As long as you pull your credit within an allotted timeframe, you can pull your credit as many times as you want. Within this timeframe, each set of attempts can count as a single inquiry. Outside of the approved timeframe, repeated credit pulls will harm your credit score and potentially come up as multiple hard inquiries. This can reduce your ability to get approved for a loan.
When you first set out to buy a home, you learn all about the difficulties that come with getting a mortgage. To get approved for a mortgage, you have to pull your credit score. Too many hard inquiries will damage your credit. So, how often can you pull your credit report for a mortgage?
There’s no limit to how many times you can pull your credit. However, you should try to limit it. We all know that inquiries can harm a credit score, but credit bureaus provide a small amount of time where multiple pulls are considered one inquiry. Let’s talk about how to minimize credit damage.
How many times can you pull credit for a mortgage?
Technically, you can pull your credit as many times as you want, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. Moreover, not all credit pulls are equal. If you have a hard pull, you have a set window of days to continue shopping around for a mortgage before you get multiple strikes on your credit report.
Here’s what you need to know about how each major credit bureau counts the inquiries:
- FICO gives you a 30-day window to go shop for new lenders or interest rates.
- VantageScore offers you a 14-day window.
- Equifax and Experian tend to use VantageScore’s window.
On the other hand, soft inquiries don’t show up as official credit inquiries on your report. As a result, you can have as many of these as you want. Mortgage lending groups often use soft pulls as a preapproval check rather than the full check.
When do mortgage lenders check your credit history?
To get a house, you need to have pretty good credit. In addition to this high credit score, you also need a spotless credit history. But when does this all happen and when will it impact you?
Initial credit check for preapproval
The preapproval process tends to have minimal credit checks. If you get your credit pulled here, it will be a soft inquiry, which is less detailed and doesn’t show the full span of your credit reports with notes.
Some preapproval processes have a hard inquiry. If this is the case, the hard inquiry occurs during the application, not the preapproval process.
During the mortgage application process
Some mortgage lenders offer a preapproval without a hard pull. However, the lender will still conduct a hard check. Instead of an early check, the lender will conduct a hard check when you apply for the mortgage loan. Unfortunately, you can’t get a mortgage without a hard inquiry.
Final credit check before closing
If your closing date is coming up, don’t start applying for an auto loan yet. Lenders perform a final credit check before the closing date, which is always a hard inquiry. In this case, your mortgage lender may also look at your credit report to determine how your finances changed since the initial application (hopefully for the better).
New credit incidents include late payments, new credit inquiries that are not involved with the mortgage loan, and flags that suggest identity theft. To prevent this, keep an eye on your credit and be ready to offer additional or updated documentation if needed.
How do inquiries affect your credit score?
In the past, every single inquiry counted as its own mark on your credit score. Thankfully, the Fair Isaac Corporation and other major credit bureaus recognized this was unfair to most borrowers.
Now, credit bureaus allow you to mortgage shop for 14 to 30 days without reporting multiple inquiries. However, there’s a catch. While you can apply through multiple lenders, you cannot apply for multiple loan types without incurring more inquiries.
Mortgage rate shopping
With mortgage lenders, you have a total of 14 days from your first credit inquiry before you get another negative mark. During this time, you may have multiple credit inquiries as the home sale goes on. This ensures that you don’t have new credit incidents while you shop for mortgages.
Auto loans have a lot to offer, but the truth is that you still have to keep within the typical window. You cannot shop for a mortgage loan and an auto loan at the same time without having multiple inquiries show up in your credit report.
It’s important to realize that a car loan might end up knocking your eligibility for a home loan. Why? Because it suggests that your debt-to-income ratio may increase and that you are in the market for even more new debt.
Student loans and other items still count as separate inquiries. So, if you want to refinance or get a personal loan, wait until you have a home loan. Much like with car loans, new student loans or new personal loans can make lenders worry about new debt.
How do I shop for a mortgage?
If you’re in the market to buy a home, you may be wondering whether you should try to shop for a mortgage on your own or get the help of a mortgage broker. The answer is yes.
