arrow40 Comments
  1. Review
    Aug 28 - 2:31 pm

    Great article Rhonda! You explain the steps in the mortgage process in a realistic, easy to read and very well written manner. This is great, this should be read by everyone who is starting the mortgage process.

  2. Jean
    Aug 23 - 8:27 am

    Hi we are waiting to hear back from the underwriter right now. We have had 2 closing dates come and go and this past Friday we were told our loan is still waiting for final review. Our loan officer tells me my loan if fine we are just waiting for the underwriter to sign off and we are next in line. I told him I am concerned they will that we have been waiting this long and they will decline us. I mean it being in final review is it a good chance we will get approved? And if it does not I m not sure how to move forward. Can someone give me insight?

    • Rhonda Porter
      Aug 24 - 8:47 am

      Hi Jean, when my team submits a loan to the underwriter, we do our best to make sure we have a very complete loan application as to try to reduce any conditions that the underwriter may have. Assuming your loan officer has done this, the underwriter should be able to issue a loan approval. The delay in reviewing your transaction could be due to higher volumes.

      Of course, I don’t know your financial scenario – so my comments are assuming you have a straight forward loan application.

  3. Tracy
    Sep 24 - 6:30 am

    This is a great article! I wish I came across this six weeks ago when I started the home buying/mortgage process. Very informative!

  4. Bob Lowry
    Nov 15 - 6:39 pm

    Question: I am a listing agent and my client received a “pre-approval” letter from the buyer’s lender ( a mortgage broker) that stated, “We have obtained underwriting approval for you, so the only items needed to complete your application are satisfactory appraisal, preliminary title and purchase contract. The strengths of your loan application include: High level of income, Stable employment history, low debt-to-income ratios”
    The purchase offer was EXECUTED, the appraisal value was for more than the sales price and the prelim was clear but the lender refused to fund, stating the buyer did not have 24 months of stable employment. My buyer kept the home off the market, was about ready to quit her job to retire and now has to re-market the home and is not able to retain the earnest money since the buyer did not release the contingencies. Does this sound like mis-representation to you? Should the Mortgage Broker be held accountable for having the home off the market as well as for making statements that were not factual?

    • Rhonda Porter
      Nov 16 - 11:47 am

      Hi Bob,
      In my opinion, it sounds like the loan officer did not run the employment by an underwriter prior to issuing the preapproval letter. If the lender is a “mortgage broker” they may not have had access to an underwriter to get their opinion on employment.

      But with that said – there are things that could happen are most commonly found during the process.

      -Maybe the borrower’s employment or income changed during the loan?

      -Maybe the loan officer did not complete all income/employment documents (like tax returns)… and maybe the borrowers tax transcripts had conflicting information that caused the denial…or the verification of employment came back with a surprise from the employer.

      When I have a borrower where something may be questionable, I will have one of our underwriters review the scenario in order to avoid a scenario like you have discussed. I will also obtain tax returns and, if needed, a verification of employment from the borrower’s employer.

      Regardless, I highly recommend that listing agents and buyers agents contact the loan officer before accepting an offer to do a “sniff test” on the loan officer and the preapproval. This is especially important since October with TRID as some lenders are interpreting that they cannot verify or request additional documentation from a borrower until we have an application (this typically doesn’t take place until after the lender has the purchase and sales agreement). Obviously if a lender is not allowed to collect or request additional documentation – a preapproval letter is worthless.

  5. CJ Williams
    Dec 20 - 2:33 pm

    Amazing article. Very Informative.

  6. Mika Milan
    Feb 15 - 11:10 pm

    What a great article. Thank you so much for breaking this down for 1st time buyers like myself.

  7. Ruby P
    Mar 11 - 11:45 am

    Question: can you tell me what comes first the underwriter or Project review? I was told on everything was sent to the underwriter and it would take 72hrs. to hear back. Today I was told it was sent to project review. Can you please explain? Thank you.

    • Rhonda Porter
      Mar 14 - 11:45 am

      Ruby, I would say that typically the loan goes to underwriting first. It depends on the process of the mortgage company. I’m assuming you’re talking about a condo?

  8. Kelley Hayes Martin
    Mar 23 - 5:08 am


    This was fantastic article. It helped me understand the process. We have had two closing dates on my aunts home. We were told yesterday the loan packet has gone back to underwriting. We were expecting to close in the beginning of the month. We were told the closing would be quick by the title and now the it appears the bank it holding the process up. Your article clarified some things for me. Thanks.

    • Rhonda Porter
      Mar 23 - 7:17 am

      Thanks, Kelley! The mortgage process is not at all intuitive. I’m glad my article helped.

  9. Blaise
    Mar 25 - 3:49 pm

    Thank you so much Rhonda for taking the time to write this article. You have no idea how much you helped someone like me to understand the process. I am first time in the process i just received a message saying that the preliminary approval is conditional. I didn’t understand what that meant,after reading your article i got some clarification. So again thank you for a wonderful article.

