Mortgages - what credit score do you need?

Written by Mathew McCorry

If you read my property blog now, that’ll be the end of it. I will not look for you, I will not pursue you. But if you don’t, I will look for you, I will find you and I will make you read it.

Mortgage Approved

What is a mortgage credit score?

Mortgage lenders assign everyone who applies for one of their mortgages a credit score. The higher the score, the lower a risk you are for repayments, and therefore the better interest rates available to you. If you have a poor score, it may still be possible to get a mortgage, but it's likely you'll be paying higher interest rates and need a larger deposit.

Which factors determine approval for a mortgage?

These factors vary from lender to lender, but here's some of the basics:

  • their own policy for lending
  • information they already have about you for example if you have a bank account with them
  • your credit report information including credit history and public record data
  • the information you've provided in your mortgage application
  • your salary
  • how many fixed payments go out your account on a monthly basis

What are the different credit scores?

Each lender has different ways to score your credit, but by using Experian Credit Scores we can get an idea. Their credit ratings range from excellent to very poor, but bear in mind other factors are involved like how much you pay upfront for the deposit.

  • Excellent 961-999: The top of the table, you could have the best mortgage deals with lower interest rates available to you
  • Good 881-960: You may get most but not all of the best mortgage deals
  • Fair 721 - 880: You may get good mortgage deals with reasonable interest rates
  • Poor 561-720: You could get mortgage deals, but they'll likely have higher interest rates
  • Very Poor 0-560: You could have a mortgage declined or find it more difficult to be approved for one without very high interest rates

How to increase your credit rating

There are some simple ways to improve your credit score, and some more difficult ways, but most take time to take effect:

  • pay off a credit card in full every month and on time
  • set up direct debits from your account such as phone contracts and utility bills
  • if you're a young adult with a short credit history, you may need to wait a little longer to buy
  • if you've not been in the UK for long, wait a little longer if you can
  • avoid taking out credit cards within 6 months before you apply for a mortgage
  • register to vote, it helps companies confirm who you are and where you live

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