Bad credit mortgages: Can you get a mortgage with adverse credit?
If you’re hoping to buy a property or remortgage soon but have got into financial trouble in the past, you might be wondering “can I get a mortgage with bad credit?”.
Your credit score is a factor that lenders will take into consideration when deciding how much you can borrow or if you can get a mortgage at all. This is because it helps to give an indication of whether lending to you could be too much of a risk.
The good news is that it’s not impossible to purchase a property with bad credit — sometimes you might just need a helping hand. Here at The Mortgage Genie, we have a team of expert mortgage brokers who have helped countless clients find a mortgage for bad credit. So, carry out a free credit check (free for 30 days, then £14.99 a month - cancel online any time) and contact us today if your credit rating isn’t the strongest but you’re looking to buy soon.
Below, we’ve also answered any questions you might have about getting a mortgage with bad credit so you can be prepared for some of the hurdles you might face along the way. We’ll cover:
- What is bad credit?
- Can you get a mortgage with bad credit?
- What is the minimum credit score for a mortgage in the UK?
- What can affect your credit score?
- How to improve your chances of getting a mortgage if you have bad credit
- Should I apply for a mortgage with bad credit?
- Can I remortgage with bad credit?
- Can I get a mortgage with no credit score?
- Mortgage rates for poor credit
- Applying for a mortgage with bad credit
- How to get a mortgage with bad credit
Read on to find out more.
What is bad credit?
Bad credit is a term used to describe a low credit score, typically stemming from various financial factors. These factors may include missing repayments on loans or credit cards, not paying bills on time, or encountering other adverse credit events. Some common reasons for having a bad credit rating include accumulating a high amount of debt, experiencing insolvency, failing to meet regular payment obligations, or defaulting on payments.
In the United Kingdom, three major credit reference agencies (CRAs) maintain credit reports for individuals: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. While each of these CRAs may have slight variations in their information and scoring methods, they generally agree on categorising your credit as good or bad.
Can you get a mortgage with bad credit?
The short answer is yes, you can get a mortgage with bad credit. It can be harder, though.
Lenders will look at your credit history to determine whether they think you’ll be able to make the required repayments. For instance, if you’ve struggled to pay back a loan in the past, this might indicate that you can’t afford a mortgage or are unreliable. This can then make a lender wary.
But it’s not the only factor they’ll take into account — every mortgage provider has its own lending criteria, and might judge the risk of lending to you differently. For example, some companies might not be too worried about a relatively minor credit problem like one late credit card repayment. But, the likes of filing for bankruptcy or having a county court judgment (CCJ) in the last six years will make it very difficult for you to find a provider who will take a chance on you.
There are also bad credit mortgage lenders that have products designed specifically for people who can’t get a home loan elsewhere. However, these tend to come with very high interest rates and mortgage fees to balance out the risk. So, they’re usually best avoided.
What is the minimum credit score for a mortgage in the UK?
There is no minimum credit score required to take out a mortgage in the UK. Instead, when you apply for your mortgage, your chosen lender will make their decision based on their unique lending criteria. Your credit score will be just one factor they consider.
But it is true that, if you have a score that’s on the higher side, a company will be more likely to approve your application, as it will indicate that less risk is involved. A high credit rating will also give you access to some of the best mortgage deals on the market, which can potentially save you a lot of money over time.
What can affect your credit score?
Whether you’ve discovered your credit score is low and you’re not sure why, or you’re looking to boost your rating before applying for your loan, you’ll want to know what can have an impact on your credit history. Here are some of the most common reasons your score could be poor:
- Late or missed repayments on previous or existing credit
- Mortgage arrears
- A county court judgment
- You’ve been put on a debt management plan or had an individual voluntary arrangement (IVA)
If you have had any of these credit problems, they will typically stay on your credit file for six years. Although, this can be extended in some cases — for instance, if you file for bankruptcy and it takes more than six years for you to be discharged. So, if you’re looking to buy a property but are struggling because you have any blips on your credit report, it can sometimes be worth waiting until they’re wiped from your record.
How to improve your chances of getting a mortgage if you have bad credit
If there aren’t any major problems in your credit history, you may simply wish to improve your credit score so you can increase the number of lenders that will accept you and gain access to better deals. So, you might be glad to hear that you can have a positive impact on your rating in a number of ways. Here are some tactics that could benefit you if your credit is currently poor:
- Make sure you’re on the electoral register: This will help to verify your identity and prove where you live.
- Make regular payments on time: Lenders check your credit score to see if you’re reliable. Always making your regular payments on time will help to show that. Setting direct debits up can ensure everything is paid automatically so nothing is missed.
- Keep your credit utilisation low: This is the percentage of your credit limit that you’re currently using. For instance, if your credit card has a £5,000 limit and you’re using £4,000, your credit utilisation will be 80%. If possible, try to keep it below 30%.
- Avoid moving a lot if possible: Lenders like borrowers whose lives seem to have a sense of stability, as this indicates they’re reliable. So, it’s worth keeping in mind that living in one place for a while before buying could reflect positively on you.
- Keep old credit accounts open: The longer your credit history is, the more information lenders will be able to collect about you. And, they’ll like to see that you can manage multiple lines of credit at once, especially over a long period of time but make sure they’re conducted well.
- Watch out for mistakes or fraudulent activity: To protect your credit score, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on it — especially leading up to a mortgage application. You can do this with a free credit check (free for 30 days, then £14.99 a month - cancel online any time). Doing so will help you spot possible mistakes or fraudulent activity, so any problems can be investigated and fixed without delay.
