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How Long Does It Take To Get Approved for a Mortgage?

Kevin O’Leary April 4, 2024 0

Understanding the Mortgage Approval Process

The mortgage approval process is a crucial step in the journey to homeownership. It involves submitting a mortgage application, providing financial information, and waiting for the lender’s decision. The process can be complex and time-consuming, but understanding the key steps and timeline can help you navigate it smoothly.

Key Steps in the Mortgage Approval Timeline

The mortgage approval process typically involves several key steps:

  1. Preapproval: Getting preapproved for a mortgage gives you an estimate of your loan amount and shows sellers that you’re a serious buyer. This step usually takes 1-5 days.
  2. Underwriting: Once you’ve found a home and made an offer, the lender’s underwriting team will review your mortgage application in detail. This step can take 30-60 days.
  3. Appraisal: The lender will order an appraisal of the property to ensure it’s worth the purchase price. This usually takes 2-7 days.
  4. Home Inspection: You’ll want to schedule a home inspection to identify any potential issues with the property. This step typically takes 3-10 days.
  5. Final Walkthrough: Before closing, you’ll do a final walkthrough of the property to ensure it’s in the expected condition. This usually happens 1 day before closing.

Average Time to Close on a Mortgage

According to recent data, the average time to close on a mortgage is 51 days. However, this timeline can vary based on several factors, such as:

  • The type of loan you’re applying for
  • The complexity of your financial situation
  • The responsiveness of all parties involved
  • The current market conditions

It’s important to note that the home buying timeline can also vary. While the mortgage approval process may take around 50 days on average, the entire home buying journey – from starting your search to closing on your new home – can take anywhere from 30 to 45 days or longer.

Factors That Can Delay Mortgage Approval

While the mortgage approval process generally follows a predictable timeline, there are several factors that can cause delays or even derail the process entirely.

Financial Changes and Their Impact on Approval

One of the most common reasons for mortgage approval delays is a change in the borrower’s financial situation. This can include:

  • Job Change: Switching employers or becoming self-employed during the mortgage process can raise red flags for lenders.
  • Income Change: A significant decrease in income or inconsistent earnings can affect your ability to qualify for the loan.
  • Significant Purchase: Making a large purchase, such as a car or furniture, can impact your debt-to-income ratio and cause the lender to reevaluate your application.

If any of these changes occur during the mortgage process, it’s crucial to communicate them to your lender immediately. Depending on the nature of the change, you may need to provide additional documentation or explanations, which can delay the approval process.

Property Issues and Contingency Failures

In addition to financial changes, issues with the property itself can also cause delays in mortgage approval. Some common property-related issues include:

  • Home Inspection Findings: If the home inspection reveals significant problems with the property, such as structural issues or mold, it may be necessary to renegotiate the purchase contract or walk away from the deal entirely.
  • Appraisal Discrepancies: If the appraisal comes in lower than the purchase price, the lender may require you to make up the difference or renegotiate the price with the seller.
  • Contingency Failures: If your purchase contract includes contingencies, such as selling your current home or securing homeowners insurance, failing to meet these contingencies can jeopardize your financing.

To minimize the risk of property-related delays, it’s important to work with experienced professionals, such as a reputable home inspector and a knowledgeable real estate agent, who can help you identify and address potential issues early in the process.

Expediting the Mortgage Approval Process

While some delays in the mortgage approval process are beyond your control, there are several steps you can take to help expedite the process and improve your chances of a smooth, timely closing.

The Importance of Mortgage Preapproval

One of the most important steps you can take to expedite the mortgage process is to get preapproved before you start shopping for a home. Preapproval involves providing your lender with detailed financial information, such as your income, assets, and credit score, so they can assess your creditworthiness and determine how much they’re willing to lend you.

Getting preapproved offers several benefits:

  • It gives you a clear idea of your budget, so you can focus your home search on properties you can afford.
  • It demonstrates to sellers that you’re a serious, qualified buyer, which can give you an edge in competitive markets.
  • It can help you identify and address any potential red flags in your credit report or financial profile before you submit a formal mortgage application.

Preparing Your Financial Information

Another key to expediting the mortgage approval process is to be proactive in preparing and providing your financial information. This includes:

  • Reviewing Your Credit Report: Before applying for a mortgage, review your credit report from all three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) and dispute any errors or inaccuracies that could negatively impact your credit score.
  • Gathering Financial Documents: Be prepared to provide your lender with a wide range of financial documents, such as tax returns, pay stubs, bank statements, and investment account statements. Having these documents organized and readily available can help speed up the underwriting process.
  • Being Responsive to Requests for Additional Information: During the mortgage process, your lender may request additional documentation or clarification on certain aspects of your financial profile. Responding promptly and thoroughly to these requests can help keep the process moving forward smoothly.

Working with a Trusted Loan Professional

Finally, one of the most effective ways to expedite the mortgage approval process is to work with a trusted, experienced loan professional. A knowledgeable mortgage broker or loan officer can guide you through the process, help you avoid common pitfalls, and advocate on your behalf with underwriters and other decision-makers.

When choosing a loan professional, look for someone who:

  • Has a proven track record of success in helping borrowers like you secure financing
  • Takes the time to understand your unique financial situation and goals
  • Communicates clearly and regularly throughout the process
  • Is responsive to your questions and concerns

By working with a trusted loan professional and being proactive in preparing your financial information and responding to lender requests, you can help ensure a smoother, more efficient mortgage approval process.

Mortgage Approval Timelines by Lender

While the average mortgage approval process takes around 50 days, the specific timeline can vary depending on the lender you choose. Here’s a closer look at the approval timelines for a few popular mortgage lenders.

Skyla: Fast Mortgage Decisions

Skyla is an online mortgage platform that prides itself on fast, streamlined mortgage approvals. With Skyla, borrowers can get a mortgage decision in as little as 48 hours, thanks to the company’s proprietary technology and automated underwriting process.

Here’s how the Skyla mortgage process works:

  1. Complete a short online application and provide basic financial information.
  2. Receive a pre-approval decision within minutes.
  3. Work with a dedicated loan officer to finalize your application and lock in your rate.
  4. Skyla’s automated underwriting system reviews your application and supporting documents, with a final decision in as little as 48 hours.
  5. Close on your loan and start enjoying your new home!

While Skyla’s speedy process can be appealing, it’s important to note that not all borrowers will qualify for the platform’s automated underwriting. If your financial situation is particularly complex or if you have certain red flags in your credit history, you may need to go through a more traditional underwriting process.

Traditional Lenders and Their Approval Timelines

For borrowers who don’t qualify for or choose not to use a platform like Skyla, the mortgage approval timeline can be somewhat longer. Here are the typical approval timelines for a few well-known traditional lenders:

Lender Typical Approval Timeline
Wells Fargo 30-45 days
Bank of America 30-45 days
Chase 30-45 days
Rocket Mortgage 30-45 days

While these timelines are generally longer than Skyla’s 48-hour decision, it’s important to remember that the actual time to close on your loan can vary based on a wide range of factors, from the complexity of your financial situation to the responsiveness of all parties involved in the transaction.

Regardless of which lender you choose, being proactive in preparing your financial information, responding promptly to requests for additional documentation, and working with a trusted loan professional can help ensure a smoother, more efficient mortgage approval process.

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