How to Improve Your Credit Score for a Mortgage

Aug 03, 2023

Understanding Your Credit Score

Your credit score is a numerical value that lenders use to assess your creditworthiness. It ranges from 300 to 850, with higher scores indicating better credit. The score is based on several factors, including your payment history, the amount of debt you have, and the length of your credit history. Improving your credit score can increase your chances of securing a mortgage at a favorable interest rate.

credit score chart

How to Check Your Credit Score

Before you can improve your credit score, you need to know what it is. You can request a free credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion) once a year. These reports will give you a detailed look at your credit history, but they won't include your actual credit score. To get your score, you may need to purchase it directly from the credit bureaus or use a credit score service.

Steps to Improve Your Credit Score

1. Pay Your Bills on Time

Payment history is the most significant factor in your credit score. Late or missed payments can significantly lower your score. To improve your payment history, make sure you pay all your bills on time. Set up automatic payments or reminders if necessary.

bill payments

2. Reduce Your Debt

The amount of debt you owe is another major factor in your credit score. If you're using a high percentage of your available credit, it can indicate that you're overextended and may be more likely to miss payments. To improve your credit utilization ratio, pay down your balances and keep them low.

3. Don't Close Unused Credit Cards

While it may seem counterintuitive, closing unused credit cards can actually hurt your credit score. This is because it reduces your available credit and increases your credit utilization ratio. Instead of closing old cards, consider using them for small purchases that you pay off in full each month.

credit cards

4. Limit New Credit Applications

Each time you apply for new credit, a hard inquiry is made, which can lower your credit score. To maintain a good score, only apply for new credit when necessary.

How Long Does It Take to Improve Your Credit Score?

Improving your credit score is a marathon, not a sprint. It can take several months to see significant improvements, especially if you're trying to recover from a major credit event like bankruptcy or foreclosure. However, by following the steps outlined above, you can start to see improvements in your score over time.

time and patience


Improving your credit score is an important step towards securing a mortgage. By understanding your credit score, paying your bills on time, reducing your debt, keeping old credit cards open, and limiting new credit applications, you can increase your score and improve your chances of getting a mortgage at a favorable rate.