Bruised Credit and Need a Mortgage?
Many people think that their credit score will hold them back from obtaining a mortgage. For some, they may have work to do on their debt beforehand, but sometimes people believe their credit is poor, only to find that it isn’t as bad as they thought. It pays to seek help from a Jencor Mortgage Advisor to find out where you stand.
What is bruised credit and how does it impact your ability to obtain a mortgage?
Mortgage lenders use your credit reports to evaluate risk by looking at your repayment history to see how responsible you are with credit. Although a 790-beacon score and zero late payments in the last three years is ideal for all lenders, bruised credit means something slightly different to some lenders. So, what is bruised credit? It can be a result of many circumstances including, late payments on loans, collections & judgements, bankruptcy, consumer proposal or credit counselling, late payments on your mortgage, foreclosure & even identity theft. Traditional mortgage lenders and insurers will not commonly approve applications with credit histories that show challenges with borrowing in the recent past. The good news is that there are still options with alternative mortgage lenders with a minimum down payment of 20% to 30%. With these mortgages, you will be paying higher interest rates, usually for two years, while you rebuild your credit. We can then transition you into a regular mortgage.
Rebuilding credit takes time.
There are some things you can do which will bring your score up substantially in one swoop, but normally it takes time to rebuild. Here are some of the basics to improve your credit:
- Have at least two credit accounts reporting to your credit report besides cell phone bills, school loans or mortgages. Use your credit cards every month, even just one purchase monthly and pay it in full before the due date. The credit limits should be at least approximately $2000 each.
- Always pay all your debts on time – making even the minimum payment on time, is better than making a larger payment late. If need be, reach out to the account holder and make payment arrangements. Never ignore a payment and hope for the best.
No Late mortgage payments – these are extremely detrimental to you obtaining a mortgage.
- Do not max out your credit. Use less than 50% of your limits and never go over the limit. Going over limit impacts your score immediately and severely, and even when you bring it back in line, it still has a lingering effect on your score.
- Do not apply for too much credit and do not cancel existing credit – both these actions will negatively impact your score – yes, you would think that cancelling existing credit would help, but by doing so, you are reducing the overall credit available to you and therefore immediately increasing credit usage. Also, by cancelling credit, you might be cancelling a credit card that you have held the longest and longevity of credit has an impact on your rating.
- New loans, such as car loans will have an immediate negative impact on your score – so do not obtain a new car loan if you are thinking about obtaining a mortgage. Because of the size of the loan, your credit usage increases substantially.
- Do not let anything go to collections – even though some utilities, rental payments, gym memberships and the like, do not report to your credit bureau, when they go to collections, they will be reported.
- Ensure that everything on your report is correct. If not, you must take steps with the creditor or the reporting agency (Equifax or TransUnion) to correct them.
- In some cases, if you already own your home, there may be an opportunity to consolidate debt into your mortgage and improve your credit.
Don’t be defeated; get advice, get back on track!
Ultimately, how each item impacts your score, depends on how it interacts with everything else on your report. One late payment, for some with long-held credit and very little past delinquencies, will have less of an impact than for someone with bruised credit or someone with new credit.
If you have bruised credit, don’t write off your dream of home ownership. Contact your Jencor Mortgage Advisor who can advise you on the necessary steps to obtain the mortgage you need.
Ayashah Kothawala - Mortgage Advisor Jencor Mortgage