How Long Does It Take To Refinance A Mortgage Loan Nowadays? Hint: Be Prepared For Battle!

As a multiple property owner, I've done a lot of refinances over the last twenty years. So just how long does it take to refinance a mortgage loan nowadays? The short answer is: 2-3 months on average. This is up from one month on average before the global financial crisis.

With rising mortgage rates in 2022, it's getting harder to qualify for the best mortgage rate. More people are priced out and lending standards are very high. Banks are also bracing for an economic slowdown, which many result in more mortgage defaults.

How Long Does It Take To Refinance?

The average time it takes to refinance in 2022 is 60 – 75 days. If you're unlucky it can take much, much longer. Man it can feel like forever. But the slog is worth every dollar you can save. Why pay more money for your mortgage if you don't have to?

The 2007-2008 financial crisis is long behind us. Yet, it still takes brutally long to qualify for a new mortgage or refinance a mortgage via the bricks and mortars banks.

Why? You need to gather a lot of documents and patience even before starting the underwriting process. Banks want to see a healthy W2 income or at least two years of 1099 income.

In addition, major lenders with great rates like Wells Fargo and Citibank are struggling to keep up with demand.

A Mortgage Refinance Example

If you're wondering how long does it take to refinance a mortgage, let me give you an example. Here is a true story about one of my previous mortgage refinances. I can't believe how long it took to refinance! It was one of the hardest mortgage refinances ever.

* * *

At long last, my principal residence mortgage refinance is done! Things were looking very dicey towards the end. PG&E threw a couple grenades my way that hit my credit score by ~100 points.

Stupidly this was due to an $8 non-payment I was unaware of from three years prior by my tenants. Alas, the Humvee was able to withstand the blast from corporate evil and make it back to home base!

The mortgage loan refinance started on January 20th when I heard a friend say he just locked a 5/1 ARM for only 2.75%. Ehh? I had just refinanced my own 5/1 ARM in the fall of 2014 to 3.125% from 3.625% and I wanted to dance the mambo too!

I incredulously gave Citibank a call to see if I could get the same offer as my friend with all fees baked into the price and they said absolutely! In fact, the very next day, my banker called me to say that they could give me 2.625% with all fees included. Yeah baby, yeah!

The Mortgage Loan Refinance Saga

Having been a Citibank Gold client for over a decade, I had absolute faith my mortgage refinance would go through. After all, just three months earlier, I had closed on my mortgage refinance with them.

They had all my documents and access to all my accounts. Easy peasy right? What could go wrong? Ha! Here are all the documents you need to complete a successful mortgage refinance.

Mortgage Loan Saga: The First 30 Days

30 days had passed since locking the loan before I got any requests for documents. The usual suspects were requested:

  • W2 form
  • Latest 2 pay stubs
  • Printout of assets from bank accounts or only one if it had over $250,000
  • Home insurance policy

I actually thought they didn't need any of this since they waited 30 days to contact me for this information. Not a problem, I sent over all the documents via their interoffice mail since my fax machine was broken.

During this time period, I received three Good Faith Estimates (GFE's) that reviewed the terms of the loan, and two credit score reports that showed me in the 790-800 range, as expected since that's what it was now 4.5 months ago during my last refinance.

Mortgage Loan Saga: Days 30-60 – A Bullish Datapoint

After sending in all my documents, I heard nothing from Citibank for the next two weeks. Not in a rush, I went about doing my own thing until I realized, wait a minute. Don't we need to do yet another appraisal since an appraisal report is only good for 90 days after?

I shot my Citibank representatives an e-mail asking about the appraisal, and they said I would need one, and that they'd get back to me. I asked them why they were taking so long, and they said they were backed up due to all the purchases going on.

Bullish indicator! If you are putting in an offer to buy a home, you generally want to make it quick and painless for the seller to accept. That usually means a 30-45 day close maximum. I can certainly understand Citibank prioritizing purchase loans over refinances.

Citibank finally got back to me around day 55 and confirmed that an appraisal is needed. Great, another $750 $860 out the window, but good thing Citibank was handling the cost.

The appraisal is always the tricky part because nowadays, a bank will only loan up to 80% the value of the house e.g. 80% LTV = $800,000 loan for a $1,000,000 house.  

Home Appraisal For Refinance

I wasn't too worried since the refinance before. My LTV was at 60%, but one never knows. Earlier, I wrote a post entitled, “Sweet Talking Your Home Appraiser Pays Off“, which provides some tips for those who are worried.

It turns out that the home appraiser didn't even have to come to my house this time! The appraiser just sent in an electronic report to Citibank, appraising it coincidentally at the same amount from 4.5 months ago!

What an easy, great job to have! If you want to make bank, become a home appraiser. You'll at least make multiple six figures no problem, so no complaining all of you who make less!

Mortgage Loan Saga: Day 60-75 – Nothing Is Happening!

Although Citibank is paying the $860 home appraisal fee, I am really paying the fee indirectly through a higher rate. There is no free lunch in mortgage refinancing.

When they say all fees are included, the bank has already baked in their own margins. Hence, those people who feel guilty about collecting unemployment insurance even if they have the means, don't feel guilty!

Just know that your employer already baked in your salary to account for the unemployment insurance they have to pay. Collect, and collect with pride!

Another two weeks went by, and I was getting worried. It's day 75 and in this time, I get three more Good Faith Estimate reports and another credit score update.

The process is killing trees inefficiently! I guess sending the GFE's is a good way to protect the client, but during these past 75 days, the rate and the loan amount did not change, so I don't know why they kept on sending me these papers. By deduction, I realize that it was their fees that kept on changing. Interesting.

Mortgage Loan Saga: Days 75-85 – Shit Is Hitting The Fan And Splattering!

By day 76, I am totally miffed at WTF is going on with my mortgage refinance. The 10-year yield moved up from 1.85% when I locked, to 2.3% and I was getting worried. 

Is my mortgage refinance really not going to go through? I began to wonder. I kept on thinking what a waste of time this all was, and started preparing for the worst, continuing with my 3.125% rate.

My mortgage loan officer contacts me and says I need the following additional papers for the underwriter:

  • Home insurance statement with contact person and loan number

Fair enough, but why didn't you ask me for this in the first 45 days?

