needs and provide it as soon as possible.

In cases where there are issues with the property, you are at the mercy of the underwriter and there is truly little you can do unless there is additional information you can supply to the lender.

How Long Does a Mortgage Offer Last?

Every lender operates different timeframes with their mortgage offers. Most Decision in Principles last for 1-2 months depending on the lender. Most Mortgage Offers expire after 6 months.

When a mortgage offer is issued, it is legally binding to the lender unless your circumstances or the property itself changes. Therefore, once you receive your mortgage offer, you can be relatively confident that the lender will be unable to withdraw it from you. Whenever a lender issues an offer, they will provide you with a general timeframe in which to accept it.

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How Can a Mortgage Broker Help?

Mortgage brokers help speed up the mortgage process in several ways:

  • They handle the application and Decision in Principle for you,
  • They liaise with the underwriters to answer questions,
  • They can chase underwriters and conveyancers for updates.

You could save a lot of time completing on your property purchase simply by using a mortgage broker who is tenacious and able to get everything completed to a high standard first time. Ready to get started? Book your mortgage consultation with us today.

Gerard BoonB.A. (Hons), CeMAP, CeRER

Gerard is a co-founder and partner of Boon Brokers. Having studied many areas of financial services at the University of Leeds, and following completion of his CeMAP and CeRER qualifications, Gerard has acquired a vast knowledge of the mortgage, insurance and equity release industry.