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How Much Does a Mortgage Application Impact Your Credit Score?

No impact on credit score

Pete Mugleston

Author: Pete Mugleston - Mortgage Advisor, MD

Updated: July 1, 2021

There’s no doubt that full-footprint credit searches against your name can impact your credit score, that said, when, to what degree, and is it likely to cause an issue for you or not, depends on various factors.

Numerous things impact your eligibility for a mortgage, and the state of your credit history is often a deciding factor. Some lenders use this to assess the risk they’d be taking on by granting you capital, and the checks they carry out can leave footprints on your file.

Here at Online Mortgage Advisor, customers often want to know how a mortgage application will affect their credit rating, and if this question is weighing heavily on your mind and keeping you up at night, you’ve come to the right place.

This article provides everything you need to know about the impact of mortgage applications on credit scores and the types of credit check lenders carry out, as well as words of wisdom for borrowers whose credit score has dropped after a mortgage application.

If you’re short on time and prefer to skip the reading and do some talking instead, call 0808 189 2301 or make an enquiry and we’ll connect you with one of the specialist bad credit mortgage brokers we work with.

Does a loan application affect your credit score?

If you make an application for any credit, it can have an impact on your credit score since most credible lenders will run a hard search against your credit history. These searches can have a slightly negative affect on your credit score and any application for credit stays on your file for a maximum of two years.

If you’re considering getting a mortgage in the near future, it’s wise to avoid applying for credit in the months ahead of making an application.

How mortgage applications impact on credit score

There are two types of credit check a lender might perform when deciding whether to offer you a mortgage – soft searches and hard searches – and the latter has a greater impact on the borrower’s credit score than the former, in some cases, causing it to drop.

What is a soft credit search?

A soft search is basically a preliminary check that a lender may perform as an enquiry, rather than an application. This allows them to get some basic details about your credit history, with your permission, of course, on which to base their lending decision.

The lender doesn’t always get full access to your entire credit history when carrying out this level of check, and most importantly, these searches are not visible to other prospective lenders who are granted access to your file. Only you can see them when you check your own credit history.

Many lenders will conduct a soft credit check for a mortgage application in the preliminary stages, typically to establish whether you’re eligible for an agreement in principle. This will leave what’s known as a “soft footprint” on your file, and these are nothing to worry about.

Soft footprints can remain on your account for up to 24 months, but you can have an unlimited number of them against your name without it impacting adversely on your score.

One thing to keep in mind, though, is that not all lenders carry out soft searches as part of their application process and some will leave a hard footprint (which we’ll get to in more detail shortly) if you give them permission to carry out a credit check.

If you’re unsure whether approaching a mortgage provider will have an adverse effect on your credit score, get in touch and the expert advisors we work with will offer their insight into your application before pairing you with the right lender.

What is a hard credit search?

Some lenders don’t conduct a soft-search, and instead go straight in with a full “hard” search. Other lenders will conduct a full search after an initial soft search, when you formally apply for a mortgage. It’s common practice for the lender to carry out a hard credit search at some point in the process.

A hard credit search is a full look at your credit report and score to give the provider a clear picture of how risky a customer you are.

The main difference you need to note between soft and hard searches, is that other prospective lenders can see a hard check on your file, and although no result for that application is recorded, will be able to guess at whether you were accepted for the credit you applied for (if a new account hasn’t been taken after the search).

In the case of a mortgage application, hard search information usually remains on your file for 12 months.

Why you should avoid unnecessary hard searches

Making multiple requests for credit in a short space of time may have a bigger impact on your credit score. In the eyes of prospective lenders, it looks like you’re either desperate for credit, or can potentially appear as too much of a risk for their competitors to loan to.

This could mean that you’re either turned down for a mortgage by some lenders or offered unfavourable rates of interest – and frustratingly, you might not realise this is the case until they’ve carried out hard checks of their own.

Thankfully, there are ways you can avoid unnecessary credit checks, and making an enquiry with us is one of them. The experts we work with will assess your application and pair you with the lender offering the best deals for someone in your situation.


