Hard inquiries lower your score, but you can minimize the effect of applying with multiple mortgage lenders if you stay safe within the mortgage credit pull window.
You probably know that applying for new credit cards and smaller loans count as “hard inquiries” and temporarily ding your credit score. For these smaller lines of credit, you often know the exact benefits and terms before applying so you probably won't apply for many at once.
But applying for a mortgage may seem more dangerous since you want to compare multiple options in a short amount of time. This seems to put your credit score at greater risk. Fortunately, credit bureaus understand the need to shop around for mortgage options and provide you a little relief in a mortgage credit pull window.
The mortgage credit pull window
The mortgage credit pull window is a grace-period where multiple mortgage applications are believed to count against your credit score as a single hard inquiry. The window lasts for 45 days from the initial application and credit inquiry. Although the mortgage credit pull window isn’t an official rule straight from the credit bureaus, it’s a reliable guideline you can trust.
Protect your credit score while shopping for a mortgage
Your credit score has a heavy impact on the loan programs and interest rates you qualify (or if you’re able to get pre-approved to begin with). There are some key things to remember as you shop for a home and a mortgage.
- Don’t apply for other lines of credit (like credit cards, auto loans, etc) while shopping for a mortgage
- Keep your mortgage shopping time to a maximum of 45 days
- Don’t miss any payments on open accounts as you search for a home as they directly impact your score
Quick FAQs on how mortgage applications affect credit
How many points will I lose when I apply for a mortgage?
You may see a loss of about 5-10 points.
How many days do I have within the mortgage credit pull window?
The window is thought to be between 7 and 45 days. Try to contain your mortgage shopping to a couple of weeks.
How many mortgage lenders can I speak with?
There is no limit to the number of lenders you can speak with in that mortgage credit pull window. Just remember to ask the right questions of your prospective lender.