Last updated: May 20, 2024

Home Ownership

How long does it take to refinance a house?

Family giving their child a hug in their living room after closing a mortgage refinance

If you’re thinking about taking advantage of lower interest rates or an adjusted loan term with a mortgage refinance, you might be wondering how long the process takes.

The process of refinancing a mortgage will vary depending on homeowner and lender details. A refinance with Discover® Home Loans typically  fund in an average of 6-8 weeks. That time breaks down like this:

  1. Getting the basics (around 1-2 weeks). Apply online or over the phone to review your loan options, then upload required documents. We’ll confirm your initial eligibility.
  2. Processing your info (around 4 weeks). We’ll gather third-party information about your home and then send your complete application to underwriting for a final decision.
  3. Closing you loan (around 1-2 weeks). We’ll contact you to schedule your closing and then arrange for your loan funds to be sent to your accounts.

What are the stages of refinancing?

From application to closing, the time it takes to refinance a house will vary depending on your unique situation and the lender you choose. Here are the steps involved in getting a mortgage refinance:


When you apply for a refinance, the application can often be completed online or over the phone in a matter of minutes. To complete your application as quickly as possible, get prepared before you begin by gathering important information you will need to provide to a lender. 

Most lenders want to see:

  • Pay stubs
  • Tax forms (W-2s, 1099s)
  • Bank statements
  • Asset information (investments)
  • Homeowners insurance
  • Title insurance

You should also check your credit score to see if you meet your lender’s requirements. Your credit score is used by lenders to help them assess how likely you are to make your monthly payments on time. A higher credit score may lead to a better rate.

If your current credit score doesn’t meet your lender’s minimum requirements for refinancing, working to improve your score can improve the likelihood of approval while earning the most competitive interest rates.

It is a good idea to get familiar with common mortgage terminology before you apply so you are ready to answer any questions from the lender.

Approval decision

How quickly you’re approved will depend on when you upload your documentation. Many lenders will allow you to securely upload documents online to help speed up the decision.

When you’re looking for a mortgage refinance, be sure to look at a lender’s minimum eligibility requirements before applying. This is an easy way to assess whether a specific lender is likely to approve your application or not.

However, the only way to find out for sure is to complete the application and provide all of documents that verify your eligibility requested by the lender.

Rate lock

If you’re refinancing to secure a lower interest rate, consider an interest rate lock as part of your application process. A rate lock guarantees a rate for a set period of time, typically from application to closing. 


The underwriting process may take anywhere from a few days to over a week. Underwriting is when the lender decides if they want to offer you a loan based on your documentation. They examine your credit history and your personal, financial, and mortgage documents to determine if you meet their criteria. You can help ensure this process moves as quickly as possible by having all your paperwork completed and in order.

Home appraisal

The appraisal period starts when the appraiser visits your house and ends when they deliver their report. This usually takes between seven and ten days. Appraisals can take longer if you live in a remote area, have a more complex home, or if the appraiser is particularly busy.

There are a few things you can do to get your house looking its best before the appraiser arrives:

  • Clean up. Finish all the projects on your to-do list and get your home looking its very best. Start outside – mow your lawn, rake the leaves, clean your windows and the gutters. Get the inside of your house looking clean and inviting. Remove clutter, fix anything that’s broken, clean floors and carpets, and touch up any paint that needs it.
  • Reference all updates. If you’ve made any updates to your home that could increase its value, make sure you have documentation on hand. For example, if you’ve recently upgraded to a high-efficiency furnace or replaced your roof.
  • Share your research. Research the value of homes in your area and look at comparable properties to see how sales are trending. You can share this information with the appraiser.


Closing is the final step in the refinance process where you sign all the documents and pay your closing costs. In some cases, a lender won’t require you to pay any closing costs. When you compare lenders for your refinance, make sure to look at all the loan features they offer – this might save you money in overall fees associated with your loan.

Delays during a mortgage refinance

When it comes to a few factors that can delay a mortgage refinance, some are within your control and others are not.

  • Taking on new credit. Avoid opening a new credit card or taking out a new loan before or during refinancing. Lenders will likely comb through your credit report more than once during the process and will have questions about any new credit. This can slow things down.
  • Incomplete paperwork. Sending incomplete paperwork will require back and forth communication and may cause delays in the refinance process.
  • Third-party services. How busy appraisers, inspectors, and other third-party service providers are can delay your refinance. You can’t do much about this besides be prepared when it’s your turn for an appraisal or inspection.

How to prepare for a mortgage refinance

From application to closing, the time it takes to refinance a house varies by homeowner. Refinancing with Discover Home Loans typically fund in an average of  6-8 weeks. Checking to see if you meet your lender’s qualifications, having your paperwork ready, and preparing your home for appraisal can help move the process along as quickly as possible.

Discover offers tools and resources to help you decide what works best for you. Use our mortgage refinance calculator before you apply to find out if a refinance can help you meet your financial goals.

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