Refinance Underwriting Inefficiency

At around day 80, I finally got an urgent call from my mortgage officer on my work line. I so happened to be golfing that day, and my assistant said that I wasn't working (that day).

My mortgage officer took it to mean that I was no longer working at my job and e-mailed me with a title, “URGENT: Please Respond Immediately!” Funny, alas, they were feeling the sense of urgency because there was only 10 days left until we'd lose the incredible 2.625% lock!

My mortgage officer picked up the phone and said, “We can't go through your mortgage refinance if you are no longer working!”

I replied, “What the hell? Just because I take the afternoon off to go play golf doesn't mean I'm no longer working. I'm working on my 2-iron stinger, lady!

She calmed down, and brought up the news of my devastating 100 point credit score hit. This was due to a highly delinquent payment from PG&E that my tenants forgot to pay, which I mentioned earlier.

You can read about the entire story in “Corporate Greed By PG&E Killed My Friend's Family And My Credit Score“.

Don't Let Stupid Errors Ruin Your Chance To Refinance

After 80 days, I was now pissed off for them waiting so long to get going. Amanda implied in our conversation that the mortgage refi was all but dead.

I wrote her a long e-mail back saying that this was wrong of them to do. I'd been a good client for over 10 years. In addition, I'd never been late, have referred over 30 customers, and have enough cash in the bank to pay off the entire principal loan for goodness sakes!

How could that stupid $7 PG&E snafu surface now, and not during my last refinance?

Alas, a senior mortgage officer stepped in and assured me that the mortgage refinance would go through. I spoke to PG&E and told them this delinquent payment penalty was egregious.

They agreed to send me and my bank a “Clear Credit Letter” stating that the delinquency is removed and they contacted all credit agencies to remove the penalty. The senior mortgage officer even called PG&E to expedite the process. Phew. Good job Citibank!

House On Golf Course In HawaiiMortgage Loan Saga: Day 85-90 – Aloha Emancipation

Even though I knew we were closing in on the 90 day limit for closing, I decided to take advantage of a Hawaiian Airlines three-day sale and buy a round trip ticket to Honolulu for $328, including tax and fees. Was this irresponsible of me? No. A little stubborn and risky? Yes.

I wasn't about to let this mortgage refinance saga derail my plans for having fun. Remember, making money and saving money are a means to a better lifestyle. Sitting around twiddling my thumbs in San Francisco waiting for Citibank, while I could be in Hawaii playing golf and surfing doesn't make sense.

I told my mortgage officer and her boss that I was off to Hawaii, and that if they want me to sign the papers, I would do so when I return in a week. Alternatively, they could send a notary to my place of residence in Hawaii to get the process done.

They elected not to wait another week and hired a notary for $175 at their expense to meet me at my place! Now that is service!

Mortgage Loan Saga: Day 90-97 – Head-fake Coco Head

When the notary showed up, she showed me my settlement statement and asked for a cashier's check for the interest due for the rest of the month.

What? Nobody from Citibank informed me about needing a cashier's check and this amount of money. Well guess what? There are no Citibanks in all of Hawaii! 

There are also no Bank of America's or any other bank for that matter.  Only Hawaiian banks for protectionist reasons. Augh.

I couldn't easily wire transfer online (figured out how to later), or get my private banker to do it because I'd need to fax them (not e-mail) a signed letter with all instructions. I was not about to spend another hour of my time going to Kinko's or somewhere to do this.

Instead, I told Citibank and the title company they'd have to wait another 5 days until I got back to San Francisco before they could officially close the loan. 

Devil Is In The Details

The closing officer at Citibank dropped the ball by failing to review my final statement with me over the phone or on e-mail, and indicate the necessary cashier's check I had to bring. Details people, details!

By this time, I was just laughing. What's another 5 days? I thought to myself. Time to make them sweat given the wait and fear of things not going through starts messing with your head after three months for the borrower.

In the end, it took 97 days to get my mortgage loan refinance completed. I should be getting some checks back from Citibank due to overage charges. I'll then need to set up the account online to do auto-transfer so I never have to think about paying.

Takeaways From Refinancing A Mortgage Loan

We've come a long way since the credit freeze of 2008-2009. Here's a recap of where we are, and where we're going.

Banks Are Lending Again

Banks are lending again. But they are being encumbered by new government rules and regulations which are there to protect the borrower. The 10 Good Faith Estimate documents is the most obvious example where things have changed.

In the past, I only got one. Speaking to the notary, it turns out that our magnificent government instituted this GFE rule in 2011, so that anytime even a penny of fees is changed, they must send a new multi-page document via FedEx/UPS.

This is good for consumers, as hopefully we consumers read the GFE's and point out discrepancies.

30-40 Days To Refinance Is Fast

Before the 2008 financial crisis, a mortgage refinance would take 30-40 days on average. Soon after the financial crisis in 2010, mortgage refinances were taking 50-65 days.

After speaking to several friends who are also refinancing, and going through my own experience, it looks like mortgage refinancing is taking 80-90 days +++.

Amanda, my mortgage officer said they are super backed up. A large portion of their refinances are taking well over 90 days! One friend, who is refinancing with Citibank said he's in month 7 of his mortgage refinance!

LTV Standards For Refinance

A loan-to-value of 80% is industry standard now. I don't know any banks who are lending more than 80% of the value of your property.

This is good for all of us in the long run. It weeds out donkey's who over leverage, blame other people for not being able to pay their debt, and end up hurting all of us in the process.

The problem for some is that they need to come up with a cash-in refinance to get their LTV ratio to 80%.

Cheap Money Is Getting More Scarce

When I refinanced in the fall of 2014, the 10-year yield was at the same level as when I locked in my refinance on January 20, 2015, around 1.88%. However, in 2022, the 10-year bond yield is closer to 3.5% and average mortgage rates have climbed.

The cheap and easy money from 2020 and 2021 is over! As a result, it's more important than ever to prepare your finances to qualify for a lower mortgage rate.

Latest mortgage rates 2022

People Who Don't Need To Refinance Get To Refinance

People who do not need to refinance get to refinance. This is the law of unintended consequences. Only if you have excellent credit (760+) and a LTV of 80% are you able to refinance.

