Buying a home can be exciting, and, not surprisingly, one of the first questions that borrowers have for their lender relates to how long the mortgage approval process will take.
In most cases, firefighter mortgages can be approved within 30 days (although in some cases, it could take longer), but that’s not to say there aren’t things you can do to help speed that up.
First things first
If you’ve decided it’s time to start house hunting, the first thing you’ll want to do involves applying for a pre-qualification letter. This letter will give you a general sense of how much money a lender will be able to offer you.
Remember, applying for pre-qualification letter doesn’t mean you’ve committed to working with that lender. If you get a letter from company A, but you decide to get your mortgage from company B, that’s allowed.
In most cases, you should be able to obtain a pre-qualification letter in three days or less. The application process is easy, and most lenders won’t require you submit any documents.
Obtaining a pre-approval
Obtaining a pre-qualification letter can be handy, but if you’re really serious about buying a new home, you’ll want to get a mortgage pre-approval.
In fact, most sellers require a pre-approval before they’ll consider your offer. Although in some cases, the pre-approval can be granted in about three days, if you have a history of short sales, a prior history of foreclosure, a low FICO score, or if you owe money to the IRS, this could cause things to take longer. The best thing you can do during this step is to be honest and up-front with the loan officer.
Once the lender is sure of the type of mortgage they can provide you, they’ll send you a pre-approval letter. Most pre-approval letters are valid for up to 90 days.
Final approval for a firefighter mortgage
When you’ve made an offer on a home, and the seller accepts, it’s time to work on obtaining a final mortgage approval.
At this point, the lender will send an appraiser out to the home to verify the home’s value. Once this step is complete, the final approval can often be processed within two business days.
You’ll want to keep in mind that the timelines we’ve stated above are merely averages.
In some cases, borrowers have had their mortgages approved in as fast as three days, and in other cases, the approval process could take as long as a few months.
Again, the best thing you can do throughout the firefighter mortgage application process is to be up front and transparent with your lender.
If you’re about to start house hunting, be sure to start getting your documents in order. This can help things go more smoothly.