Why Your Credit Score Matters To Lenders
Your credit score helps lenders determine your ability or inability to repay the mortgage. As part of your scores, they examine your debt-to-income ratio. It is the percentage of monthly debt obligations relative to how much you make.
To illustrate, if you earn $4,000 per month, and have $1,250 in credit card, loans, housing, and other payments, your ratio would be 31 percent. The ideal ratio is less than 36 percent, though some lenders will accept more with a higher down payment.
Your Credit Score Could Take A Hit After Getting A Mortgage But You Shouldnt Worry
Yes, your credit score will probably go down when you take out a mortgage loan, but youll likely be better off in the long term.
After buying a home, you might be surprised to discover that your credit score goes down. For a new homeowner who likely spent months ensuring your credit score only went up, this might feel concerning. Fortunately, its not uncommon for your credit score to dip after a major credit purchase. Additionally, the ding to your credit score will be temporary so long as you make your payments on time every month.
If youre staring at your lower credit score in dismay, understanding a bit about the credit scoring model and why your number dropped might be helpful.
Why did my credit score drop after applying for a mortgage?
Your credit score dropped for several reasons. First, when you apply for a mortgage loan, lenders will make whats called a “hard inquiry.” A hard inquiry means that the lender pulls your entire report and scores your credit. This type of inquiry shows up on your credit file, and it can affect your credit score. If you have too many hard inquiries in a short amount of time, some lenders could hesitate to extend credit.
Second, when you took on your mortgage loan, your total debt increased and affected your debt-to-income ratio and credit utilization.
What factors impact your credit score?
What Credit Score Do You Need To Buy A House In 2021
Credit scores can be a confusing topic for even the most financially savvy consumers. Most people understand that a good credit score boosts your chances of qualifying for a mortgage because it shows the lender youre likely to repay your loan on time.
But do you know the minimum credit score you need to qualify for a mortgage and buy a house? And did you know that this minimum will vary depending on what type of mortgage you are seeking?
The Importance Of FICO®: One of the most common scores used by mortgage lenders to determine credit worthiness is the FICO® Score . FICO® Scores help lenders calculate the interest rates and fees youll pay to get your mortgage.
While your FICO® Score plays a big role in the mortgage process, lenders do look at several factors, including your income, property type, assets and debt levels, to determine whether to approve you for a loan. Because of this, there isnt an exact credit score you need to qualify.
However, the following guidelines can help determine if youre on the right track.
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Mortgage Shopping Step By Step
Heres what to do:
Lastly, though, and this is the most important point of all make sure to share your social security number with your lenders so they can give you accurate mortgage rate quotes instead of just best guesses or ballpark rates.
Metaphorically, not letting your lender check your credit is like not letting a doctor check your blood pressure. Sure, you can get a diagnosis when your appointments over it just might not be the right one.
Tip #: Pay Off Outstanding Debt
One of the best ways to increase your credit score is to determine any outstanding debt you owe and pay on it until its paid in full. This is helpful for a couple of reasons. First, if your overall debt responsibilities go down, then you have room to take more on, which makes you less risky in your lenders eyes.
Lenders also look at something called a credit utilization ratio. Its the amount of spending power you use on your credit cards. The less you rely on your card, the better. To get your credit utilization, simply divide how much you owe on your card by how much spending power you have.
For example, if you typically charge $2,000 per month on your credit card and divide that by your total credit limit of $10,000, your credit utilization ratio is 20%.
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How Credit Scores Are Determined
Before getting into specifics, it’s important to understand how credit scores are determined. The reality is that your score with each of the credit bureaus is based on a mix of factors that each account for a different percentage of the number you’re given.
Payment history : Whether or not you have a history of making your payments on time has the greatest impact on your overall score. To that end, it’s crucial to make sure that you pay your credit card bill on time, every time.
Your credit utilization ratio looks at what percentage of your total available credit you’ve used. For the best results, you should try to keep this ratio under 30% whenever possible.
Length of credit history : While you can’t really do much to speed this one up, the longer your accounts have been open and you have a history of making timely payments, the higher your score will be.
Credit scores take into account the total amount of outstanding debt that you have, as well as the different types of credit that you use. Your FICO score tends to favor having a variety of loan types on your credit report, including installment loans and revolving credit.