If you don't have a job, are struggling to make your monthly payments, have an underwater home mortgage loan, and have poor credit, banks will not lend to you. In fact, well-qualified borrowers are getting quoted much lower mortgage rates than headline averages.

Now, if only I could get the same rate as new borrowers nowadays, I could much readily pay my monthly mortgage, you think to yourself. Since you can't, you might as well default and tell the bank and the government, Up yours! Now the cycle begins.

The Rich Will Get Richer

The rich will get richer. From individuals to private real estate funds, those with capital are buying properties in droves right now. They understand that a rental yield of 8% vs. a borrowing rate of 3% is a great return to earn while they wait for capital appreciation.

The very same mega-landlords will write great propaganda why renting is better than buying to keep people out of the purchase market (less competition), and keep people happy to keep paying rent.

Banks Hate The Government Too

Banks hate the government as much as people. Before you go blasting your mortgage officers for dragging their feet, know that they are waiting on the underwriter just as much as you are waiting on the mortgage officer to get back to you.

It's because of new government regulations that have made the underwriting process significantly more difficult to pass, that has created a 100% increase in the time it takes to refinance a mortgage loan.

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How Long Does It Take To Refinance A Mortgage Now is a FS original post.

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113 thoughts on “How Long Does It Take To Refinance A Mortgage Loan Nowadays? Hint: Be Prepared For Battle!”

  1. Sent my paperwork to citi bank for a refi on March 30th 2020…
    Today is November 2nd and I am still waiting for a closing date.

  2. I’m in a strange spot and want out of my current refi with a new mortgage company. Had the appraisel done and just this week I’m on disability. They told me the process has stopped until I go back to work. Which at this point I won’t be cleared for who knows how long. I want out of this not so great of deal anyway. Can I get out (haven’t notarized) or is it fully up to them? Thank you

  3. Edward Antrobus

    I’m not sure I believe that government regulations are the real reason for underwriting going slowly. I changed banked mid refinance because I came to the conclusion that the underwriting department at my current lender really didn’t care one way or another if the refi happened. I was asked for a copy of my divorce decree three times. When a cosigner was suggested, the underwriters ran the original numbers without the cosigner and then denied the cosigner based on my information, whithout ever asking for the potential cosigner’s name, let alone financial information.
    I switched to another bank and was approved within two weeks.

  4. I have been trying to close on our Refi that started on July 14, 2016 with Global Equity Finance. We have provided all documents they have asked for, paid $650 for the appraisal and paid out of pocket money to repair some things that needed repairing based on the appraisal. I was getting phone calls and emails on a regular bases when we started. Now that we are at closing I fell like I have lost a good friend…No more calls or emails, were did they go. :) I know there is a process to this and that it takes time, but this makes no sense. I will be happy to let the world know that GEF can do the job…if it gets done….but will not hesitate to tell others what I had to experience.

  5. NatashaWittmann

    Currently trying to refinance with Freedom Mortgage and it’s taking over 3 months. My husband and I have great credit, make very good money, have twice the necessary equity in our home, have never been late for a single payment and yet they are giving us the hardest time, looking for anything to nit pick at. There is clearly an issue with this company. I wish we had gone with a local bank who could have had this loan done 2 months ago, but we’ve already paid $500.00 for the appraisal. They have been saying just 1 more week, every week for the past several months. I fear it will never end! Dont walk, RUN away from this company! Ugh!

  6. I started refinancing our home back in October 2015, it’s now at the end of April 2016, 7 months! Ugh, you thought you waited to long. They nit pick everything, check stubs for back in January, really isn’t 1 or 2 months good enough? Apparently not. Basically, anything you can think of to do with a home, they ask for. I’m surprised they aren’t out here scraping the paint off the walls, to determine what kind we used and if it passed codes, ha ha. Pretty soon folks, they will want DNA samples to prove you’re human. I am at my witts end and ready for a major nervous breakdown. Everytime the phone rings I get depressed because i know…! It’s for an FHA loan, this is our third home, and second refinance we ever did, seeing we are at a 7% rate, and want to get a better rate. When will it end, the world may never know.

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  10. I bought my home three years ago and paid cash for it.
    even states it on my deed. ” full sum paid in cash ”

    now you would think that would be easy. lol it took over 10 hrs. just to get the bank to agree to take the money. the acted as if it was the plague or something.

    and now three years later I found something I wanted to do and looked to borrow only 50% of the home value and it has been 3 months and not looking good. lol

    there was a comment the money you have in your annuity cant be accessed till February 2014 and I said ok?????? so if I wanted to wait a few months I wouldn’t need a loan, and the only one with any risk here is me as I own the house outright and only looking for half the appraised value.

    the loan advisor said ” it doesn’t make sense, I agree with you, thank your government for the excess crap we have to go thru.”

    So as not to give credit to the powers that be……. THANKS OBAMA, CONGRESS,HOUSE.
    just more of the same .

    until you people in Washington can run your own finances, you damn sure should not be involved with anything involving mine!!!!!!!!

  11. Delia flores

    Do I have any recourse if after 3 delays on new home being built due to labor problem my mortgage lock in expires and the rates go up

  12. Question – my refi is finally going through & I am supposed to sign tomorrow. There are a little over $4,000 in fees to do so. Would I be better off just paying it down those fees? It seems kind of ridiculous.

  13. Reading this article about the exasperating time to close a mortgage refinance makes me think your tagline should be changed to “Slicing through Money’s Miseries”!

    Note to Self: If I ever decide to retire, I’ll apply for a refinance before my income can no longer be verified.

  14. “Only if you have excellent credit (720 to 740+) and a LTV of 80% are you able to refinance.” This statement is not true.

  15. My refinance with Citibank started November 2012. It is now June 2013 and I am still waiting. This company is pathetic. The only hold up is there lack of effort. My credit’s fine. I provided all of the documents they needed. After providing them with the initial documents I heard nothing for months. When I asked to be provided with updates, they sent me the same email on a regular basis stating it was pending review. Over the past two months I’ve gotten various requests for updated documents, all of which I promptly provided. They just don’t care. They have offered me numerous excuses about the overload of refis, then the restructuring of their company. It is pathetic. I was advised a month ago that it is approved and now they just don’t respond to my emails. I am at my end. I would have gone with a private broker had I known they were going to treat me like this. The sickening part is that they charge any fees at all, with all of the money I am losing every month because of their incompetency and indifference.

