Checking your credit score is one of the first things you should do if you’re looking to get a mortgage. Your score can play a big part in the likelihood of getting accepted and how much interest you’ll end up paying, so it’s important to understand what you can do to improve it.
Whether it’s your first time getting a mortgage, or you want to know more about how a credit score can help your chances of success, this article will run through everything you need to know.
Going to an online mortgage broker for further information and advice is another way to give yourself the best chance of getting a great mortgage deal.
What is Meant by a Credit Score?
A credit score is the three-digit number used to identify how reliable you are at paying back money. It is based on a person’s credit history and is one of the things lenders use to help decide whether to accept or reject your application.
There is no exact number or ‘score’ that will automatically mean you will get accepted. Of course, the higher your score the more favourably lenders will look at you. However, they will still take into account a lot of other financial information when making their decision, such as any past debt and your current salary.
The Scoring System
Every credit score company may use a different scoring system to work out your credit, but they are usually categorized in a similar way, scoring from ‘excellent’ to ‘very poor’. Which bracket you fall into will determine your likelihood of getting a good deal.
Here’s an example of how the scoring system works:
- 961-999 is seen as the highest possible score, classed as ‘excellent’, and will give you the best chance of getting a great deal with the lowest interest rate.
- 881-960 is deemed as ‘good’, meaning you are still able to get some of the better mortgage deals and rates.
- 721-880 is ‘fair’, meaning you can get a good mortgage deal with average interest rates.
- 561-720 is ‘poor’, so you can still get a mortgage but are likely to have higher interest rates.
- Very poor is anything from 0-560 making it difficult to find lenders unless you use a specialist advisor who deals with adverse credit profiles.
What Determines Your Score?
There are many things that can affect your credit score, the following are likely to decrease your score:
- Making late payments for anything from phone bills to mortgage payments
- Being in a debt management plan
- County Court Judgements
- Not having a credit card
Should I Improve My Rating?
It can take months to make improvements to your credit score, but if you won’t be applying for a mortgage for a while then you should focus on doing everything you can to up your score.
You can do the following to help improve your rating:
- Make all credit payments on time
- Make payments on a credit card, staying within your limit
- Shut down any old accounts you no longer use
- Check your links to anyone else’s finances such as joint accounts
- Pay off any debt you have
- Avoid pay-day loans
How To Check Your Score
There are multiple companies that offer you to check your score, the most popular include Experian, Equifax and Clearscore. Before checking yours, make sure that the check will not in turn decrease your rating. Soft credit checks don’t affect your overall rating, whereas hard checks do.
Increase Your Chances
Being on the mortgage hunt is tricky. But a great way to start is by getting your credit score in check.
Using an online mortgage broker can help this part of the process, as they can take a look at whether you need to improve your score or not.
They will also know which lenders would be likely to accept your application based on your score.
If your credit score isn’t great, you may need to speak with an adverse mortgage advisor as they will have access to lenders who may look past your credit score if you meet their other criteria.