2 min read

You’ve done the hard work of getting ready to buy a house. Now it’s time to start looking for the home of your dreams. Getting preapproved can smooth the way, but how long will it take?

How Long Does a Mortgage Preapproval Take?

How long it takes to preapprove your mortgage will depend on whether or not you have all of your documentation in order. Once you hand over your information and documents, your loan officer (LO) will begin the process of verification. 

A preapproval can take anywhere from a few hours to several days for your information and documents to be verified and your loan amount to be approved. The timeline will vary depending on the complexity of your financial situation, the loan program you are applying for, how complete your documentation is and how busy the lender is. Once the preapproval is complete you’ll receive your preapproval letter, which you can take with you as you shop for your new home.  

If you want to ensure that the preapproval process doesn’t stall out halfway through, here are some tips to making sure the whole process goes smoothly:

Select a high-quality mortgage company  

You want your preapproval process to be extremely thorough. Don’t settle for a company that simply accepts your application and spits back a prequalification. Those are hardly worth the paper they are printed on. You want a complete preapproval, so home sellers know that you’ve applied for and been preapproved for a loan based on due diligence and verification of your income, assets, and other documentation that shows you can afford your loan.  

Have all of your documents in order in advance

There’s a lot of documentation that will be required for a full approval. Start by making sure you can prove your identity, employment, income, and assets. Be prepared to provide bank statements, tax returns, and personally identifying documents as well as proof that you have enough for a downpayment and closing costs.

You might be able to upload the documents to verify your loan application through an online portal, so ask your LO if this is an option. That can be a lot faster than having to copy and fax or deliver paper documents.

Apply early for rapid mortgage preapproval

The end of the week and the end of the month are when LOs get slammed with work. By applying and starting the preapproval process as early in the week and month as possible, you can get your file to the top of a stack and hopefully have your preapproval in time for weekend house hunting.  

Stay responsive to your LO during  preapproval

Your LO or another individual at your mortgage company might reach out to you during the preapproval process to ask for more documentation or a clarification. By staying alert for messages and responding as quickly as possible, you can keep your process from being delayed.

View loan limits in your area

Rates & Money is your go-to destination for free information about mortgages. Our home buyer guides and home loan articles are designed to help you make informed decisions when buying a home


Additional Free Tools

Use our free mortgage calculator tools to estimate your monthly mortgage payments based on your unique loan scenario. See how your monthly payment changes by making updates to your home price, down payment, interest rate, and loan term.

Stay informed with what's important to you

Subscribe for Notification

Notification popup

Selected options