      1. Would that work? They tell me that they have no control and that it is all the processing department in Las Vegas. Any other suggestions? I am at my end. Unfortunately the rates have gone up and they claim that they can keep extending my loan lock so they literraly have me hanging. As others have stated, I wish I knew back then what I know now. I would never again voluntarily do business with this bank.

  16. Ann Chaffey

    Start date: July 12, 2012
    Closing date: April 22, 2013
    Yes, we did refinance two properties at once. Initially we were told that the process would take about 3-4 months with Citibank/Citimortgage. Finally answer: 284 days.
    p.s. We’re still waiting for the cash out…

  17. I am refining with quicken loan via a mortgage broker. i am also experiencing long wait time since jan,2013. They have asked for many paper works and given the fact that we have good credits and long mortgage history, quicken still try to find some odd excuse for more papers. I do not agree with saying ‘what to lose to wait’. This kind of attitude only encourages the lender to abuse the system. People lose their their privacy with these lenders. Where is the customer service? If client does not have the history of any sign of bad credit with large equity. Why all these craps?
    I think lenders are screw-up and something needs to be done. If consumers cannot refinance, how is the financial market gain? I believe full documents are necessary but not to the extend we are seeing now a day. We will not continue to be abuse by the lender and we can also choose not to refinance as well. What is the big deal? We can do it later… I do not know why consumer has to take all these from the lender especially if the customers have good credit and qualify for the loan. Something needs to be done for this situation. ….

  18. I’m now approaching day 210 what could I loose if I bail out I’m soooo tired.
    Thanks Anne

    1. Hang in there! Like you say, what’s there to lose? 10-year yield is now at 1.79% as of 4/4/2013. Rates could even be lower than when you first started. Call and ask!

  19. Matt O'Connor

    I read the article in the LA times this morning that mentions your loan experience and something doesn’t seem right with the loan you were reporting to Scott Reckard.
    Either the loan officer doesn’t know what he is doing or the article didn’t give you the whole story.
    Lenders use the middle score when it comes to credit scores.
    If your scores were 680 and 790 and 790 your middle score is 790 and the 680 doesn’t matter.
    If there is a co-borrower than it is the lower of the two borrowers middle scores.
    If the co-borrowers scores were 680, 720,760 the score the lender would use is 720 (middle scores 790 and 720 lower of the two being 720).
    Also most loans are approved by automated underwriting DU for Fannie Mae and LP for Freddie Mac and these automated underwriting systems are programed to pick up the middle score so I think the loan officer dropped the ball somewhere.
    How a lender looks at credit scores seems like information you should know if you are going to blog about personal finance and Scott Reckard should probably know for writing that article.

    Getting a mortgage these days is not an easy process anymore the concern about having to buy back a loan that the investor doesn’t like for any reason if such a big issue.

    1. Matt, I placed your comment here instead of where you wrote it in my About page.

      Do you speak for all lenders when you say “lenders use the middle score” when it comes to credit scores? If so, please feel free to give Citibank a call.

      If I’m a lender and I see 680, 790, and 790, I am DEFINITELY going to inquire about what’s up with the 680. Perhaps your lax attitude is the reason why we got into this mortgage mess in the first place.

      Check whether most jumbo loans are approved by automated underwriting for Fannie and Freddie. Jumbo loans have a much more stringent underwriting requirement given most are not purchased by Fannie and Freddie.

      Are you a mortgage lender? Share with us your background because I am concerned with your lack of knowledge. But, if you want to lend me some money, let me know! Thx

  20. I am almost 120 days in to a refinance with Wells Fargo. We already passed our original lock in date in Feb. They said it would be extended. I had hope 2 weeks ago when they called for our new loan number on the 19th of Feb. (mortgage was sold to another company) and I saw that they had checked or credit on the 20th of Feb. Everytime I would call before that they said they were backed up and waiting. The last time I talked to someone around the first of Feb she told me it was fixing to go to underwriting. Now we are back to not hearing anything. I have had to make every call to find out where the process is on our loan unless they have needed something (which has been twice). Very frustrating!!!

  21. I have been working with citibank since July of last year to refinance and I really thought that I was just being difficult – not understanding why this would take so long to process. And as state above, every other week I receive a new request for some document that either exprire or need more current informtion. I have a bag full of doucment than I don’t know what to do with. This process has cost me so much money that my hope is that I have some remance to use for closing… when that time eventually comes around. I too feel like telling them to forget it, but support of others I keep holding on and hoping evertime I open my mail box I will find the closing document. My coop manager is not too helpful either. every document I request from them cost me hundred of dollars. I can’t believe that this process cannot be handed in a more speedier fashion.

    1. Why not check with Quicken Loans online for a no obligation, free quote based on your scenario? Given they are online, their rates are very competitive due to low overhead costs and they are the largest online mortgage retailer in America. I always check w/ them when I’m doing my refi to make sure I’m getting the best rate. They are also much more streamlined than traditional bricks and mortars banks based on experience.

  22. Wow – I’m in the same situation as everyone else. 4 months and still haven’t closed on my refinancing with Citibank. I’m thinking of just pulling the application and giving up – what a waste of time and money it has been but I can’t bear to drag this process on any more. Has anyone figured out where to file a complaint? I guess there’s no way they’ll refund me the application fee or appraisal fees, right?

    1. Sorry to hear Lola. I would keep pressing and ask every week what is going on. At 4 months, I can’t imagine you not getting back your application fee. I’d just stick w/ it if they say they are still working through things though.

  23. It’s not just Citibank. I am at 108 days and counting with Chase. What is the most frustrating is that they had my first loan, and then my loan the first time I refinanced and both those went quickly. They are the current owner of my loan, but are taking forever. Everyone is pointing fingers at everone else….mortgage broker, condo association checking wrong box, chase…. I just want to stop losing 300 dollars in equity for each month it takes them longer.

