How Will Applying for a Mortgage Affect My Credit?

by Allison Jaffe 12/08/2019

Preparing to buy a home is a long and stressful process for many. You’ve spent months, or even years, saving for a down payment, planning your future, and building your credit to ensure you get the best possible interest rate on your loan.

Then you find out, when getting preapproved for a mortgage, that your credit score dropped by a few points. So, what gives?

There’s a lot to understand about how credit scores affect mortgages and vice versa. In today’s post, I’m going to attempt to cover everything you need to know about how applying for a mortgage can affect your credit score so you’ll be prepared when it comes time to buy a home.

Prequalification, preapproval, and credit checks

There are a lot of misconceptions about what it means to be preapproved or prequalified for a loan. Some of it is due to the jargon that is used in real estate transactions, and some of it is just a marketing technique on the part of lenders.

So, what does it mean to be prequalified and preapproved?

The short version is that getting prequalified is a quick and easy process to determine whether you’re eligible to lend to and how much you’re likely to receive. It involves a quick review of your finances, and often includes either a self-reported or soft credit inquiry.

A “soft inquiry” is the type of credit check that employers typically use for a background check. It doesn’t affect your credit score, as you are not applying to open a new line of credit. In fact, many lenders’ process for prequalification is a simple online form that doesn’t even require a credit check. We’ll talk more about the difference between soft inquiries and hard inquiries later.

The simplicity of prequalification makes it a simple and easy way to get started. But, it isn’t always accurate in how well it predicts the type of mortgage and loan amount you can receive. That’s where preapproval comes in.

When you get preapproved for a loan you fill out an official application (you often have to pay for these). This will request documentation for your finances and assets, and will ask your approval to run a detailed credit report.


These credit reports are considered “hard inquiries” and are a vital step in getting approved or preapproved for a mortgage. However, they also, at least temporarily, lower your credit score.

Why hard inquiries lower your credit score

When any creditor, be it a bank or credit card company, is determining whether to lend to you, they want to know that you are a safe investment. To determine this, they want to know how frequently you pay your bills on time, how much you owe to other creditors, and how financially stable you are right now.

When you make multiple inquiries in a short period of time, it’s a red flag to lenders that you might be in trouble financially. Thus, hard inquiries will lower your credit score for 1 to 2 months.

Applying to multiple lenders: the silver lining

When borrowers apply for a mortgage, they often shop around and apply to multiple lenders. While it may seem that all of these hard inquiries will add up and drastically lower their credit score, this isn’t the case.

Credit bureaus take into account the source of the inquiries. If they realize that you are applying for mortgages, they will typically recognize this as rate shopping and group these applications together on your credit report, counting them only as a single inquiry. This means your score shouldn’t drop multiple times for multiple mortgage preapprovals that were made within a small time frame.

Now that you know more about how mortgage applications affect your credit score, you can confidently shop around for the best mortgage for you and your family.

About the Author
Author

Allison Jaffe

Welcome to Key Real Estate Services 

Providing professional representation for Sellers and Buyers throughout NYC and the northern suburbs.

Westchester/Rockland/Putnam: 914-661-0340

Manhattan/Bronx/Brooklyn/Queens: 718-874-2877

www.keyrealestateny.com

Meet Our Team

Allison Jaffe, Licensed Real Estate Broker

Office: 914-661-0340 or 718-874-2877, Ext. 2

Call/Text: 718-577-5284

Email: [email protected]

During more than 14 years as an independent broker, Allison has managed all manner of residential real estate sales – single and multi-family houses, condos, co-ops, and mixed-use -- from upper Manhattan, throughout the Bronx and Queens, across Westchester to Putnam and Rockland Counties. Allison specializes as a Sellers Agent, Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES), Estate Properties Agent, and a Certified Buyer Representative (CBR). Please see our menu of Client Services to learn more about each of these focused areas of real estate expertise.

"I determined early in my real estate career to focus on the specific needs of my respective clients rather than a specific geographic area. My job isn’t to sell buyers on a town or school district – they know where they want to live – my job is to sell the one property in that location that my client has to sell. My buyer clients want options and having lived and worked in Westchester, Rockland, the Bronx, and Manhattan, I know where to find those options.”

Linda Mancini, Licensed Real Estate Salesperson

Office: 914-661-0340 or 718-874-2877, Ext. 3

Call/Text: 718-619-8022

Email: [email protected]

Linda joined Key Real Estate Services in 2017 to expand our client representation throughout Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens. Extending the firm’s core principal of market expertise, Linda specializes in HDFC (Housing Development Fund Corporation) apartments in NYC that keep affordable housing options open to financially qualified families.

"I’m happy to represent the firm’s client-centric, market expertise approach to real estate throughout NYC. After more than thirty years of experience with HDFC properties, I’m able to guide qualified clients through the particular challenges of buying into and selling out of this unique homeownership option.”

Lea Mae de Guzman, Client Care Coordinator

Office: 914-661-0340 or 718-874-2877, Ext. 1

Call/Text: 718-577-5286

Email: [email protected]

Overseeing transaction activity, Lea works directly with Allison and Linda to keep every sale and purchase moving forward efficiently. With her finger on the pulse of each client’s transaction, Lea is at the firm’s administrative hub for scheduling, document processing, and coordinated communication.

"While I attend to the day-to-day clerical and communication needs for all of Key Real Estate Services’ clients, Allison and Linda are free to give their undivided attention to one client at a time in the field. I’m sort of the company's human tracking app that every client can access online, by text, or on the phone.”