Buying or renting a new house can be stressful enough without nasty surprises like a poor credit rating slowing things down, especially when it may be easy to improve if you know about it in advance.
Take renting, for example. Letting agents and landlords want to know you’re credible and can pay your rent on time. An easy way for them to check this is to look at your credit report. Know your score in advance and you can plug any holes in your credit history, consolidate any debts and help make sure you get the home you want.
Homebuyers are subject to similar scrutiny. Each time you apply for a mortgage (or any other credit like a loan or credit card for that matter), it leaves a record on your credit report. Lenders and mortgage companies checking your report will worry if they see lots of credit applications in a short period of time, as that makes them think you could be too dependent on credit. And that makes your credit score go down.
So checking your Experian Credit Score in advance gives you a great idea of how lenders see your financial standing, and whether you need to explore your Experian Credit Report in more detail.
So, what exactly is your credit score?
Simply put, it’s a number that lenders calculate based on a range of different factors to decide whether they’ll lend to you or not. The higher your score – typically up to a maximum of 999 – the better your credit standing and so your chance of being approved for a mortgage with a good interest rate that best suits you.
While that sounds simple enough, there’s a lot that goes into calculating it. Along with the information you provide in your credit application, lenders also have their own criteria that could include your income, how much you want to borrow and whether you have defaults or similar on your credit report.
But by checking your Experian Credit Score – which is based on your credit history to give you an idea of how lenders may view you – you can see where you stand and if you need to improve it.
How do you improve your credit score before you apply?
If your Experian Credit Score isn’t where you’d like it to be, there are steps you can take to improve it.
If you have credit it’s important to manage it well, as that’s what lenders want to see. That means avoiding late payments and paying back anything overdue, and then making sure your future payments are on time. If you can, try to pay back more than the minimum each month to help reduce your overall debt.
It’s important as well to make sure you don’t apply for credit too often especially in a short period of time. This can make any lender you apply to think you’re dependent on credit.
The Experian Credit Score helps you understand your financial standing and how lenders and landlords are likely to view you. Good news too – it’s completely free so you can check it and use Experian to compare mortgages.