Updated: Oct 15, 2021
Buying a property/moving home can be deemed as being a long and sometimes tough process! You’ve probably heard horror stories from family and friends.
Whilst they say “good things come to those who wait” when you’ve made your decision on a home you want it all now and to move in as quickly as possible!
There is a process though and it can be a bit tedious, so we’ll go through that now from preparation to being moved in!
Have a meeting with your broker and outline your potential maximum borrowing, deposit needed, monthly payments, purchase costs and everything else in between! Get your budget set and get prepared!
How long does it take to get a mortgage Agreement In Principle (AIP)
Lenders will do a basic search and credit check to see what they could realistically offer you. This is a good indication and although not guaranteed it is the first step! Lenders check credit and affordability based on the figures input during the Agreement/Decision in Principle.
This will show estate agents you are serious about buying and almost certainly needed when you want to place an offer on a property.
This doesn’t take too long and will vary from lender to lender – it’s usually about 15 mins to an hour.
How long does a mortgage application take?
Now that you have an agreement in principle and found a property, it’s time to complete your mortgage application. This should only take between 30mins to 1 ½ hours depending on the lender.
Your broker will need all of your documents before you can start his step so, please check out our blog to see what you'll need - https://www.mortgagemonster.co.uk/post/what-paperwork-do-i-need-to-apply-for-a-mortgage
What happens after a mortgage application?
The next part of the process is split into two parts,
Valuation: They’ll look at the property you’re buying, they’ll want to make sure that it meets their requirements, and these will vary from lender to lender. They may also want to get a specialist report if they see signs of Japanese Knotweed, damp, wood bearing beetles, a tree causing issues with its roots or structural issues.
They will look to see how your property compares pricewise with other similar property sold close by and give an opinion of value to the bank that you’re buying through.
At this point it may be worth look at further valuations such as homebuyers or structural surveys.
Underwriting: Here they look at you! Underwriters will check the information you’ve supplied on the application and check income for example against payslips and corresponding bank statements. They will look at spending behaviour, check your outgoings and make sure that it all makes sense to them as they’re partly responsible for lending out the banks money, so they want to make sure it’s all affordable. They’ll also check there’s nothing you’ve left out or your credit hasn’t suddenly had a downturn. Basically, they just ask tons of questions until they’re happy to lend to you. It's not uncommon for the broker to go forwards and backwards a few times with underwriters whilst they nail the details on the case before giving it a seal of approval.
Once the underwriters have looked at you and the property have a satisfactory valuation they will produce a mortgage offer. Usually, you, your broker and the solicitor will all get a copy. A mortgage offer can last between 3 months and 9 months depending on the lender.
Essentially so long as none of your personal circumstances change your money has been agreed and your solicitor just has to ask for it once all of the legal work has been completed!
The speed of offers vary from case to case and lender to lender and can take from 19 hours (the fastest we’ve had) to over 6 weeks (quite unusual), generally it's approx. 1-3 weeks at the moment.
How can I speed up my mortgage application?
Make sure you get all of your documents to your broker on time or as quick as possible. Your broker will be able to do most of the paperwork and will usually make the whole process a lot quicker and less stressful. They deal with underwriters on a daily basis and can decipher if questions or standards are best presented in a positive light.
How can I speed up my house purchase after Mortgage Offer?
It’s all down to the speed of solicitors and the fastest solicitor can only work at the pace of the slowest solicitors but it’s worth having a weekly check in to keep up with what’s going on and top get anything they ask you for back to them as quickly as possible. There’s a handy guide to the purchase process just here - https://www.mortgagemonster.co.uk/post/what-does-an-estate-agent-do
You’ll find good brokers have admin teams around them whose sole job is to chase lenders and solicitors until the job is done. Here at Mortgage Monster, we have a sales administration team whose sole job is to not only chase lenders but also to chase your solicitor; to help and assist them where needed to. This means that even if your broker is away on holiday or off ill their administrator can help along with the estate agent to chase other solicitors, estate agents and anyone involved in the chain in an effort to get your purchase/sale over the line.
To answer the question of “how long does it take to get a mortgage?”, it should take between 1-3 weeks from application, but this can vary hugely from lender to lender as they are all so individual. The buying process can take between 8 weeks to 6 months, and all depends quite heavily on the solicitors you’ve chosen. Sometimes your broker will be able to either recommend a good solicitor or at least warn you away from the overladen slower ones.
Even if you have the best buying solicitor in the UK, they’re only able to work as fast as the selling solicitor lets them as they’ll be waiting for answers to their queries from them or the person selling the property. Having a good estate agent can also help as they’ll be able to speak to the seller and their solicitor when needed.
We recommend talking to your broker and solicitor as much as you can (without going overboard) and make sure your application and property purchase is going through as it should be.