Congratulations, you're about to buy your first home! The big question remains, though: how long does it take to get approved for a mortgage? Here are some ways you can determine that:
Before you commit to a mortgage, you are going to need to do a significant amount of research to determine what type of loan you want and ensure you're receiving the best deal possible. To do this, start by looking at price quotes online for different factors (higher/lower down payment, variable time-length) and determine which is the best option for you.
After you do this, you will want to schedule meetings with several lenders in your area to confirm their lowest available rates. You are able to pull your credit score several times within a two-week period without having it affect your credit score, so don't worry about that.
Once you've decided on a lender, it's time to get pre-qualified! The lender will look into your financial situation and give you their best estimate of how much of a home you can afford. This process can take anywhere from one to three days, depending on how much paperwork you have to process.
Getting a pre-approval is one step further than a pre-qualification, because your lender needs to verify all of the financial information you gave them in order to become pre-qualified. This process can drastically vary in length depending on if you're self-employed, have other investment properties, have gone through a divorce or filed for bankruptcy, etc.
Once you have a pre-approval letter, you are now officially allowed to make an offer on a home! Once you have done this, your lender will need to do an appraisal of the home. This is done to make sure that you're purchasing the home at market value in order to protect both you and the lender. The appraisal scheduling process could take up to two weeks, and the approval will follow within a few days.
Once you've been approved, you're in the clear! As you can see, there are a lot of variable factors that affect how quickly you're approved for a loan. In order to expedite the process, you'll want to have your files and documents well-organized and ready for the loan approval process.