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How long does it take to get a mortgage? 

 June 22, 2021

By Scott Teesdale  

minutes read time

In a normal housing market, a typical mortgage takes around 30 days from start to finish, assuming it’s a conventional borrower and everything goes smoothly (i.e., house appraisal matches home value). However, if you’re looking to get a mortgage during the high-volume months of the year for the housing market then the time to get the mortgage might be longer than 30 days.

In busy months for the housing market, when many people are trying to sell their homes, you can expect to get a mortgage between 45 and 60 days. This is because lenders can get backed up with other potential homebuyers who are looking to do the same thing as you are and might require additional paperwork from you.

Additionally, if your specific lender discovers a snag in your financial record – like a low credit score or a lot of debt – then it could take even longer while your lender sorts the issue out. In general, if you have any issues with your financial history it will take a longer time to get a mortgage even if the housing market isn’t experiencing a lot of volume. It’s a common mortgage mistake for first time home buyers

How long does it take for a mortgage to be approved?

As a general rule, if you have a spotless credit score, low debt, and turned in all the necessary paperwork to your lender then you can typically get approved in as little as 72 hours. Keep in mind that this approval will be a conditional approval from your lender and not the final one. To get final approval, it might take your lender more time to go through your financial history and grant you final approval.  

However, it can be difficult to determine how long it will take for your mortgage to be approved because it all depends on your lender. The lender has to go through the underwriting process of determining whether or not you are a good enough risk for them to lend you money for a home. Basically, the lender needs to determine whether or not they think you will be able to pay the money back that you’re borrowing for a home. 

Additionally, if you don’t turn in all the necessary paperwork then the lender will need to reach back out to you and obtain the paperwork that’s missing so they can complete the approval process. Once again, this paperwork is basically used to determine how much debt you have compared to your income and discover whether or not you can pay off the loan you applied for. 

How long does it take to buy a house from start to finish?

According to Zillow, on average it takes four and a half months from start to finish to buy a home. On top of that you have to add 30-45 days while you’re under contract to actually close on your home. 

Of course, there are a lot of variables that can delay or speed up the four and a half months it takes to buy a home from start to finish. Some variables that you might encounter could be out of your control, such as the volume of the market when you decide to buy a home. 

However, other delays in your mortgage process could be common ones that many people experience when going through the home buying process.

What are common problems that delay getting a mortgage?

One of the most common delays in getting a mortgage is turning in the proper paperwork to the mortgage lender. It’s one of the very first steps home buyers need to do and tends to be a tricky one because of the lack of knowledge about how much paperwork is absolutely necessary and the process of getting that paperwork to the lender. 

Generally, the paperwork you’re going to need to turn in to get a mortgage is: 

  • Employer income verification 
  • Credit score verification  
  • Mortgage application information 
  • A detailed outline of assets and debts  
  • Other records, like K1s and other tax documents

The ‘Other records’ section can be difficult for many people looking to buy a home because depending on your lender these other records could be a number of different things. 

Additionally, employer income verification can be difficult depending on what you do for work. For example, if you want to get a mortgage as an entrepreneur it will be a different process for you. 

When you’re looking to get a mortgage, other common problems that cause delays like tax verifications from the IRS, employers returning verifications of payment, and housing appraisals.

When should you start the mortgage process?

Start the mortgage process immediately, don’t wait until you’ve found the perfect home to start the mortgage process because it’ll be too late. The best time to start the mortgage process is as soon as you think you’ve discovered the right home for you. 

Starting the mortgage application process immediately is the best practice in both high-volume months of the housing market and other months. It puts you in a better light in the eyes of the seller because most sellers prefer potential buyers to be pre-approved and pre-qualified to submit an offer. 

Also, once you’ve been pre-approved for a certain amount of money, you’ll know what houses are within your budget and be able to shop around for houses in the market with this in mind. Serious buyers actually get pre-approved before they start shopping for houses so they can figure out how much mortgage they qualify for and send offers for homes that fit in their price range. 

The bottom line about how long it takes to get a mortgage

It typically takes between 30-60 days to get a mortgage but a variety of factors can accelerate or delay this process. If this is your first time buying a home and want to be certain that you’re doing everything right in the mortgage process then you’ll need to get a mortgage guide for first time home buyers

The biggest factors of whether or not your mortgage process will be delayed depend on if you turned in all of the correct paperwork and have a clean financial history. However, depending on who your lender is, where you live, and other unforeseen circumstances like the volume of the housing market when you apply, your mortgage might take longer to obtain. 

Getting pre-approved before you start shopping for homes is the best way to go about getting a mortgage and getting the house you want. Sellers will take your offers more seriously and you’ll know which houses are in your price range.

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I use data and technology to help Millennials navigate the ins-and-outs of buying or selling a home in today's market. From appraisals to mortgages to zoning, I cover it all with the goal to teach others. Connect with me on social via the icons above.

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