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Optimising the Mortgage Process and Timescales

Updated: May 14

If you are wondering how long the mortgage process takes and what is involved, you are not the only one. Whether you are a first time buyer, you are remortgaging or you are moving home, 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:

Understanding the Mortgage Application Process and Timescales

Are you ready to start the mortgage application process? If you are looking to buy a home, the next step is laying the groundwork and getting that mortgage in place ready for purchase. You should familiarise yourself with the mortgage process and likely timescales, 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. This is 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

Your documentation is a fundamental part of the mortgage application process, and you will 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 / pay slips to evidence your income. (minimum of 12 months trading if you are self employed) Lenders want to know you can afford a mortgage and the more information you can provide the better. Check out What Documents Will I Need To Provide For My Mortgage Application? for a full rundown.

Step 3: Secure A Mortgage In Principle

Whether it is referred to as a decision in principle (DIP), agreement in principle (AIP) or mortgage in principle (MIP), 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 30 to 90 days.

Do remember to share your mortgage AIP with the estate agents as this will demonstrate you are a serious buyer and ready to proceed.

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 are 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 are buying. Remember, this is NOT a survey, read on for further details or check out our page devoted to surveys.

Step 5: Wait For Your Mortgage Offer And Instruct A Solicitor

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 two to four weeks of your application. During this time you will instruct your solicitor, commonly referred to as a ‘Conveyancer’, they will support you with your purchase. Your solicitor will take care of all the legal paperwork, so local searches, drawing up of contracts as well as overseeing any enquiries with the seller’s solicitor.

What Happens After My Mortgage Application Is Submitted?

If you have already received a mortgage in principle agreement and you have now sent off your formal application, the mortgage process is underway - it is now simply a waiting game. Your lender will work behind the scenes following your application to get a valuation survey and check over all your documentation and information. Timescales wise the process should take now longer than two to three weeks, although lenders can often work quicker.

You may hear from them (or your broker if that is the route you have chosen) if they require extra details or if there are any snags in the approvals process. If you are 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.

Should I Organise a Survey?

Depending on the type / age of the property you are purchasing you may decide that organising a detailed survey is necessary. Some lenders allow you to upgrade their valuation but bear in mind the valuation is for the lenders benefit and not yours. Although upgrading with your lender will undoubtedly be the cheapest way forward, it is generally advisable to seek an independent survey as this will not only give you more choice, it will also minimise your immediate costs when submitting your mortgage application – i.e. seeking approval from your lender with minimal initial cost is generally regarded as a sensible way to proceed.

Once your mortgage has been formally approved and signed off you can then engage with a local surveyor, so one of your choosing, and go from there.

How Long After Your Application Will You Receive A Mortgage Offer?

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 change depending how busy a mortgage lender is, if there are any issues or additional checks needed, or due to any extenuating circumstances like global emergencies. (the pandemic in 2020 being one example of this)

Is There Anything You Can Do To Speed Up This Process?

Buying a property is an exciting time for anyone – so it is no surprise that we are 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 is 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 meet. There is 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 is simply a case of sending across information in an organised, fast manner when the time comes. Your mortgage broker should be in a position to request everything in one go so to prevent any last minute 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 will 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 is 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 is 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 are 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. A good mortgage broker will quite simply be your one reliable point of contact throughout your entire purchasing journey.

Lastly, not all mortgage brokers will charge a fee but it is certainly worth doing your home work as costs can vary hugely from one broker to the next. Check out our article on Broker Fees for full details.

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 have 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 are 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 are working with. In some cases, you will not be able to make an offer on a property or even view an extremely popular house without a mortgage agreement in principle. If you are planning to buy in the next six months, arranging an agreement in principle shows that you are serious. In some cases, this can even lead to faster offer acceptance on the part of the estate agent or seller themselves.

Where To Go To Get A Mortgage With The Best Rate?

Getting the best rate for your mortgage can be a challenge whether you are 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 broker 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 homemovers, our specialist team can ensure you are 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 and experienced mortgage brokers? 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 numerous 5-star reviews, we are the ideal fit for you. To arrange a free consultation, contact us today.

Published by Beechwood Mortgages Ref: 219335 with review and approval from Stonebridge Mortgage Solutions Limited who is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority Ref: 454811.


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