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Credit Report 101: A Beginner’s Guide

Updated: Jun 11

Have you ever wondered how lenders decide whether to grant you that coveted home loan? Your credit report holds significant importance in their decision-making process. Think of it as your financial report card, showcasing your payment habits and borrowing history.

Since the introduction of the Comprehensive Credit Reporting (CCR) rule in 2019, your credit report has become even more important. In this article, we’ll break down what you need to know about credit reports and explain why your credit score plays a crucial role in your journey towards homeownership. Let’s dive in!

What is a credit report and why is it important?

A credit report summarises your credit behavior and financial profile compiled by credit bureaus. It includes your credit score, credit products, repayment history, personal information, defaults, credit applications, bankruptcy records, and credit report requests.

Lenders use this report, based on factors like credit applications, debt, repayment history, and bankruptcies, to assess your creditworthiness. A higher credit score shows the lender that you are a less risky borrower. This, in turn, improves your chances of getting approved for a loan and could even result in a better interest rate.

In some instances, a credit report can contain a false or incorrect entry. That’s why it’s so important to check yours regularly.

If you’d like to access your credit report, please get in touch.

Can you get a mortgage with bad credit?

Despite having bad credit, obtaining a mortgage is not impossible. Here are some steps you can take:

  • Verify your credit history: Ensure your credit score’s accuracy by checking for any errors or signs of fraud/identity theft. If you come across any inaccuracies or outdated information, simply contact the credit reporting agency and request a correction. This is a free service.

  • Consult a mortgage broker: Mortgage brokers can help you explore loan options tailored to your needs and guide you through the application process.

  • Approach a specialist lender: Certain lenders specialise in ‘bad credit’ home loans, considering personal circumstances that may have affected your ability to repay in the past. A mortgage broker can help you find a specialist lender if this appeals to you.

Bad credit home loans often come with less favourable terms due to the higher risk for lenders. This could mean higher interest rates and fees. It might be wise to improve your credit score before borrowing to access more competitive loan options.

Tips to improve your credit score

To secure a favourable home loan, improving your credit score is crucial. Here are some key tips:

  1. Manage credit card balances: Keep balances low and within the credit limit. Pay off balances in full or more than the minimum payment.

  2. Use credit responsibly: Avoid maxing out cards, make timely payments, and don’t take on excessive debt.

  3. Limit new credit applications: Apply only when necessary to avoid numerous hard inquiries.

  4. Review your credit report: Regularly review for changes or errors, promptly reporting discrepancies. Seek assistance from financial counsellors for guidance and support in managing finances.

  5. Pay your utility bills on time: Late payments can harm your credit score. You can automate payments to ensure timely transactions. It showcases responsibility and avoids late fees.

By following these tips and maintaining responsible credit management, you’ll improve your credit score and enhance your chances of securing a first home loan.

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