These days we tend to find that in our day to day lives, whether we’re homeowners, home buyers or neither, we’re a lot more savvier when it comes to checking and improving our credit rating.
Consumer awareness of credit scoring is now much higher than it ever has been. If we were to throw out an estimate, we’d say at least half, arguably more so as time progresses, have already checked their credit report online, before they’ve even gotten in touch with us.
If you’re looking online, you’ll find that there are all kinds of credit reference agencies to choose from as a customer. The most popular of these are Experian or Equifax. We would personally recommend that new customers make use of a third party Check My File for a 30-day free trial, which is £14.99 a month thereafter and can be canceled at any time.
The reason why we would recommend Check My File, is that it gathers information from several of those reference agencies like Experian and Equifax, pulling them all into one consistent report. This means you won’t need to do multiple checks and can review any potential credit file errors in one place.
We are always hearing questions from customers, wondering if we will be doing any credit searches on them. This is because they are already aware that getting too many searches done can damage their credit score overall.
Lenders will always run their own credit checks, but we will always ask for a customers permission before one is done.
There are 2 different types of credit searches that can be run on customers: hard credit searches or soft credit searches.
A soft credit search is an increasingly more common type of credit search, that tends to involve someone obtaining less information from you, but means it is unlikely to leave a footprint on your credit report.
Many lenders are switching to this nowadays, though some may still do hard searches instead. Some may do a soft search first, before following up with a hard search.
These can typically be encountered when checking out price comparison websites, so that they can give you a good indication of the products that are available to you. They can also be used to verify your identity.
Although as said, they give a mortgage lender less information about you than they’d get from a hard search, if you get an Agreement in Principle from one of these lenders, it is still very likely that you are going to be accepted at full application stage.
The reason why soft credit searches are so widely used and well liked by credit score savvy individuals, is that whilst you can see that someone has carried out a search on you (yes, you are able to find out and may be surprised how many companies have done this) these searches will not be visible to other financial institutions.
What this means, is that providing a lender uses soft credit searches, you are able to apply for an Agreement in Principle ahead of a mortgage, and it is almost certain to leave your credit score unaffected, whether it is successful or not.
If you are hopeful about making an offer on a property, it is definitely important that you get an Agreement in Principle prior to making that offer, especially if you are a first time buyer in Sunderland.
Ideally, you want to give yourself the absolute best chance of purchasing your property at the lowest price you can, so showing your finances in a positive light can help you out massively.
Additionally, having an Agreement in Principle to hand shows the estate agent that you are a serious buyer already ahead in the process, and can often put them off from trying to cross-sell their own in-house mortgage services to you.
A hard credit search is a much more detailed look at your credit score and it does leave a credit footprint. As such, any financial institution that carries one of these out, should ask for your permission before they do so.
The positive to a hard search, is that because it is so in-depth, if you pass their checks and are agreed in principle, it is very likely you are going to succeed at full application.
From this point onwards, the only thing that could really go against your chances of mortgage success, is if you are unable to provide the required documentation to backup the information you have given. False information can also affect this.
If you fail the credit scoring process with a hard search, this can seriously harm your credit score and your chances of any credit applications in the future, especially if you have failed multiple in a short amount of time.
The footprint a hard search leaves can be viewed by other financial institutions. Whilst it does not clarify whether or not it was successful, let alone why it wasn’t, multiple hard searches on a file can leave a lender to question whether or not the applicant is a risk.
Logically, if you were in their shoes; Why would someone be having multiple credit searches carried out on them if they had already passed the first one? That indicates the person has probably failed each time, and as such, mortgage lenders may be less inclined to consider lending to them.
That isn’t to say that the occasional hard footprint every now and again is a bad thing, as it is not at all. You just need to be wary of having too many done. If you happen to be moving home in Sunderland or going through a remortgage in Sunderland, a hard search may have been carried out on you, depending on your situation.