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Last reviewed on 1st November 2023 by Martin Alexander (Mortgage Advisor)

Homebuyers are sometimes unable to wait and simply need an instant mortgage. Reasons for needing a quick mortgage can vary, but it’s usually because:

  • The property seller requires a quick sale
  • You’ve been declined a mortgage late on in the home-buying process
  • The estate agent has received multiple offers, and you need to provide your paperwork fast
  • You’re buying a property at auction and need to meet a deadline
  • You need to vacate your current property by a certain date

The reasons above are the most common for needing a fast mortgage, but there may be other reasons. Our advisors specialise in securing mortgages where time simply isn’t on the buyer’s side.

You can speak to our advisors, who can get started on finding you the right mortgage immediately. More importantly, our advisors also have access to lenders with very fast turnaround times.

How quickly can I get a mortgage?

The quickest you can get a mortgage is around ten days. A mortgage usually takes 4-6 weeks on average, but applications can be made faster than usual. That said, the time it takes to get a mortgage depends on the lender and how fast a buyer can provide the required documentation.

The speed at which a mortgage application can be completed also depends on the buyer’s circumstances. For instance, if you have ‘straightforward’ circumstances, such as a good credit score, sufficient proof of affordability and no large debt, the mortgage process should be smooth sailing.

Borrowers with clean-cut applications usually have a number of lenders available to them. This is a great position to be in, as mortgage applications can be turned around at lightning speeds.

Applications can be delayed, especially if you have adverse credit or a complex situation. Other reasons, such as having no credit score or having been recently declined a mortgage can also cause applications to hit a few bumps.

Some lenders may not be willing to lend, so finding the right lender with the right mortgage can take some time. Nonetheless, it doesn’t mean to say that it’s impossible to get a quick mortgage under these circumstances.

Our advisors can also fast-track your mortgage to ensure it meets your expectations and any important dates. Mortgage brokers will always prioritise their client’s cases. We also have a dedicated team solely focused on fast-tracking mortgages.

How long does it take to complete a mortgage?

To understand how long it takes to complete a mortgage, it’s first important to learn how the process works.

Once you’ve found a lender, mortgages are generally split into three main stages, which are:

  1. An agreement in principle/mortgage application
  2. Mortgage survey
  3. Formal mortgage offer

Finding a lender

If you need a mortgage faster than usual, you may not have time to compare hundreds of lenders and select the best deal. However, finding a suitable lender is part of getting a mortgage and can’t be ignored. Applying with a lender that’s not suitable can cause delays, which is the last you’d want.

You can hurry this part of the process up by letting an advisor find lenders for you. A quick phone call to understand your situation in more detail will give an advisor enough information to find you an eligible lender. Furthermore, an advisor can find you a lender that has quicker completion times.

Getting an agreement in principle – fast!

An agreement in principle is provided after an advisor has completed an initial fact find. A fact-find is carried out to establish a buyer’s borrowing needs. This also helps the advisor to find the right lender based on the buyer’s circumstances.

An agreement in principle is not a formal mortgage offer, although it will outline the amount a lender is likely to lend. It’s also a useful document to have, especially if estate agents need to see some proof of a mortgage. This can literally be the difference between having an offer accepted or declined. Estate agents are more likely to take your offer seriously if you have a decision in principle.

If you’ve made an offer on a property and require a decision in principle, speak to an advisor. A decision in principle can typically be made in less than an hour and sometimes, even within minutes.

A complete application is submitted once you’ve had an offer accepted on a property. Processing an application can take a little longer as it involves submitting your documents to the lender along with the property details.

Lenders will then assess your circumstances in relation to the property you wish to buy. Once the lender is satisfied with your circumstances, a mortgage survey will follow.

How long does a mortgage survey take?

Mortgage surveys take around 2-4 hours, but other factors can affect how long the process takes, such as arranging the survey and getting the paperwork back to your lender.

The speed at which a mortgage survey is done depends on the following:

  • Lender and their nominated surveyor
  • The volume of mortgages that the lender is involved with at that particular time
  • Access for the surveyor to carry out the mortgage survey
  • Turnaround time from completing the survey report

Some mortgage surveys can be instructed on the same day and carried out a day or two later. On average, a survey is usually booked a week after the application. Surveys may be delayed, especially if the surveyors have high volumes of work at that particular time.

Other delays can be caused by access issues to the property. The surveyor may need to collect keys from an estate agent, or the vendor may be on holiday and can’t provide access. Without access, a surveyor simply can’t carry out a mortgage survey.

Each lender is different, but advisors understand that certain lenders process applications faster than others. As a result, it makes sense for advisors to approach lenders who can meet your specific time requirements. In some circumstances, lenders may not even carry out a mortgage survey. This is rare but generally happens on mortgages with a very small LTV (loan to value).

When will I get my mortgage offer?

A mortgage will formally be offered once a survey has been carried out. A formal mortgage offer is generally made around 24-72 hours after the survey, although it can take longer.

There are several reasons a mortgage offer can be delayed. Underwriters may be consulted to check applications if they fall short of the lender’s criteria or if something isn’t quite right.

Advisors can push underwriters and provide any additional documents to support the application. Nonetheless, the lender is ultimately in control of how fast a mortgage is offered.

ask a mortgage broker

Which mortgage lenders have the fastest approval?

From our data, mortgage applications are approved the quickest by Halifax, TSB and Nationwide, with the average application taking just 12 days.

HSBC, the Post Office and Accord also tend to approve applications quickly, taking 16 days. However, this doesn’t guarantee that your application will be approved in the same timeframe. Application times will also depend on other factors, such as your circumstances and whether your lender is suited to your circumstances.

Rather than searching for lenders that offer mortgages the quickest, you can look at ways you can speed your mortgage up. You should only choose a lender if they’re suitable and offer you a competitive deal. There are no guarantees that applying with a specific lender will get you a mortgage faster.

Tips to get a mortgage approved quicker

You can do the following to help you get a mortgage quicker:

  • Download your credit reports  Whether you have a good credit rating or not, having a copy of your credit reports is advised. You can then check before applying that your credit file is accurate. Doing this avoids delays during your application if lenders find something you should have disclosed.
  • Get your proof of deposit ready – Lenders will want to check the source of your deposit. Whether your deposit is a gift or from savings, having evidence to show a lender beforehand can help.
  • Check your documents are up to date – You’ll need valid documents such as photo IDs that are within date. Make sure to renew any passports or driving licences if they’ve expired. Also, ensure you use your exact name as it appears on your IDs.
  • You’re on the electoral roll – Check that you’re registered on the electoral roll with your current address. Address changes that still need to be updated can cause delays.
  • Gather your documents – Lenders will require three months’ payslips, bank statements and supporting documents. If you’re self-employed, you’ll need a copy of your latest accounts. Collecting your documents beforehand can save you time.
  • Close inactive bank accounts – Closing any bank accounts you don’t use is best advised. This can help to avoid delays due to questions about inactive accounts.
  • Ensure your finances are presentable – If you’ve used payday loans in the past year or gamble often, you may find it hard to find a lender. Lenders will check your spending habits and your outgoings, which can delay your application if they find something that’s questionable.

You can also read our mortgage checklist to avoid any delays with your application.

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About the author

Martin Alexander
Senior Mortgage Advisor | More Articles

Martin is a senior mortgage advisor and has held a CeMAP qualification for over 15 years while also completing an MBA in Global Banking & Finance.