How long does it take to get a Buy-to-let mortgage?

Monday 18th December 2023 | 9 minute read

How long does it take to get a Buy-to-let mortgage?

Any mortgage process can be long-winded. So many forms to fill in. And so much back-and-forth between you and the lender. And, oops, you forgot to attach your proof of income! Arrr.

Getting a mortgage can be stressful and time-consuming at the best of times. Especially when you don't understand what’s going on every step of the way. 

But rest assured the whole process probably takes less time than you thought. Most buy-to-let mortgages go from mortgage agreement in principle to completion in 4-8 weeks. 

And if you’re remortgaging to a buy-to-let mortgage, it can be completed in just 1 day in some cases.

The time it takes depends largely on getting the relevant information to your lender as fast as possible. And doing this requires planning and an efficient process.

We’re making the buy-to-let mortgage application process easier for you by breaking it down into steps you can actually understand (and follow). 

Because whether you’re a first-time buy-to-let homebuyer or an experienced landlord, the process doesn’t have to be so painful.

In this article, you’ll learn:

  • How to apply for a buy-to-let mortgage
  • A step-by-step of the entire mortgage application process 
  • How long it takes to get a buy-to-let mortgage
  • How you can speed up the mortgage application process

How to apply for a buy-to-let mortgage

To apply for a buy-to-let mortgage you need to meet certain criteria. You'll also need to complete a buy-to-let mortgage application with your chosen lender. Each lender's criteria for eligibility is slightly different. But most lenders have the criteria set out below.

Buy-to-let mortgage criteria and eligibility:

  • You must be earning over 25,000pa
  • You must own your own home (either outright or on a standard mortgage)
  • Your expected monthly rental income must be higher than the monthly repayment amount
  • You must have a good credit history
  • You can’t be over 70 years old when your buy-to-let mortgage term ends

The Mortgage Application Timeline

Applying for a mortgage can be a long process. But going in with the right expectations will help it move along faster and easier. To help you understand the mortgage application process we’ve created a 7-step timeline that breaks down the entire process. 

  • Step 1 - Find the best lender for you
  • Step 2 - Get your mortgage agreement in principle
  • Step 3  - Complete the full mortgage application
  • Step 4  - Property Valuation and Survey
  • Step 5 - Get your finalised Mortgage offer 
  • Step 6 - Exchange Contracts
  • Step 7 - Completion

Now let's take a look at each of these steps in more detail. This way you understand what to expect at each stage and how long each step should take.

Step 1 - Find the best lender for you

So you want to become a landlord or add another property to your portfolio. Either way, you’ll be on the lookout for the best buy-to-let mortgage deal available to you.

You’ll also want to know how much you can borrow. You can use our buy-to-let mortgage calculator to get a rough idea of the amount you’ll be able to secure. All you need is the property value, your expected rental income, and how much you want to borrow.

When you know how much you can borrow, it’s time to get a mortgage agreement in principle from the lender offering you the best deal.

Approx time: 1 hour

Step 2 - Get your mortgage agreement in principle

At this stage, you’ll have a good idea of how much you can borrow. So if you have your eye on a property, you’ll see if you can afford it. Or if you haven’t looked yet, you can start shopping for properties that are suitable for renting and fall within the amount you can borrow.

You’ll need to have the details of the property you intend to buy before you complete the full application.

But before you fill out the entire application you need to get a mortgage agreement in principle. To do this, you’ll need to get quotes from potential lenders that can offer a buy-to-let mortgage to your requirements and for the property you wish to buy.

What is a mortgage agreement in principle?

The mortgage agreement in principle is the pre-approval agreement for your buy-to-let mortgage. You can look at it as if it were a letter of intention. Your lender takes a brief look at your requirements and makes an offer for your lending amount.

Our experts are on hand to find the best deals available to you. We look beyond the high street banks and building societies to source buy-to-let mortgage deals from reputable financial institutions at the best possible rates for you. 

Give our experts a call today to get your no-obligation buy-to-let mortgage quotes. Call us on 01202 612934

When you have your quotes you’ll know what deals are available to you. Now you can decide which lender you’d like to move ahead with. And then it’s time to complete the full application to get the ball rolling.

Approx shopping for property time: 1-4 weeks

Approx quotation time: 1 hour

Step 3  - Complete the full mortgage application

This is probably the most time-consuming part of the mortgage application process. You’ve got to pull together all the information and documents you need to submit. And your lender has to check them all.

Seeing the mountain of mortgage application pages to complete can feel overwhelming. Here’s another benefit of using a buy-to-let mortgage broker - our experts can help you through the whole process so your application is right the first time. This will help cut down on the time taken to get your buy-to-let mortgage. 

Doesn’t that take a load off your mind?

What information does a mortgage lender need for my full mortgage application?

The application will have standard questions you’ll know the answers to immediately - things like your name, address, and other personal details. 

But the majority of the application has more complex financial questions you’ll need paperwork and documents to help you answer.

Before you start completing your application you should have the following to hand:

  • A valid form of ID - like a passport or driving licence
  • Proof of address - A utility bill with your current address dated within the last 3 months is good
  • Last 3-months bank statements - to show your outgoings
  • 6 months of payslips - to prove your income (most lenders won’t accept buy-to-let mortgages from anyone earning less than £25,000pa). If you're self-employed, you'll likely need to provide your HMRC self-assessment tax printouts for the last 3 years.
  • Property details - The property address, the estimated value,  the estate agent, and the solicitor you're using for purchase conveyancing

When you have these details, you can complete the application, attach the relevant documents and proof, and then submit it to the lender.

