how long does a pre approval take
How long does a pre approval take for a mortgage. Image: Canva.
  • The process typically takes three weeks.
  • Larger banks may take longer to process pre-approval.
  • In some cases, it can take hours - but there is a catch.

Home loan pre-approval is not compulsory, but it does give you the confidence to shop around for a home knowing that you are likely to be approved for a loan, Finder‘s home loans expert, Richard Whitten, told The Property Tribune.

“It gives you the ‘green light’ from a lender that – provided your situation doesn’t change – you’re likely to be approved for a home loan.”

How long does a pre-approval take?

Experts told The Property Tribune that home loan pre-approval times depend on the lender.

“In general, from application to pre-approval should take about 3 weeks, but some large banks can take longer,” said Compare Club‘s home loan expert broker, Sophie Matthews.

In some cases, the answer to the question ‘How long does it take to get a pre-approval?’ can be less than a day.

“It can be a pretty quick process, sometimes taking less than a few hours, depending on which lender you go with,” said Whitten.

“Online pre-approval is typically a system-generated process that is pretty fast but doesn’t involve a qualified credit assessor reviewing your pre-approval application.”

“The process can be quick, but getting an official letter of pre-approval from your lender can sometimes take days, if not weeks, depending on how busy they are,” Whitten added.

How to stay ahead of the curve

If you are looking to make a tight deadline, expert brokers could help to get you there.

“The really good brokers are keeping in contact with the lender, while also watching the market, and they’ll be the ones trying to squeeze your pre-approval through before any rate hikes,” said Matthews.

“And if the worst happens and the rate you want moves just out of reach, they’ll have other options at their fingertips, some of which aren’t available to the average home buyer.”

It is also possible to save money when calling on the services of a broker, said Matthews.

“Pre-approvals are also where using a broker can save you hundreds, if not thousands.”

Among the other benefits of a broker, Matthews said you can save time by not having to resubmit pre-approvals for different lenders.

Can you lock a rate in?

Given the uncertainty around interest rates, Matthews said it pays to move quickly if you are ready to buy a property.

“The housing market is so volatile right now that if you apply for pre-approval close to the Reserve Bank’s monthly meeting, your rate might shoot up before it gets approved.”

One opportunity to save money you may not have known includes locking in a rate.

“Another conversation worth having with an experienced broker is around rate lock. That’s where you lock in your interest rate at application, in case the interest rates move while your loan is being assessed for approval,” said Matthews.

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