  10. Charisse
    Mar 29 - 2:39 pm

    Coming up on our 3rd close date and are being told it’s unlikely to happen again and now we have to be out of our apartment with no where to move…all we were told was our loan was sent to corporate and the appraisal was ordered. No idea how long it’s going to be. Very frustrating!

    • Rhonda Porter
      Mar 31 - 2:12 pm

      Charisse, I’m so sorry. Have you tried contacting management with the mortgage company?

  11. Sue
    Jun 17 - 10:13 am

    Great Article. We are in process of funding for remodel. Appraisal came back fine, underwriting going…. File has been sent to PMI. Would the bank send the file to PMI if the loan wasn’t pretty sure it would close?


    • Rhonda Porter
      Jun 22 - 8:01 am

      Hi Sue, sending your file to the private mortgage insurance company to underwrite/review is a normal part of the process.

  12. Lovely1
    Jun 27 - 5:08 pm

    Great Read and thank you. We currently just signed a rate lock form and sent the requested docs to the lender. This waiting us driving me nuts, and is making me worry. What happens after rate lock letter is sent in?

    • Rhonda Porter
      Jun 27 - 7:52 pm

      Lovely1, great question! After your rate is locked, your lender has 3 days to send you a revised loan estimate as that is a bona fide “changed circumstance” to your loan application.

      If you are feeling anxious, I recommend contacting your mortgage professional asap. Any professional would not want their clients to feel that way.

  13. Tia
    Jul 13 - 8:29 am

    I am currently in the process of buying a home. My husband and I have received a conditional approval. The lender is currently waiting on a copy of my tax transcripts for the last three years. My concern is – 2013 my tax preparer made an error and I owed the IRS $7K. When I received the letter from the IRS, I immediately called them to see what was going on. I then set up a payment arrangement. I have been making my payments on time for the past year. They applied my 2015 refund to the balance I owe. I current owe $2900. The IRS has not issued a lien or anything, nor does this show on my credit report as a judgment owed. Can this affect us during the final approval stage?

    • Rhonda Porter
      Jul 13 - 11:56 am

      Hi Tia, your lender will most likely add the payments that you’re making to the IRS to your debt-to-income (dti) ratios. As long as your dti stays below your program guidelines, you should be okay.

  14. Sonja Alderson
    Jul 27 - 10:44 am

    I really don’t think a pre-approval letter means a thing, I’ve been going thru a sale to a VA qualified buyer & the amount of paperwork wanted by escrow (a HUD from 10 years ago, because they couldn’t find where a $275K loan was paid) (divorce papers from 28 years ago) even though I have refinanced this parcel 5-6 times since then with no problem. Now the lender gave a conditional approval, with 1 item that blew me away (asking the age of the seller) isn’t this age discrimination? Although I don’t know what the reason was for. After buying & selling for years, this has been the most stressful loan I have ever encountered, so pre-approval really means nothing! So after signing you still have to wait more time for funds?? Never has happened before.

    • Rhonda Porter
      Jul 27 - 10:52 am

      Hi Sonja,
      A preapproval doesn’t mean a lot if your loan officer or lender aren’t top notch. Sometimes a preapproval is only worth the paper it’s written on – I think I’ve addressed that on this blog in the past. How did you find this lender?

      The Closing Disclosure that triggers a 3 day wait period before you can sign the remainder of your loan document is fairly new.

      • Sonja Alderson
        Jul 27 - 11:16 am

        This was by VA United, the loan officer is doing a great job, it’s Underwriting that is asking for conditions, like my age, the other conditions were pretty normal, like verifying buyers tax payment for 2015,(which they said he still owed, but had verification they were paid)..Escrow had me looking thru paperwork for a week trying to find the HUD paying off the $275K, thought that was their job? And divorce papers from 28 years ago! Thanks for info on Closing Disclosures.

  15. Sonja Alderson
    Jul 28 - 7:48 am

    If you are really unhappy with your escrow officer & it’s a day before (supposedly closing) NOT! Can you change Escrow companies & how long would it slow the process down

    • Rhonda Porter
      Jul 28 - 8:10 am

      Sonja, typically the escrow company is designated on the purchase and sales agreement (at least in the greater Seattle area). To try to change it would probably mean having to get an addendum to modify the contract. It could also potentially delay the transaction. I recommend talking with your real estate agent to see what they advise. Good luck!

  16. Justin Degon
    Aug 06 - 10:13 am

    We started the process on June 16th and hopefully have reached the tail end of it! We received conditional approval on July 8th with commitment letter, had to jump through a bunch of hoops to satisfy the underwriter and now are waiting for the appraisal report! They appraised the property on July 14th or so and apparently are having a hard time finding “comps”. Our processor said that her manager was placing a call to the appraiser to see what is going on, because our commitment letter and rate lock expire on the 15th (which is now 10 days away!) so, I asked if we were going to be charged for an extension (if they’d even grant us one) and she said they’d extend with no fee due to this. Thank God! But my question is, is this normal? The processor told us that the underwriters haven’t come up with any new docs that they require from us, just waiting the appraisal. Our sales contract stated closing would be “on or about August 1st! This process is maddening!! Now the LO is saying we probably won’t close until at LEAST the middle of the month or later because once they RECEIVE the report, the underwriter has to go over it and then submit it to settlement agent and THEN to us for 72 hour review!!!! We are FHA btw…thoughts???

