Once you’ve found your dream home and selected your preferred loan program, the lender’s goal is to get you into your new home as soon as possible. It generally takes 30 to 45* days to close on a home, and for most of that time, you’re waiting for the paperwork to wend its way through the system.

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So, what’s happening during that time? Here’s a quick breakdown of what the mortgage approval process generally looks like:

  1. Application: Submit a loan application. Within three days, you’ll receive a Loan Estimate, outlining the details of your loan.
  2. Processing & Appraisal. Processor reviews your loan package and requests any missing paperwork. The lender will order an appraisal, title work, survey, and other required tasks. You’ll obtain a homeowner’s insurance policy.
  3. Underwriting & Appraisal. Underwriter reviews your application and makes the decision to approve or deny the loan. If your loan gets approved, you’ll receive a loan commitment letter.
  4. Next stop, closing!

Throughout the entire process, the lender will be sending you regular updates on the progress of your loan, so you know where you stand and what’s next. While you’re waiting for your loan to get approved, or even for closing day to arrive, you may be tempted to run out and buy all new furniture or make some other large purchase, but don’t do it! Here are some things you should do — and not do! — while you wait.

What to Do During the Loan Process

  • Do get a homeowner’s insurance policy.
  • Do keep current on all your bills.
  • Do stay at your current job.
  • Do make sure you can track the source and purpose of any large deposit you may receive.

What NOT to Do During the Loan Process

  • Don’t apply for new credit (such as a new credit card, car loan, or financing for furniture or appliances).
  • Don’t make major purchases — even if you have money in the bank to do so.
  • Don’t liquidate funds.
  • Don’t make large deposits you can’t source.
  • Don’t ignore communications from your agent or lender.

Any changes to your income, credit, or payment history can affect your ability to close on your loan, even if you’ve already been approved. We’ll run a final credit check just before the loan funds, and changes could derail the whole process.

“Responsiveness to your lender is imperative in order for you to close your home on time!  If they request documentation, get it to them ASAP.  There are a lot of people involved with getting your financing done (title companies, realtors, appraisers, inspectors etc.) and it is important that everyone work together effectively and efficiently to get done on time. The sooner you do your part as the buyer, the sooner all involved can do theirs.  Additionally, if anything changes regarding your creditworthiness or ability to repay, please alert your lender!”

– Maria Lau, Mortgage Manager, Rogers, AR. NMLS 564241

Do you have questions about something not covered here or want more details on how the loan process works? Contact a lender today!


*Closing times vary and are dependent on many factors. You may have a different experience with your personal financing.