Getting credit-ready before applying for a mortgage

The process of buying a property doesn’t start with selecting a home within your budget. Often, it’s worth preparing months in advance if you need to apply for a mortgage. You’ll need to get your borrowing history in shape, for starters, so that mortgage lenders may view your ability to repay loans in a favourable light.

Here are some of the things that you can do to get credit-ready before applying for a mortgage:

  • Register to vote
    You need to be registered on the electoral roll in order for lenders to confirm your address. Doing so can also help the lender to trace your credit history. If you’re not registered, it will be difficult – and possibly unlikely – that the lender will have enough information to progress your application.
  • Be selective about your credit applications
    Too many rejected applications for credit can reflect badly on your mortgage application. This could suggest to the lender that you’re not creditworthy, or that you’re desperate – which could raise questions about your ability to make your mortgage repayments.
  • Review your credit history and score
    Check your borrowing history in advance. This allows you to dispute any inaccuracies so that lenders will receive correct information on your ability to repay debts. Your credit score, on the other hand, will give an indication of how creditworthy lenders may find you. If your score is low, you may want to see if there are any credit habits that you need to improve on before making the mortgage application. It’s important to note, though, that scoring bands can vary among different credit reference agencies.
  • Reduce your debt-to-income ratio
    This is the proportion of debt that you have in relation to the money that you make. The higher this number is, the more debt you have. Lenders typically prefer applicants with a lower ratio, as this means that you’re likely to have the funds to make your monthly mortgage repayments.
  • Cut out any unnecessary borrowing
    Try not to open new credit lines in the six months before applying for a mortgage. This could increase your debt-to-income ratio, which may reflect badly on your ability to repay any mortgage loans.
  • Keep older credit accounts open
    These can demonstrate to lenders that you’ve been able to make repayments over a sustained period of time. You may want to close inactive accounts, though, as they would show lenders that you have too much access to credit that you don’t need.
  • Make sure to pay bills on time
    Even if your credit history seems in order, don’t drop the ball and forget or ignore bills in the run-up to your application. Your borrowing records are ongoing, so any slip-ups before you apply for a mortgage would show the lender that you may not be able to meet your mortgage repayments.
  • Remove out-of-date financial associations
    Your financial associations could affect your ability to obtain credit. For example, you may have had a joint account with former housemates for paying bills, or you might have separated from a spouse. Their current and future borrowing habits could affect your credit applications, so ensure that you’ve removed these links from your record.
  • Check on joint applicants
    If you’re making a joint application for a mortgage, you should know that lenders will assess the creditworthiness of all of the people applying. It’s important check with the other person or people whom you are applying with to make sure that they also have their credit history in order.

Lenders use a range of factors to determine whether or not to give you a mortgage loan. There is no one simple solution for a successful application. However, the steps above could help boost your chances of obtaining a loan for purchasing property.

If you’re planning on applying for a mortgage, you may want to check your Equifax Report & Score in advance – it’s free for the first 30 days, then £14.95 a month. The report lets you view your borrowing history, while the score gives you an indication of how creditworthy a lender may find you.

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