Last updated: May 06, 2024

How long does it take to get a mortgage?

Michael Harms AFPS
Director & Chartered Financial Planner at Mortgages for Doctors

How long does it take to get a mortgage?

money, home, coin and a clock on a table

 The mortgage application process can seem daunting. With much recent publicity around the change in rates and volatility in the housing market, ensuring you are in a position to help speed the mortgage process is key to helping you get your mortgage offer as quickly as possible.

Doctors mortgages are an appealing prospect for lenders and the guide below will help ensure you progress quickly toward mortgage approval. In addition to this, a specialist mortgage broker can help identify mortgage lenders that a willing to accept income types such as locum, so you do not waste time in the mortgage approval process.

If you would like further information, we have another blog here that provides specific guidance on the various types of employment that would be acceptable for mortgage applications..

What is the mortgage application process?

There are a number of steps you must go through during a mortgage application. These hurdles are the mortgage lender confirming that you are a suitable applicant for the borrowing you have requested. The mortgage application timeline will depend on the lender, however the steps will largely remain unchanged.

Mortgage Agreement in Principle

Obtaining an agreement in principle (also referred to as a decision or mortgage in principle) is the first step towards securing your mortgage offer. For most mortgage lenders this involves a soft credit check and affordability assessment, and the same lender will give an indication of the amount they would be willing to lend.

You may also need to share the results of this with estate agents and it can help demonstrate you are a serious buyer. An AIP is usually valid for three months.

At this stage it is worth collating the documents needed for the mortgage process. You may need to supply some of the following to your mortgage broker;

  • Three months' payslips
  • Three month's bank statements
  • Photo Identification
  • Proof of current address and 3 years address history

Find a property

This can be interchangeable with the step above, but having taken the first step towards mortgage approval, you can now start hunting for your desired property. The housing market can change rapidly so having a mortgage in principle may be required before you can start house hunting.

Full Mortgage Application

Once you have had an offer accepted on a property, you must now submit your full mortgage application or ask your mortgage broker to do it for you. In addition to the documents required for the mortgage in principle you may also be required to supply the following to the mortgage lender;

  • Details of monthly payments including household bills, childcare and other essential spending
  • Proof of earnings for the last two years if self-employed (this may include locum doctors)
  • Proof of partnership earnings if you are a GP partner

What happens once the mortgage application has been submitted?

The mortgage lender will now begin to process your mortgage application. Before the mortgage can be approved, there are a number of checks they need to conduct. The mortgage lender's underwriter will assess your case and ensure your credit rating meetings their requirements, including an assessment of your bank statements to ensure spending matches that which declared during the mortgage application process.

You will also need to supply the details of the estate agents selling the property, and the name and details of the conveyancer you are using.

Property valuation and mortgage offer

Mortgage lenders will need to confirm the value of the property to ensure the offer you have made, and the borrowing you have requested, is suitable. The property valuation can be done in a number of ways, most commonly through a virtual review of the property, or through a mortgage valuation survey. The valuer will the supply the mortgage lender with a valuation report.

If both you and the property are acceptable to the mortgage application will progress.

How long does it take?

A virtual valuation will be conducted within a few days of the application being submitted. If a physical valuation is required, the lender will instruct a surveyor to contact the estate agent and book a time to view the property. Once the valuation has been conducted, they will issue a report to the lender for them to review.

What do I do if the house is undervalued?

If the property is considered to be worth less than what you have offered to buy it for, all is not lost! You may need to increase your borrowing from the lender, or make use of a larger deposit if possible. Our mortgage advisors will be to give guidance on the options available to you at this stage

How long does it take for a mortgage offer to be produced after the mortgage valuation is conducted?

It can typically take around 14 days from full application until a final decision is made and a formal mortgage offer produced. You should expect to wait up to a further two weeks to receive the mortgage offer.

Therefore the whole process, from mortgage application to mortgage offer, should take anywhere up to four weeks. This will depend on the complexity of your case and the mortgage lender being used. An independent mortgage broker will assess the whole market for you, considering both the service levels of the lenders and your personal circumstances, and will advise on the best mortgage to apply for to meet you timeline and requirements.