Even if your credit file looks less than attractive to mainstream lenders due to the amount of recent credit checks on there, the advisors we work with have access to lenders who deal with customers under those very circumstances each day, and specialists who don’t take searches into account, who don’t credit score at all.

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How much credit checking does a mortgage application involve?

As we’ve mentioned already, some mortgage providers will carry out a soft search to see whether you would qualify for a deal in principle. If you decide to press ahead and lodge a mortgage application based on this, expect the lender to carry out a full credit check and leave a hard footprint on your file.

Some lenders don’t carry out a soft search and will leave a full footprint when calculating your eligibility.

Mortgage checks track all addresses over 6 years

Lenders tend to want to review the full 6 years history when assessing your credit history and will do so against every address you have declared.


It is important to declare every address you have been known to on your credit reference and your mortgage application – those who don’t disclose an address may get a false reading of the situation, which may get picked up later down the line and cause declines. Non-disclosure of issues is often looked on unfavourably by lenders, who may have approved a deal they decline, had it been declared at the time.

Mortgage checks also include aliases

If you have been known by any other name, lenders will want to know this also, so they can reference you for any credit held in your previous name. If you have an account in another name it is likely the reference agency will be able to pick this up, so again it’s important to disclose everything from the start.

Will my credit score go down if I apply for a mortgage?

If you are declined for a mortgage, this will show up on your credit file and will have the potential to harm your credit file. Which is why we recommend customers to use an experienced whole-of-market broker, like those we work with.

A whole-of-market broker with experience of successfully arranging mortgages for borrowers with a wide range of diverse financial situations is well-placed to know the lenders most willing to lend to you.

Successfully getting a mortgage offer from your first application will prevent an unnecessary negative mark on your credit file, not to mention saving you a whole heap of time, hassle and angst.

Immediately after getting a mortgage you should expect your credit rate to drop.

However, this is a temporary blip and, so long as you meet your mortgage payments and maintain a stable financial picture by keeping on top of household bills and other debt repayments, you should find that within 6 months your credit score will normalise.

What to do if your credit score has dropped after a mortgage application?

First of all, don’t panic.

Two things to remember:

  1. The good news is that this impact will be short term. In fact, it will soon return to normal, if not improve over the next few months, as long as you avoid taking on any other hefty debts and, above all, make sure you keep up to date with any repayments, such as mortgages, loans, credit cards, and phone contracts etc.
  2. There are lenders who don’t take any notice of “credit score” or searches – these specialists will just look at your account conduct and the dates of any missed payments, defaults, CCJs etc. These lenders tend to be the ones happy to consider people with credit issues or complex income, and so are flexible when it comes to what they will and won’t accept, considering even recent issues, often with small deposits.

If you have been turned down for a mortgage because of your credit score, get in touch and the advisors we work with will connect you with a broker who specialises in customers with low credit scores.

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About the author

Pete, an expert in all things mortgages, cut his teeth right in the middle of the credit crunch. With plenty of people needing help and few mortgage providers lending, Pete found great success in going the extra mile to find mortgages for people whom many others considered lost causes. The experience he gained, coupled with his love of helping people reach their goals, led him to establish Online Mortgage Advisor, with one clear vision – to help as many customers as possible get the right advice, regardless of need or background.

Pete’s presence in the industry as the ‘go-to’ for specialist finance continues to grow, and he is regularly cited in and writes for both local and national press, as well as trade publications, with a regular column in Mortgage Introducer and being the exclusive mortgage expert for LOVEMoney. Pete also writes for OMA of course!

Read more about Pete

Pete Mugleston

Mortgage Advisor, MD

FCA disclaimer

*Based on our research, the content contained in this article is accurate as of the most recent time of writing. Lender criteria and policies change regularly so speak to one of the advisors we work with to confirm the most accurate up to date information. The information on the site is not tailored advice to each individual reader, and as such does not constitute financial advice. All advisors working with us are fully qualified to provide mortgage advice and work only for firms who are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. They will offer any advice specific to you and your needs.

Some types of buy to let mortgages are not regulated by the FCA. Think carefully before securing other debts against your home. As a mortgage is secured against your home, it may be repossessed if you do not keep up with repayments on your mortgage. Equity released from your home will also be secured against it.

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