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Why Do Mortgage Applications Change Your Credit Score?

Why Do Mortgage Applications Change Your Credit Score?
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Almas Uddin
Almas Uddin

Founder and Mortgage Advisor

Almas Uddin11 Dec 2023

Why Do Mortgage Applications Change Your Credit Score?

Here at business finance broker, we often receive queries from clients who have applied for mortgages online and are then concerned about having multiple credit searches on their file.

This happens when a credit search is run against you whenever you apply for borrowing or lending. The type of search that creates a mark on your credit file is called a 'full-footprint' search.

Let's look at what marks on your credit file mean, why they occur, and how to protect your credit rating when applying for a mortgage.

Eligibility Criteria for Mortgage Applications

Credit history is an essential factor for a lender considering a new application. Every lender will require some credit checks since this shows them whether you are likely to be able to pay them back on time, and flags up any previous credit issues.

Your credit score is one of many factors taken into consideration.

Other important points include your age, affordability, the value of the deposit and the amount of borrowing you are applying for.

For tailored support with submitting a mortgage application and protecting your credit rating, give Revolution Brokers a call on 0330 304 3040 or drop us a message at [email protected].

Why Borrowing Applications Impact Your Credit Score

Problems occur when you apply for multiple loans or mortgages, and each potential lender runs a full-footprint search.

For initial enquiries, or when scoping the market to decide which lender is right for you, it is possible to avoid having multiple hard searches flagged on your credit score by working with an experienced broker such as Revolution Finance.

Hard searches show on your credit file for up to two years and can have a detrimental effect on your credit score.

When applying for a mortgage, it is, therefore, advisable to avoid:

  • Applying for other forms of lending before submitting a mortgage application.
  • Applying to multiple lenders at once for the same mortgage requirement.

The Impact of Mortgage Applications on your Credit File

Lenders can run two different types of credit searches:

  • Soft searches that do not leave a mark.
  • Hard searches (or full-footprint searches) that are recorded.

Depending on where you are with your mortgage application, you should always be aware of what searches are being run. Only consent to a hard search when you are satisfied you are applying to the right lender who is likely to approve your application.

How Do Soft Credit Searches Work?

A soft search is a less intensive credit check and is usually carried out as an initial enquiry rather than a full search against an application.

Soft searches give lenders an overview of your credit history, which helps them decide whether they can make an indicative offer.

Given that this level of search does not always provide complete detail of your credit history, lenders will need to run a hard search further on in the process when you are happy to proceed with a full application.

Soft searches are not visible to other potential lenders, do not show on your credit report, and are visible only to you if you review your own credit file.

Most soft searches show on your account for up to two years but have no impact on your credit score, and there is no limitation on how many searches can be run.

It is vital to verify with your lender what sort of search they intend to run before giving permission. That is because some lenders will carry out a full-footprint search right from the start, which will leave a visible record on your credit file.

Should you be considering applying for a mortgage, or wish to enquire with multiple lenders without negatively impacting your credit rating, give Revolution Brokers a call on 0330 304 3040, and we will talk you through the best strategy.

How Are Hard Credit Searches Different?

Some lenders skip the soft search stage and go straight for a hard search. Many others will only do so after they have made an indicative offer, and if you decide to proceed with a formal application.

All lenders will need to conduct a full search at some stage before the lending is finalised. Still, it is essential to understand when this will happen to avoid damaging your credit score when you are considering different borrowing options.

The main difference between hard and soft credit searches is that a hard search leaves a mark on your file that other lenders can see, whereas a soft search is only visible to you.

Many lenders consider an applicant riskier if they can see multiple hard searches because they are aware that you are applying to lots of lenders, and potentially have made lots of applications that have been rejected elsewhere.

Hard searches related to a mortgage application typically remain visible for 12 months.

Benefits of Avoiding Multiple Hard Credit Searches

The more hard searches on your credit file, in a short period, the more of an impact it's going to have on your credit file.

Either lenders will think that you are applying for borrowing from anyone who will consider it, or that you are applying to multiple competitors and it isn't worth them making an offer.

Often, having lots of searches means that:

  • You are rejected for a mortgage application.
  • The rates of interest offered are unappealing.
  • To make that offer, you will have another hard search on your file.

Revolution Brokers always recommend avoiding unnecessary hard credit checks.

One of the best ways to do so is to work with our team, who will assess your application and ensure you do not submit a credit search authorisation to any lender who we know isn't suited to your circumstances.

