Underwriting is the process a lender uses to determine a borrower's eligibility for a loan. Although most lenders have their own set of guidelines, the procedure for underwriting a mortgage loan and the time it takes to do so is largely the same throughout the mortgage industry.
The underwriter is required to make a thorough review of the mortgage file to determine the borrower's character and capacity to repay the loan.
An underwriter can render a decision within 24 hours, although it usually takes a few days. The turnaround time for a loan application is based upon the amount of applications submitted and the lending institution's capacity to underwrite the loan.
Underwriting is just one part of the closing process, and the whole process usually takes three to four weeks to close under ideal circumstances. Borrowers should not assume that once a loan has been approved that it will close, however. If a borrower neglects to meet the conditions of the loan, the approval will be revoked.
Failing to submit all requested documents in a timely manner will impede the underwriting process. An underwriter will put incomplete files in a suspended status, placing the application on hold.
It's best to be as honest as you can on your loan application. Submitting all necessary documents with the initial application will speed up your underwriting time.