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How Long does Underwriting Take?

Mar 21, 2008
Yesterday I received the this simple question from K.S. who lives in California. You should know I get this question over and over. It's become a night mare to me because there is no reason for it to be such a frustrating reality to so many people applying for a mortgage. Here's the question:

"how long do i have to wait for underwriting???? i have been waiting week after week. he said completion review would be complete the 19th after last week he said 48 hrs .. last message he sent said he would know more on the 19th ...gr"

My reply:

How long does it take? Time in underwriting depends on the lender, the type of loan, the issues that need to be resolved, and how saturated the market is. It can take 1 week or up to 6 weeks which I would hope is worse case, but, I have seen it take longer in extreem cases with severe issues.

I don't know what the issues are on your loan or what type of loan you are qualifying for. However, your loan officer does!

Sometimes the problem of time is an issue of "when it was REALLY submitted" to the underwriters or what issues still need to be resolved. Your loan officer needs to be totally up front with you. If you don't think he is, ask to speak with his broker/manager.

You have a right to know the FACTS! Ask specifically when it was sent to the underwriter. If it's been over two weeks, you have a right to know why. It is your loan and you are paying these people a lot of money to broker it. You should demand, without being arrogant, real and true information.

Good Luck.

While I was talking with K.S. I found that the Company she is doing business with is one of, if not the largest Lender in the US. I also learned that K.S. is applying for an FHA Mortgage and in all fairness these loans do take a little longer to close.

Let me tell you why this is one of my pet peeves. I know that sometimes an incomplete package is submitted to underwriters. I also know there can be issues with appraisals, inspections, or titles. These issues can take time to correct. Many times the borrower may be a little weak in some areas so the underwriter will ask for more or unusual documentation. An underwriter has the authority to do that and they should.

The worse thing that happens is when the package just doesn't qualify under that specific lenders guidelines. Now the loan officer panics and starts sending it out to numerous other lenders while he literally prays that one of these lenders will approve it. The loan officer is hoping that perhaps their guidelines are not as tight. We have all been there. Every now and then it works, ... but at this point it is usually a lost cause. We find ourselves in a state of denial and just can't let it go because our heart is broken for the borrower and the seller.

If you are in the mortgage industry you know that all these scenarios are reality and unfortunately many times while all this is going on the borrower is left in the dark. This is not just wrong it is incomprehensible.

Most borrows don't understand all the steps we go through or the documentation process. But it is their loan be it a good one or not. They are paying a lot of money for this process. We owe it to them to keep them informed about any problems or issues that arise. They are part of the process. They have a right to know and if they don't understand then we must explain it so they do. Our avoidance of the issue and reluctance to inform the borrower puts them through a tremendous amount of stress and anxiety.

Borrowers, people, you and I, ... all expect to be treated with dignity and respect. We expect honesty from the people we do business with and we expect the people we are doing business with to have integrity and compassion. Pretty simple, huh? So why don't people get it right?

A loan officer has an obligation to keep all parties in a transaction truthfully informed at all times.

Alright, I'm Done. I do hope I don't get this question again for at least a week!
About the Author
Connie Sanders is an advocate for the consumer and understands that they have a need to understand FHA Mortgage Guidelines before they apply for a mortgage. Connie will answer questions through email. Reach Connie at: http://www.fha-mortgageunderwriters.com
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