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How Long Does a Mortgage Take?

In the mortgage industry, the amount of time it takes to complete a mortgage is known as "turn time."

The total turn time is the amount of time it takes for a mortgage to complete the journey from application to closing. This time varies depending on several factors and can vary from lender to lender.

The overall turn time is dependent on how responsive each person in the chain of events is to their job. More often than not, actions by the applicant can help speed up the process.

The Mortgage Lender

The mortgage lender plays the biggest role in the turn time equation.

The more loans that the lender is working on, the longer it takes the lender to complete the process. When you, the applicant, first make an application with a lender, ask about their turn times and see whether they will be able to complete the process in the time that you need it completed. In a refinancing, the only deadline is to complete the process before the lock expires, which is usually 30 days. In a purchasing mortgage, the almighty contract plays the biggest role.

A mortgage lender can usually take an application, lock the applicant's loan rate in and order an appraisal in the same day. This greatly speeds up the process and can make a six-week process turn into a two-week solution.

The Applicant

You are the applicant and your role is to ensure that your lender is on top of her game. Always ensure that you give the lender exactly what she asks for in a timely manner. For almost every loan, a lender is going to ask for two years of W-2 forms, two months of pay stubs and two months of bank statements. Bring those items with you to the first meeting.

Additionally, when the lender asks you to sign papers or bring them additional information, do so within 24 hours. If you do not, you are lengthening the time that it takes to close.

The Appraiser

Appraisers can add significant time to your mortgage time if you do not make an effort to schedule timely appointments with them. Your lender must use a third party service to order the appraiser--you cannot order one directly.

Yet, the appraiser will contact you in the case of a refinancing or your Realtor in the case of a purchase.

Either way, you can control when you or your Realtor meets the appraiser. Make the appointment as soon as possible to ensure that they are able to complete the appraisal in a timely manner. If you are not able to meet with them within a few days, try to find someone who can open up the property for you. The longer you delay the appraisal, the longer your application will wait.

The Realtor(s)

A Realtor is involved in the mortgage process if you a purchasing a home.

Their job in the mortgage process is to get a copy of the contract and any additional items needed to the mortgage lender.

You, the applicant, can ensure that this is done in a timely manner by following up with both the lender and the Realtor to ensure that the information is flowing quickly. In the days of e-mail communication, there is no reason why you cannot find out within a few hours whether a task has been completed.

The Attorneys and Title Companies

Your attorney will be used to search your property title and to preside over the closing of the loan.

If your state requires title companies instead of attorneys, these items will be taken care of by a title company.

Many times, the attorney or title company stays mostly in contact with the mortgage lender, but, if your state allows it, you can select the attorney or title company of your choice. Therefore, you can contact them to make sure that each requested item has been taken care of in a timely manner.

The Processor, Closer and Undewriter

The processor and the closer are two individuals that might not work for the mortgage lender. Some mortgage lenders do these steps themselves and others hire out those tasks. The processor checks all of the documentation brought in by the applicant to make sure it meets the guidelines and then sends the information to the underwriter. The closer prepares the loan documents for the closing attorney.

Many times, because these people report directly to the loan officer, you will have little contact with them. If you do receive any direct communication from these parties, they are requesting specific information from you. Therefore, it becomes your responsibility to provide it in a timely and complete manner. The underwriter is the biggest time consumer of the process. They are also the person that can make or break the deal. This person looks over all the documentation and decides whether you get the mortgage.

The Whole Picture

A majority of mortgages today are going to take four to six weeks from start to finish, but the biggest factor in all of this is you.

Come into the process with knowledge and the needed paperwork and you can significantly reduce the time it takes to complete the process. Additionally, staying on top of all of the players in the game will help you to speed up the process as well. Remember, you are the reason why all of the participants have a job.