You’re ready to take the next step and secure a foot on the property ladder? Buying a home is definitely an exciting time, but some first-time buyers might get held back by their credit score. After all, you’ve probably never really considered it before. However, there are ways in which you can improve your score quickly so that you can finally find a place to call home. 

How to check your credit score

First things first, if you’re not sure what your credit score is, you can check it using websites such as Experian or ClearScore.

How to improve your credit score in the UK

If you’re wondering “how long does it take to improve my credit score?”, this really depends on your score and circumstances, but with these quick wins, you can improve your score within just a few months.

5 ways to improve credit score

1. Get on the electoral roll

If you’re not already, putting your details on the electoral roll will improve your chances of being accepted for a mortgage. That’s right, simply registering to vote improves your credit score – and, of course, gives you the right to vote on important matters.

2. Pay your bills by direct debit

Missing bill payments can bring down your credit score. Instead, set up a direct debit so the money comes out automatically every month. This way, you’ll improve your score by paying all of your bills on time.

3. Reduce your credit use

If you’re a frequent user of unsecured credit, it’s likely bringing your credit score down. Unsecured credit could be a credit card or your overdraft, which are both signs that you can’t manage your money well. This is something the credit score takes into account to show lenders who will take care of their money.

4. Close any unused credit cards, direct debits or mobile contracts

Do you have any store cards, credit cards or even mobile contracts that you don’t use or need anymore? Physically closing these accountants can help bump up your credit score if you don’t use them anymore, and help you get a foot on the property ladder much sooner.

5. Build your credit history with a credit card

This might sound contradictory, but you’ll need to prove your worth for an excellent credit score. You could consider getting a credit card, making some purchases on it each month and ensuring you pay the balance in full at the end of the month. This shows that you’re good at managing your finances, which is why it can positively (or negatively, if you make late payments) affect your credit score.

What is the minimum credit score for a mortgage in the UK?

Now that you know how to improve your credit score, you’ll want to know what number you should aim for. There is no definite answer to this, as different credit score providers use different metrics. Take Experian, for example. Their maximum credit score is 999 and anything over 700 is considered positive, while an Experian credit score over 800 is considered excellent.

Check with your credit agency, whether that be Experian, Equifax or Callcredit, to discover their credit score thresholds and what you should aim for. If you meet the minimum requirements, you’ll likely be accepted for a mortgage. However, a low credit score doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t be accepted.

Buying your first home

Once you’ve improved your credit score and have been approved for a mortgage, our first-time buyer solicitors can help you get the best possible deal on your first home. By carrying out regulated local searches, we can ensure you’re aware of all legal aspects affecting the purchase of your first home. For more information call us on 0161 865 2673 or email info@et-law.co.uk. Alternatively, fill out the form below and we’ll be in touch shortly.