How to shop for a mortgage without hurting your credit

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Your credit score is one of the most important indicators of your financial health, which is why lenders use it to determine your creditworthiness every time you apply for a loan. It’s inevitable that your credit score will fluctuate over time as you take on, file for, and pay off more debt, and it can take a bit of time for it to recover from a bigger drop.

If you think you’ll be applying for a mortgage soon, you might want to take extra steps to ensure your credit rating isn’t hit too hard throughout the home buying process.

Note that you should avoid applying for other new lines of credit at the same time as shopping for a mortgage. Opening too many new lines of credit at once can cause your credit score to drop – and when you’re applying for a mortgage, you’ll want it to be as high as possible, because your credit score credit is what will determine the interest. rate at which you will be locked up for 15 years or more.

Paying off existing debt can also help improve your credit score before you start contacting lenders. Depending on your current credit score, an increase of even just a few points could potentially be enough to push you into a better credit score range, which may allow you to qualify for better terms on your mortgage.

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Check your credit score

rocket mortgage

  • Annual Percentage Rate (APR)

    Ask online for personalized rates

  • Types of loans

    Conventional Loans, FHA Loans, VA Loans, and Jumbo Loans

  • Terms

    8 to 29 years old, including 15 years old and 30 years old

  • Credit needed

    Generally requires a credit score of 620, but will consider applicants with a credit score of 580 as long as other eligibility criteria are met

  • Minimum deposit

    3.5% if you go ahead with an FHA loan

It is also important to ensure that the lenders you are interested in will accept your credit score, as most lenders will generally require a score of at least 620. For jumbo loans, credit score requirements may be even higher. higher.

Knowing your current credit score can help you avoid applying for a loan with higher credit score requirements, which would only result in rejection. Of course, to improve your chances of getting approval from your desired lenders – and to improve your chances of locking in a lower interest rate – you can always delay the home buying process and work from home. first to increase your credit score.

You’ll also want to keep an eye on your credit report so you can spot any errors that could lead you to report negative information to lenders on your applications.

Get pre-qualified for a home loan

Be pre-qualified for a means you receive an estimate of how much you could borrow to buy your home. The lender will usually make an informal inquiry into your credit report and your credit score will not be affected.

Although pre-qualification is a less rigorous analysis than pre-approval, it can still offer a rough estimate of your loan amount so you can at least tell which homes will be the most affordable for your budget. Because your credit score won’t be affected by pre-qualification, you should really try to get pre-qualified with as many lenders as possible to see how much you’re likely to be offered by each.

Of course, you should always be strategic about which lenders you seek pre-qualification from. For example, if you are already planning to put down a large down payment, it might be prudent to consider those that charge less lender fees or no lender fees at all, such as Ally Bank. These types of additional costs can add up quickly and will need to be paid along with the money you will be paying upfront for your home. So it’s smart to save when you can.

Keep in mind that you will eventually need to get pre-approved for your home loan. Although prequalification is a first step you can take earlier in your home buying process, it still does not replace preapproval.

Allied bank

  • Annual Percentage Rate (APR)

    Apply online for personalized rates; fixed and adjustable rate mortgages included

  • Types of loans

    Conventional Loans, HomeReady Loan and Jumbo Loans

  • Terms

  • Credit needed

  • Minimum deposit

    3% if you continue with a HomeReady loan


  • The Ally HomeReady Loan allows for a down payment of just under 3%
  • Pre-approval in just three minutes
  • Submission of the application in less than 15 minutes
  • Online support available
  • Existing Ally customers are eligible for a discount that applies to closing costs
  • Does not charge lender fees

The inconvenients

  • Does not offer FHA, USDA, VA or HELOCs loans
  • Mortgages are not available in Hawaii, Nevada, New Hampshire or New York

Submit your applications within 45 days

Typically, each time you apply for a new line of credit, a lender executes a serious investigation and your credit score may be temporarily lowered. For this reason, submitting too many new credit applications can hurt your credit score since you will be considered a riskier borrower.

When it comes to mortgages, however, lenders expect you to shop around, and you can do as much as you need within 45 days of your first serious application without further hurting your credit score.

This is where it can be helpful to build on the knowledge gained from already being prequalified and knowing which lenders are likely to meet your financial needs. This way, you won’t have to waste valuable time during the 45-day window doing too much extra research for new lenders.

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Editorial note: Any opinions, analyses, criticisms or recommendations expressed in this article are those of Select’s editorial staff only and have not been reviewed, endorsed or otherwise endorsed by any third party.