What Credit Score do You Need for a Mortgage?

Someone being handed over keys for their new house

If you’re looking to buy a house, you’ll probably have thought about the ins and outs of doing so, as well as all the necessary documents you'll need to prepare and all the paperwork you’ll need to sort out.

When it comes to thinking about mortgage approval in order to successfully obtain a mortgage loan, you’ll need to start to seriously think about your credit score and how that can affect your application.

While there isn’t one specific credit score needed for a mortgage, your chances of being accepted will likely be massively improved if you’re deemed to have a good score.

If you want to check your score now to find out your eligibility, sign up to a 30-day free trial with Checkmyfile to see your reports from all UK credit reference agencies. A charge of £14.99 per month applies after the free trial, but you can easily cancel anytime:

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In our guide below, we’ll take you through everything you need to know about the minimum credit score you need to get accepted for a mortgage, plus how you can improve your credit score to get boost your chances of getting one.

What credit score do I need for a mortgage?

What is a good credit score for a mortgage in the UK depends on the mortgage provider that you choose and how they determine how good your credit score is. There are several credit record checkers in the UK that most companies will use to check your credit score, such as Experian (arguably the most popular), Equifax, TransUnion and Crediva.

Let’s take a look at Experian’s criteria for checking credit scores and what they determine to be a good credit score for a mortgage.

Experian uses a scale of 0-999 to check credit scores and the higher your score, the better your chances of being accepted for a mortgage. Before applying for a mortgage, it’s a good idea to try and ensure that your score is as good as possible in order to improve your chances of being accepted.

  • Excellent: 961 - 999
  • Good: 881 - 960
  • Fair: 721 - 880
  • Poor: 561 - 720
  • Very Poor: 0 - 560

What do mortgage lenders look for?

When it comes to applying for a mortgage, lenders will usually look at four main things; credit, equity, assets and income.

They’ll want to ensure that you have a relatively good credit score so that they can be assured that you’ll be able to make your mortgage repayments.

Most mortgage lenders will also require you to have a steady job and income so that they know you’re earning sufficient money and you'll be able to afford to pay your mortgage.

What if I have a low credit score?

If you have a low credit score, it is still possible to have your mortgage application accepted with bad credit, but it will probably be more difficult, you’ll likely face higher interest rates and you may need to put down a larger deposit.

If you’re seriously starting to think about buying a house and applying for a mortgage, there are several things that you can do to improve your credit score.

  • Ensure that you make your credit payments on time - this shows that you’re able to make your repayments regularly, so mortgage lenders are more likely to accept your application and it will also reflect well on your credit score.
  • Try and avoid applying for other lines of credit from at least six months before you apply for a mortgage. This is because every time you apply for credit, a soft check or hard credit check will be performed on your credit file which usually makes your credit score go down for a little while. Too many credit checks can make it look like you’re constantly in need of credit, so it’s best to try and avoid doing so where possible.
  • If you haven’t already, apply to be on the electoral register as it helps to show lenders proof of who you are and where you live.
  • Always try and stay within your credit limits.

Does a joint mortgage affect your credit score?

A joint mortgage is exactly the same as a normal mortgage, but it involves two or more people applying for a mortgage together.

Just like any other mortgage application, the lender will perform a credit check on your file in order to see if you’re eligible to be accepted for a joint mortgage.

Whether it will affect your credit score or not will depend on whether they carry out a soft credit check or a hard credit check.

Does a mortgage in principle affect your credit score?

A mortgage in principle, also sometimes referred to as a decision in principle, is essentially a mortgage promise from your lender stating that they agree to lend you a certain amount of money before you’ve finalised the purchase of your home.

A mortgage in principle can sometimes affect your credit score, but it depends on whether the lender carries out a soft or hard check on your credit file. A soft credit check simply states that you just made an enquiry, whereas a hard credit check marks the fact that you’ve actually made the application for credit.

It depends on the lender as to what kind of credit check they’ll perform on you and whether or not it will affect your credit score with regards to an application for a mortgage in principle.

What do I need to get a mortgage?

When applying for a mortgage, you’ll need to provide evidence of numerous documents and eligibility factors such as your credit score and proof of income, but you may also be required to provide the following when going through the mortgage application process:

  • A p60 form from your employer
  • At least 3 months’ worth of your most recent payslips
  • Utility bills
  • Household bills such as general living costs, council tax and insurance policies
  • If you receive any benefits, you will have to provide evidence of the amount you receive
  • Proof of identity such as driving licence or your passport
  • Your most recent bank statements from the last three to six months
  • If you're self-employed, you will need to show at least two or three years’ worth of accounts and statements (known as SA302s)
  • A copy of your credit report

Check your score and report from all the main credit reference agencies with Checkmyfile below by signing up to a 30-day free trial, or alternatively, take a look at our handy guides for more information.

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