How to Check and Improve Your Credit Score Before Getting a Mortgage

You’ve decided it’s time to move house, and you know you need a mortgage. Sounds simple enough.

But is it?

In this article, we take a look at what a credit score is and why it’s important to improve your credit score before getting a mortgage.

We’re not financial planners or advisors, but we do know a thing or two about important subjects relating to property!

What’s a credit score?

If you’re looking to borrow money, and you need to borrow it from an organisation, like a bank or building society, they have to be confident that you’re going to pay it back.

So, right at the start of your mortgage application, they’ll have a look at your credit score – that is a number rating that is reached after your financial position has been looked at. The higher the score, the better position you will be in.

Things that may lower your credit score are, for example

Remember, a lender needs to be sure the money will be paid back. This assurance comes from a good credit score.

Can you see your credit score?

Yes, you can! There are a number of agencies that collate information and calculate a credit score. Some of the popular ones are Experian, Credit Karma, and ClearScore.

You should be able to create an account with a credit agency and have a look at your financial position. It’s the sort of information that lenders will be looking at.

Handily, it will show you all the positives but it will also show you any negatives – for example, a missed payment.

You can usually sign up to an account for free but you will most likely be asked if you want to get regular updates. This will cost a small fee, but you can usually close your account and not accrue any costs.

When you look at your credit score you may spot a couple of things that could lead to a low score and a mortgage offer not being successful.

Different lenders use different agencies so it might be that a little transgression may not affect things. But, you do need to look at what the negatives are, and act on these to improve your credit score.

There are also different credit scoring models used for calculating your number, primarily via the three national consumer credit bureaus (Experian, TransUnion and Equifax). The numbers sit on a slightly different scale depending on which model your lender uses, but will all take into account your financial history.

Get on a roll

If you’re not registered to vote, you’re unlikely to have a good credit score. If this may be a factor, rectify it by joining the electoral roll in your local ward or constituency. You can usually do this on the government’s dedicated Register To Vote webpage.

Credit where it’s due

Sounds a bit wrong, but you’re likely to have a low score if you don’t have much credit. The thing is, how can your ability to make repayments be calculated if you’re not making any repayments for anything? Have a think about taking out a credit card – but work out how to use it to your advantage.

Don’t keep applying

If you do get turned down for credit, don’t keep on applying. If the metrics say no, they won’t change overnight. It’s usually around six months that you need to wait before reapplying. During that time, you could have improved your score.

Partner penalties

If you look at a credit score report, you will see that it will link you to a partner. For example, you may have had a previous mortgage with a now ex-wife or husband. That will affect the rating you get so it may be worth asking the credit reference agencies to break that link in your file.

Too many cards

If you have had a couple of credit cards, don’t really use them but you’ve kept them going for a bit “just in case”, think about getting rid of one or two of them. Credit scores will assess them all and this can work against you. Having credit cards with zero balances makes it appear that you have access to funds already, and the question then is likely to be “why do you need more?” This does not necessarily apply to mortgages but is good to be aware of anyway!

This advice should prove helpful in helping you improve your credit score. The key takeaway for you though should be – know what your credit score is and do something about it if it’s poor.

Sperring Residential are your local property experts for the Bedfordshire area. We can help you sell your current home, and find you your next home! Get in touch today, you can call us on 01582 825 548 or email us at dunstable@sperringresidential.com.

If you want to know more from the experts about mortgages, get in touch with our friends at Finesse Mortgage Services. They’re a family-run business established in 2013, and can help you through any hoops or headaches you find yourself in. Give them a call on 07828 145593 or email info@finessemortgageservices.co.uk.

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