If you have bad credit, getting a mortgage can be difficult. But don't worry, our broker partner Advantage can help find the most suitable bad credit deal for you.
In some cases, yes you can. However, it depends - as well as a difference in what each lender considers to be 'bad credit', the severity of your credit issues impact the likelihood of being approved.
If you're concerned about mortgage approval due to your credit history, there are a number of bad credit lenders who are more flexible with their criteria. Mortgage rates for bad credit mortgages tend to be higher, but it's certainly an option for those looking to get a mortgage sooner rather than later.
Bad credit is a blanket term used to describe a wide variety of personal finance issues that are recorded on your credit file. They could range from having a single late payment, right through to bankruptcy.
All of the following circumstances would fall under the umbrella of having bad credit and are loosely in order of severity:
No credit score due to never having used credit
Missed or late payments
County Court Judgement (CCJ)
Debt Management Plan (DMP) or Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA)
Bankruptcy and repossession
If you have bad credit, getting a mortgage can be more difficult, but bad credit lenders or 'subprime lenders' as they're often referred to, can usually accept credit issues at the more severe end of the scale.
That said, if you're looking to get a bad credit mortgage after bankruptcy or repossession, your options will be quite limited.
There is no minimum credit score that applies universally across the mortgage industry! Each lender has their own idea of what constitutes bad credit, and not all lenders use the same referencing agencies
Usually when you have bad credit, you'll have a low score on your credit report. However, each of the three major credit referencing agencies, Experian, Equifax and TransUnion, use a different scoring system. So a very low score with one agency, may not be so bad with another, or vice versa.
This means that your credit score in relation to the actual number is not something to fixate on, as most mortgage lenders use it alongside your broader credit history to make a more holistic decision.
The good news is, this means that being rejected by one provider does not necessarily mean that you would be by the next. A broker who specialises in bad credit mortgages should be able to help you find a lender to suit your needs.
The main difference is that interest rates for bad credit mortgages are usually higher. You may also have to pay higher arrangement fees when you take out a mortgage. Be sure to consider the total cost when you compare bad credit mortgages - including fees.
The type of bad credit you have can also impact how it affects your mortgage application. For example, depending on the lenders' indiviudal criteria, the following may change how a lender sees your circumstances:
How long ago the credit issues occurred - some lenders will disregard older issues
Whether or not they're resolved - some lenders prefer that debts are satisfied (repaid)
How severe the type of credit issue is - missing a phone bill payment won't be seen in the same light as having a house repossessed, for example
Whether your issue is with secured debt - unsecured debt issues are often considered less important than secured debt issues (where the loan is secured against collateral, such as a property or car)
How much your debt is - Many lenders are willing to consider debts under £1000, but grow concerned when a default or CCJ relates to a higher amount
When you're looking to take out a mortgage with bad credit, the key a successful result is preparation. To maximise your mortgability, you should:
Whole-of-market mortgage brokers like our partners at Mojo Mortgages have access to every bad credit lender on the market, including some that may not be accessible to the general public.
Using a broker can increase the number of lenders available, meaning there's more chance of finding a lender with criteria that matches your circumstances.
Brokers can also steer you away from applications that would be likely to fail - which can prevent further damage to your credit file.
Offering a bigger deposit will give you access to better rates, whatever your circumstances. It gives lenders more confidence in your commitment to the loan as they see you as less risky.
As mortgage rates for bad credit applicants tend to be higher, this can go a long way to repairing concerns that the lender has, and potentially result in a slightly lower rate.
It’s unlikely you'll get a 95% mortgage, as typically bad credit mortgage lenders require at least 15% deposit (85% LTV). Offering more than 15% will increase your chances of finding a suitable mortgage.
It’s important to go into your mortgage application with a good understanding of your finances, so make sure you obtain a copy of your credit file from TransUnion, Equifax and Experian to see what information is held about you.
Your credit file can also contain incorrect information. Even the smallest mistakes can impact your score, so check that all names, addresses, and particularly information about past credit issues, are correct.
You can approach the credit reference agencies to amend mistakes if you find any - this can take a few weeks, so it’s best to do this early.
Your credit file shows your management of past and present debts, including how much you owe, how much you've paid back and whether you've missed any repayments. The score builds slowly over time and negative occurrences, such as CCJs, stay on your file for six years.
There are a few quick ways to improve your score:
Try to your best to resolve any issues as some lenders will prefer a default or CCJ to be satisfied (paid off)
Make sure you're on the electoral roll at your current address and cancel accounts that are no longer used, such as old bank accounts or credit cards
If you've never used any form of credit, lenders will see this as less severe than bad credit. However, credit builder credit cards can help increase your score more quickly
If you're renting while you save for a deposit, companies like CreditLadder - who record your rental payments on your credit file on your behalf - can help you to develop a picture of financial responsibility
Applying for a mortgage agreement in principle, prior to your full application, will help you to gauge the likelihood of being accepted, without damaging your credit file.
Typically only soft searches are carried out at this stage - which have no impact on your credit file. Your broker or lender will confirm whether a soft or hard search will be carried out if you're concerned, however.
Multiple hard searches can affect your credit score, so this is a good way not to affect your chances of acceptance any further, if you already have bad credit.
Guarantor mortgages can be helpful if your credit score is preventing you from getting a mortgage, or you're unable to meet mortgage affordability criteria due to a low income.
Having a guarantor does not always mean your application will be accepted, but it should improve your chances.
Most lenders will also accept a 'gifted deposit' from a family member, which can help those struggling to save one. This can't be a loan and you must be under no obligation to repay the money.
