How Long Does Underwriting Take for a Mortgage Loan

The majority of the closing process consists of the different procedures your lender will take to confirm your creditworthiness and ensure that they are not assuming an excessive level of risk with your loan. A significant portion of this effort occurs during the underwriting process. If the underwriter experiences problems, this may cause a delay in your closure.

What is the usual duration of the underwriting process? The underwriting process might take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks before you are given approval to proceed with closing.

What factors influence the duration of mortgage underwriting?

The duration of the process will vary based on various factors, such as the number of applications being processed by your lender, the underwriting standards and procedures of the lender, and the intricacy of your financial condition. For individuals with more complex financial backgrounds, such as self-employed borrowers, the procedure could require additional time compared to someone with a reasonably straightforward application.

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What does underwriting mean?

Before we delve into the underwriting process further, let’s ensure that we have a basic comprehension of what it entails. Underwriting is the stage of the mortgage process where your lender checks your financial information to ensure that you meet the requirements for a loan. The individual who does out this procedure is known as an underwriter. An underwriter will thoroughly review your financial information and the value of the property you are buying to make sure they are not assuming excessive risk by accepting your mortgage loan.

The Financial Situation of the Buyer

The underwriter will carefully examine your income, savings, and other assets, as well as your debt and credit history. They will also verify information about the property and determine if you meet the eligibility criteria for the specific type of home loan you are applying for. For instance, they will confirm if you meet the minimum service requirements for a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) loan.

The value of the property

The preapproval procedure focuses on you and your creditworthiness. The whole approval process verifies that there have been no changes in that aspect, but it primarily examines the worth of the house you wish to buy.

When you obtain a mortgage loan, it is backed by the property you are purchasing. If the value of the property is lower than the amount of the loan, the lender faces the possibility of incurring a loss. The importance of the appraisal value is the reason why receiving a low appraisal can result in delays throughout the underwriting process.

The Three C’s of Underwriting

The three main factors considered in underwriting are credit, capacity, and collateral.

The underwriter will review all the documentation you provided in order to help them comprehend your three C’s. This will involve tax returns, W-2s, bank statements, retirement savings, pay stubs, investment account statements, and any other pertinent papers.

Throughout this procedure, the underwriter might want you to provide supplementary information. They may require more up-to-date documentation or a letter of explanation for any inquiries they may have, such as the source of a significant deposit in your savings account.

This is frequently the point at which the procedure can encounter delays, causing a postponement in the completion. Make sure to stay updated with correspondence from your lender and promptly provide them with the information they are asking for to ensure smooth progress.

Automated versus Manual Underwriting

Many mortgage lenders utilize software that processes this data and evaluates your eligibility for a loan. This process is referred to as automated underwriting. Automated underwriting assists in simplifying and standardizing the underwriting and approval procedures.

If you have special situations, such a short credit history, the lender might have to personally evaluate your loan. This implies that a person will handle the full underwriting process instead of using a computer program to input information.

The Underwriting Approval Process Explained

Now, let’s discuss the general mortgage process, starting from the application stage and ending with the closing stage. We will also examine the normal duration of each phase and how underwriting is involved in this process.

Loan Application and Preapproval: A Few Days

When you initially apply for a mortgage, you will usually supply a considerable amount of information regarding your present financial circumstances. You can be requested to present evidence demonstrating your earnings, savings, liabilities, and any other relevant financial information. The lender will also be granted authorization to review your credit history and score.

The lender will review all of your information and assess whether you meet their requirements for obtaining a loan, based on the information you have provided. This usually takes less than a week to finish.

Obtain Your Preapproval Letter

At this stage, you can receive a preapproval letter from the lender indicating the amount they are willing to offer you depending on your financial profile. This will assist you in determining your price range when you are shopping for a home. Completing the preapproval process prior to starting your search can assist you in making bids with assurance, and will aid in resolving any issues in your application before proceeding with the underwriting process, therefore potentially saving time after you have identified your prospective house.

Search for a residence and submit a proposal.

After you have located the desired home, you will proceed to make an offer and engage in negotiations with the seller. If everything goes as planned, both parties will sign the purchase agreement and you will be legally obligated to buy the home.

Afterwards, you will collaborate with your lender to obtain complete approval and be authorized for closing.

Assessment And Estimation: Less Than A Week

If you’re buying or refinancing, you’ll probably need to receive an assessment.

The appraisal will be ordered by your lender. An authorized, independent appraiser will generate an appraisal report by doing a physical inspection of both the inside and outside of the property being evaluated. They will also consider the selling prices of previously sold properties that are comparable to the one being appraised.

The report will contain the appraiser’s assessment of the home’s fair market value. The entire process typically takes around a week or less.

The evaluation is crucial to the underwriting procedure. Understanding the true value of the house in relation to the selling price allows the underwriter to determine the loan-to-value ratio (LTV) and verify that the borrower has adequate funds in their savings to make a suitable down payment.

Gathering Documentation and Underwriting: Several Days to Several Weeks

After the loan details and application are ready, an underwriter will review every aspect of your file to ensure that you meet the loan requirements and that the lender is not taking on excessive risk by lending to you.

Underwriters will attempt to discover the solution to these three fundamental inquiries.

What is your level of risk as a borrower?

Have you failed to make payments on home loans in the past? Have you consistently made your loan payments on time? What is your credit rating? These are the kinds of queries they will aim to respond to.

Are you able to repay this loan?

Underwriters are interested in ensuring that your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio is not excessively high, which could potentially make it difficult for you to afford your monthly payments. They will also make sure that you have some additional funds, called reserves, that you may use to pay your mortgage if you were to unexpectedly lose your income.

Is the value of the home sufficient to cover the loan amount?

Lenders prefer not to lend an amount above the value of the home, as the property serves as security in the event of loan failure. They will consider factors such as the loan-to-value (LTV) ratio, the amount of equity the borrower has in the home, and the size of their down payment.

Conditional approval and the need for additional documentation may take around one week.

If everything is satisfactory, your lender may grant approval for your loan, or they may provide conditional approval. If you can fulfill the requirements for the conditional approval, you will be given permission to proceed with the closing. This could indicate that your loan is otherwise satisfactory, but you will need to submit more evidence.

The duration of this stage depends on how quickly you can provide the required information to your lender and how long it takes them to process it.


Once the underwriter has confirmed that your loan is suitable for approval, you will be authorized to proceed with the closing. At this stage, you will get a Closing Disclosure. This document provides the last specifics of your loan, such as the loan amount, interest rate, anticipated monthly payment, closing expenses, and the total cash required for closing.

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