Here is a brief summary of what is involved in the process of applying for, and successfully completing, the home loan process. Please note that the terminology we use may be different from that used by lenders.

Buyer approval phrase.

This first step typically takes up to two weeks and focuses on whether the buyers can afford to borrow enough money to actually purchase the home in question.

Property approval phase.

Next, the lender needs to determine whether the home’s value merits its serving as collateral for the amount of money being borrowed.  It is in this phase that an appraisal usually takes place.

Underwriting phase.

The good news is that underwriting is generally completed about a week before closing. The bad news? Read on.

Think of an underwriter as a professional worrywart. An underwriter’s job is to look at a loan file and try as hard as humanly possible to find anything, no matter how remote, that might cause a bank in the secondary loan market to avoid buying the loan from the lender. Everything they can dream up (and they have vivid imaginations) gets put on a list and the loan officer’s team then has to collect a separate piece of paper to put each issue to rest. Sometimes, they need a letter from the buyers or an employer confirming a job or a salary.  Other times they need documents from a court proceeding in the distant past. Once the loan officer’s team has gathered the requested information, they will resubmit the loan to underwriting. This may resolve the issue. Or it may not and additional information will be requested.

Obviously, this process is frustrating for the home buyer. As for the seller, the delays can seem excruciating painful. For both parties, we have one word of advice:


In general, loans will not get to the property approval or underwriting phases if the buyer is not going to qualify for the loan, so delays at underwriting don’t necessarily mean that the loan is in trouble, only that the underwriter has made requests for information and it is taking time to get that information. It is rare (but not impossible) for a loan to get to underwriting and then be denied.  It is extremely rare for a loan to go back to underwriting and then be denied, unless a job was lost by a buyer.

Yes, belive it or not, the underwriting phase will end and we can then proceed with the closing. As we have mentioned, the closing will typically take place within a week of the underwriting phase. Then, it’s time celebrate.

Whether you are buying or selling a home, contact us for a consultation to discuss your situation. We have successfully handled more than 1,000 transactions for area home buyers and sellers in the last three years alone. We look forward to handling yours.