Nothing quite beats the feeling of getting your offer accepted, exchanging contracts, completing, and then moving into your dream home. However, mortgage applications be tricky and long-drawn processes, with plenty of hurdles to face and overcome. But how long on average does a mortgage application take?

From start to finish, there are many factors involved in how long a mortgage application takes. On average it can take anytime between 18 and 40 days to have an application approved. However, by using a specialist mortgage broker, you can speed up this time.

Let’s take a look at all the factors involved though, as it’s not always that simple.


Because there are various different people and processes involved including mortgage advisers, lenders, banks, solicitors, conveyancers, surveyors, home owners, other people in the chain, and more.

Let’s split the process down though, so you know what to expect, and how long your mortgage application could take on average.

1. Contact a mortgage adviser

Your first step should be to contact an independent mortgage adviser who has access to the entire market and lenders. They will be able to help you find a mortgage to suit you, your situation, and budget.

This takes just a couple of minutes, and you can do that right now by contacting the team at Specialist Mortgage Online using the phone number or contact form.

An adviser will ask you to provide them with some very basic financial information including:

  • Personal ID such as a driving license or passport
  • Proof of your current home address such as a utility bill
  • Evidence of employment and wage payslips
  • Evidence of your financial history
  • Proof of your current incomings and outgoings
  • Deposit amount details
  • Credit check

Based on that, they will be able to find the most suitable lender, showing you different rates and deals leading to a mortgage offer in principle.

2. Get a mortgage offer in principle

This process lets you apply for a mortgage in principle. This is based on what the lenders are likely to offer you based on initial information you supplied to the mortgage adviser.

These mortgage offers in principle are not a guaranteed offer, but instead just based on what lenders would offer you based on the initial information provided.

A mortgage offer in principle is a certificate from a mortgage lender showing that they would be prepared to lend you a certain amount of money. It’s based on what they believe you will be able to afford given the amount you want to borrow.

The certificate should not cost you anything and could be generated in just a few hours with the support of a good mortgage adviser.

This part of the process could take as little as just a few hours.

The offer in principle is based on the initial information you provided the adviser so needs to be honest and a true reflection of your financial circumstances. If it isn’t, you won’t get a mortgage when it comes to the full application at the next stage.

However, providing you supplied accurate information, you now have an idea on how much you might be able to borrow so can start the most exciting part of the process; house hunting!

With an offer in principle, vendors will know that you are serious. You can tell estate agents that you have a certificate meaning you could be a genuine buyer.

Be aware, the rates and deal you are offered at the principle stage could change over the period of which it’s valid.

Having a mortgage offer in principle will speed up the whole application process, as a lot of the paperwork required for the full application will already be sourced and completed. 

2. Apply for the full mortgage

Once you have found the home you want to purchase, you will need to put your offer in.

You can now also apply for the full mortgage application, which should not take too long, with average times stretching between 18 and 40 days as we explained earlier. But it could take longer as there might be complications along the way.

Mortgages aren’t as easy to come by these days due to changes in the regulation. Lenders are far stricter about how they assess applications and affordability.

They will want to be 100% certain that you can afford the repayments and will look into your financial information in a lot of detail.

However, if you already have a mortgage in principle, a lot of this information will already be readily available to them and will be documented with the support of your adviser.

Once all of your paperwork has been assessed, it will be approved if proven to be legitimate and you can afford the mortgage.

The next stage involves a surveyor valuing the property you want to buy. It’s a legal requirement and is designed so the lender can be sure the property has enough security (value) in it to cover the amount of the loan.

The survey is only a few pages and will report back on things like:

  • Type of property (e.g. semi-detached or mid-terrace etc)
  • Comments on structural works that have been done

The aim of the property valuation is to value the home on behalf of the mortgage lender to make sure it reflects the loan offered.

They can be very limited in scope, so you might want to consider an independent homebuyer or full structural survey for your own peace of mind. This will highlight any repairs or structural defects that are not immediately obvious on the property.

The valuation survey can be one aspect that takes time and extends how long the mortgage application takes. It could take a couple of weeks to be completed.

It will depend on the availability of a surveyor, when they can inspect the property, how long it takes them to produce the report, and then get it submitted to the lender.

4. Mortgage acceptance and moving in

Providing that the valuation comes back with no issues, you will receive a formal mortgage offer from your chosen lender.

You will now need to get your solicitor to work on the exchange of contracts and move in dates with the vendor’s own legal representation.

Hopefully the solicitors on both sides are quick to do so, but it will depend on how fast they can move and liaise with each other.

Once done though, you can start thinking about how you’re going to be decorating your new home and fix a set date with the removals company!

Frequently asked questions on how long a mortgage application takes

How long does a mortgage offer last?

The majority of mortgage lenders will offer a mortgage deal for 3 to 6 months, with 6 months being the standard.

It can vary between lenders though, with some mortgage deals only being valid for 3 months from the initial date it was offered.

Re-mortgaging can be a little different, with mortgage offers lasting for around 3 months on average.

There are some lenders who will place a deadline for completion from the point the offer was given. If you go past that deadline, you can still use the lender, but your application details will need to be re-assessed, meaning you start the process all over again.

How long does it take from mortgage offer to completion?

It really depends on other factors. For example, if the house purchase is “chain-free” then you would expect the transaction to go through a lot quicker.

The mortgage approval process tends to be the longer part, but once approved the completion can on average tend to complete in a couple of weeks.

But don’t expect things to always run smoothly.

As we alluded to, the chain involved can sometimes prolong completion. Other factors that we have seen leading to delays can include complications due to neighbouring land, unregistered land, and issues that could come up with the survey.

How long does it take to complete after exchange?

You will probably have to wait between 7 and 14 days to move in. The most common completion date will usually be 2 weeks after you have exchanged contracts.

This is just a general guideline though.

If you are in no hurry to move and there is nothing in the chain to prevent you doing so, then you can ask for a longer period of time.

That will give you more time in which to prepare for your move in date, including organising the removal company, packing up, and changing address information with the relevant sources.

Why do mortgage applications take so long?

As you can see from the processes outlined above, there are plenty of different people and organisations involved in the buying of a home.

The more people involved, the more opportunity for complications and delay there will be.

That’s why it’s so important to use a mortgage adviser who has experience in working with the right type of lender to suit you.

You can find the perfect adviser now simply by contacting our team who will take a few small pieces of information from you before selecting a suitable adviser from our panel.

The people and processes involved include:

  • Mortgage adviser to help you with the application process
  • Mortgage lenders who will offer in principle before the full offer
  • Surveyors to assess the property and valuation
  • Any chains in the property market
  • Vendors who own the property and are also looking to move
  • Solicitors to work on the legal documentation and exchange

How can you speed up how long a mortgage application takes?

As you might have guessed by now, having a great mortgage adviser on your side how knows the ins and outs of applying for mortgages is key to a speedy application.

When you contact our team, we will put you in touch with an adviser most suited to your situation.

Whether you are a first-time buyer, looking to re-mortgage, want a buy to let, or have bad credit issues, it’s important to work with an adviser who understands your unique situation.

They will be able to search the whole market and source you a lender with the right type of mortgage product to suit you.

Our panel of advisers are all experienced with what lenders look for, and how best to speed up the time it takes to successfully apply for a mortgage.

Using an adviser can significantly reduce the time it takes for you to do your own research, make appointments with lenders, and wasting time applying to lenders who aren’t suited to you.

What to do next?

Contact us now to speak to a friendly member of our team. Inside of just a few minutes you could be well on the way to getting onto the property ladder.