What is the minimum credit score to buy a house?

The short answer is that there is no minimum. When you apply for a mortgage, the lender will assess you on several different criteria, one of which will be your credit report. However; your credit score has little direct impact. Stricter affordability rules mean that lenders will pay close attention to your income, monthly outgoings and savings as well as the information in your credit report and application form.

What is your credit score?

Your credit report is held by a number of different agencies and the bank will go to one of these agencies to take a look at your credit report information when you apply for a loan. Banks and lenders will use this, along with details you provide on your application form and any information they already have about you (for example if you are an existing customer) to calculate a credit score. Each bank or lender will have its own criteria, so your credit score may be different with each one you apply to.

Your actual score is more of an estimate of how good or bad your credit history currently looks. Each credit referencing agency will give you their own score and therefore your credit score varies depending on who you ask.

Are there any minimum requirements?

There are no set requirements for getting a mortgage, although in reality, if you have a poor credit score you may struggle to get accepted.

Getting accepted depends on a number of factors and in general, the more favourable factors you have on your side, the better your odds. Factors include:

  • Your total household income
  • The amount you want to borrow
  • How much you have for a deposit
  • The information in your credit report

If you have a relatively low income and you want to borrow a relatively large amount with only a 5% deposit, it is likely that you will need a very good credit score. But on the other hand, if you earn a lot of money and have a 20% deposit, you may find that you can get a mortgage even with a fair or poor credit score.

Income plays a major part in whether you get approved and the size of your mortgage. You also stand a better chance of securing the best rate by checking and understanding your credit report  as a good report can not only boost your chances of being approved, it might help you get a mortgage at a lower rate, which could mean lower monthly repayments or possibly the ability to borrow more.

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