Yes, you should shop online using free comparison tools like the table below. We recommend getting quotes from at least five mortgage lenders. A recent study by the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac) found that borrowers save $1,500 on average over the life of a mortgage when getting two quotes and $3,000 when they compare five quotes.
And, yes, many people benefit from talking to a mortgage broker when shopping for a mortgage. You may be surprised by what a broker can achieve. This is particularly true if you have bad credit, irregular income, a high debt-to-income ratio, or don’t have enough savings for a down payment.
There’s nothing to lose from shopping for the best mortgage you can, even by yourself. After that, see if a mortgage broker can do better.”
Even if you have great credit and are comfortable doing your own rate shopping, it’s a good idea to find the best rate and terms possible by yourself, and then ask your mortgage broker whether she can do better.
Two Types of Credit Inquiries
Credit bureaus quickly understood that people needed to check their credit when rate shopping or deciding on improved interest rates. To make things easier, they developed two types of credit pulls (also known as a credit check or inquiry).
Keep these differences in mind when you explore mortgage loan options.
- Appears on your credit report
- Allows lenders to see a detailed credit report and score
- Affects your credit score
- Part of every loan application process
- Indicate to lenders that you will have additional debt payments
- Does not appear on your credit report
- Available online through many credit card companies
- Does not affect your credit score
- General review of credit history, not detailed
- Used for preapproval processes or by personal request
How long does a hard inquiry remain on my credit report?
When you have a hard inquiry, it will stay on your credit report for a total of 24 months. However, most credit bureaus will not count the inquiry as part of the score after 12 months.
How do I pull my credit report?
The Fair Credit Reporting Act allows you to know your credit score as a borrower. Legally, you can request a credit report once a year. Most credit card companies also allow you to check your credit score as many times as you want through their credit score monitoring system.
If you do not have a credit card that offers score monitoring, you can always use other programs online to find your credit score. The free programs generally do not perform hard credit inquiries.
How many times do they pull your credit for a mortgage?
There isn’t a clear answer on this issue. Most lenders will pull your credit at least once during the process. However, if there is a problem during the process or if it’s a lender’s policy, you may have a second or even third pull on your report. Check with your mortgage lender to learn more about their policy.
How many inquiries are too many for a mortgage?
Each lender has his or her own standards. However, the majority of lenders will give you a higher interest rate after two inquiries. After six inquiry marks on your report, you may find it hard to get approved for any loan.
Does pulling your credit for a mortgage hurt your score?
Yes, pulling your credit does hurt your credit score, even when shopping for rates. Unfortunately, the only way to find reasonable mortgage rates is to shop around and allow lenders to run your credit score.
On the other hand, it’s a small dent in your credit report and won’t drastically affect your credit score. Most lenders understand that credit checks are part of the process and affect your score.
Do multiple mortgage preapprovals hurt your credit?
Many people worry about rate shopping because they think the entire process might hurt their credit. However, this isn’t true. Most credit scoring models take the shopping process into account, which is why you have that 14-to-30-day window to shop around.
Studies also found that multiple preapprovals could help you get better mortgage rates. Because of this, we consider rate shopping one of our top tips for people who want to obtain a mortgage loan, too.
Finding the Right Lender
Part of getting a great loan is knowing which lenders are the best. At SuperMoney, we do the hard work for you. Check out our home loan guide as well as our list of the best mortgage lending companies today.
- You can have as many inquiries as you want while you rate shop, provided it’s in the 14- to 30-day window given by credit companies.
- If you try to run multiple credit checks for different types of loans, you may actually hurt your loan eligibility.
- Hard checks will lower credit scores while soft checks won’t. Always try to ask for a soft inquiry preapproval if you can.
- While it’s annoying to deal with a dented score, it is an unavoidable part of getting a loan.
- 2021 Mortgage Industry Study — SuperMoney
- Best Mortgage Lenders | January 2022 — SuperMoney
- Mortgage Reviews by Category — SuperMoney
- How to Get the Best Mortgage Interest Rate — SuperMoney
- Credit Reports and Scores — USA.gov
- What’s a credit inquiry? — Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
- Get My Free Credit Report — Federal Trade Commission