Money

Credit Score Surgery: Does my credit score affect my plans to buy a house?

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Welcome to the Credit Score Surgery, where every week we tackle an important financial quandary…

Money talks - but sometimes, it can be hard to know exactly what it’s saying. Did you know your credit score talks a lot for you too?

Your credit score is more than just some digits on a screen. In fact, lenders sometimes use it as a barometer of your financial health, to help them get a good sense of how reliable you are. So it’s important to keep it in good shape! That’s why we’re here to help you out with your credit score questions in our Credit Score Surgery.

This week, it’s all about mortgages. Namely: how might your credit score affect your plans to buy a house?

Help! I can’t get on the property ladder

I’ve finally saved up enough for a deposit on a one-bed flat.

Unfortunately, due to a few bad decisions in the past (unpaid credit cards and a couple of big utility bills that went awry due to me changing address), my credit score is pretty low.

I’m also buying the house on my own.

Combined with my credit score situation, does this hinder my chances of getting a mortgage? Can I change my score to improve my chances on the mortgage front?

It’s a good plan to ensure your credit score is in a good place before applying for a mortgage, as this can help you to be accepted. Cultivating a good credit score can take time and effort, and when you do come to an exciting stage like this it brings home just how important it is to be make sure you’re aware of where you stand with your credit score.

It can feel frustrating, but a little research goes a long way in understanding how credit scores work. One thing to try is to avoid applying to any other lenders for a few months, as applications for borrowing can appear on your credit report and may then weaken your score further.

There’s some easy things you can do, too. For example, making sure you’re on the electoral roll (if you’re eligible!) at your current address may help to improve your score, too. You could try CreditWise from Capital One - it’s a really helpful free tool that can show you your credit score (as well as your full report) and give you some pointers on how different things are impacting it and how you may be able to improve it. The essential thing is that you get familiar with your score and start managing it going forward – this will help to put you in a better position in the future!

The good news is that getting a mortgage by yourself won’t affect your chances, as long as you’ve looked into what you could realistically borrow based on your income and lifestyle. 

Good luck!

To check your credit score, see your full report and find out what’s affecting it for free, try CreditWise from Capital One.