Great! I have my offer. What happens next?

The mortgage application process is now complete, and it is over to the legal teams to progress the house purchase towards a completion date. The mortgage application timeline is a small part of the overall house buying process and there are further steps that must now be completed. The conveyancer will ensure that the completion deadline is set before your mortgage offer expires.

What is a conveyancer?

A conveyancer is responsible for the legal process of buying and selling properties. They represent buyers and sellers, and help ensure both parties understand and adhere to their legal obligations.

Exchange of Contracts

Your mortgage offer will also be sent to your conveyancer so they can begin their background checks on the property. This will include searches with the local authority and any other relevant bodies to confirm the property is suitable for purchase.

Buildings Survey

This can be done during the property purchase negotiation or once the mortgage offer has been produced. The valuation survey that has been conducted previously only ensures the property is being purchased for the correct value.

Many buyers opt to have a home buyers report or a structural survey conducted to give them piece of mind there are going to be no surprises in the building when they take ownership.


This is the final stage of the mortgage application. Once you exchange contracts, your conveyancer will arrange the completion date with the seller's conveyancer. The completion date is the day you take ownership of the property and often occurs on the same day you exchange contracts.

How long does a mortgage offer last?

Once you have your mortgage approved, the standard offer is valid for up to six months. This should be enough time for all parties to complete their various roles. Individual lenders will have their own rules on when the clock starts with some using the offer date and others using the date the mortgage application is submitted.

Exceptions for new build properties.

Some lenders apply an automatic extension of three months for those purchasing a new build property. The lender reserves the right to have another look at your credit record at this point. While it may be exciting to think you are about to move into a new home, particularly as a first-time-buyer, we would caution against any big purchases for the house on credit, as this could give you a poor credit score and the mortgage become unaffordable for you.

What happens when mortgage offers expire?

If there are delays once you have had your mortgage approved, you may find that your offer expires before you are able to complete. As mentioned above there may be the option to extend your offer. We encourage you to engage with your broker as soon as possible so they can help advise on the best route forward.

What factors affect the mortgage application timeline?

There are a number of factors, some of which are in your control, some of which are not. These can include;

Bad credit

If you have poor credit history, it can a take a lender longer to process your application. What slows the process more than bad credit, is a surprise to either the lender or the mortgage broker. It is always best to inform your broker when you seek mortgage advice, because they can search for lenders who will be more sympathetic to your circumstance.

It can take from two to six weeks for the repayment of any loan or credit debt to be seen in your credit history.

Issues with the property

If the mortgage valuation is returned to the lender's underwriter with comments on the valuation report, this could prevent the mortgage application progressing. This is not within your control but the best thing you can do is provide any and all relevant information to your mortgage broker t help them progress the mortgage.

Incorrect personal information

Something that can affect your credit rating and your ID verification with the lender. This applies bank statements and any other documentation required for the mortgage application.

5 step list of the process you will go through to get a mortgage

How you can speed up the mortgage application

Preparation is key when applying for a mortgage. you can check you credit history for free on websites such as Credit Karma which will ensure you are presenting a good option to the mortgage lender. You should also gather together all the documents needed. It is best to have them before even applying for the agreement in principle.

Keep in touch with and stay available for your mortgage broker/estate agents/solicitor. They are all trying to secure your mortgage deal and get you into your new home as quickly as possible. Sometimes they will need to clarify certain bits of information with you and the sooner you respond, the sooner you will have your mortgage.

How a mortgage broker can help speed up the process

Getting advice on the best mortgage and lender for you individual circumstance can help speed up the mortgage approval process. Experienced mortgage brokers will be able to consult with the lender to confirm your suitability for a mortgage. Doctors often have a variety of income streams or some that are considered less standard. There is no hard and fast rule as to what is and isn't acceptable and one of our mortgage advisors would be able to help guide you.

They can help prevent delays at the agreement in principle stage which often then leads to a smoother process in general and help you get your mortgage approved more quickly.

So, how long does it take to get a mortgage?

The short answer is it depends. The mortgage application process timeline will vary from case to case. Do what you can to prepare yourself and your finances. Seek advice early to ensure you are on the right path and before you know it you'll be in your very own home!

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