How long does it take to get a mortgage?

Adrian Collins


August 25, 2021

Mortgage Advice

If you’re wondering, ‘how long does it take to get a mortgage?’, you’re not the only one. Whether you’re a first time buyer, you’re remortgaging, or you’re buying for the fifth time, getting your mortgage application right is a must. Our comprehensive guide covers all you need to know about the mortgage process when you buy a property. How long does a mortgage take? Here’s what you need to know:

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get a mortgage agreement

If you’re planning on getting a mortgage, one of the first questions you’ll have will likely be how long it takes to get a mortgage in the first place. Whether you’re on a time crunch or eager to get those keys, waiting for a mortgage to go through can be stressful and a little nerve-wracking at the same time. While we can’t say how quickly your specific mortgage will be approved, Beechwood generally see mortgages approved in two to four weeks. 

Of course, that’s not all there is to buying a property, but getting a mortgage complete is one of the vital steps towards homeownership. Depending on the time of year, how busy mortgage lenders are and how smooth your application process goes, the actual wait time can vary quite a bit. But if you get a mortgage agreement in principle ready to go, you may find the process much easier overall.

It’s worth noting that today’s mortgage application process is quite different to what it was a couple of years ago. With the pandemic disruption and rush to purchase thanks to changes in stamp duty, the mortgage process in England and Wales may take a little more time than you might expect. An extra 1–4-week turnaround time is to be expected, so don’t be deterred if your mortgage application process feels on the long side.

So, what does the mortgage application include? What is a mortgage agreement in principle? How does the whole mortgage offer process work as a whole? If you’ve got questions about how to get a mortgage, we’ve covered everything you need to know. If you want to speed up your mortgage or you want to make sure your credit score and application are ready to go, we’ve got you covered.

What does the mortgage application process include?

Are you ready to start the mortgage application process? If you’re ready to buy a home, the next step is laying the groundwork and getting that mortgage in place ready for purchase. The step-by-step process to completing your mortgage application is as follows:

Step 1: Find the right mortgage

The first step to getting a mortgage is finding a mortgage. With so many different options and choices out there from a wide array of lenders, finding the best choice for your needs can be a challenge. That’s where mortgage brokers come in. While estate agents specialise in selling properties, mortgage brokers specialise in finding the best mortgages for buyers. If you are a first-time buyer, in particular, seeking out a qualified, authorised and regulated mortgage broker can ensure you find the right mortgage for your specific goals and requirements.

Step 2: Prepare documents for submission

Documentation is a required part of the mortgage application process, and you’ll be required to provide a few different types of information to a lender before they even consider you for a mortgage in principle. This information includes proof of your identity, proof of your current address, and information relating to your income and expenses. At a minimum, you should have up to six months’ worth of bank statements and complete information on your employers for proof of your income. Lenders want to know you can afford a mortgage, and the more information you have, the better.

Step 3: Get a mortgage in principle

Whether it’s referred to as a decision in principle, agreement in principle or mortgage in principle, all these terms mean the same thing. When you find the mortgage that you feel is the best fit, you can ask the lender to carry out a credit check to agree ‘in principle’ to approving you for a mortgage. The exact length of a mortgage in principle can vary, but in general, it will be valid for around six months. This timeframe is why it’s important to only apply for a decision in principle if you’re set on buying a specific property or buying immediately.

Step 4: Complete your formal mortgage application

With all the pre-purchase paperwork out of the way, you can go ahead and make an offer on a property. Once your offer is accepted, you can then begin the process of formally applying for your mortgage. If you’re working with a mortgage broker, they will be able to arrange and organise everything for you. The mortgage lender will conduct their own valuation of the property you’d like to buy, allowing them to calculate the mortgage itself accurately.

Step 5: Wait for your approval and mortgage offer

If everything is ticked off and no problems are found during the application process, your lender will then potentially make you a formal offer for your mortgage within four weeks of your application. Once you’ve confirmed your mortgage, you can then work directly with your solicitor to organise all the conveyancing details to make the property yours. 

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mortgage agreement in principle

What happens after your mortgage application is submitted?

If you’ve already received a mortgage in principle agreement and you have now sent off your formal application, a lot of the process is a waiting game. Your potential lender will work behind the scenes following your application to get a valuation survey and check over all your documentation and information.

You may hear from them if they require extra details or if there are any snags in the approvals process. At this point, lenders carry out a credit check which you may also be notified of, but in general little contact is required between lenders and buyers. If you’re working with a qualified mortgage broker, you may get earlier notice of whether your mortgage is approved – another great benefit of working with mortgage experts.

How long after your application will you receive a mortgage offer?