Shop Within A Short Time Frame
Again, multiple credit checks from mortgage lenders go on your credit report as a single inquiry as long as you stay within that 14-day window.
Within this time frame, you can look around and even get multiple preapprovals from many different lenders. Shopping around gives you the biggest advantage because you can compare and contrast interest rates, loan terms and plan how to save money over time.
What happens if just one lender must check your credit after the 14-day window? You’ll find that the impact of an additional inquiry will stay small.
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Dont Open More Loans Too Soon
The more applications you complete, the more hard inquiries youll see on your credit report. And its not restricted to refinanced home loans. If you apply for a credit card, a car loan or even a personal loan in the weeks leading up to refinancing, your credit score will likely go down.
If you want to complete a few applications with many different lenders, make sure you do within a few weeks of your first completed application. That way the hard inquiry only counts as one inquiry, not one inquiry for every application you complete.
How Does Your Credit History Affect Getting A Mortgage
Lenders use your credit report to get information on how reliable you have been at paying back debts in the past. When you apply for a mortgage you will have to supply payslips, P60s and bank statements to show how much you earn and what your monthly budget might look like. This shows lenders your current financial situation, but to predict how you might behave in the future they will also look at your credit report.
Your credit history might also affect your mortgage interest rate, in the sense that the types of mortgage you are offered will be affected by how responsibly youve borrowed in the past. Special introductory rates or other attractive mortgage offers might only be available to people whose credit history meets certain criteria.
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Do Mortgage Inquiries Affect Your Credit Score Yes But You Can Still Shop
Mortgage Q& A: Do mortgage inquiries affect credit score?
When preparing to take out a mortgage, you may have concerns about your credit report being pulled numerous times within a short period of time.
This can occur while shopping for that perfect mortgage with multiple mortgage lenders or mortgage brokers over the span of a few weeks or even months.
But while mortgage inquiries can certainly add up, they wont necessarily lower your credit score or affect your ability to obtain home loan financing.
What Is A Credit Pull Or Hard Inquiry Vs Soft Credit Check
A credit pull or hard inquiry is a formal request to review a persons credit report. It requires the permission of the consumer.
This is different from the soft inquiry in which a company might get a list of consumers who fit a certain profile and use that information to market to them. You probably get offers of this type every week. Relax those companies do not have your personal information and their request did not affect your credit score.
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Its Totally Fine To Shop Around For A Mortgage
- You should definitely shop around for your home loan
- This ensures you explore all options and obtain the lowest rate possible
- Fortunately FICO has an algorithm designed specifically for mortgage inquiries
- Doesnt penalize mortgage shopping in a specified window of time
The developers of the FICO score know how mortgage shopping works and have adjusted their super secret algorithm accordingly.
First off, FICO ignores any mortgage inquiries made in the 30-day window prior to scoring, meaning those recent credit pulls shouldnt adversely affect your credit scores.
For example, if mortgage lender A pulls your credit, then you decide to get quotes and/or pre-approved with mortgage lenders B and C in the same week, they wouldnt count against you.
This allows to you shop without worry of your credit scores going down each time you do.
Additionally, FICO counts multiple mortgage inquiries in a certain time span as a single inquiry.
What Exactly Happens When A Mortgage Lender Checks My Credit
The credit check is reported to the credit reporting agencies as an “inquiry.”
Inquiries tell other creditors that you are thinking of taking on new debt. An inquiry typically has a small, but negative, impact on your credit score. Inquiries are a necessary part of applying for a mortgage, so you can’t avoid them altogether. But it pays to be smart about them. As a general rule, apply for credit only when you need it. Applying for a credit card, car loan, or other type of loan also results in an inquiry that can lower your score, so try to avoid applying for these other types of credit right before getting a mortgage or during the mortgage process. Learn more about credit scores
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Why You Can Trust Bankrate
Founded in 1976, Bankrate has a long track record of helping people make smart financial choices. Weve maintained this reputation for over four decades by demystifying the financial decision-making process and giving people confidence in which actions to take next.
Bankrate follows a strict editorial policy, so you can trust that were putting your interests first. All of our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts, who ensure everything we publish is objective, accurate and trustworthy.