It’s also become more common for people to buy jointly with family. Some lenders allow you to include up to four borrowers on one mortgage - maybe something to consider if you have a close group of siblings.
If you have a bad credit record, your mortgage options are likely to be more limited and less competitive than those available to people with better credit scores.
Some lenders are more sympathetic to certain reasons behind bad credit than others. For example, being in debt because your partner passed away and you've struggled to live on a single income will be seen in a better light than being in debt due to irresponsible spending habits.
Mortgage lenders conduct credit checks on all potential borrowers, so there’s no point in trying to hide your credit problems. In fact, being dishonest about your credit history is more likely to reduce your chance of being accepted!
If you’ve got a history of defaults or CCJs, mainstream lenders may begin to consider your application around six to 12 months after they've been resolved. With more severe issues, such as bankruptcy, most lenders will expect them to have been discharged for around six years before you're accepted.
Subprime lenders are usually able to help out sooner if your credit issues are at the more severe end of the spectrum. A mortgage broker can to help you work out how long you may have to wait until you're likely to be accepted for a mortgage, if you wouldn't currently be.
You can buy a home now, rather than waiting
You can lock in today’s prices, both in terms of property cost and interest rates, which may go up in the future
You can put money wasted on renting accommodation to better use
Higher interest rates
A larger deposit is needed
You might be offered a lower LTV (loan to value) on your borrowing
You will have less choice of lenders
Your credit history plays an important role in your chances of getting approved for a mortgage. You may need to pay higher rates if you have poor credit - speaking to an expert can help you find a deal that's right for you”Kellie Steed, Mortgage Content Writer
There are fewer high street lenders willing to approve bad credit remortgage applications, but you should be able to find a specialist bad credit (or subprime) lender to help you.
Your best chance is to ensure that the rest of your circumstances match lender criteria well. It will also help the more equity you can offer, or if you top it up with a cash deposit, if you don't hold a lot of equity.
If you've maintained your mortgage repayments well to date, this will also go in your favour, whereas you could struggle to remortgage if not. The longer you keep making your mortgage repayments on time, the higher your credit score will go, and this will go a long way to convincing the lender that you’re a responsible borrower.
How much equity (the percentage of the home that you own - i.e what you have repaid, compared to the current value of the home) you’ve got can also be an important factor here. Those with a large amount of equity in their home will typically get a remortgage more easily, even if they have bad credit, as there is less risk for the lender.
Credit scores tend to change fairly slowly over time, and if you have very bad credit, it can be years before your file is in good shape. However, there are a few quick wins that will improve your score:
Register on the electoral roll if you haven’t already and ensure your address is correct
Check all details are correct on your credit file, and close old accounts, especially if they are linked to ex-partners etc who may have their own credit issues
Reduce your debts
Pay all financial responsibilities on time
Don’t apply for any more credit
It’s fairly easy to sign up to a credit reference service to receive ongoing access to your credit file. This way you can check in on it regularly. Some banking apps now include a section where you can view your score and recommendations on how to improve it, but bear in mind they will typically be associated with just one of the three main agencies.
Some companies, such as Check my File, allow you to view all of the information held about you by all of the credit agencies, in one place. This can be useful, as lenders tend to use different agencies based on their preference, so it’s good to get an overall picture.
It depends on your circumstances, and a mortgage broker will be best placed to help you make this decision if you’re struggling to. In some cases, you won’t have a choice but to wait until your score has increased, especially if your credit issues are very severe.
Most people with less severe or older credit issues are able to find a suitable mortgage, but will pay a higher rate of interest. Buying a house with bad credit or waiting until your file is in better shape will be down to personal choice, so you'll need to weigh up whether paying more now and owning a home sooner is more important than potentially paying less in interest and charges in the future.
The documents you need will typically be the same as any other application, however, if you have particular reasons for bad credit that the lender is willing to accept, such as missing bills due to being in hospital, for example, you may also need to provide evidence of them.
You will also need:
Three months of payslips if employers and two to three years of accounts and tax calculations if unemployed
Three to six month’s worth of bank statements
Proof of address - this will be checked against the electoral roll so make sure everything aligns
The loan that lenders are willing to provide will be based predominantly on affordability, and they tend to use a multiple of your disposable income to calculate the figure. For the average borrower, this is between four and four and a half times your annual income, but lenders may choose to reduce this multiple slightly if you have poor credit.
You can, but it you may pay more interest than if you both had good credit. That said, it could also increase your chances of acceptance if your home buying partner has a strong credit score.
If one applicant is buying a house with bad credit then the joint applicant's credit record could also be affected by association, so it's important to take advice and consider your joint position carefully.
YOUR HOME MAY BE REPOSSESSED IF YOU DO NOT KEEP UP REPAYMENTS ON YOUR MORTGAGE
Uswitch is not a mortgage intermediary and makes introductions to Mojo Mortgages to provide mortgage solutions. Uswitch and Mojo Mortgages are part of the same group of companies. Uswitch Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) under firm reference number 312850. You can check this on the Financial Services Register by visiting the FCA website. Uswitch Limited is registered in England and Wales (Company No 03612689) The Cooperage, 5 Copper Row, London SE1 2LH. Mojo Mortgages is a trading style of Life's Great Limited which is registered in England and Wales (06246376). Mojo are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and are on the Financial Services Register (478215) Mojo’s registered office is The Cooperage, 5 Copper Row, London, SE1 2LH, and head office is WeWork No. 1 Spinningfields, Quay Street, Manchester, M3 3JE. To contact Mojo by phone, please call 0333 123 0012.