For a speedy mortgage process, the best tools a borrower can wield are preparation, education and patience!

1. Credit Reports
Having strong credit scores will obviously work in your favor to get you to a better interest rate, and a clean credit report will help you move faster through the application and underwriting process. Late payments, bankruptcies and other financial blemishes often trigger additional scrutiny, which results in requests for additional documentation. This back-and-forth process can eat up time. Request a free credit report online before you start the process and check it for accuracy. Inaccuracies also take time to remedy.
2. Find the right lender
Specialized loans like the government backed VA, FHA, and USDA Rural Development can be more complicated than a conventional mortgage. Finding the right lender for your situation involves weighing their expertise, customer service and turn times. It stands to reason that a lender who does less than 10 specialized loans per year will likely have a slower process than one who does them more frequently.
3. Be proactive and responsive
Gather your tax returns & W2's, bank statements, employment records and other pertinent information before you even seek loan prequalification. You'll save time looking for them later on, and if you discover you lost your W2 from 2 years ago, you'll have time to get a replacement. It is also likely you will need to provided up-to-date paystubs and bank statements before you close, so keep track of these too throughout the entire process. Act as quickly as possible if additional items are requested by the underwriter- they'll be no one to blame but yourself if the last item they are waiting for is something you could have provided sooner.
4. Buy a house that will meet underwriting guidelines
This is where a good real estate agent can make a world of difference. The last thing you want to do is get under contract on a home that has little chance of a successful appraisal. That can waste both time and money. Government-backed programs like FHA and VA loans have property standards and requirements that need to be met. Homes that present problems may need corrective action before the loan can close, which can lead to costly delays.
5. Don't assume any new debt during the mortgage process
Don't apply for new credit or make any large purchases during the loan process. Any changes to your financial and credit profile will raise eyebrows among underwriters, not to mention require additional paperwork. Lenders crave stability and reliability.