by William Pirraglia
Obtain your new house keys in four to six weeks.
The key to estimating a closing date is the day your application is complete. Simply submitting a mortgage application (Form 1003) is insufficient. When you submit an application, be sure it is accompanied with income verification -- at least two recent pay stubs and the past two years' W-2s or 1099s -- along with any other documentation your lender requests. Often, they'll want bank statements -- up to six months -- from your primary financial institutions, proof of down payment cash, purchase agreement, and a letter of explanation (LOE) for any negative entries on your credit report.
Any loan not given by or insured by the U.S. government is a conventional mortgage. These mortgages typically take from three to four weeks for an easy refinance loan to six weeks for a "purchase without problems" loan. Your mortgage lender need only to order and analyze your credit report, receive a completed appraisal
(without valuation problems) and verify your down payment funds to issue a firm approval. This may only take one to two weeks. After you accept the loan, the lender sends your file to a closing agent, which may be an attorney, escrow or title company, to search the title and prepare closing documents, which include notes, deeds and disclosures.
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