The recent mortgage rule changes in Canada have been all over the news. In short, it’s tougher to get a mortgage today than it was just a few weeks ago. That doesn’t mean you can’t get a mortgage, but it does mean that you need to be really well prepared before you go shopping. When the rules tighten up, presenting yourself in your very best light can go a long way to increasing your options. One brilliant way to make a great impression on a lender is to have your credit story in order.
One thing that becomes an Achilles heel for a lot of borrowers is their credit score – and that even holds true for borrowers with really high incomes. You would be amazed how much weight your credit score carries. So, before you go for pre-approval, here are some sure-fire steps you can take to put the odds in your favour.
Find out where you stand, not where you hope you stand.
Your credit report can be had for free. It’s the same report that lenders will reference when they assess your credit-worthiness as far as them lending you their money. Good, bad or ugly, your journey starts with a review of your credit score, because the truth will set you free. The last thing you want is to be turned down over a bad report or even an error in your report. You’d be surprised how few times people actually go into their report and clear out long out of date information that could be hurting their credit rating. The more accurate the report, the faster you’ll know where you stand.
Be obsessed with paying your bills on time
This is hugely important to your credit health. Pay your bills on time. By on time, I mean in time for the payment to be received and processed before the due date so that your payment is registered on time, not submitted on the day it is due. And if you can’t pay the full bill, pay your minimum balance. If you do, you’ll be rewarded in your credit report.
And if you’re in a short-term jam and can’t make ends meet one month, call your creditor immediately, in advance of the payment due date and explain the situation. Great communication with your creditor can also prevent a late payment form being reported to the credit bureau and repayment reliability is the single biggest influencer on your credit score.
Are you a first time buyer? Build your credit score now.
New buyers often think that they stand a better chance at getting a mortgage if they don’t have credit cards of a history of debt. Sorry, but that’s not true.
When you don’t have any credit record, lenders can get leery. Lenders actually love seeing a healthy record of borrowing and repaying on time, as per agreement. It tells them that you have experience and you can handle the obligations that come with borrowing money. Being able to own and manage a credit card and also stay within your limit gives you a green light with lenders. Of course, there are essential strategies that need to be employed, and simply running a credit card to the limit then only making months of the minimum payment won’t actually be great for your score. Remember, whether it’s a credit card bill, or your Internet and cable bill, paying them on time every time sets you up for mortgage success.
And here’s a tip no one usually knows: If you have more than one credit card or an old card you no longer use, don’t close the account. Having an active card that you don’t use also sends the message that you don’t use credit for the sake of using credit and lenders like seeing that too. It’s all a test and sticking to a simple payment plan can yield great scores in ways most people could never imagine,
Lay off that “fist full of cards”
Opening multiple credit cards at the same time as you plan to seek a mortgage can also send a bad signal to a lender. You might think being approved for several credit cards at once is a sign of credit worthiness, but a mortgage lender looks at it differently. The mortgage lender sees a red flag as they assume you need these to pay bills and make ends meet regularly. That’s an instant stress test when it comes to assessing your ability to repay your mortgage with a lot of high interest debt on your plate. Once again, having a couple of cards that you manage well is fine, having a wallet full of high interest debt, is not.
Stay in touch with your credit report
We help our clients devise and execute many more credit strategies – all aimed at improving their ability to borrow for a mortgage at the best rate. One thing we always tell clients: now that you’re armed with credit IQ, make sure you occasionally check in on your credit report. It keeps you completely current on your most important asset when searching for a mortgage (or anything else of high net worth): your credit worthiness.
Pick an expert’s brain, for free
Ok, so I’ve just shared some sound advice about how to give you a better mortgage experience by having a better credit score. But we’ve got plenty more ideas and strategies available, if you really want to supercharge your credit story. Trouble is – and stats will bear me out on this one – most of us need help to understand our situation and what the best way to improve it is. We’ve been helping clients secure mortgages and get their credit house in order for more that 30 years, and we can help you. It costs nothing to get our opinion and our quick form is effortless and completely confidential. The rules have changed and more than ever, today someone should be looking out for your interests. We’re happy to take on that challenge.
Looking for a mortgage? Wondering if you qualify? Interested in refinancing? Our secure and completely confidential “no obligation” quick-form can give you answers, fast. Find it here.