What does the mortgage underwriting process look like?

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You’ve reached the part of the home buying process where you have got all of your required documents together and submitted them. Now, your loan processor has transferred your completed file to underwriting. You should be notified that your application is in the underwriting process, which brings you a step closer to finally getting your new home.

What is underwriting?

Underwriting is the process of reviewing every detail of your application to determine that you qualify for the type of mortgage you are applying for. An underwriter will also verify that your income, assets, credit and collateral meet the requirements for the loan you are applying for. This process is all about verification, you may be contacted to provide additional information so that the underwriter can make a decision on your request for a loan.

What is an underwriter?

An underwriter is a financial professional who will analyze your completed application for the home loan, the underwriter approves or denies your mortgage request. There are a few things that the underwriter will look for:

  • Credit: Besides your credit score, the underwriter will also review your credit history for any possible flaws like missed and late payments. You can provide explanations for anything on your credit history.
  • Income: Your underwriter will want documentation like your bank statements, pay stubs, and tax forms to understand how much income you have available to pay your monthly mortgage.
  • Assets: Your underwriter will want documentation such as bank statements, retirement account statements, or other evidence of assets that will be used for your down payment and closing costs.
  • Property: The property you are looking to purchase may need to be appraised to determine its market value

How does the mortgage underwriting process work?

The mortgage underwriting process can take a few days to a few weeks depending on whether the underwriter has all of the information to make a decision. The underwriter will verify all of the pieces of your application to ensure everything is as provided in your application. They will review your creditworthiness, income, debt, and other factors to make a lending decision on your mortgage application.  The process starts with the reception of your application from the lender, the underwriter begins verifying pertinent information, a property appraisal is completed, proof of title and homeowner insurance is obtained, and then the underwriter makes a decision. You will be notified of this decision at the end of the underwriting process.

Complete mortgage application

Your mortgage application is considered complete once all of the documentation has gone through the verification process. If additional information is needed, you will be contacted to provide that information. To make sure you are prepared, the list of documents that typically make up a complete mortgage application is as follows:

  • Employment verification documents (business records if you’re self-employed)
  • Tax forms ( W-2)
  • Pay stubs
  • Bank account information, such as your checking, savings, CDs and/or retirement accounts
  • Any other income information (alimony, child support, pensions,etc)

Additional documentation may be required, but having these is a great start!

Get a home appraisal

A home appraisal is when the value of the property you are purchasing is determined by an unbiased third party professional. The appraiser will examine the interior and exterior of the home, use information about the nearby neighborhood, and consider recent nearby sales to come up with an estimate of the property value. The lender is able to order and schedule the appraisal on your behalf. As the homebuyer, you will be responsible for the cost of the appraisal, which is typically a few hundred dollars, and can be included in your total closing costs.

Get home & title insurance

Home insurance: is insurance that provides protection to homeowners in cases of repairs or rebuilding on the home. This can be losses or damages to the home from natural disasters or the general aging of the property.

Title insurance: is a protection of your legal ownership of the property in cases where the title of the home is not free and clear. This can cover disputes from previous owners, the property is in a will, or even fraud.

During the underwriting process you will need to secure both home and title insurance before the underwriter can make a decision on your mortgage application. However, you can select the title insurer before close, but don’t have to pay until the closing date.

The underwriter decides to approve

Once the underwriter has all of the needed information then a decision can be made on your application, the underwriter can choose to approve or deny your mortgage. If the underwriting process ends in an approval then you are clear to close and will be provided a closing disclosure. A closing disclosure is a document (usually five pages long) that details the final terms of your mortgage. You will be able to perform a final walk-through of the property and then meet on closing day to sign the needed documents and get the keys to your new home.

How can I start the mortgage process?

The underwriting step is an essential part of the mortgage process and is where you find out whether the home you’ve been eyeing will be yours or not. The mortgage process can be lengthy and filled with ups and downs. Finding a lender that fits your needs is a good way to get started with the mortgage process, if you are ready to begin your home buying journey or want more information, we are just a click away.


Applicant subject to credit and underwriting approval. Not all applicants will be approved for financing. Receipt of application does not represent an approval for financing or interest rate guarantee. Restrictions may apply, contact Owning for current rates and for more information.

All information provided in this publication is for informational and educational purposes only, and in no way is any of the content contained herein to be construed as financial, investment, or legal advice or instruction. Owning, Inc. does not guarantee the quality, accuracy, completeness or timelines of the information in this publication. While efforts are made to verify the information provided, the information should not be assumed to be error free. Some information in the publication may have been provided by third parties and has not necessarily been verified by Owning, Inc. Owning, Inc. its affiliates and subsidiaries do not assume any liability for the information contained herein, be it direct, indirect, consequential, special, or exemplary, or other damages whatsoever and howsoever caused, arising out of or in connection with the use of this publication or in reliance on the information, including any personal or pecuniary loss, whether the action is in contract, tort (including negligence) or other tortious action. Owning does not provide tax advice. Please contact your tax adviser for any tax related questions.

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