Do Credit Pulls Lower My Score?
It’s a common misconception among borrowers that multiple credit pulls will drop their credit score. However, the three big credit bureaus (Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax) state it plainly: a borrower’s score will not drop when a mortgage lender pulls their credit more than once in a two-week period. So, why is this the case?
Not all credit checks are weighed equally. A credit card application carries more weight on credit than a mortgage loan. Credit card debts have a tendency to increase over time, make for larger risk which lowers credit. Mortgage debt, by contrast, eventually pays down to $0, so mortgage loan checks don’t have as much weight on overall credit score.
Soft credit inquiries usually happen when a person who is not a potential lender, looks at someone’s credit score. This happens when you check your own credit score, an employer looks at your credit for a background check, or a lender pre-approves you for a credit card or loan offers. However, there may be instances where your lender will need to do a soft inquiry at the end of your loan transaction. (Ask your lender for more information about this.)
These credit checks can be done without permission and are not customer driven so they will not affect the credit score.
A hard credit inquiry is when a financial institution, such as a lender or credit card company checks a person’s credit while deciding whether or not to extend an offer of credit. They most often take place when a person is making a large financial decision such as applying for a mortgage, loan, or credit card.
Typically, a person must authorize the third party to do this, so you should always be aware of any record of hard inquiry on your credit report. Hard inquiries can lower a credit score and can remain on the credit report for two years. But with time, the damage to the credit score decreases or disappears altogether.
A hard inquiry will happen when you apply for:
- A mortgage
- Credit cards
- Auto loans
- Student loans
- Business loans
If you’re going through the home buying process, but still shopping around for the right lender for you, avoid hard inquiries at all costs. You’ll want your credit to be as high as possible when you decide on your lender, and credit inquiries make up 10% of your credit score.
It’s also important to sort out your mortgage shopping within a 14-day timeframe. If the inquiries are properly managed, the credit bureaus will acknowledge the first credit pull but will ignore each following check.
Another Credit Myth
Credit pulls aren’t the only misconception when it comes to how your credit score impacts your home loan. Some borrowers assume they won’t qualify for a home loan if they don’t have an outstanding score. Although your score is a factor in the approval process, there are loan options specifically for homebuyers with a lower credit score.
The truth is this, you might have more loan options than you think. Each person’s financial situation is different, so it’s important to speak with a Mortgage Advisor about your specific needs. However, PRM has multiple resources that can help get you started on your journey toward homeownership.
Let’s start with the minimum FICO credit score needed for our low credit score loans:
Government-backed loans remove the risk of default off of the mortgage company because the government insures or guarantees the loan, which in turn allows the minimum credit score to be lower.
Now, what about your down payment? Chances are, if you’re working toward paying off debt, you don’t want to front the traditional down payment amount. Thankfully, loan options that require a lower credit score usually require a lower down payment as well.
- FHA Loan: minimum 3.5% down payment required
- USDA Loan*: 100% financing
- VA Loan: 100% financing
The opportunity to buy a home, despite a low credit score, is a dream come true for many homebuyers. At PRM, our Mortgage Advisors are here to make this dream a reality.
Contact a Mortgage Advisor today to learn more.