When you submit your loan application on line or in person, your lender combines the information on your application, the results of your credit report, the information about the property you want to buy, and your proposed down payment to estimate your ability to pay the money back.

If you have already gotten qualified for the mortgage, the lender may be able to approve the application and complete the loan within a couple of weeks. Otherwise, loan approval can take a month or two.

To improve your chances of loan approval:

  • FILL OUT THE LOAN APPLICATION COMPLETELY. The lender needs all this information to determine your creditworthiness.

  • RESPOND PROMPTLY. Don't put off responding to lender requests for additional documentation. Get the documents yourself and hand-deliver them.

  • DON'T GO ON A SPENDING SPREE. Before the sale is scheduled to close, the lender may check your credit report for high credit card balances and your bank accounts to make sure you haven't drained them.

  • MAKE SURE THE APPRAISAL IS DONE PROPERLY. The lender will order an appraisal of the home to ensure that you don't pay too much. If the appraisal is too low, you can fight the report to prevent the transaction from falling through.