  24. I am at day 90 with Citibank–they told me 60-90 days but my local bank told me 45-60 I really wish I went with them. At least I would have a name and face and feel like they cared if I was unhappy or not. It appears Citibank is the longest of them all. They too tell me it is because they have so many to do. If I pulled that on my customers, they would tell me a thing or two and go somewhere else! We already had our mortgage with Citibank so we thought it would be faster and easier (we have a 10 year perfect history with them and a 770+ credit score. I wish I would’ve read this blog before!

    1. It took me a long time with Citibank as well for one of my mortgages. Ever since then, I’ve always checked online first with Quicken Loans to see if they can match or beat the rate, b/c usually they can at least match, and it’s quicker.

      Good luck and hang in there!

  25. I consider myself to still be a newbie to home ownership which has been since 2009. My original loan is an FHA 30 yr fixed rate of 5.5% and BOA has been my lender since.

    Last week I received a letter from BOA that my loan was being transferred to a new servicer which I am not happy about but I heard this happens a lot. I’ve never been late on my mtg payments or any creditor payments for that matter so I was bummed to hear this news which takes effect December 1st.

    Because of this change I thought I would try for a refinance with BOA, so this past Monday 11/26, I applied for a refinance with BOA. I asked about a conventional refi loan but was told I would have to come up with a large sum of cash and have a higher FICO. My current FICO came in at 696.

    So I was given two options for a refinance. I could apply for a FHA Streamline 30 yr at a 3.875%, which would require no appraisal, or income verification, or I could try for a new 15 FHA at a 3.375% instead, which requires income verification, other documentation and an appraisal which I pay upfront and get it back. I submitted all required documents yesterday and paid $535 for credit run and appraisal which is supposedly going to be scheduled next week after I receive my Good Faith Document. I was told by the BOA loan officer that I should expect to wait at least 90 days or longer for a response, but he said I would find out right away if they would not approve the loan like in a few days, but if I didn’t hear back from them in next two weeks it was a good sign/indication that my loan is being thoroughly reviewed and considered.

    Its only been a few days and I am already stressed out and moreso after reading what many of you have gone/going through.

    I guess its a waiting game at this point.

  26. We started the refinance process in July. Needless to say, we are still waiting. Never, ever again will I deal with this particular bank. Ever.

  27. I applied in ending of Jul, beginning of Aug, 2012 and still waiting (now Nov. 14, 2012!) They have checked my credit three times already (lost 100 pts bc of them) and every time I talk to my loan officer, she tells me they have to verify my documents because its expired…. She tells me she will call to update us but never does, it all comes down to my husband and I to contact her. When we call within two weeks, she tells us there are other people in front of us. I am ready to give up…

    1. I don’t think your credit score can go down 100 points b/c the bank checked three times. I would check your credit score for free here to make sure it’s not identity theft or something more sinister like a bill you had no idea you owed, which is now in collection agency. A 100 point drop in credit WILL hurt your mortgage refinance chances.

      I’d just hang in there, b/c really at the end of the day, it’s just waiting. Stick through it!

      1. CA litigator

        I had friends refi and the bank checked them five times resulting in a reduced FICO of 80 points. They had excellent scores (780+) before and are considering litigation. That can be an issue with large banks. Numerous people touch the file and people are always being hired, leaving, transferrred to new positions, etc. And they don’t care how many times they give you a hit to ensure the person before them did things correctly.

  28. Hello
    I m so frustrated with Citibank who purchased my previous mortgage company. We applied HARP in March 2012. In 5 weeks, we were told not qualified due to our second mortgage with a different bank which is Credit Union. So we switched to Citibank Refinance program instead of HARP. We had to pay upfront for appriaisal about 450 dollars in May 2012. Today we got another Good Faith Estimate report. We are tired of waiting as they claim it was underwriter group s lengthy waiting period. The question is should we seek another new mortgage company to refinance with lower interest? Our current refinance application is locked at 3.75. Thanks

    1. My 100 day refinance ended up having around 10 Good Faith Estimates! This is due to government regulation, and not b/c of Citibank, where I also refinance.

      What I recommend you do is utilize the internet and check for a free, no obligation quote via Quicken Loans. They’ve been much quicker, and much more streamlined in the process that traditional bricks and mortar banks which are seriously bogged down by the gov’t. The bigger you are, the more paper work you need to do and Citibank is one of the biggest! Just make sure you ask the tough questions with Quicken Loans and ask if there is an application fee and what the refund policy is if you come to that.

      Sam

  29. MortgageKing

    @Delta

    Alot of banks have the same program, they bump the rate above par to pay for the closing costs. Still a great deal.

  30. Hello all,

    Citibank claims under the Home Affordable Refinance Program that I can get free-refinancing. No cost to me and 10-year fixed at 3.125% APR. Is this a scam? No appraisal, no title fee, not even the county taxes?
    I know there is no-free-lunch so what is the catch? Would I get a cheaper interest rate somewhere else if I paid some fees??
    (And, yeah, our credit is perfect. Nothing late. Employed….)

  31. We’ve been waiting to close on our cash-out refinancing. It’s been over 90 days and we were planning on using the money to pay the income taxes owed to the IRS for 2011. Since it doesn’t look like the refinancing will close in time, would you recommend we borrow from our 401K or accept a credit card offer from USAA for a 0% (for the first year) balance transfer. We don’t have any other way of paying IRS and we are hoping we can close on our re-fi by the end of the year.

  32. I had a construction loan with US BANK, and construction finished in September 2011. I have started my current refinance in Fall 2011 with the same bank. I submitted all my and my wife’s paychecks, W2’s, bank statements retirements etc…. I had no choice of who will be the provider. I was offered a Jumbo refi deal for 4.75%. I agreed, and was told, that in order to do that I would need to pay for an appraisal. I paid $650.00 for the appraisal which was low quality. However, since the loan to value ratio is about 60%, there was no problem. Until today 9-2012, US Bank has again and again requested more paystubs, retirement statements etc. The loan officer at the bank quit, because of sluggish underwriting and approval. He moved to a new bank. There my refi loan was approved within 3 weeks, and is now in Escrow to be closed in 2-3 weeks. Is there any recourse against US BANK. I feel cheated that loan has not closed for almost a year. This has put me in financial difficulties. I feel they promised and did not deliver. I also feel that if I need to pay a service outside of the bank (appraisal) I should be ordering that service myself, and should be in charge who that is.

