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How do joint mortgage credit checks work?

A joint mortgage is when two or more people apply together to borrow money to buy a property. Because all applicants are jointly liable for the mortgage payments, the lender must look at each applicant's credit score, credit history, and debt-to-income ratios. This means two credit checks.

Applying for a joint mortgage can be great because it allows you to combine your incomes, making it easier to qualify for it. This is especially helpful if one of you has a poor credit score, as the combined income can help offset the risk the lender has to take.

How do banks calculate a couple's mortgage credit score?

There is no such thing as a "couple's credit score" in the UK, and banks do not calculate one when evaluating a joint mortgage application.

Instead, mortgage lenders will look at each partner's creditworthiness. They do this by reviewing each partner's separate credit score, credit history, debt-to-income ratio, and other financial factors.

However, it's important to remember that in many cases, the lender will base the mortgage rates and terms on the applicant with the lowest credit rating, known as the "lower middle score". In other words, if one of you has a low credit score, it can impact the loan approval and the rate offered for the entire joint mortgage.

Do both spouses have to go through a hard credit check for a joint mortgage?

Yes, both spouses must undergo a hard credit check as part of the joint mortgage application process in the UK.

This means two things:

  • Each applicant will have a hard check recorded on their credit file. This can affect both credit scores, so going through an eligibility checker is important. Eligibility checkers only use a soft credit check, which is not visible to other lenders and doesn't affect your credit score.
  • Once approved, the joint mortgage will show up on the credit reports of all co-borrowers. You're both responsible for it. If you pay the mortgage bills on time and in full, it will improve both credit scores, and missing payments will affect both credit scores, too.

By the way, this applies to anyone taking a joint mortgage, regardless of whether they're married – spouses taking a joint mortgage is the most common situation.

To increase your chances of getting the joint mortgage you want, both you and the other applicants (for example, your spouse, civil partner, or even friends or family members) should work on improving your individual credit scores. There are many tools to do this.

One such tool is Wollit. Wollit is an app that reports your monthly subscription as a loan repayment to all three credit reference agencies, helping you build a history of responsible payments and potentially boosting your credit score.

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