Deciding to buy a property and applying for a mortgage can be one of life’s most stressful experiences and a big part of that is the application process itself and waiting to hear if you have been approved. This article aims to ensure that first time buyers and those moving home have an understanding how long each step in the mortgage application process takes. If you need help with mortgages, our experienced advisers at Finance Advice Centre are here to help. We can guide you through the application process to try and ensure it goes as quickly and smoothly as possible.

How long does it take to get a mortgage?

Prior to your application you will have obtained an agreement mortgage in principle and found a house that you are interested in. Your offer will have been accepted and you are ready to get everything underway. 

The mortgage application itself is normally a continuation of the agreement in principle and you now need to be progressed into a full mortgage application. In order to do so, the lender will check the price you have agreed to buy the property for, the address, the estate agent you are purchasing the property through, and the solicitor you want to use for the purchase conveyancing.

The lender will need your latest 3 months payslips, last 3 months of bank statements, and will need to see your passport and/or driving license, current address. A mortgage application can take about 24 hours based on the assumption that you already have all of the documents together and ready for the lender. There are multiple factors that can delay it, but how long it takes can be down to you as well as the lender. Any time that you spend getting these items together will add to the time it will take to get the mortgage application started. If you want to speed up the process, be sure to gather your documentation together as soon as you can.

What happens after your mortgage application is submitted?

When your mortgage application has been submitted, it is possible that the lender might ask you for further information. As soon as all further documents and information have been received the lender will instruct the surveyor.

How long does a mortgage property valuation take?

It takes around 7-14 days from the time of your application to get the valuation completed. The surveyor’s office will contact the estate agent to organise access to the building you are buying so that they can conduct a building survey. The majority of surveyors will complete their report on the property the same day as the building inspection. This is then sent to the lender for the underwriter to reach a decision on the true value of the property.

How long does a mortgage application take to be approved?

The average time for a mortgage to be approved by a lender is around 2 weeks. In some rare circumstances it can be as quick as 24 hours, but normally you should expect to be waiting 2 weeks whilst the property is surveyed by the lender and your application is underwritten.

How long does it take between mortgage valuation and an offer?

Once the mortgage valuation survey has been received from the surveyor, the lender will have everything they need to make a final decision and take the application forward to make a mortgage offer. The solicitor carrying out the conveyancing will also be sent a copy of the mortgage offer that is made to you. It can sometimes take up to 17 days to receive an offer (although in some cases it can be as quick as 2 days or occasionally longer than 17days).

Does it take a while to exchange contracts?

When your solicitor receives the mortgage offer, they should be quite close to being able to exchange contacts, which takes about 8 weeks.

While your application was being processed, your solicitor will have been continuing with the necessary conveyancing for your purchase. They will have applied for the local authority search, which takes approximately 4 weeks, depending on the local authority and how busy the housing market is at that moment.

As soon as your solicitor has your mortgage offer, and everything they need, they will organise with you for a pre-exchange meeting. During this meeting they will go over any problems or concerns that have been highlighted and you will be asked if you have any preferential dates for completion.

Overall completion

The day for picking up your keys and moving into your new home could be nearly upon you. When you have exchanged contracts, your solicitor will arrange with your lender to draw the funds down so you can complete and officially own your new home. The time between exchanging contracts and completion can vary as the decision is made by the owner and the buyer. The average time between exchange of contracts and completion is 4 weeks, but it can sometimes take longer. 


As a mortgage is secured against your home, it could be repossessed if you do not keep up the mortgage repayments.