You can refinance your existing mortgage with a streamlined loan backed by the Federal Housing Administration. The exact terms and conditions of streamline loans vary from lender to lender, but in general these loans involve lowering your interest rate, paying minimal closing costs, and quick processing. The time that it takes to process your loan depends on a number of factors, but theoretically you could close on an FHA streamline loan within a week of submitting your application.
How you submit your loan application has a major bearing on how long it takes your lender to process. Lenders typically operate from Monday to Friday and even if your lender has office hours at the weekend, the chances are high that the backroom people who process the loans only work on weekdays. Therefore, do not expect any action on your loan for at least a couple of days if you submit your application any time between Friday night and early on Monday morning.
Many lenders enable you to submit your application online, and while this might make it easier for you to submit your FHA refinance application at a time that suits you, the underwriting process only begins when you provide the lender with your supporting documentation. Typically, you need your last two years of tax returns, two years of w2's and your last two pay slips. You also need your current mortgage statement, a survey of your land, your insurance information, two months of bank statements and your warranty deed. If you submit an application in person, the lender can ensure that you have everything that you need. If you submit your documents via email, it may take a few days before anyone lets you know that you need to submit more information.
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If your streamline FHA refinance loan amount does not exceed the balance that you owe on your current mortgage, then you can use the same appraisal that you used for your existing mortgage. Using the same appraisal saves you a lot of time as appraisals can take up to a few weeks, depending on the market and the workload of the appraiser. This can greatly slow down the mortgage process.
Your lender still has to order a title search to make sure no other liens exist on the property and to ensure that you are the owner. The lender also has to obtain a flood survey to see if you live in a flood zone. It usually takes a few days to get those reports, but your lender can request that the reports be expedited.
The loan underwriter ultimately sets the tempo for the FHA streamline refinance process. If you have good credit and provide all the supporting documents at the time of application, then the underwriter can review and approve the loan within a few days. However, if you have a very busy underwriter, it could take a few weeks to process even if you use your old appraisal. Additionally, some underwriters are more thorough than others, so a strict underwriter may have more questions and require more documents than a less strict one. Therefore, the amount of time it takes to process an FHA streamline loan depends on many factors, including the underwriter.