There seems to be a rise in awareness of credit scoring from first time buyers and other consumers. This is from the increasing attention credit rating is getting from the general public. Our team has also found that when people get in touch with us, the majority have already viewed their credit reports online.
Experian or Equifax seems to be the two most common credit reference agencies but there are more out there. Check My File is something we do recommend to new clients. When they sign up, they get a 30 day free trial and after the 30 days will then be £14.99 a month, however, this can be canceled anytime. The color-coded report provides an easy-to-follow document that collates a range of information.
We find that clients have become more aware of the fact that too many credit searches can negatively impact their credit score. Therefore, our clients often ask if our mortgage advisors in Doncaster will do a credit search on them. Even though lenders always carry out credit checks, your dedicated advisor will require the client’s permission before doing any checks.
Banks provide two types of credit searches; hard search or soft search.
A hard credit search is when they take an in-depth look at your credit report and any financial institution carrying it out soon as you permit the financial institution to do so. The advantage of a hard credit search would be that the lender is looking into your situation quite carefully and if you pass the credit score, you increase your mortgage application’s chance of success.
As long as you have provided satisfactory documentation to back up the information you have disclosed and you haven’t provided false details, the search can be a success.
The footprint doesn’t state if your application was successful or not, however, if you have carried out a number of searches over a few weeks, this could cause the lenders’ system to decline.
Another benefit is that your credit file will have a record kept stating that you have carried out a hard credit search which is good when someone needs to look at your report. However, a credit file that states that there have been multiple searches carried out in a short period of time isn’t great because it could looks like you have applied for a vast amount of credit at the same time.
Having the odd hard footprint on your record isn’t bad. That’s why you shouldn’t worry too much about it, it’s just best to be cautious in having too much.
Unlike hard searches, a soft credit search provides a ‘lighter’ look at your financial situation. This type of search would normally be used on price comparison websites to provide which options you have or it could be used as a source to verify your identity. You may find some mortgage lenders carry out soft searches and it seems that more lenders are changing to this type of search.
With soft searches, you don’t get offered as much information as you would if someone carried out a hard search. A soft search wouldn’t leave any impact on your credit file if you fail. A lender will obtain less information compared to if they carried out a hard credit search. If you come out with an agreement in principle, the difference between the two doesn’t matter.
One factor that is helpful is that even though you would be able to see soft searches that got carried out on you, these searches are not visible to other financial institutions like banks. Therefore, you can apply for an agreement in principle without damaging your credit score regardless of if it is successful or not.
In the case where you are wanting to make an offer on a property, our mortgage advisors would suggest having an agreement in principle in place prior to you contact the estate agent. You should give yourself the chance to get the property you want at the lowest possible price.
A big advantage you can have on your part is if you have demonstrated that you have finances in the right place. Having an agreement in principle can also deter the agent from attempting to ‘cross sell’ their in-house mortgage services to you.