A mortgage offer is an offer made to a would-be home buyer to cover the cost of buying a property. If you are looking to buy a property, you would need to apply to a lender to see how much they would be willing to lend you. You must complete their application forms and provide all the necessary paperwork to support your application. This would include evidence of income and outgoings, so the mortgage lender can see that you would indeed be able to afford the amount you wish to borrow.
The time taken to receive a mortgage offer depends on how complex your application is and whether you provide everything required to start with. It is important to note that an offer in principle is not the same as an official offer made by a lender. It is much quicker to receive an offer in principle, yet it may not match the final amount the lender is willing to grant you. The lender gives you an idea of what they might lend you based on an initial summary of your financial situation. You must then make the official application to be able to receive a formal mortgage offer.
Basic checks are made into your financial situation prior to providing you with an offer in principle. Following the formal application, you would then receive a mortgage offer. This is typically valid for at least three months, but some lenders increase the validity to as much as six months. Always check with your lender to see how long your mortgage offer will last.