How Long Does It Take to Refinance a Home?

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Contributor, Benzinga
April 19, 2021

Most of our users get purchase loans and refinance from New American Funding.

No matter if you want to refinance your mortgage for a lower rate or take out cash to pay down debt, you probably want to close your refinance as quickly as possible.

How long does it take to refinance a home? Let’s take a look at how long it might take to close your mortgage loan, as well as compare some of the best lenders to refinance a mortgage. 

Best Mortgage Lenders for Refinancing:

ProcessAverage Time
Selecting a lender1 to 7 days
Completing an application1 to 2 days
Completing a home appraisal and reviewing results2 to 7 days
Loan underwriting5 to 21 days
Reviewing your Closing Disclosure3 days
Closing your new loan1 day
Total Days: 13 to 41 days

Refinance Process Explained

The refinance process is similar to the process of your original home loan. Let’s take a look at each of the steps involved in the refinance process and what happens at each step.  

Step 1: Select a Mortgage Lender.

There’s no rule that says you need to refinance with your original mortgage lender. You might be able to take advantage of a lower interest rate or a better customer service team by refinancing with a new lender.

Take some time to explore your refinance options before you apply. Research some of the best refinance mortgage companies available in your state, and compare interest rates and credit requirements from each option.

Step 2: Complete a Loan Application.

Thanks to the rise in popularity of the online mortgage, most lenders no longer require you to visit a physical bank or branch to apply for a loan. Even lenders with physical locations have streamlined the refinance process.

If you apply for a refinance through Rocket Mortgage® by Quicken Loans® , for example, you can apply for a refinance on your smartphone or tablet.

When you apply for a refinance, your lender will usually ask you to submit some financial information. Your lender will typically ask you to provide at least the following:

If you’re self-employed, your lender might ask you for more documentation that proves your income like your last tax return. Having this documentation on-hand before you apply for a new loan can speed up the refinancing process. 

Step 3: Receive a Home Appraisal.

After you apply for a refinance, your lender will return a decision to you with a loan estimate. Your loan estimate tells you about the costs and fees associated with your new loan. Most online lenders return a loan estimate quickly after you submit an application.

From here, your loan enters the underwriting stage. During this stage, your lender will order a new home appraisal if your loan requires it. Not every refinance requires an appraisal.

For example, if you’re going with an FHA or VA Streamline, you won’t need to wait for an appraiser to visit your property. However, for most types of rate or term refinances and all cash-out refinances, you’ll need to get a new appraisal.

The refinance appraisal process is almost identical to the appraisal process you went through when you bought your home. The only major difference is that now you may attend the appraisal as a homeowner. We’ll go over a few ways you can improve your appraisal results in a later section. 

Step 4: Wait During Loan Underwriting.

The underwriting process usually takes longer than any other step. During underwriting, your lender uses a fine-toothed comb to look through your finances to ensure that you’ll be able to afford your new loan payment. Your underwriter also looks at your income, assets, debt and credit, as well as the results of your home appraisal in relation to the amount of money you want to borrow.

Most underwriting closes in 5 to 8 business days. However, if you have a more complicated financial situation, your lender might take up to 3 weeks to finish underwriting your loan. When your underwriting is complete, your lender will get in-touch with you to schedule the final steps of your refinance. 

Step 5: Review Your Closing Disclosure.

When your lender finishes underwriting your loan, they’ll issue you a Closing Disclosure. Your Closing Disclosure is a final tally of the fees and costs you’ll need to pay at closing. This document also includes information on your new loan term, monthly payment, APR and more.

Lenders are legally required to give you at least 3 days to review your Closing Disclosure before they can finalize your loan. Take a look at your disclosure and compare it with your loan estimate. If the estimates on your Closing Disclosure and your Loan Estimate are very different, contact your lender to ask why. If everything checks out, tell your lender that you’ve received the disclosure and that they may schedule your closing meeting. 

Step 6: Attend a Closing Meeting.

Closing a refinance is easier than closing on a mortgage loan. Since you own your home, you won’t need to deal with any real estate agents or sellers. When you attend your closing, bring these items:

  • Some form of government-issued photo ID (a driver’s license, passport or military ID)
  • Your Closing Disclosure
  • A cashier’s check to cover your closing costs or proof that you’ve already paid your closing costs online
  • A list of key contacts, like your agent or refinance officer, in case you have any questions later

Most closing meetings for refinances take about 30 minutes. You should feel free to take as long as you need if you have any last-minute questions about what you’re signing. 

Speed Up Your Refinance

There are a few steps you can take to speed up your refinance process:

Attend your refinance appraisal. A low home appraisal can throw a serious kink in your refinance plans. As a homeowner, you’re free to attend your refinance appraisal and help your appraiser get an accurate picture of your home.

Begin by ensuring that your home is clean before your appraiser arrives. Though the cleanliness of your home won’t play into your appraisal value, a clean home makes it easier for your appraiser to see that your home has been well-maintained.

If you’ve made any permanent improvements to your property like a new dishwasher or a paver patio, be sure to call your appraiser’s attention to them.

