Receiving a mortgage offer from a lender is a major milestone when you’re buying a property. But if delays start to hold the buying process up, it’s only natural to worry about how long your mortgage offer is valid and what you can do as the offer expiry date nears.
What is a mortgage offer?
A mortgage offer is a formal confirmation from a mortgage lender that it will give you a mortgage for the property you wish to buy. Without a mortgage offer, you can’t proceed with a purchase using a mortgage.
Receiving a mortgage offer is different to getting a mortgage agreement in principle, which is more of a rough idea of the amount the mortgage lender will let you borrow.
How do you get a mortgage offer?
Once you complete the lender’s mortgage application process, a mortgage offer will be confirmed. This includes providing the financial details the lender requires to carry out affordability checks and the lender being satisfied with the mortgage valuation it will have carried out on the property.
How long do mortgage offers last?
Most mortgage offers last between three and six months. The length of your mortgage offer will depend on your lender’s criteria.
Note that with some lenders the start date of your mortgage offer will be the date you made the mortgage application, while with others it will be the date the mortgage offer was officially made. The date your mortgage offer expires will be confirmed on the mortgage offer document.
Can you extend a mortgage offer?
It may be possible to extend your mortgage offer in some circumstances. For example, if the house-buying process is taking longer than expected and your mortgage offer is close to expiring, you could request an extension from your mortgage lender. Extensions on mortgage offers may also be granted on new-build properties, where there is the potential for building work to be delayed.
However, there are no guarantees you will definitely get an extension. Some lenders may also require a few weeks’ notice to extend a mortgage offer, so if you think you’ll need more time contact your lender as soon as possible. Always check if there are additional fees for extending a mortgage offer.
What should I do if my mortgage offer expires?
If your mortgage offer expires and you still need a mortgage, you will need to reapply for a mortgage. This will involve going through the same application process as before. Be aware that if you reapply, your lender will carry out another hard credit check which has the potential to impact your credit rating.
However, as long as your finances and personal situation haven’t altered significantly since your original application, there may not be too many hurdles to cross to get accepted again with the same lender.
Can a mortgage offer be taken away?
It is possible for a lender to withdraw a mortgage offer but there would normally need to be a good reason for doing so. Much will depend on the terms and conditions attached to any mortgage offer issued by a lender.
One reason a mortgage offer may be withdrawn is a change in your personal circumstances, such as losing your job, that may raise concerns over your ability to repay the mortgage. Other reasons may include your lender discovering something fraudulent or misleading in your application, problems that come to light during a valuation of your property, or red flags related to your credit rating that appear in checks made before mortgage completion.
How long does it take to get a mortgage offer?
Typically it can take at least a couple of weeks to get a mortgage offer, although some lenders may be quicker and some slower. If you provide all of the information and documentation a lender requires when applying and your situation is relatively straightforward you can expect a mortgage offer to arrive faster than if your circumstances are more complex.
What’s the difference between a mortgage in principle and a mortgage offer?
Getting a mortgage in principle from a lender will give you a rough idea of the amount you may be able to borrow without affecting your credit score.
A mortgage in principle is also sometimes called an agreement in principle, a decision in principle or a mortgage promise, but it is different from a mortgage offer, where a lender officially confirms it is willing to lend to you.
Does a mortgage in principle guarantee I will get a mortgage offer?
No, having a mortgage in principle does not guarantee that you will get a mortgage offer from a lender.
Once you submit a full mortgage application you may not receive a mortgage offer if a lender identifies reasons not to. Typically this may be because a lender believes a mortgage isn’t affordable for you once it has assessed the information and evidence you must share when applying or it has spotted an issue when checking your credit score. Affordability and your credit score are not fully checked when getting a mortgage in principle.
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