- What is a credit score and how do lenders use them?
A credit score is a three digit number calculated from your data-rich credit report and is one factor used by lenders to determine your creditworthiness for a mortgage or loan. Your score can affect whether or not you are approved, as well as what interest rate you are charged.
- How can I find out information about my credit score?
While there are many other services available, lenders will use the scores provided by either Equifax or TransUnion so these will give you the most accurate information. You can go online to either Equifax.ca or TransUnion.ca to check out your credit report and score. You are entitled to one free copy of your credit report each year, although the free stuff may not tell you everything you want to know. These companies are businesses and want to make money, after all. The fee is small, though, and it’s worth it to find out if your score is actually what you think it is.
- What if I find a mistake in my credit report?
Typically, if your file is straightforward you won't find much inaccuracy; however, if you’ve had credit issues in the past you will see different reporting numbers. Even different lenders can see different things. For example, banks will see information that you as a consumer can’t see and sometimes we as mortgage brokers can’t see. Overall, a credit score is not a catchall for all your finances, but it’s a really good place to start and you need to stay on top of it.
Simple mistakes are easily corrected by writing to the reporting company, pointing out the error, and providing proof of the mistake. You can also request to have your own comments added to explain problems. For example, if you made a payment late due to illness, explain that for the record. We have lenders that are sometimes able to overlook issues due to legitimate problems.
- How can I improve my score?
In this day and age, credit is king so yours needs to be stellar in order to get the best terms, the best rate, and the best offers. While there is no easy way to instantly improve your credit score, working towards maintaining good credit will improve your score. Good credit habits include paying your bills on time and not overextending the credit you do have. Overall it comes down to money management and organizational skills.
In cases of bad credit mortgages, at Auxilium we often do a two-step mortgage process. We start with a short-term mortgage with one lender just to get you into the market and re-established. Typically a year or so later, we’ll take a look at refinancing your existing mortgage with one of our "A" lenders.
The Auxilium Team offers a complimentary consultation to start your home buying process; contact us today at 250-590-6520 (toll-free 1-855-590-6520). You can also visit us at 307 Goldstream Avenue during regular business hours. We can arrange an appointment at our downtown office, or evenings or weekends, to work with you.
Auxilium Mortgage Corporation is based in Victoria, BC and works with clients locally and across Canada. The Auxilium team has over 100 years of combined financial experience and access to dozens of lenders to help you meet your goals.
This post reflects the best available information at the time of writing/last update. In order to ensure that you have the most up-to-date information, contact us to confirm the details for your specific situation.
Updated March 2018, January 2020
This list originally appeared as part of 35 Questions to Ask When Buying a Home. See the entire updated list:
3 Questions to Ask When Buying a Home
7 Questions to Ask About House Hunting When Buying a Home
6 Questions to Ask About Financing When Buying a Home
3 Questions to Ask About Mortgage Payments When Buying a Home
5 Questions to Ask About Working With a Mortgage Broker
2 Questions to Ask About Insurance When Buying a Home
5 Questions to Ask About Closing Details When Buying a Home