There’s no set in stone answer for the exact deadline you’ll receive a mortgage offer by. Each lender is different, and not every mortgage application is the same. In our 20 years of experience it usually takes us 2-4 four weeks to get your mortgage offer back to you. This timeline may be inflated by how busy a mortgage lender is, if there are any issues or additional checks needed, or due to extenuating circumstances like global emergencies.

Is there anything you can do to speed up this process?

Buying a property is an exciting time for anyone – so it’s no surprise we’re always looking to speed up the mortgage process. Realistically, there will always be a short wait between submitting your formal mortgage application and waiting for your mortgage offer. But being prepared and forewarned can help with the time it will take for your mortgage offer to come through, from speeding through the application itself to shortening the time before you receive your final approval. Here’s what you can do to help everything go smoothly:

1. Ensure you have your documents ready to go

Having the correct, relevant documents is a significant part of completing your mortgage application. Organisation is vital when it comes to finances, and this is particularly true when lenders have specific stipulations for you to apply. There’s no such thing as overpreparation when applying for mortgages, so ensure you have everything to hand in case you happen to need it. Full proof of income, details of employment and financial information are an excellent place to start.

You should also make sure your forms of identification and proof of address are suitable and fit for purpose. If you have everything ready ahead of time, it’s simply a case of sending across information in an organised, fast manner when the time comes. No scrabbling around to find information or getting in contact with banks and credit card companies to request statements urgently.

2. Keep in close communication with everyone

Communication is key with mortgages, thanks to the multiple moving parts in the process. You’ll deal with estate agents, lenders, solicitors and more as a part of your mortgage process. If you work with a mortgage broker, you can condense necessary communication down into something that’s easier to handle. But, in general, being quick and responsive to emails, letters, and phone calls can pave the way towards a faster mortgage approvals process.

In some cases, this may mean using the fastest communication method to help speed up the process. If it’s possible to submit identification and information digitally, you should do so. With less time spent waiting on details, lenders can act more quickly to process your mortgage offer. Similarly, if you’re quick to communicate on issues and queries that need your input, there will be less downtime waiting for your response.

3. Use a mortgage broker

A qualified mortgage broker can help speed up your mortgage application process in numerous ways. Firstly, a skilled broker can connect you with mortgage lenders that are likely to approve you based on your specific circumstances. No need to shop around to find a lender out of countless options, allowing you to get through the initial stage of sourcing the right mortgage with fewer delays for you.

Secondly, a mortgage broker can do a lot of the chasing and communication on your behalf. Their expertise also means they’re well-equipped to know precisely what you need to supply for each lender in terms of documentation and financial information. By working with a mortgage broker, you cut out a lot of the legwork involved in mortgages, which then allows for a more focused mortgage process that takes less time.

4. Get a mortgage agreement in principle

A mortgage agreement in principle cuts down on time for anyone looking to purchase a property. Because you’ve already approached the lender or worked with a broker to do so, you get the benefit of them already ‘pre-checking’ you before you make your formal application. Part of the agreement in principle is the credit check, which tests whether or not you’re a good candidate for a specific mortgage, and prevents time wastage further down the line.

The other benefit of getting a mortgage in principle depends upon the estate agents or seller you’re working with. In some cases, you won’t be able to make an offer on a property or even view an extremely popular house without a mortgage agreement in principle. If you’re planning to buy in the next six months, arranging an agreement in principle shows you’re serious. In some cases, this can even lead to faster offer acceptance on the part of the estate agent or seller themselves.

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mortgage application process

Where to go to get a mortgage with the best rate?

Getting the best rate for your mortgage can be a challenge whether you’re remortgaging or a new buyer. A mortgage broker has access to a wide range of different options in seconds, allowing them to match you with the best lender at the best rate for you. Mortgages are personal, and going with the generic or easy option rarely yields the best results.

Working with a service like Beechwood Mortgages allows you to compare thousands of different mortgage options without the hours of research, achieving the best possible outcome in the least amount of time. With experience in buy to let, first time buyers, remortgaging, and house moves, our specialist team can ensure you’re paired with the best mortgage for your personal circumstances. We deliver a personal service for the best possible results.

Working with qualified mortgage brokers can help shorten the process, while our tips above can help make the process smoother from start to finish. The more informed you are, the faster and easier the process will be for you – and the sooner those keys will be in your hands.
Are you looking for trustworthy, experienced mortgage brokers in the home counties area? Get in touch with our team at Beechwood Mortgages today to get started. With a focus on personal one-on-one service and an exceptional reputation with hundreds of 5-star reviews, we’re the ideal fit for you. To arrange a free consultation, contact us today.

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