Do Multiple Mortgage Applications Hurt Credit?

If you are thinking about taking out a loan to buy a home, you might be wondering whether multiple mortgage applications will hurt your credit score? We will discuss the answer to this question in much detail below.

Do Multiple Mortgage Applications Hurt Your Credit?

Although multiple mortgage applications can hurt your credit score and lower it, applications made within a 14 to 45 day window while shopping for a mortgage will be counted as a single hard inquiry, only slightly lowering your credit score. Hard inquiries appear on your credit report whenever you’re applying to borrow money and they remain on your credit report for 2 years from the date the lender reviews your credit report. Hard inquiries can slightly lower your credit score (by only a few points). That said, the credit reporting bureaus understand that many consumers shopping for home loans will apply with several lenders while seeking to obtain the largest loan amount at the best interest rate. Therefore, any inquiries incurred within a 14 to 45 day windows count as only one hard inquiry, slightly lowering your credit score.

Typically, when you go to a mortgage broker, the mortgage broker will apply for several home loans on your behalf. Each time a mortgage provider checks your credit, a separate hard inquiry will be added to your credit report. Each hard inquiry can lower your credit score by a few points. However, the credit reporting bureaus offer special treatment to those shopping for a mortgage, and therefore any hard inquiries placed while shopping for a home loan will only be counted as a single hard inquiry provided that they are made within a 14 to 45 day period, depending on what scoring model is used to calculate your credit score.

Hard inquiries can lower your credit score because they account for 10% of your credit score. The more hard inquiries you have on your credit report, the lower your credit score will be. Hard inquiries remain on your credit report for 2 years from the date that a mortgage lender reviews your credit report. After the 2 year period, they’re automatically removed from your credit report. Experts agree that the impact of hard inquiries on your credit report begins to lessen as the hard inquiry ages. After 12 months, a hard inquiry should have no impact on your credit score.

The 14 to 45 Day Window

When shopping for a mortgage, most people shop around for the best mortgage. So, any mortgages that you apply for within a 14 to 45 day period are treated as a single hard inquiry on your credit report. The 14 to 45 day period depends on which credit scoring model that’s used to calculate your credit score. Different models use different periods during which to county hard inquiries as a single hard inquiry. Typically, the newest scoring models count hard inquiries when mortgage shopping within a 45 day period as a single hard inquiry, offering shoppers some leeway when it comes to finding the right mortgage. So, when you’re applying for 1 mortgage or applying for 10, all of the hard inquiries you rack up within a 45 day period are counted as a single hard inquiry when calculating your credit score.

Proceed With Caution

The 45 day mortgage shopping window only applies when shopping for home loans and auto loans. It does not apply to credit card applications. If you want to open a credit card and submit multiple credit card applications, each application counts as a single hard inquiry. So, if you submit multiple credit card applications, the 45 day grace period does not apply and each hard inquiry will lower your credit score, so please proceed with caution. So, if you submit too many credit card applications within a short period of time, you can significantly lower your credit score because each hard inquiry counts as a single inquiry, lowering your credit score. This is different from home loan applications where multiple hard inquiries are grouped into a single hard inquiry.

Should You Submit Multiple Mortgage Applications?

As previously mentioned, no matter how mortgage applications you submit within a 45 day period count as a single hard inquiry. So, feel free to shop around for mortgages, just make sure that all of your applications are submitted within a very short time frame so all applications and resulting hard inquiries only count as a single hard inquiry on your credit report. Shopping for a mortgage this way will only drop your credit score by a few points since multiple mortgage applications will count as only a single hard inquiry. When you’re seeking to make a large purchase, such as a home purchase, it’s wise to shop around for the best rates, so submit as many applications as reasonably necessary to obtain the loan amount and interest rate that you’re looking for. Finding the right mortgage can save you a substantial amount of money, so shop around and rest assured that all applications submitted within the 14 to 45 day window will only count as a single hard inquiry.

That said, to get your mortgage applications within the 14 to 45 day period, it’s helpful for you to make a list of potential lenders that you want to apply to before submitting a single application. This ensures that all applications result in a credit review within the 14 to 45 day period. Also, make a list of questions that you have for your lenders so that you can ask them and have them answered within a short amount of time.

Even if you submit applications outside the 45 day window, your credit score will not significantly suffer as hard inquiries only account for 10% of your credit score. 65% of your credit score, however, depends on your payment history and the balances you keep on your accounts. So, as long as you continue to make your payments on time and keep low balances on your credit cards and loan accounts, an extra hard inquiry is unlikely to cause much damage to your credit score.

How much does a mortgage application affect your credit score?

Whenever you submit a mortgage application and a lender reviews your credit report, a hard inquiry is placed on your credit report. A single hard inquiry can lower your credit score by just a few points. For this reason, the credit reporting bureaus treat multiple credit reviews performed for the purpose of obtaining a mortgage within a 45 day period as a single hard inquiry, only slightly lowering your credit score.

Here Are Some Things to Avoid When Applying For a Mortgage

You should avoid doing the following things when applying for a mortgage to keep your credit score as high as possible to qualify for the large mortgage amount and the best interest rates:

  1. Credit Applications – Do not submit other credit applications. Refrain from applying for auto loans, credit cards, and personal loans until your mortgage is approved and you’re sitting comfortably in your new home. This ensures that no other hard inquiries lower your credit score.

  2. Do Not Miss Payments – Do not miss any payments on your credit cards, auto loans, auto finance account, personal loans, and student loans. A single missed payment can cause significant damage to your credit score. So, if you’ve never missed a payment, continue the good streak to ensure that you’re approved for the best home loan at the best interest rate.

  3. Do NOT close accounts in good standing – If you have accounts that are in good standing because this could lower your credit score. So, even if you have a credit card that you barely use, but you’ve built good credit behind, you should avoid closing the account as the account closure will reduce your mix of credit as well as lower your available credit, causing a drop in your credit score. So, avoid closing accounts in good standing when applying for a mortgage to ensure your credit score does not drop.

  4. Don’t add to your debt – When applying for a mortgage, you should avoid raising the balances on your credit cards and other accounts. This is so because your credit utilization (how much of your available credit you’re using) accounts for 30% of your credit score. Substantially raising your credit utilization can lower your credit score, so avoid racking up more debt to keep your credit score as high as possible. If you want to improve your credit utilization, pay down some of your balance and you could raise your credit score.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. When submitting multiple mortgage applications, how long do hard inquiries stay on your credit report?

Hard inquiries stay on your credit report for 2 years from the date that the lender reviews your credit report. After the 2 year period, the hard inquiry will be automatically removed from your credit report. That said, experts have stated that even though it takes 2 years for a hard inquiry to be removed from your credit report, it no longer impacts your credit score after 12 months.

2. Does applying for multiple mortgages affect credit?

Yes, when you apply for a mortgage, hard inquiries are added to your credit report. Hard inquiries can lower your credit score.

3. Is it bad to apply for multiple mortgages (sending home loan applications)?

No, there is nothing wrong with applying for multiple mortgages. In fact, you should shop around for mortgages because finding the a reasonable mortgage could save you a substantial amount of money. Shopping around for a mortgage will not significantly impact your credit, as it only has a low impact.

4. How long does it take for a mortgage application to show up on your credit report?

A mortgage application shows up on your credit report as soon as a lender requests to review a copy of your credit report. The second a lender reviews your credit report, a hard inquiry will show up on your credit report, alerting you that a third party has accessed your credit report.