  33. doing the HARP 2 w CITI what a nightmare, told from the Get-Go everything Fine No Qualifying, No Appraisal as the online program came in Fine, My FICA Score = 816 But that was 100 daz ago. 2 weeks in I hear from an appraiser he needed to come out, I said I had to check w CITI as NOT what i was told. When I called him back to ask how soon it could be done he was arrogant and said perhaps I should call someone else (BEST ADVICE I WAS GIVEN) but I did not want to upset the bank so stuck with the same guy. WELL He STUCK me with an amount No Less than $75,000 under value using smaller houses on smaller lots w less improvements etc. Short story CITI upped the interest by .375 & a Value appeal came back exactly the same :-( Well after dragging on and on the interests are at an ALL-TIME LOW and I’m way over the 90 day lock in But CITI Won’t re lock me in with the current rates (been 4 days trying) just saying trying to see how to do it ??????? JUST DO IT !!!!!!!!!!! Supposed to close any day now and I’m sure the person calling for me to sign the doc’s will say “All i know is if you don’t sign it NOW it all goes back and you might have to start over”

    IT’s BS and I can’t believe they didn’t know how things go well enough to just tell me UP-Front when we first talked it over. I’m NOT UP-SIDE-DOWN if they would have just told me to expect a call from an appraiser I would Not have Pissed him off by saying No I was told different and my house might have come in closer to it’s True Value “WHAT I COULD SELL IT FOR IN ONE DAY =TODAY”

    TRUTH IN LENDING = What a Concept, But you just ain’t going to get it out of any lender today
    It’s BS to get you to sign on then YOU are Just a Number being run through the lending mill

    I should be 75% LTV (@ the worst) and with a FICA of 816 & a HARP-2 refi should be GOLD (or so I was told) BUT No a defective appraisal puts me up-side-down by $8,000 with $308,000 owed so my rate goes up by .375 WHO is HARP-2 supposed to help ??? If I was in REAL Danger w a FICA score of only 700 would I be charged + 2.75 over the quoted rate ??

    Folks we are NOT out of this mess yet and the people who are Up-side-down and sinking shall take us down with them as they fall off to the wayside or just give up trying

    People should have an opportunity to toss an appraisal that they feel is flawed (as was mine) and pay out of pocket for a 2nd appraisal (as I asked if I could) Not saying I want to pick who does it , But as in my case with the appraiser un-happy to the point of suggesting I go somewhere else he Just No he likely did not intend to do a proper job and gave No consideration to the better comps I offered in my Value Appeal (My dealings with him are only over till closing Then I Will file for my Damages) Appraisers are Too Powerful and have gotten the nod to Undervalue homes to make up for their Overvaluing them in the past! Neither is any Better and Both Hurt Everyone including the Banks holding notes on all the other property’s !!!!!!!!!!!

  34. mike cevene

    Applyied for refi with citimortage on June 10. Everything OK (Credit, forms ect.) Value of home 340,000 owe 168,000. Still getting GFE reports every month that are the excat same.
    Loan officer keeps informing me that everything is ok. Last week emailed and called wanting to know what is takeing so long. Standard answer – we are backed up. Sent email to loan officer, branch manager, officer in Nevada who is handling the (Q ?) report how ridicdulsy (mis spelled) it is that you can’t give me a date of complaction. A few days later got a email that my application had been mover up for review? Emailed back what review? Days pas, get email that the review is to see that everything is in order? Sent nast email that you informed me tat all was inorder when we applyied and you took my $180 none refunable to process loan and each month for three months have sent me emails that everyting is fine and you are just backed up. Sent a more terse email demanding a date of completion or rejection. Got email saying that they are working on it. sent another terse email and made phone calls to loan officer – now days have passed and no replys to several emails I sent and phone calls.
    very frustrated and don’t know what to do.

    1. So you are over 100 days now…. just keep following up and calling a couple times a week. They can’t just lose your application.

      Also, it’s largely not the officer’s fault, as the gov’t has made regulations very onerous on underwriters/banks! Hang in there! Check your credit score in the meantime, and perhaps shop around for other banks.

      1. MortgageKing

        Agreed, Also be thankful that you are not having to pay for rate extensions, most of the banks usually guarantee the loan rate for 60 days, some 90. They pay for all extensions due to high volume.

        p.s. get google chrome, built in spell check :)

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    We hope to hear from you Soon!
    Regards.

  36. Candace Bell

    Appreciate the comments so very much………..our refinance has been a nightmare. We are over the 120 and counting………Bank of America is HORRIBLE. We have 825 FICO score and are only financing half of the appraised value. We have one other payment, car only, Bank of America has had to extend their “lock” twice due to their bumbling and now rates have gone down around us with everyone else. We are ready to start all over again with someone else, painful as the process is, simply because it is unthinkable that any corporation could be this ridiculous with something they are supposed to be experts at. Is there a mechanism to complain, whatever good it will do us, to those in Washington who bailed out this bank?

    1. Candace, I’m on the 3rd locked rate now with Bank of America. Today marks 131 days since the initial application date. My 3rd locked rate expires on the 21st. I’ve heard nothing from the Processor in almost 2 weeks now. I do feel your pain. I wish I did know who to complain to. I’ve emailed her Supervisor, but they won’t get back to me either. I hope we both find out something soon. Good luck to you!

    2. MortgageKing

      Why do people think that if they have a high credit score they are golden. HARP 2.0 has no credit grade. Must have 12 months paid as agreed is the only requirement. You go to remember you are dealing with one of the largest banks in the nation. You are not the only customer,

      Try to shop your lender if you are unhappy with their service. If you need to do the HARP 2.0 you don’t have much of a choice. Most lenders are only servicing their own customers till the business slows down enough to take on new customers, if you don’t like that, go see your local credit union and find out what hoops you have to jump through, no equity, no deal.

  37. Today marks 126 days from the time of my initial loan application with Bank of America. I have faxed everything they have asked for numerous times. As I previously commented, my loan officer has missed 2 fixed rate deadlines, and fast approaching the 3rd. Now she will not return my calls or emails. I would never recommend anyone to go through BOA. I have a good credit score, excellent payment history, I work for the Government. (maybe that’s the problem hahaa) I am to the point that I just have no idea what else I can do. I emailed her supervisor asking if she still worked there. Of course no response. *S*

    1. We finally closed on our refi, but I am not happy about the result and was not prepared for the signing. We had the chance to cancel it but I don’t think I could have started over. Took us 108 days. I recommend researching refi’s and cleaning up your credit score before you ever start. Read reviews and have your finances in order. Be prepared!! We weren’t.