We know which lenders are most likely to offer you the mortgage you need, and will recommend the most advantageous rates without any credit checks being run.

When it is time for a hard search to be conducted, we will ensure that you know which lender this approval should be given to and that you do not spend time making applications which are unlikely to be accepted and will impact your credit score for the future.

What Credit Checks Does a Mortgage Application Need?

Usually, mortgage credit checks include:

  • An initial soft search to offer an agreement in principle.
  • A full hard search when you decide to file a formal application.

As we have mentioned, some lenders will go straight in with a full-footprint check, and we will always advise if this is the case, and if we recommend proceeding or not.

How Far Back Does a Mortgage Application Credit Check Go?

Your credit check will review your full credit history for the last six years, including any addresses you have lived at during that time.

It is crucial to note every address you have lived in, as this will be matched against your credit file. If you have missed an address on your application, this can cause issues with declined applications due to non-declarations.

Even if unintentional, non-disclosure of a past address can look like an effort to avoid credit searches being run on past borrowing, which can result in an application being declined that could have been approved with the full information.

What Detail is Included in a Mortgage Credit Check?

To get a full picture of your credit history, a mortgage lender will ask whether you have been known by any other name.

This includes married names, given names at birth and aliases.

It is essential to disclose all names you have used as if any accounts have been held in a different name the credit reference agency will flag this.

Is a Mortgage Application Bad for My Credit Score?

If you have applied for a mortgage and been declined, this will be recorded on your credit file and can be a negative factor for any new lenders you apply to.

Revolution Brokers strongly advise using a whole-of-market broker to avoid this situation arising. As an expert broker, we successfully negotiate mortgages and terms with an extensive network of lenders and can identify the most likely lenders who will approve your application.

Should you submit a successful application on the first try, there will be no negative marks on your credit file, and you can save a considerable amount of time, stress and cost in doing so.

Typically, your credit score will drop once you have secured a mortgage.

This is not anything to worry about and is a typical result of taking out new lending. Provided you keep up to date with your mortgage payments and do not default on other bills or lending, your credit score will generally revert in around six months.

How Can I Repair My Credit Score After a Mortgage Application?

If you are concerned that your credit score has dropped, there are lots of ways to restore this.

Firstly, this is a normal by-product of taking out lending, and will usually repair by itself in a short space of time.

Unless you take out other extensive borrowing or fall behind with bills or borrowing repayments, your credit score will take around six months to recover.

Should you be concerned about having recently taken out borrowing, experienced a drop in your credit score, and now be seeking a mortgage, there are still plenty of options.

Revolution Brokers work with niche lenders who do not rely on credit scores to make lending decisions. Instead, they will review how well you have managed your borrowing, and whether you have any late payments, defaults or CCJs on your credit file.

These lenders can consider applications from people who have had credit issues in the past or have a complex income structure which falls outside of the terms of mainstream lenders. This offers greater flexibility for mortgage applicants who have struggled to achieve the borrowing they need elsewhere.

If you have had a mortgage application rejected or need help finding the right lender who will be happy to consider your application, get in touch with the Revolution Finance team for tailored advice.

Expert Mortgage Application Support to Protect Your Credit Rating

The best way to safeguard your credit score is to work with a broker who will ensure you only apply to a lender who is most likely to accept your application.

Should you have concerns about your credit score, or want to protect your credit rating while finding competitive mortgage lending, get in touch on 0330 304 3040 or drop us a message at [email protected].

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FCA disclaimer

The content included in our articles, blogs, web pages and news publications is based on information accurate at the time of writing. Note that policies and criteria can change regularly throughout the UK mortgage lending market, and it remains essential to contact the consultation team to receive up to date guidance. The information included on the Revolution Brokers site is not bespoke to any circumstances or individual application scenarios and therefore is not intended to be used as financial advice. The content we share is designed to be informative and helpful but cannot be relied upon to provide individual advice relevant to your mortgage requirements. All Revolution team members are fully qualified, trained and experienced to provide mortgage advice of an independent nature.

We collaborate with lenders and providers who are regulated, authorised and registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Should you require specific mortgage borrowing types, some products such as buy to let mortgages may not be FCA regulated. The Revolution team can provide further information about regulated and unregulated lending as required. Please remember that a mortgage is a debt which is secured against your home or property. Your home can be at risk of repossession if you do not keep up with the repayments or encounter any other difficulties in managing your mortgage borrowing responsibly. This also applies to any remortgage or home loan secured against your property, including equity release products.