Our mortgage reporters and editors focus on the points consumers care about most the latest rates, the best lenders, navigating the homebuying process, refinancing your mortgage and more so you can feel confident when you make decisions as a homebuyer and a homeowner.
How To Get Low Mortgage Rates While Maintaining Your Credit Score
Whether you are a first-time home buyer or a seasoned real estate investor, its smart to shop for your mortgage rate.
Its a fact of life in lending: The mortgage company with the lowest mortgage rate today may not be the one with the lowest mortgage rate tomorrow.
Whether youre looking to purchase a home or refinance one, then, plan to comparison shop to find the best combination of mortgage rates and fees to fit your situation.
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How Is A Credit Score Calculated
Whenever you apply for any kind of loan or credit card, the first thing your lender does is to check your credit score. Thus, having a good credit score is key to getting loan approval quickly and on better terms. Your every credit action affects your credit score. A large number of factors affects your credit score. It is good to know about some of these factors which are as follows:
How Do Multiple Credit Checks Work
The good news is that if you are shopping around with different lenders, credit bureaus will typically only dock your score once within a 45 day period, no matter how many mortgage lenders do a hard credit check. Thats great if you think youll close on a mortgage within 45 days, but if youre early on in your homebuying process, the clock will start ticking earlier than you may want. Luckily, a Better Mortgage pre-approval doesnt require a hard credit pull.
You can start your home search with your pre-approved amount, then shop multiple lenders for rates when youre ready to buy. And if you decide to finance your home with Better Mortgage , well only perform a hard credit check once, even if you were pre-approved months before.
This is a great have your cake and eat it too strategy when it comes to house hunting. A pre-approval means youll start your house hunt with useful information like a budget to work with and a pre-approval letter to show sellers youre serious. And by waiting until youre ready to buy to compare mortgages with different lenders, you wont impact your credit score with a hard credit inquiry or prematurely trigger the 45 day mortgage shopping window.
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How Debt Impacts Your Credit Score
It is a common belief that the only way to have a good credit score is to never borrow at all. Wrong! It is essential to borrow in small amounts and pay back on time. This builds a strong credit history that lets lending institutions know that you are responsible with your money.
If youre not sure where your credit stands, you may want to do a quick credit check. Many banks will do credit checks for customers for free. There are also apps that can help you get a good estimate of where your credit stands.
Tracking My Credit Score
There are several ways you can track your credit score. Before we got our mortgage I started using a out of curiosity mostly I wanted to see how they work and what they track. I signed up and got a copy of my credit scores based on the three major credit bureaus .
Getting Your Real Credit Score
Many people say that you should get the FICO credit score directly from MyFICO. This seems to be the obvious option since FICO is the company that creates the scores.
However, you can get your score for less by going through FreeScore360. They offer you a seven day trial and then it is only $19.95 per month going forward, which includes all three of your credit score, credit monitoring, and $1 million of id theft insurance.
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Plan Before Shopping For A Loan
Before shopping for a loan, it’s always smart to proactively plan your finances.
First, learn whether the type of credit you’re applying for can have its hard inquiries treated as a single inquiry. If so, determine the applicable timeframe. Then you can plan your shopping period accordingly.
Second, you may also want to check your credit reports before getting quotes to understand what information is reported. Find out how to request a free credit report from Equifax.
If you’re worried about the effect that multiple hard inquiries may have on your credit reports, it may be tempting to accept an offer early rather than allow multiple hard inquiries on your credit. However, consider your individual situation carefully before cutting your shopping period short. In many cases, the impact hard inquiries have on your credit scores from shopping around will likely be minimal compared to the long-term benefits of finding a loan with a lower interest rate. The more informed you are about what happens when you apply for a loan, the better you can prepare for the process before you start shopping.
Optimizing Credit In The Futureand Now
Getting a mortgage is a positive opportunity to build your credit, accumulate wealth and live in your own home. Checking your credit score before you begin the application process can help you determine whether it might be a good idea to take time to improve your credit score before submitting your applications.
If your score isn’t where you want it to be, check out Experian Boost. This free service lets you add on-time utility, phone and streaming service payments to your credit score calculation, which may help offset a minor dip in your credit score while you’re waiting for the positive effects of paying your new mortgage to kick in.
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