Understand your closing costs. Though you don’t need a down payment when you refinance your home loan, you’ll need to pay for things like your appraisal and loan processing fees. Save up for closing costs before you apply for a refinance to avoid delays. As a general rule, you can expect to pay between 2% and 3% of your total loan balance.

Acknowledge your Closing Disclosure. Your lender is legally required to give you at least 3 days to look over your Closing Disclosure before they schedule your closing meeting. If you forget to acknowledge that you’ve received your disclosure, your lender can’t schedule your meeting. Be sure to contact your lender and confirm that you’ve received your disclosure as soon as you get it.

Keep in touch. Your lender might ask you for additional financial documents during the underwriting stage of your refinance. Respond to these requests as quickly as possible to keep your refinance on track.

If your lender goes silent, don’t be afraid to follow up with a representative. Lenders usually put a lower level of urgency on refinances when compared to new mortgage loans. 

Best Mortgage Lenders for Refinancing

Now that you understand how to refinance, let’s take a look at some of the best mortgage companies currently offering refinances.   

Quicken Loans
Best For
  • Online Service
securely through Quicken Loans's website

1. Best Overall: Quicken Loans®

Quicken Loans® is 1 of the largest and most comprehensive mortgage refinancing companies in the country. The Quicken Loans® refinance process is incredibly simple — just answer a few simple questions about your current loan, upload your loan paperwork and you’ll receive a decision instantly in most cases.

The company has streamlined the refinance process — you can refinance your loan from your phone. Quicken Loans® also offers a wide range of refinancing options, from jumbo loan refinances to FHA refinances. 

New American Funding Refinance
Best For
  • Refinancing
securely through New American Funding Refinance's website

2. Best for Securing a Lower Interest Rate: New American Funding

New American Funding offers conventional, proprietary and government-backed mortgages. It also offers options for refinancing and tapping into your home equity. Note its products aren’t available to New York or Hawaii residents.

This provider is worth checking out if you’re self-employed or if you have a low credit score. You can use bank statements to verify your income instead of trying to qualify with tax returns, W-2s or pay stubs, which you might not have with a fluctuating or lump-sum income.

In addition to rate and term refinances, New American offers cash-out refinances. You can take out a new home loan for more than you owe on your home and walk away with cash. The amount you can take out is based on the equity in your home.

New American Funding is also an excellent lender for first-time home buyers. You can opt for an FHA, USDA or VA loan. You'll find educational resources to help you understand the mortgage process. 

Credible Mortgage
Best For
  • Comparing Rates

3. Best for Loan Comparison: Credible

Credible provides comparisons of various loan products and credit cards. Its user-friendly, online interface allows you to compare personalized loan offers from multiple lenders for home loans, mortgage refinancing and more.

And Credible’s mortgage marketplace integrates lenders and credit bureaus so you can compare actual prequalified mortgage rates — not estimates — and terms they qualify for across multiple lenders in just 3 minutes. The marketplace actively removes duplicate questions from the process and allows for the automatic gathering of documents needed by lenders to complete the loan.

As a broker, Credible’s licensed loan officers provide you concierge service all the way to closing. 

Refinance the Right Way

Closing your refinance on-time is important — but you should also leave yourself with plenty of time to make sure that you’re receiving the best possible refinance. Review all of your loan paperwork before you sign, speak with a few competing mortgage lenders and track interest rates over a few months to make sure you aren’t overpaying for your loan. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q
How do I get pre-approved?
A

First, you need to fill out an application and submit it to the lender of your choice. For the application you need 2 previous years of tax returns including your W-2’s, your pay stub for past month, 2 months worth of bank statements and the lender will run your credit report. Once the application is submitted and processed it takes anywhere from 2-7 days to be approved or denied. Check out our top lenders and lock in your rate today!

Q
How much interest will I pay?
A

Interest that you’ll pay is based on the interest rate that you received at the time of loan origination, how much you borrowed and the term of the loan. If you borrow $208,800 at 3.62% then over the course of a 30-year loan you will pay $133,793.14 in interest, assuming you make the monthly payment of $951.65. For a purchase mortgage rate get a quote here. If you are looking to refinance you can get started quickly here.

Q
How much should I save for a down payment?
A

Most lenders will recommend that you save at least 20% of the cost of the home for a down payment. It is wise to save at least 20% because the more you put down, the lower your monthly payment will be and ultimately you will save on interest costs as well. In the event that you are unable to save 20% there are several home buyer programs and assistance, especially for first time buyers. Check out the lenders that specialize in making the home buying experience a breeze.

Q
When should you refinance a home?
A

An excellent time to refinance is when mortgage rates are falling. 

Q
What do you need to qualify for refinancing?
A

You need your credit report, proof of income and insurance.

Get Ready for Take Off

Rocket Mortgage® is an online mortgage experience developed by Quicken Loans®, America’s largest mortgage lender. Rocket Mortgage® makes it easy to get a mortgage — you just tell the company about yourself, your home, your finances and Rocket Mortgage® gives you real interest rates and numbers. You can use Rocket Mortgage® to get approved, ask questions about your mortgage, manage your payments and more.

You can work at your own pace and someone is always there to answer your questions — 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Want a fast, convenient way to get a mortgage? Give Rocket Mortgage® a try.