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Mortgages, Credit reports and scores

How does my credit score affect my ability to get a mortgage loan?

Your credit score, as well as the information on your credit report, are key ingredients in determining whether you’ll be able to get a mortgage, and the rate you’ll pay.

Your credit report and your credit score are two different things. Your credit score is calculated based on the information in your credit report. Higher scores reflect a better credit history and make you eligible for lower interest rates.

You have many different credit scores, and there are many ways to get a credit score. However, most mortgage lenders use FICO scores. Your score can differ depending on which credit reporting agency is used. Most mortgage lenders look at scores from all three major credit reporting agencies – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion – and use the middle score for deciding what rate to offer you.

Errors on your credit report can reduce your score artificially – which could mean a higher interest rate and less money in your pocket – so it is important to check your credit report and correct any errors well before you apply for a loan.

Your credit score is only one component of your mortgage lender’s decision, but it’s an important one. 

Other factors include:

  • Credit report
  • Credit history with that lender
  • The amount of debt you already have
  • How much you have in savings
  • Your total assets
  • Current income

Tip: Don’t apply for a lot of new credit in a short time, especially if you are getting ready to get a mortgage. Doing so may negatively affect your score. Your credit score may decline if you have too many credit accounts. It can also go down if you apply for or open many new accounts in a short time. However, when you request your own credit report, or when your existing creditors check your credit report, those requests to see your credit report should not hurt your score.

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