A reader asks, “Once an offer has been made on a home, how long should it take a lender who has prequalified but not preapproved a loan to close on the home?”
There are many variables at work with an FHA home loan, so there is no set time period. Many lenders may use a stock answer of between 30 and 45 days, but you should not expect an FHA loan to close within a week to ten days of the mortgage application.
It is very important to point out that pre-qualifying for an FHA loan is not the same as having the lender process the loan application data, verify income and employment, and pull your credit reports.
That process definitely takes time, which is why the 30-45 day window is often cited. Pre-qualification FHA loan procedures don’t involve the verifications, so your lender needs to time not only to request the credit reports AND have have the credit agencies respond and send out the credit data.
If you have a lengthy employment history over the last 24 months (frequent job changes or seasonal/freelance income that must be followed up upon) your application may take a bit longer.
While you wait to close on the loan, it’s very important to be mindful of your financial activities. Beware of opening or using new lines of credit, applying for other loans, or making major job changes. All these activities can be considered a major life change and could affect your application. The lender can cancel an FHA loan transaction if your debt-to-income ratio changes enough or your employment situation changes before the loan closes.
Do you have questions about FHA home loans? Ask us in the comments section.