    • Rhonda Porter
      Aug 06 - 10:55 am

      Hi Justin,
      It’s hard to know if it’s “normal” without having all the details about your transaction. When did your lender receive a copy of the purchase and sales agreement?
      What is unique about the property that is making comps so difficult? (Appraisals are taking longer these days…it’s unfortunate the government stopped allowing LO’s to select appraisers as appraisers no longer have to provide a level of service in order to be competitive IMO).

      Your LO is correct that once the revised appraisal is received, it will need to go back to underwriting. Depending on whether or not you opted to waive your right to receive (every) version of the appraisal, there may be a wait period involved with that. You’ll want to get all forms requested from the lender back to them asap.

      In addition, once you finally do have the final formal loan approval, the lender will provide you with a Closing Disclosure that once signed and dated by you, has another 3 day wait period (again, thank our government) before you can sign the remainder of your loan documents.

      Hopefully your LO is communicating the delays with you (sounds like they are) and your real estate agent.

      Good luck!

  17. Sondra Hardy
    Aug 30 - 5:49 pm

    Hi, our loan officer told us last Friday she was waiting on paperwork from compliance…then she would send to us to sign documents and email back. We just received them today, what’s the next step. Our inspection is this Thursday.

    • Rhonda Porter
      Sep 02 - 7:14 am

      Review and sign the documents. Ask your lender questions, if you have any. Provide any documentation they request promptly. Let your lender know when your inspection is satisfied and if they can proceed with the appraisal (if they haven’t done so already).

  18. Hardeep
    Feb 09 - 8:13 am

    Hi My name is Hardeep, just have a question about employement. My husband and I both are buying a house. I have been working at the same job for 6 years but my husband did not have any stable job. Is that be a problem???

    • Rhonda Porter
      Feb 16 - 9:04 am

      Hello Hardeep, if your husband’s employment has been in the same line of work and if there is a good reason why his employment has not been stable, there is a possibility that his income may be able to be used. Other factors include how his income is structured. If he is paid hourly, it may be challenging to use his income because hourly income is typically averaged over the last two years. If he is paid a salary (fixed annual amount), then that may be able to be used.

      If his income is not stable, if possible, you may want to just use your income to qualify for buying a home. What would happen if you own a home with a mortgage payment and you do not have your husband’s income to help pay the mortgage and other bills?

  19. Angela Raeburn
    Feb 28 - 1:01 pm

    Rhonda – say it again and again….a pre-approval is not worth squat. It is a false sense of security that unsuspecting buyers are requested to get and then – they may still get declined. We lost $16K in EMD because we had a pre-approval and we signed a contract and we discussed our options with the mortgage broker and base don his advice – we agreed on a non-refundable EMD and guess what … fell through.

    • Rhonda Porter
      Feb 28 - 3:00 pm

      Hi Angela, I’m so sorry! That’s terrible. I never recommend that my clients do a non-refundable ernest money deposit – there’s too much to risk. What if something is wrong with a property or if a lender guideline dramatically changes (highly unusual) or if one of the clients loses their employment? Too much is at risk.
      Also, if you are working with a true “mortgage broker”, they are essentially a mortgage sales person who finds a mortgage program and lender to sell your loan to. That lender processes and underwrites the loan. As a correspondent lender, we process, underwrite and fund the loan from our main office. If I have any question about a clients preapproval status, I’ll have our underwriters review and approve the loan.

      You are correct that they are only worth the paper they are written on – depending on who signed and prepared that letter.

  20. Sam
    Feb 28 - 6:25 pm

    We are in the process of purchasing a home and we were notified last Wednesday that the appraisal took place and we followed up with our mortgage broker today and we are being told we won’t find out about the appraisal until this Friday. This seems long and so we followed up with our broker since this is making us anxious and we were provided no real comfort. We have no idea if we have been conditionally approved or where underwriting is in the process. This is the third home we have purchased from this broker in the past 2 years and think it will be the last. Is this lack of communication normal? Does it really take a week and a half to receive an appraisal after it has taken place? Your article is awesome and thank you for making the process transparent to those of us that aren’t experts.

    • Rhonda Porter
      Feb 28 - 8:33 pm

      Hi Sam,
      I’m afraid to stay that appraisals ARE taking a very long time. Regulations prevent loan officers from being able to communicate directly with the appraiser and, to top that off, there is a severe shortage of appraisers. I think you should ask your loan officer/mortgage broker why there is less communication about the appraisal. Let me know what they say! Good luck 🙂

      • Leo m
        Apr 22 - 1:05 pm

        How do you qualify for the down payment assistance program?

        • Rhonda Porter
          Apr 22 - 1:32 pm

          Hello Leo m,
          You qualify for the down payment assistance program at the same time that you apply and qualify for the first mortgage. If you’re buying anywhere in Washington state, I’m happy to help you!

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