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I'm currently at 50 days past making first contact with my bank for a mortgage - and I'm wondering if this is standard, or if it is reasonable to be making a complaint.

I'm in the UK, with what I think is a very simple mortgage requirement (reasonable deposit, using the bank I already have accounts with). I had an agreement in principle made over the phone and confirmed the next day. I have finally received a firm offer, but my solicitor has not had any paperwork through from the bank yet. I was expecting the searches on the house to be to long pole, but they're back (and started later). I get the feeling my bank is using processes developed in the 1960's - or they're severely short staffed.

Is there anything in the process to actually justify this timescale?

To be clear, there is some progress every week or so - but it feels like I'm only getting a small time-slice of a few minutes every few days.

  • I don't have an answer (never applied for a mortgage), but (a) a better opening might be "It's been 50 days since making first contact...": I first read it as you intending to make first contact in 50 days time. (b) Whether 50 days is "typical" or not, the best thing is probably to either ring the bank or if possible call in branch to ask what the state of the application is, and whether there's a hold-up. – TripeHound May 11 '18 at 8:24
  • a) thanks. b) that was kind of the point of the question. Does the process intentionally rate-limit the flow of information, or is it legal to turn round an offer in (for example) 48 hours? – Sean Houlihane May 11 '18 at 8:31
  • I seriously doubt there's an intentional rate-limit (as in "we will only progress x applications to the next stage per day even if we could do more"), but (a) some process do take time, (b) I suspect this time of year is a peak for applications (winter is, I understand, a "dead" time and many people wait until spring), and finally (c) the bank is unlikely to lose much money if the process is protracted, so they don't have much incentive to speed it up. In any case my main point was that it can't do any harm to speak to them and ask if there's a delay. – TripeHound May 11 '18 at 8:48
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From personal experience I can attest that delays of this sort aren't a formal necessity in the process.

I had a mortgage in place and contracts exchanged on a property but the sellers had delayed completion of the sale so long that we were approaching the deadline for completion on that mortgage. If the sellers had finally ended the delay after the deadline had passed and I didn't have a new mortgage in place, the right to rescind the contract would have passed over to them and the sale could have collapsed. The original mortgage provider were being very slow to respond to this risk so I applied at the same time for another mortgage via a new broker.

Presented with the possibility that there would be no deal if an offer wasn't in place before the deadline, the broker managed to secure a suitable offer from another lender two days after first contact, subject only to a valuation that was booked a week later.

In the end, the sale completed in the nick of time before the deadline on the original mortgage so the valuation for that offer never took place, but it still goes to show that when there is a commercial incentive to process a new application quickly, lenders are perfectly capable of doing so!

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