  38. So today I fax the additional info that the underwriter needed. I was told if I sent this then they would be able to close tomorrow at 11:30 am. My licensed loan officer then calls me around 3 pm today and says that the underwriter has a problem with the basement in our house not being a basement and they will have to get ahold of the appraiser and get an adjustment. This women has promised me 5 times that the closing would happen and each time it gets close to the deadline, the underwriter needs something else. Each time I hustle to get whatever they need. Also I went to their web, logged in and looked at all my Good Faith Estimates and each time the cost has gone up. Started out at 3800.00, and now is 4800.00. How much will it cost me to get out of this? I am stressed to the point of being sick. How can they legally treat people like this? Who can I file a complaint with?

  39. We have been working on a refi since May 22, 2012. Was set to close when the refi company decided they needed more info. They even had a notary set up to come to the house last Friday when they came up with a new request. Unbelievable!! So depressing, almost done, then not. Are they all trained to lie to you. Be honest!! Just say it may take more than 30 days. Don’t lead me on.

    1. I just had that happen again today. My loan officer has missed 2 fixed rate deadlines, coming upon the 3rd. I get home and have a list of things to update and send to her in my mail. I am ready to scream. This has been going on since May 4, 2012. I feel like I’m starting all over.

  40. I applied for a home loan with Bank of America, buying out my existing loan. I’ve been told over and over from the Loan Officer that she will be working on my loan to send to underwriters within the next few days. I had everything they needed faxed in within a week. I am now approaching 16 weeks. I can’t tell closing is any closer than when I first applied. The loan officer keeps saying how sorry she is, they are backed up with loans. Is this normal?

  41. Sam,

    I am rapidly approaching day 120 of a VA Interest Rate Reduction Loan through my original lender. It is a 3.875% for 30 years (down from 6%), I have been told that these types of refinances have quick turn around times because there is no appraisal. My lender tells me that the loan went to underwriting on June 16th and they are backlogged and cannot give me an estimate on how much longer it will take. My credit score is in the 800’s and I have never made a late mortgage payment. Hopefully this waiting game will be over soon.
    Thanks.

  42. Enjoyed reading this. I was researching what the average cycle times for refi and new mortgages were and just couldn’t find anything. This was close.

    Well-written piece…

  43. Currently going through a refi with Chase, it’s been 100 days and counting. It’s a 4% 20 year loan (down from 5.875) , and I have an underwater mortgage (WAY underwater almost %200 LTV ). Hopefully it will go through…

    1. Oh wow….. I’m surprised and impressed Chase is willing to do a refi with a 200% LTV!

      I wish you the best of luck! When you are done, please let us know how it went. That would be HUGE for a lot of homeowners if your example went through!

      I’ve found online refinances to literally take 50% less time. I don’t think I’m going the old fashion way anymore.

      Thx

  44. 97 days! That’s a bit much. Because of the recent financial crisis, the number of banks that deals with mortgages has decreased which led to increased in refinance demands per bank. On the average, it now takes 70 days to process the refinancing of a mortgage. That’s twice the time needed to accomplish the same process a year ago.

  45. Glad everything worked out for you.

    We just refinanced, and it was actually a pleasant process (okay…as pleasant as refinancing can be–not golf in Hawaii pleasant though:)). We have a VA loan, so everything was streamlined. This meant no credit checks (even though we added me to the loan and title this time), no appraisal, no survey, etc. We had to send the application, W-2s, tax returns, and perhaps one or two other documents I’ve forgotten. The closer came to our home after work for no extra cost. Now we’ve got a 15-year fixed rate loan at 3.5% (down from a 30 year loan at 5.5%)! I know you have a lower interest rate, but I am cool with ours. Our mortgage is small compared to other housing markets (we live in Houston), so we’ve got that going for us as well.

  46. Wow what a dramatic experience that was! All that waiting must have been painful. I have little patience when I’m stuck waiting for someone else to do something that affects me directly. A huge congrats on sticking it out and closing!

  47. Great story Sam. I really like how you emphasized in the end on the rich are getting richer. Very try, but also very smart.

    “The rich understand that a rental yield of 8% vs. a borrowing rate of 3% is a great return to earn while they wait for capital appreciation. ”

    So very true!

  48. Oh my freaking Lord, dude! That’s annoying at best and completely ridiculously ridiculuous at worst! Jeez , but I guess it’s worth it. 7 more years before my wife and me pay ours off! :-)

  49. Money Beagle

    I re-financed last year also with Citi and had virtually no issues. I submitted an inquiry online and had my phone ringing within 15 minutes. The process started within 24 hours. There was about a three week delay once they approved the loan before they would schedule the close, but the entire process took just over a month between contacting them and closing. I think it just depends on how lucky you get with the paperwork getting to the desk of a competent loan officer.

  50. I’m looking for a loan for the new home we are going to buy, and it has been pretty painless so far. I’m currently at the “awaiting appraisal” point though, so we shall see.

    It was funny though calling lenders – most won’t even do 30 day closing anymore because the underwriting process is taking too long.

    1. Looking for a loan to purchase is better than to refi. The margins they make off you tend to be better, and they MUST close within a stated shorter period otherwise you lose the bid on the home.

  51. Refinanced at the beginning of the month to a 15 year 3.375% fixed. Yea. Much smoother than our short sale 6 month mortgage loan and settlement from Hell last August. I’m done til I croak!

    1. I think I’m done too, until rates go even lower!

      I NEVER would have imagined getting a 2.625% loan for 5 years. Ever. I’m paying half the amount of interest from 5 years ago, while rents have increased by at least 20% during that time.

  52. Eric J. Nisall - DollarVersity

    I just closed on a HARP 2.0 refi with Chase (post will be upcoming). I started on February 6th and the new loan was funded on April 25th. Lots of bumps in the road, including 2 incorrect HUD statements and one closing that I didn’t complete due to the incorrect HUD. In the end, I did save over 2 points on the interest, which makes for a nice bit of savings each month.

