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  • Writer's pictureMortgage Tree

Speed is everything if you want to take advantage of the reduced Stamp Duty rates before 31 March.

How long does it take to get a mortgage?

Buying a home is a tricky business, and aligning all the different factors can pose a logistical nightmare. You’ll want to get your mortgage advice, deal, lender and agreement decided as soon as possible so you can act fast. We look at how long it takes to get a mortgage, the impact of coronavirus, and what you need to consider.

How long does it take to get a mortgage agreement in principle?

It’s normally possible to apply for a mortgage Agreement in Principle, which states what a lender is likely to lend you based on some information online or over the phone in a couple of hours. It involves you providing some basic information about your finances and a credit check, but it’s not a 100% guarantee you’ll get the full mortgage until all the paperwork has been done at a later stage.

How long does a mortgage take?

In terms of securing a mortgage offer, there’s no hard and fast rule over the time it takes, but most of us can expect to wait around a month (between 18-40 days) from application to mortgage offer – provided the process goes smoothly and your application is relatively straight forward.

What coronavirus means for getting a mortgage

The mortgage industry is currently subject to severe delays. With lockdowns and restrictions, brokers have had to cope with fewer products, changing lending criteria, mortgage holiday applications and furloughed mortgage applicants. Meanwhile the housing market is experiencing a mini-boom and lenders have had to handle an increase in mortgage enquiries. All this has been alongside internal staffing issues with whole teams working from home.

If you’re applying for a remortgage or mortgage while on furlough, then you may be in for further delays. Different lenders request different reassurances. Some will only lend if you are being topped-up by the employer while other swill want to see a letter from employers with a return-to-work date. A few lenders are not taking on furloughed applicants at all.

Even if you aren’t on furlough, many lenders are asking for more evidence now to ensure borrowers are financially stable. Some are no longer taking into account bonuses and overtime when they calculate how much you can afford. So finding the right lender and product may take more time.

Once you have found the right product for you, be aware it’s taking longer than usual to process mortgage applications. Many brokers are asking applicants to wait patiently to be contacted following application rather than phoning for updates.

So if you are looking to see how much you can afford, start sooner rather than later.

Why does getting a mortgage take so long? How can I speed things up?

In normal conditions, mortgages can take a while because they involve a huge number of checks and information processing.

There is a range of information the lender will have to check, so make sure you have the following to hand so you are “buyer ready”:

  • 3 months of pay slips, bank statements, last P60 and/or self-assessment returns (if self-employed) to verify your earnings

  • Details of your outgoings, including childcare costs, so the broker can assess your financial commitments

  • Proof of ID and current address. Being on the electoral role helps

  • Proof of deposit (a gift from parents needs to be backed up with their bank statement and letter confirming it is a gift)

  • Details of your solicitor who’ll carry out the transaction

  • Details of the estate agent you are buying through

The lender will then want to conduct a mortgage valuation survey (not to be confused with a building survey) of the property you want to buy. Depending on how busy their surveyors are this can take a few days or more than a week.

If the lender is happy with your personal financial situation, and the outcome of the valuation survey, they will offer you a mortgage.

How can I speed up my mortgage application?

A mortgage broker can help speed up the process, because they are already familiar with the mortgage products on the market, including the specific criteria each lender looks for. This can considerably cut back on the time you’ll spend doing your own research and having to make appointments with or speak to individual lenders directly.

You can help speed up your mortgage application by having all the documents you’ll need handy and sending them through as soon as possible. It’s also a good idea – but not a stipulation – to make a list of all your financial outgoings as well as your income because your broker/lender will want to know that you’ll find the mortgage affordable.

How long does a mortgage offer last?

You’ll find a standard mortgage offer is typically valid for up to six months, whereas a re-mortgage is usually valid for three months (although it can also be six months). The difference is down to the fact that a purchase will typically take longer from application to completion.

Some lenders have a completion deadline instead of a time limit. If you go past this you can still use that lender for a mortgage but your criteria will be re-assessed so you’ll be starting from scratch again. If your circumstances have altered you may be offered a new deal.


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