And here are some financial behaviours you should avoid or keep to a minimum if you don’t want to cause further damage to your credit score before your application:
- Missing or making late payments: This can have a negative impact on your credit score, as it indicates that you can’t afford your current outgoings.
- Setting up a lot of new accounts: While opening a new bank account will only affect your credit rating for a short time, it won’t have time to bounce back if you do this often.
- Maxing out your credit: It’s best to avoid using all of the credit available to you, whether that’s through your overdraft or credit card limit. It suggests you’re in financial difficulty or can’t afford your lifestyle.
- Making multiple credit applications: Applying for credit too often can have a negative impact on your rating. This is because, with each application, a hard search will be recorded on your report.
- Borrowing more than you can pay back: If you can’t afford to pay off your debts, you may need to get a debt relief order or an individual voluntary arrangement. It could even lead to a CCJ or bankruptcy, which will make it very difficult for you to borrow in the next six years.
If you’re worried about applying for a mortgage with your current credit rating, it’s worth following some of this guidance to see if you could bump up your score ahead of time. While it might mean waiting longer to get on the housing ladder, move, or remortgage, it could save you a lot of money in the long run.
Should I apply for a mortgage with bad credit?
Whether you should apply for a mortgage with bad credit or wait for any credit problems to drop from your report will depend on your situation. Ideally, to get access to the best deals and save money in the long run, you will want to have a strong credit rating before submitting an application, but we know this might not always be possible.
So, to help you decide what the best course of action is, here are the pros and cons of applying now, even if you have bad credit.
- You can buy a home sooner
- If you’ve seen a property you love, you won’t have to pass it up
- You can take advantage of current house prices and avoid future rises
- You can benefit from government Help to Buy schemes that are available right now
- You’ll usually need to save a bigger deposit of around 20–25%
- You’ll face higher interest rates, which can cost you more in the long run
- Some lenders will charge more fees when you take out a poor credit mortgage
Ultimately, you’ll need to weigh up the advantages and disadvantages to choose the right route to go down. A bad credit mortgage broker will also be able to help you set your expectations and make the right choice for your circumstances.
Can I remortgage with bad credit?
If you already own your home, you may be considering remortgaging to get access to a cheaper deal or take equity out of your property. It is possible to remortgage with bad credit but, as with taking out a mortgage in general, you won’t have access to the cheapest deals on the market as you may be seen as a high-risk borrower. This means that — especially if you’re remortgaging to save money — it could be worth holding off and waiting for your credit score to bounce back before applying for a new product.
Can I get a mortgage with no credit score?
Yes, obtaining a mortgage without a credit score is indeed possible. Although, there are relatively few lenders willing to offer such loans. Achieving this requires a substantial amount of effort on your part to demonstrate your ability to repay a mortgage.
Some individuals lack a credit score due to various reasons. These people may not have engaged in sufficient recent financial transactions to generate a viable credit score. It is, however, important to remember that having no credit is completely different to having bad credit.
Mortgage rates for poor credit
If you take out an adverse credit mortgage, the interest rate will typically be higher than usual. But, for the most part, providers don’t advertise rates specifically for bad credit, because they will consider each application on a case-by-case basis.
Your interest rate will also be influenced by factors, such as:
- What kinds of credit problems you’ve had
- How recent your credit problems were
- Whether you still have any outstanding credit problems
- The amount you’re looking to borrow
Current market rates and the Bank of England’s base rate will also have an impact. A mortgage broker will help you to determine whether now is a good time to buy based on your details and their knowledge of the mortgage market.
Applying for a mortgage with bad credit
Applying for a mortgage with bad credit will generally take more time and work, as lenders will often ask more questions or require you to provide additional proof of your current financial situation. You also need to be prepared to lay everything on the table so the lender understands exactly what kinds of credit problems you’ve faced.
You will need to let them know if you’ve defaulted on any credit card payments or had any CCJs, for instance. Plus, if they find that you’ve struggled with late or missed payments, you’ll usually need to provide additional evidence that you can afford the monthly mortgage repayments you could be facing. They may also ask to see more of your payslips and bank statements than they would if your credit report was pristine.
You’ll need to give them all of the documentation required for a standard mortgage application, too. You can learn more about this in our guide on how to get a mortgage.
How to get a mortgage with bad credit
As we’ve previously mentioned, while it’s possible to take out a mortgage with bad credit, it will generally take more time and effort. It can also lead to you having to pay more for your home, as the fees, deposit, and interest rate are likely to be higher. As a result, some prospective homeowners choose to buy later once they’ve had time to build their credit back up.
There are some ways you can increase the chances of being accepted for a mortgage with bad credit. So, if you’re not in a position to wait much longer and would like to buy as soon as possible, you could try:
- Putting together a larger deposit
- Accepting help from close family
- Asking someone trustworthy to be named as a guarantor
- Speaking to a bad credit mortgage broker
Here at The Mortgage Genie, our specialist advisors are highly trained in dealing with adverse credit mortgages and can provide guidance and access to products that aren’t available from banks, building societies, and other high street lenders. So, whether you’ve had trouble with securing a mortgage before, or you’re simply nervous about making your first application, we’re here to help.
As an adverse credit mortgage broker, we can offer:
- Specialist and personal advice to find the right deal for you
- A free initial consultation to get you started
- A free indicative quote with costs
- Support and advice throughout the duration of your mortgage
So, if you need our help, don’t hesitate to contact us today. We’re looking forward to helping you on your property buying journey.