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How Long Does a Mortgage Offer Last?

Adele MacGregor

Written by Reviewed by Emma Lunn

25th Aug 2020 (Last updated on 9th Apr 2021) 6 minute read

Once you have been offered a mortgage, you are given a limited time for which the offer is valid to complete the property purchase. Usually, this is 3-6 months from the time the mortgage is offered, depending on the lender. If you are concerned your property purchase won’t be completed in time, you will need to contact your lender to request an extension. Otherwise, you will need to reapply for the mortgage.

Securing a mortgage offer is a crucial step in buying a property. With the average house price in the UK currently at £238,885, a mortgage is the only way many people can afford a home, especially considering the overall cost of buying a house.

Compare My Move has reviewed the latest and most relevant information on mortgages. We will provide you with everything you need to know about the length of mortgage offers and what to do if your mortgage offer expires.

This article will cover the following:
  1. What Happens Once a Mortgage is Approved?
  2. Can You Get a Mortgage Offer Extended?
  3. Mortgage Offers for Off-Plan New-Build Homes
  4. Can a Mortgage Offer Be Withdrawn?
  5. What If I Have to Reapply for My Mortgage?
  6. Learn More About Mortgages and Deposits

What Happens Once a Mortgage is Approved?

Once your mortgage has been approved, your lender will send both you and your conveyancer an official mortgage offer in writing. This will state how long the offer is valid for, usually 3-6 months. This allows for the length of time it takes to buy a house, including property surveys and the conveyancing process

The purchase must be completed within the time frame of the offer. If it surpasses the validation period, you will need to request an offer extension, or in some cases, reapply. 

Lenders will understand that the house buying process is lengthy, complex and often has unexpected delays. However, keeping a constant stream of communication between you and your lender is vital, especially if you are concerned your mortgage offer may expire before you complete on the purchase.

A formal mortgage offer should not be confused with a Mortgage Agreement in Principle which is a rough idea of how much a particular lender will lend you. An agreement in principle is normally valid for 90 days. 

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Can You Get a Mortgage Offer Extended?

Yes, it is possible for a mortgage offer to be extended. If you are concerned your house purchase won’t be completed within the time frame of the mortgage offer, contact your lender as soon as possible. Lenders understand that each house purchase is different and there can be unexpected delays along the way. However, be aware that the lender has no obligation to extend or re-offer the mortgage.

Your lender may be willing to grant you a mortgage offer extension based on the circumstances which require you to obtain the extension. For example, at the start of the Coronavirus pandemic in early 2020, many lenders extended mortgage offers by up to three months during the UK-wide lockdown.

Since then, some lenders are offering further extensions due to COVID-19. For example, Barclays is currently offering up to 6 months extension on mortgage offers for those who are eligible in light of the pandemic. However, many other banks, such as HSBC, have said that each case would be reviewed individually, with no standard policy on extensions. Make sure you check with your individual lender what its policy is on mortgage extensions.

Are There Any Requirements?

When approving an extension on your mortgage offer, your lender may ask to see your most up to date bank statements and payslips. This is to check your financial circumstances haven’t changed. Lenders must ensure that mortgage candidates are in a position to pay back the loan.

The lender will require a minimum of a few weeks' notice it is to consider extending your mortgage offer, so regular communication is vital. Check with your lender how much notice it needs, as each lender will have different requirements.

How Long Can the Offer Be Extended for?

How long the mortgage offer is extended for is at the discretion of your mortgage lender, but it could be a month or more. It will also depend on your individual circumstances and the circumstances of the property sale. 

For example, some lenders will base the extension on the coronavirus pandemic whilst there are mortgage offer extensions for other circumstances, such as delays on new-build homes. Nationwide Building Society offers an extension of up to 45 days for those buying new-build homes where there has been a delay. Eligibility for these extensions will vary from lender to lender. 

Mortgage Offers for Off-Plan New-Build Homes

In some cases, a mortgage offer will expire or be due to expire before the completed construction of a new build property. Developers can overrun on their time scales or there can be delays in which can set back the planned completion of property development. 

With an off-plan property, buyers are often reserving properties before construction even begins. With most mortgage offers lasting in the region of 6 months, any delay in the building process may mean the mortgage offer could expire before the home is completed. 

According to the New Homes Review Annual Report 2019, only 64% of new-build homes were built on time. This, however, is an improvement from 2017 which saw just 59% of homes completed on time.

If you are buying a property off-plan and it is yet to be built, it may be worth working with a mortgage broker and looking into mortgages with longer offer periods or those better suited for new-build homes.

Can a Mortgage Offer Be Withdrawn?

Regardless of whether the mortgages expire or not, a mortgage offer can be withdrawn if the lender is made aware of any changes to your circumstances or if it has any concerns about the property you’re buying. 

If the lender feels there is a risk, it is within its right to withdraw and refuse a loan. This is why it is strongly advised that you do not take on any other loans or large financial commitments until the purchase is completed. In the event your offer is withdrawn, you will need to re-apply for a mortgage.

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What If I Have to Reapply for My Mortgage?

Reapplying for a mortgage can cost you both time and money, setting back your purchase even further. If your mortgage offer has expired, you should apply for another mortgage as soon as you can.

If your circumstances have changed from the time the offer was first made, this will be taken into consideration as the lender will need to be sure you are still a good candidate for a mortgage. 

If your circumstances and credit score have changed for the better, potentially you could be in a position for a better mortgage offer than your original agreement. You could also look for a better offer elsewhere, or hire a mortgage broker to look into the best deals available.

Be aware if you are reapplying, this may mean paying for another property valuation. You may also face additional conveyancing costs. You will need to undergo another credit check, so ensure that your financial affairs are in order before reapplying.

Learn More About Mortgages and Deposits

This article is part of our mortgages and deposits guide. In our next article, we explore mortgages in principle and everything you need to know. To find out more read what is a mortgage agreement in principle.

Disclaimer

All data, research, facts and figures have been taken from reputable sources and government data that was accurate at the time of writing. Mortgage criteria, interest rates and policies change regularly and vary depending on the lender and type of mortgage you have. You should speak directly to your mortgage lender for clarification. It should be noted that your home may be repossessed if you cannot keep up with your mortgage payments.
Adele MacGregor

Having written for PerformanceIN, WalesOnline, Grazia Magazine and The Olive Press, Adele now writes advice articles for home movers, first-time buyers and house sellers alike.

Emma Lunn

Reviewed by Emma Lunn

Freelance Personal Finance Journalist,

Emma Lunn is an award-winning journalist who specialises in personal finance, consumer issues and property.