The concept of time as money is exemplified by the mortgage application process. It can take a mortgage anywhere from seven to 30 days to be approved. In that time, rates can change, fees can increase and you can even lose a property. For these reasons and more, it is in your best interest to get your mortgage approved quickly. The time it takes to have a conventional mortgage approved depends on a number of factors, some of them under your control and others out of your hands.
The first step to a quick turnaround is ensuring your application is complete. The bank uses every piece of information on the document to process the application, usually by entering the data into a computer system. The system uses all this information to approve and ultimately book the loan. If the application is missing key data, the underwriter will need to track you down to get it from you. If you're not immediately available, this can significant delay getting it approved.
The bank requires copies of your financial information along with your application. Typically, this includes two years of tax returns, W-2 forms, a month of pay stubs and three months of bank statements. It also provides a number of disclosures outlining your privacy rights, potential fees and authorization for the bank to run your credit. The bank needs this information to calculate your debt-to-income ratio to determine if you can afford the loan. If you do not provide it right away, the bank can't proceed until you do.
Your credit score plays a part in determining whether or not you get approved. If you have a high credit score of 700 or above, you have a better chance of getting approved. A low credit score, under 620, will hurt your chances. If your score is borderline or low, the bank may have additional questions. The quicker you can answer them, the better your chance of pushing your application through. If you know your credit score has negative elements, such as collections or judgments, provide a written explanation along with your application. This could save the underwriter the time it would take to contact you.
Sometimes, your approval is out of your hands. Banks process loan applications as they receive them. If a bank is understaffed, experiencing high volume or both, it may take longer to get approved. If time is a factor, be clear about that when you apply. Emphasize to the person taking your application that if the loan can't be turned around in a set period, the deal can fall through. Be understanding of the bank's position, but do what you can to move up in the queue.