      1. Eric J. Nisall - DollarVersity

        It was 4.75, but compared to the 6.875 I was paying before, it was a huge leap forward. Because I was underwater, and using the HARP program, I could only opt for a 30 year fixed mortgage, but they also gave me -1 points.

        1. Yes, everything is relative, so that is AWESOME you got to lower it by 2%! Shit, these are the first examples of a HARP program actually working! Who isn’t eligible for a HARP?

        2. Eric J. Nisall - DollarVersity

          There are actually quite a large number who are ineligible. The only knock allowed against the applicant is the LTV. Otherwise, you still have to be current with the mortgage company, homeowners association, clean title, etc.

          I would have loved to get a restatement of principal, which would have been the most awesome result, but my loan wasn’t one of those that was “unethical” so I lost out on that one.

          1. If you had a restatement of principal, you’d still have to pay taxes on the difference though?

            So your LTV qualified, or that was is the point of this type of loan, to help those whose LTV is too high?

            thx

  53. I just went through our third refi in less than 12 months and unfortunately got stuck at the appraisal. Previous two refis rang in with higher appraisals than our 80% LTV so no problems. This last time around I was just trying to save $100 a month by dropping an eighth of a point (all costs paid) and the comps just wouldn’t fall our way no matter who many different ways we showed the appraisals (seriously just 4 months later…) Good thing we snagged a really nice rate earlier. Granted – we could have paid more cash-in but at 3.5% – I’ll use that money someplace else right now.

    PS – I also worked at Citi a few years back for almost 10 years I’m quite familiar with the mortgage side of the house… Very interesting things going on there in which I’m not surprise by your story one bit!

    1. Interesting Dave. I’m surprised you were willing to go through the trouble of saving 0.125%, however, if the costs were baked in, and you didn’t have to do much, then why not right?

      Citibank seems backed up!

      1. By bad – all that work for a quarter point off (not an eighth)! LOL – but I asked the same question to my mortgage banker and she said “$100 is $100… Why not do it?” I would have never expected to the comps to come back wacky. And yes – your notes on appraisals ring true here as well. I even had the same guy come back for the second (of three) and we chuckled a bit. He took new pictures and the appraisal came back the exact same price. Wish I could have had him for the third refi and we wouldn’t be having this conversation!

        Now I’m working on getting a refund on my origination fee (which would have been paid back if the load had gone through…)

  54. College&Beyond

    Governement be praised!! Thanks to their new regulation evil banks are now under control, Allelujah !! The world is going to be better for the averaje Joe now…. Yeah right (Insert sarcastic tone)

    These are the consequences of overregulating a complicated process such as lending. I am in favor to try avoiding another Financial Crisis , but again, excessive regulation is not the answer. Look the pain it has caused to those that were responsible enough to buy a house theuy could afford, and are now trying to reduce their interest rate.

    Why must it take months to do this process? Is it me , or someone else sees this ridiculous?

      1. Yeah it was super quick! It was quite nice. We bought in back in October of 2009. We put down around 10% I believe as well. It was an FHA loan and it was our first house, so we also got the $8K tax credit.

        1. Got it. FHA stand for what again? For first time homeowners right? Maybe it’s easier to refi and stuff because it’s a government assisted program, and the gov’t isn’t going to default?

          I’m surprised you only had to put 10% down. Does this program make you like the gov’t more out of curiosity? Could you have bought w/out gov’t assistance? thx

        1. DebtsnTaxes

          FHA stands for Federal Housing Administration, a government agency that assists homebuyers. Not sure if you have to be a first-time homebuyer to use it though.

          1. Ah yes, that’s right!

            I hope the FHA loan is available for all Americans. But somehow, I’m sure the government discriminates against some who believe they are unworthy.

        2. DebtsnTaxes

          Haha, probably. I myself am in the process of refinancing into a V.A. Loan, due to our appraisal coming back low, we would have to pay PMI for a little while longer. I said no thanks and finally used my veteran benefits and applied for a refi through the V.A. The process takes a little longer and more paperwork is involved, a little higher closing costs also, but it allows us to get rid of PMI. Between that and lowered interest we should be saving about $350/month which will got towards other debt payments.

          1. I’m all for VA everything. You guys deserve all that is provided by the government and MORE!

            May I ask why you aren’t interested in a PMI to pay down principal every month? Is it a cash flow thing?

        3. Thank you for saying that. PMI is mortgage insurance. Lenders require it when you don’t have 20% equity in the home (or a 20% downpayment). It was 106/month for that, just money going towards nothing. Refinancing through the VA (they don’t require PMI) saves me 106/month just on PMI, plus about 240 more from the lowered interest rate. Thats a lot of extra cash that was going towards interest that can now go on the principle. Also once I have a VA loan, i can refi without having to do an appraisal or most of the paperwork, and can also sell to another person that is VA qualified with barely any paperwork (they basically take over the loan and pay the difference in the sale price).

  55. I refinanced in October 2011 to a baked in 10 year rate of 3.5%.

    My appraisal was only $400 and like you it was paid by the mortgage company. I paid it up front – got the points by charging it and got the $ back at closing.

    My lock to closing was 52 days. My LTV was about 48% and everything went smoothly.

    However, my condo complex was built in 2007/8 and other people that are trying to refinance are struggling to get the LTV to 80%. For these people the mortgages have taken 120 plus and for some people their loans did not go thru.

    1. That’s basically when I refinanced too last year. Take a look at rates again, you will be shocked. Last fall I was at 3.125% for a refi, and now I’m at 2.625%. I bet you can get a no-cost refi for your 10-year for around 3% now. It’s worth checking with your bank.

      1. See what happens! I thought my no point/no closing cost 15 year at 5.25% in early 2008 was at a great rate.

        Then in the fall of 2010 I refinanced into a no/no 10 year at 4.0% and then less than 12 months later I went to a no/no 10 year at 3.5%. As you have stated – thank you Ben Genie. I

        My credit union was at 3.5% no/no a few weeks ago – maybe it will go lower.

        I have Cenlar as my collection agent and I do not like – I have to pay them to maken an extra payment. I might just do it all again!

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