So you’ve decided to switch from apartment living to home ownership. Congratulations!
Nowadays, qualifying for home ownership requires many applicants to jump through a few hoops before they can be approved for a mortgage. While it may be a hassle, this includes having their payment history put under a microscope.
Many of our clients ask us: “Does rental history matter when buying a home?”
The short answer is: yes. While many people think that applying for a mortgage mostly involves presenting their income and their credit score, not everyone knows that your rental history can also play a huge role in helping lenders determine whether or not you meet the right qualifications for approval. If you are a first-time home buyer, your rental history is especially important in helping them sign off on your mortgage application.
Here are the three components of an applicant’s history that a lender will most closely examine to determine if they should be approved for a mortgage:
Have you ever been evicted from one of your living spaces? If so, you may want to carefully re-evaluate your rental history when applying for a mortgage. Lenders may ask this question to gauge whether or not you have been responsible with your finances in the past and to mitigate any potential risk.
If you’ve previously been evicted, this may not be the be all-end all of your mortgage application, however! The less recent an eviction is, the lighter the lender will usually investigate it. They may also want insight on the reasons behind the eviction, such as whether it happened due to an emergency, a health-related issue or from a lack of making regular payments.
Depending on the backstory, a past eviction may not necessarily break a deal. However, if your background shows that you have had more than one eviction, there is a high likelihood that this will hinder your ability to be approved for a mortgage until this information no longer shows in your credit history.
Lenders will look into your credit report to observe how responsible you have been with past payments. A large part of your credit score is made up of your payment history. If you’ve made late payments for bills in the past, this can lower your credit score. If you’ve previously been late with making rent payments, landlords often report this to credit bureaus. This means there is a strong chance that this will negatively affect your score as well.
The lower your credit score is, the less likely your bank will be to trust you with a loan. A decent credit score and a track record of making timely payments will increase your chances of being approved for a mortgage. Conversely, paying your rent and your bills on time will positively impact your credit score and heighten your chances of being approved for a mortgage in the future.
One solution we advise is to check your credit report regularly to ensure that there are no errors or discrepancies. Scheduling a regular credit report check annually can even help you offset any potential mistakes, as well as give you the chance to observe your spending habits if they need improvement.
One of the emerging trends we’ve been seeing is lenders considering the relevance of a social media background check. In theory, this report is completed to assist in determining an applicant’s credit-worthiness by essentially running a check on a person’s on-line social footprint.
Lenders will like to see that you have a history of meeting monthly deadlines when you make regular payments. This includes timely payments of your utility bills, credit bills and, of course, your past rental payments. A few late bill payments in your past is understandable — however, if you’ve made a routine of not paying your bills on time you may be seen as someone who can’t be taken seriously when it comes to financial responsibility. This might lead to a bank declining you for a mortgage.
If you are looking at ways to improve or build credit, paying your rent on time and honouring your lease obligation are two easy ways to achieve this goal.
If you have any further questions about how to how to prepare for a mortgage application and home ownership, contact Emerald Management and Realty Ltd. today! Our team is always happy to help.