How To Get a Mortgage: Your Credit Score’s Importance

Getting a mortgage can be one of the most stressful and time-consuming things you ever do. But when you get that approval letter, it can also be one of the most exciting.

So what role does your credit rating play in being approved for a mortgage? And what can you do to improve your chances of getting one?

Can I get a mortgage?

Before you start dreaming of the home you intend to own, you need to work out if you can get a mortgage. Unless you’re a cash buyer, you’ll need a home loan to be able to buy a house. And when the UK average house price stands at £253,243, this will likely be the biggest financial commitment you’ll ever make.

To be approved for a mortgage, you’ll need to be able to afford the repayments. This is why your income level is crucial to the approval process. But lenders will also look at what you spend each month to build up a picture of how much you can afford on your mortgage repayments.

They’ll look at regular costs, like childcare, transport and bills, as well as other credit repayments. They’ll also stress test your finances to see whether you can afford the mortgage repayments if national interest rates rose to a minimum of 6.5%.

So it’s essential that you’re honest with yourself about whether you can afford a mortgage – because if you apply and are rejected, that will leave a hard search on your credit score. This can then make it more difficult to apply again in future.

What credit score do I need for a mortgage?

Your credit rating is one of the most important indicators of your likelihood of being approved for a mortgage. The higher it is, the higher your chances.

But there’s no specific credit score that will get you approved. Each lender values ratings differently and will place greater importance on certain aspects than others. But there is some information that most lenders will take into account, including:

  • Your current credit accounts and what you owe
  • Your previous history with credit repayment
  • Whether you have any CCJs or IVAs

Your chosen lender will look at all the information provided and work out their own score for you and whether you meet their requirements. They’ll then use this to make a decision.

They’ll also use that to work out what deals they can offer you. When it comes to interest rates, the higher your credit score, the better the deal available to you. If your rating is on the lower end of the scale, you’ll probably find that your mortgage options are limited and you’ll be offered higher interest rates.

Boosting my credit score to get a mortgage

You can take certain actions to boost your credit score to give yourself the best chance of securing a mortgage. So if you’re not in the best position right now, with a little work, you can get where you want to be.

If you know you’re going to apply for a mortgage, it’s best to avoid applying for other forms of credit in the six months leading up to your application. Having too many of these searches on your file can make it look like you rely on credit.

Make sure you make all payments on time. Missed or late payments – everything from your phone bill to your credit card repayments – are a definite black mark on your credit rating. And if you do have credit, try to keep it at around 25% of your limit.

Keep checking your credit score. You can do this for free with most major credit reference agencies and it doesn’t leave a hard search on your report.

You should also check that you’re on the electoral register. Along with giving you the power to vote, it allows companies and lenders to confirm your identity and address.

If your credit rating is very low, you could also get a specific poor credit rebuilding credit card. These are designed for you to spend a small amount each month on it and then pay it back in full, building your credit score back up.

You can make paying your rent on time work in your favour. Signing up to the Rental Exchange Initiative lets your rent payment information get recorded in your Experian credit score. So if you know you’re always on time with your payments, let it help boost your rating.

Don’t just accept any mistakes or errors on your credit report. If you find something that shouldn’t be there, contact the lender or the credit agency to get this corrected.

If you need help with buying your first home or remortgaging, our conveyancing experts can help. To find out more, just give us a call or try our quick and simple conveyancing calculator.


It seems you are using an outdated browser.

This will impair your browsing experience around the web. Please visit one of the links below to update to a modern browser then re-open the site with the new browser.

Thank you


Can't find what you are looking for?

We are open as normal during the Coronavirus lockdown and are able to help with all your legal needs.

Call us free of charge

0800 567 7866

Request a Callback

Continue browsing