Will a Mortgage Loan Hurt Your Credit Score?
Written by: Kristy Welsh
Last Updated: September 25, 2017
In today's housing market, it takes pretty stellar credit to qualify for a home loan. Yet the irony is, if you're not careful, that very same mortgage can lead to the undoing of your credit score. If you're thinking about buying a home, make sure you know how to protect the credit you've worked so hard for.
Shopping For the Best Interest Rate
The lower your interest rate, the lower the cost of your mortgage. So take the time to shop around for the best deal. This maximizes the probability that you will be able to maintain your monthly payments and, in turn, good credit standing over the life of your loan.
Are You Doing All Your Interest Rate Shopping Within 14 to 45 Days?
Every credit inquiry made by a potential creditor counts against your credit score. However, you need not let this deter your from checking with as many lenders as possible for the best interest rate on your mortgage. Simply be sure that all your mortgage inquiries are made within the same 14 to 45 day period and it will only count as one inquiry on your credit reports. In other words, before applying for loans, be sure you have the time, interest and down payment to jump in with both feet!
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Can Your Afford the Monthly Mortgage Payment?
Even if you qualify for the lowest of interest rates, it's possible your monthly mortgage payment will be more than you can afford. Make sure you know exactly what that payment will be, plug it into your budget, do the math, and be honest in your estimate of whether this is a debt you can afford. The last thing your credit score needs are late payments, missed payments or, worst-case-scenario, a foreclosure.
Make Sure Your Monthly Payments Won't Affect Ability to Pay Other Bills on Time
It's all fine and good to give your mortgage payment precedence over all others, ensuring the account remains in good standing. But your credit will surely take a nosedive anyway if paying your mortgage forces credit card accounts, auto loans or other credit lines into late payment, missed payment, collections or charge-off status.
Can You Afford the Cost of Moving?
This is an expense almost always underestimated — from the cost of the moving truck, to deposits required for turning on your new utilities. Do the math and make sure these necessary expenses don't force you to be late on any of your credit accounts.
Are You Able to Furnish Your New Home Without Giving in to the Temptation of Charging Up Your Credit Cards?
Whether you already have furniture from your old place or you're starting from scratch, chances are you'll want some new furnishings for your new home. This is a perfectly natural, exciting response to buying a house. However, all too often new homeowners let themselves get carried away, more concerned with filling their space than being mindful of keeping new debt at a minimum. Only charge as much to your credit cards as you can afford to pay off at the end of the month. While this may mean buying secondhand or simply going without for a while, it's far preferable to carrying a balance on your credit cards. Considering all the expenses associated with your move, monthly mortgage payments included, there is the chance all you can afford to make are minimum payments on your cards. In that case, you'll being paying interest and driving up your credit utilization ratio which is one of the main influencers on your credit score.