Underwriting is the process a lender undergoes to determine if a potential loan is an acceptable credit risk i.e. is the borrower likely to repay the loan? An underwriter will look at, among other things, your credit history, income, total assets, and the value of the collateral. The collateral piece is referred to as an “appraisal” in the mortgage process. The underwriter requires an independent estimate of the value of the home you want to purchase, to make sure they’re not lending you more than the collateral (the home) is worth. Underwriting can take a while (referred to as “turn time”) and involve quite a bit of back and forth requests for clarification and additional documents.