Today, more and more people are paying much more attention to their credit ratings. Consumer awareness of credit quality assessment is now stronger than ever. I would say that at least half of the people who are contacting us for the first time have already looked at their credit report online. There are a lot of credit agencies out there. Most people have heard of Experian or Equifax, but the free trial version we recommend to potential new customers is available with Check My File. This is available on this report “sweeps” several of these reference agencies and summarizes the information in a color encoded report easily understandable. Customers often ask if we will do a credit search on them because they know that too much research can have a negative impact on their creditworthiness. Lenders always conduct credit checks, but we always ask that a customer request permission before doing so. There are 2 different types of credit search that banks can perform on a customer: hard or soft. A difficult credit search is a careful review of your credit report. Any financial institution that runs one of these companies should get your permission. The advantage of “hard” research is that the lender looks at your situation very closely. If you pass the credit score, it is very likely that your application will ultimately be successful.
The only thing that can really go wrong from there is if, for one reason or another, you cannot provide satisfactory documentation to back up the information you have disclosed. Either that or it turns out that you made false statements. However, the bad news about a difficult search is that it leaves a “fingerprint” on your credit file. This means that anyone who looks at your report in the future can see that you have done a search. That`s not necessarily a bad thing, but if you`ve recorded multiple footprints in a short period of time, then it might seem to be asking for a lot of credit at the same time. The fingerprint does not indicate whether your application has been successful or not. However, if you have several searches in a few weeks, then the lenders` systems might mistakenly assume that you are rejected because of; “If not, why go to lender number 2, unless the number one lender said no?” The strange hard print on your drive from time to time is not much. There`s no reason to think about it too much, just be careful not to have too much.
A soft credit search is an “easier look” at your financial situation. This is the type of research that would be done regularly on price comparison sites. This would give you an indication of what products might be available to you. It can also be useful if someone wants to verify your identity. Some mortgage lenders do flexible research primarily. More and more lenders seem to be changing on this type of research. While the financial institution that conducts a flexible search receives less information about you than if it had conducted a difficult search, an agreement in principle from one of these lenders is usually still an extremely strong signal that your full application is accepted. You will be able to see that someone has done a gentle search on you when you check your credit file.
But the good news is that this research is not visible to other financial institutions such as banks. This means that you can apply for an agreement in principle for a mortgage without damaging your credit score. This is whether it succeeds or not.