How long does a mortgage offer take?

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “how long does a mortgage offer take?” and provide more information about how to get a mortgage offer quickly.

How long does a mortgage offer take?

Getting a mortgage offer could take between 7 to 30 days on average but there are many factors which could affect how long it takes you to get a mortgage offer

Below are the main factors which affect how long a mortgage offer may take to be issued

Have you got your documents ready?

If you haven’t got your mortgage documents ready then you may find that the process of contacting all third parties such as your bank, your utility provider, your employer and HMRC could delay when you are able to submit your mortgage application.

This will then naturally increase the amount of time it takes for you to be issued a mortgage offer. 

To reduce how long it takes for you to get a mortgage offer you should get all the supporting documents which you may need for a mortgage ready in time for your mortgage application.

Are you in a property chain?

If you are in a property chain then the time it will take for you to get a mortgage offer may be increased significantly.

A property chain is when a buyer or seller is relying on another third party who is either buying or selling before they then transact on their property.

E.g you are buying a house but the seller is waiting on his own offer on a home to be accepted before he accepts your sale offer.

A property chain could greatly increase how long it will take for you to get a mortgage offer.

How quickly does the mortgage underwriter work?

If you have a mortgage lender with mortgage underwriters who are notoriously slower than others in the mortgage market then you may find that it takes much longer to get a mortgage offer.

Your mortgage broker may be able to advise you on which mortgage underwriters tend to work much faster to ensure you can get your mortgage offer as quickly as possible.

Do you have a complex mortgage application?

If you have a complex mortgage application such as bad credit, foreign income or a complex gifted deposit then you may find it much harder to get a mortgage offer as quickly as possible as the mortgage underwriters will have to review your mortgage application thoroughly and this may involve a lot of back and forth communication between you or your mortgage broker and the mortgage lender.

Issues found at the mortgage valuation or property survey

If there are any issues found when the mortgage valuation or property survey is conducted then this may naturally reduce how long it takes to get a mortgage offer.

Issues such as this are not in your control and you can only react to them. 

Delays in Government scheme approval

If you are applying with a government scheme such as any of the below then you will rely on how fast the local agent is with processing applications to the scheme.

If there is a backlog or the local agent is notoriously slow then this may affect how long it takes for you to get a mortgage offer.

Getting an Authority to proceed or authority to exchange letter could certainly take time and this should be taken into account when planning your mortgage offer

Government schemes you could apply with include:

  • Lifetime ISA– gives you a government bonus of £1,000 if you save a 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– similar to the 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.

You can check if you are eligible for these government schemes by using a government scheme eligibility calculator.

How quickly does your mortgage broker work?

Another important factor that affects how quickly you are able to get a mortgage offer is how fast your mortgage broker works.

If you have a mortgage broker who takes his time and works very slow then getting a mortgage offer will naturally take longer.

Use a mortgage broker for your mortgage in principle

You may want to use an independent mortgage broker to help you get a mortgage on your new home.

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 rather 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 based on your mortgage affordability.

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 as more estate agents and sellers may take you seriously and it will also give you confidence that your mortgage is indeed a possibility before you make a full mortgage application. 

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

This will come with a key facts illustration document that details the features of your mortgage including how much you will pay per month.

It will also contain information on 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.

This will then bring an end to the conveyancing process, at which point you will receive the keys to the house and move in.

In this brief guide, we answered the question “how long does a mortgage offer take?” and provide more information about how to get a mortgage offer quickly.

If you have any questions or comments please let us know.

If you need financial advice and you live in the UK then you could contact the Money Advice service over the phone or via chat for impartial advice.

You can also contact the debt charity “Step Change” if you are in debt and need help.