How to get your mortgage right first time
The range of mortgages on offer can be bewildering, especially to a first-time buyer. These simple tips will help you to pick the one that’s right for you.
. Before you look at mortgages, check your credit report. This is the record of your loans, credit cards and mortgages, along with information such as your repayment history and whether you have any court judgments against you. Lenders look at it when they decide whether you are a good risk and what kind of deal to offer, so it’s important that the information it contains is up to date and accurately reflects your circumstances.
. Get your partner to check their report too. If you share financial commitments, your partner may be considered your financial associate – and any late payments against him or her could affect your chances of getting the mortgage you want.
. Set the record straight. If you find anything you disagree with, contact the lender who has contributed the information and ask them to amend it. If something is correct but needs further explanation – for example, you once missed some repayments because of illness – then you can add a short statement to your report via Experian, the UK’s largest credit reference agency.
. Register to vote. Lenders use the electoral register to check that you are who you say you are and live where you say you do. If your name is missing, they will spend time making further checks. They may even reject you.
. Improve your credit report. For example, you could roll up your debts into a single, more cost-effective loan. Lenders don’t want to take on people they think are already financially over-indebted.
. Do your homework. Use web sites and magazines to find out what mortgages are on offer and contact only your preferred lenders.
. Don’t leave footprints. Your credit report shows if you make multiple credit applications, so ensure that lenders understand that you are only making seeking a quote. Check your report regularly to see that they haven’t misunderstood. Lenders can interpret multiple credit applications as a sign that you are desperate for money, have been rejected elsewhere or even that a fraud is being planned.
. Plan your budget. Don’t take on a mortgage you can’t afford, don’t overspend on new furniture or décor – and remember to include extras such as stamp duty and moving costs in your estimates.
. Protect your identity. You are most vulnerable to ID theft when you move home, so shred all personal papers before throwing them out, redirect your post for at least a year, cancel your old entry on the electoral register and re-register at your new address.
You can see your credit report – free – by taking advantage of a 30-day trial of CreditExpert, the credit monitoring and ID fraud protection service from Experian, the UK’s largest credit reference agency. Click here to find out more.
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