What happens after the mortgage application is submitted? 

Your lender will assess all aspects of your application to ensure the offer given in the mortgage in principle is available to you. 

They’ll check all the details you’ve sent over to them and run a credit check. This will be the basis for acceptance before they take a detailed look at the property details and run the numbers in more detail.

Can I get a buy-to-let mortgage with poor credit history?

Some specialist lenders can offer buy-to-let mortgages to people with poor credit histories. But deals are more difficult to find. Doing it yourself could be very time-consuming as you may waste time applying with lenders that run a credit check and then reject you.

Lenders consider applicants with a poor credit history high-risk, so interest rates and fees are generally higher. But this doesn’t make it impossible to get a buy-to-let mortgage with poor credit history. 

If you have poor credit history and would like to get a buy-to-let mortgage, talk to our experts to get the right advice to move forward. You can speak to a buy-to-let expert at 01202 612934

Approx application completion time: 2-3 hours

Approx time for the lender to check your application: 1-2 weeks

Step 4  - Property Valuation and Survey

As part of the application checking process, your lender will get a surveyor to complete a standard valuation and survey of your property. This lets the lender know the property is secure for a loan.

The independent surveyor will complete the standard valuation that covers just the basics. They’ll check for any major issues or defects that could impact the property value. In addition, they’ll check what similar homes in the area have sold for and put together a standard valuation report. They’ll send this to the lender to check over.

Sometimes a standard valuation fails to pick up on minor issues which can lead to bigger problems down the line. There are two problems with this:

  1. Minor issues can affect your rental income potential. The rent value is affected by the quality of a property.
  2. Minor issues could turn into larger issues further down the line, which not only costs money to fix but for buy-to-let properties also means you foot the cost of rehoming tenants and lost rent.

So to avoid these potential problems, we recommend getting a more detailed house valuation and survey completed. This can also help speed up the mortgage application process. Mainly because you’re more likely to find a surveyor that can complete the valuation and report faster than the lender.

Two types of valuation surveys that provide more detailed information than the standard valuation are:

The Homebuyers Report

The homebuyer’s report valuation will provide more detailed information than a Standard Valuation. The surveyor will also take note of any current minor issues or potential future minor or major issues the property has. They’ll also calculate any maintenance and repair costs based on these findings.

The Full Buildings Survey 

During a full buildings survey or structural survey, the surveyor will complete an inspection of both the superficial and structural condition of the property. If any structural defects are found, they’ll note the necessary repair and maintenance requirements along with estimated costs. If you’re purchasing an older home or one built with non-traditional methods (such as prefabricated buildings), this is the survey type you should choose.

The standard valuation is the most cost-effective survey in the short term. But the homebuyers report or full buildings surveys may save you money and lots of stress down the line.

Approx valuation and survey time: 1-2 weeks

Step 5 - Get your finalised Mortgage offer

After checking all your application details and assessing the property valuation and survey your lender will make a final decision. They’ll either confirm the original offer made in the mortgage in principle is acceptable or make you a new offer.

Your final buy-to-let mortgage offer will be sent to you and your solicitor by post. When you receive it, you can check over the details and make your decision to accept or reject the offer.

How long does a mortgage offer last?

Most buy-to-let mortgage offers are valid for 6 months from the date they were made.

Approx finalised mortgage offer time: 1-3 weeks

Step 6 - Exchange Contracts

When you accept the lender's offer, the wheels will begin to spin into motion to get your mortgage finalised. All that’s left to do now is exchange the contracts.

Exchanging contracts can take anywhere from a week to 2 months. But it depends largely on the seller's ability to exchange. If you want a quick sale, you should look for a property without a chain. For example. If the seller has tenants in the property you’ll need to wait until their rental agreement comes to an end before you can exchange contracts. An empty property has no chain so exchanging contracts can happen much faster.

Approx exchange of contracts time: 1 week - 2 months

Step 7 - Completion

The completion date will be agreed upon between you and the seller during your exchange of contracts meeting. 

When contracts have been exchanged your solicitor will inform the lender of the date set for completion so they can get the lending funds ready to be transferred. 

Once the completion date arrives, you’ll be the new owner of the property.

How long does it take to release mortgage funds?

It normally takes about 1 week for mortgage funds to be released to the seller. This is why a completion date is set so that the lender can arrange for funds to be transferred on the correct date.

Approx completion time: 1 week

How to speed up the mortgage application process:

There are different ways to speed up the mortgage application process for buy-to-let mortgages. Using a mortgage broker can help speed up the mortgage application approval time by making sure everything is in order.

Buy-to-let mortgage brokers maintain good relationships with the lenders they work with. So they know how to make your application approved faster. They know what each lender's individual process is so they can prepare everything they need before you submit the application.

Other ways to speed up your mortgage application process are:

  • Buy an empty property (no chain) - if nobody is living in the property when you buy it, exchanging and completing will be much faster.
  • Get your own valuation completed on the property - instead of waiting for the lender to arrange a valuation, you can get one done yourself. Plus by doing it yourself, you can select the type of valuation survey you’d like to receive (if you want more than a standard valuation).

Talk to a buy-to-let mortgage expert today

Our experts can help you speed up steps 1-4 of the buy-to-let mortgage timeline. Give them a call today on 01202 612934

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