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If you’re planning on financing a home through a mortgage, you’ll have to go through the underwriting process. The underwriting process helps mortgage lenders and loan officers review your credit and financial history before approving you for financing. But for mortgages, the length of the process varies depending on multiple factors. In this guide, we explore the underwriting process and give you an estimate of how long it will last.

Financial advisors can offer ways to manage debt while building your financial situation. Find a financial advisor today.

Underwriting Defined

Underwriting is the process through which a lender verifies your credit history, income, assets and liabilities before approving you for a home loan. The underwriting process takes place after you’ve made the downpayment on your home, and it’s merely a way for lenders to determine the risk levels associated with giving you a loan.

Underwriters may investigate tax returns, Form W-2s, credit reports, bank statements, savings accounts and your debt-to-income ratio. They may also review the home’s appraisal and verify your income and employment.

How Long Does It Take?

Though the length of the process can vary depending on your particular situation, it can last for as little as two to three days. The process could last longer, though, because it may take multiple days or weeks for a lender to review your financial records and documents.

An underwriter’s process entails loan processing and approving or denying your application. If your application is approved, the underwriter will then finish the process by clearing contingencies and “closing” the mortgage.

Bottom Line

Underwriters are, in essence, the gatekeepers of home loans. They review your finances and ultimately determine whether to approve you for a mortgage. And even if you’re pre-approved by a lender, your application could still be denied by an underwriter. These professionals are crucial to the home lending process, so it’s best to make sure you’ve prepared all the necessary documents and records before you apply for a loan.

Home Buying Tips for Beginners

  • If you’re interested in purchasing a home, but you aren’t sure how much you an afford, our home affordability calculator can help. You’ll just need to input your location, marital status, annual income, downpayment, credit score and monthly debt.
  • A financial advisor can help you meet your short- and long-term savings goals. Not sure where to begin? SmartAsset’s free financial advisor matching tool connects you with up to three advisors in your area.

Photo credit: ©iStock.com/inewsistock

Rickie Houston CEPF® Rickie Houston writes on a variety of personal finance topics for SmartAsset. His expertise includes retirement and banking. Rickie is a Certified Educator in Personal Finance (CEPF®). He graduated from Boston University where he received a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He’s contributed to work published in the Boston Globe and has worked alongside award-winning faculty for the New England Center of Investigative Reporting at Boston University. Rickie also enjoys playing the guitar, traveling abroad and discovering new music. He is originally from Wilmington, North Carolina.
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