I have noticed over the last few months that mortgage lenders seem to have streamlined some of the processes in funding home loans. This is more than a welcome anecdote. The loan is the most complex and time consuming aspect of a home purchase. There are just so many little fingers are dipping into the sauce that makes up a home loan. I have noticed a bit of streamlining this year in that process. More and more lenders are getting back into a pre Frank-Dodd timeline. Perhaps it just took them a few years to figure out how to implement the thousands of pages of new Fed regs into a process that is smooth.
The good news for home buyers is that the idea of having to ask for a 60 day close for an 'ordinary' loan seems to be fading into the annals of history. There will be no complaints from this Realtor®. A speedy lender working with a buyer that follows directions and is prompt will lead to the classic 30 day close. 45 days for government loans and or otherwise unusual properties is advised.
The comment above about buyers following directions and in a prompt fashion should not be overlooked. Buyers can be their own worst enemy. There are times when mortgage loan officers will ask for documents or other pertinent information that seems trivial or even redundant. Buyers need to set that aside and follow the directions promptly. When an underwriter asks a loan officer for documents or other information, that loan officer has a short window of time to get that info back while that file remains in front of the underwriter. Delays will lead to the underwriter moving the file back into the "stack" and working on another file. Thus causing delays in the process.
No matter how frustrated buyers get at the seemingly endless list of documents in some files they must remember the 'golden rule of finance'; he who has the money, makes the rules. Unless a buyer has a few hundred grand sitting in the bank, they need the lender's cash to buy a house. You have to follow their rules.
A good loan officer / mortgage company and a responsive buyer can get a conventional loan deal closed in 30 days and a government loan (FHA/VA) in less than 6 weeks. Sometimes even faster if the stars align.
Buyers: follow directions and do it fast.