Looking to buy your first home in 2022? You might be wondering what credit score is good and the minimum requirement for a mortgage.
Thankfully, there isn’t much of a mystery when it comes to what constitutes a good credit score. Here is a simple breakdown according to Equifax:
A poor credit score. You are considered a high-risk borrower and will have trouble getting loans from traditional lenders. You will receive the highest interest rates, from a limited range of lenders, and likely incur additional fees and shorter terms.
This is a fair credit score. Qualification for many loans start in this area (specifically above 620), but you will still have trouble getting better interest rates. Term, rate, and privileges will be dependent on the strength of the balance of your business case.
A good credit score. When in this area, you should have no trouble qualifying with most lenders. However, the best interest rates and privileges might still be out of reach.
Considered a very good credit score. This score suggests that you have a healthy respect for credit and repayment of your obligations and you are not overly dependent on credit. You will have access to the best rates and (as long as you meet other loan conditions, like income and down payment; see below) you are easily approved for loans.
An excellent credit score. Similar to a very good score, you will be approved easily and will receive the best rates.
What Else Do They Look At?
Whatever your credit score may be, mortgage lenders will always take a close look at your report along with a few other criteria.
Now that you know what credit score is good, here a few of the things lenders look at when determining approval or rates:
Mortgage Lenders will review all payment histories for credit cards or any other loans that may show up on your credit report. Remember, your credit score is a reflection of your current standing and doesn’t necessarily reflect past indiscretions. They are looking to see if you have a consistent track record of on-time payments. If you have slip ups within the last two years, even a strong credit score might disqualify you from accessing the best rates. However, if a lender finds a one-off late or missed payment, they will often give you a chance to explain the circumstances.
It is always best (whenever possible) to wait for any credit disputes to be resolved before applying for a mortgage. Lenders are looking for a clear view of your credit history and disputes often muddy the water. This causes them to be looked upon negatively. Again, if you can show indisputable proof that demonstrates the matter is an error or resolved, the lender may have the discretion to override the rejection.
As with any loan, mortgage lenders prefer borrowers with a steady, reliable income stream. While income from work is the most important, they will also look at additional forms of income. This includes investments and side hustles, as long as you can provide supporting docs to back up your story. This could include matching bank statements with invoices or contracts. Lenders will typically want to see anywhere between six months to two years of consistent history. Mortgage lenders will also assess your debt-to-income ratio to see how much of your income goes towards your debt. This helps gauge whether or not you are capable of taking on more debt, and successfully servicing your obligation.
You’re able to list assets on your mortgage application along with your income. Having high value assets gives assurance to the lender that even if you lose your job or another emergency arises, you would still be able to make payments. Typically the person deciding your fate hasn’t had the chance to get to know you. Listing your assets helps paint a clearer picture of who you are and how you spend or invest your money. It therefore helps the lender make a judgement call on how likely you are to be a responsible borrower. A lower income with all the toys paints a dramatically different picture than a moderate income with savings in the bank, RRSPs, and a moderate life insurance plan. It may make a difference in whether or not your application is approved.
Finally, the lender will assess if it is the type of property they want in their portfolio; more specifically, if they think that they could sell it, if push comes to shove, and you don’t make your payments.
At the end of the day, a credit score between 620 to 680 is the minimum amount required when applying for a mortgage. However, just because you meet the minimum criteria doesn’t necessarily mean you will be approved. Everything needs to add up and a lender is looking for the right type of risk that fits their portfolio.
Navigating the ins and outs of mortgages can be a daunting task, especially for first-time home buyers or those with bruised credit. Solid Ground is here to help with honest advice and a clear process, so you can plan for the future.
If you have any questions, please reach out to us.