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What is the lowest credit score to buy a house?

There is common myth that you need a minimum credit score to secure a mortgage. But this is not true, the number you are given can be a good indication for lenders on how well you manage credit but most lenders are more interested in the content of your credit report. Each lender has a different set of criteria you will need to meet and they will all have their own expectations of what a low score and bad credit is defined as.  

What credit reference agencies do lenders use?

There are many credit checkers out there but the three main credit reference agencies used by UK mortgage lenders are: Equifax, TransUnion and Equifax. Each agency uses a different scoring system which can be frustrating when trying to understand what is the lowest credit score to buy a house. We recommend that you download your credit reports from all three agencies before applying for a mortgage with bad credit as this is the only way for you to truly understand where you stand. Different lenders will use different agencies to collect your data so it is useful to know what they will expect to find. 

A lot of borrowers apply for lending before they check their credit report and their chosen lender’s policy. This can be a costly mistake as they may be rejected and that decline can damage your credit score. Lenders will be able to see your history of loan applications when they access your credit report and a recent decline could deter them from lending to you also. This is why it is best to seek help from a bad credit specialist before you start your home buying journey. Our superheroes have the skills to analyse your credit history and match you with the right lender for you. 

What data do credit reference agencies have?

Credit reference agencies gain your information from many different sources such as:

  • Public records – This will highlight any CCJs, IVAs and bankruptcies
  • The electoral roll – This will show your current address and if you are registered to vote (as long as it is updated by you correctly)
  • Bank accounts – Your accounts will show the financial situation you are in and if you have any payments outstanding 
  • Repossessions – This will show any previous asset repossessions
  • Linked financial partners – This is anyone you have been financially connected to such as your existing or previous partners or housemates
  • Previous credit searches – This will show any previous searches by organisations looking to provide you will credit

Is there a ‘good’ credit score?

Lenders have more interest in what is on your credit report then what the actual number is that you are provided with. The ratings simply act as a guide to show what state your credit history is in at a glance. As mentioned previously, your score will fluctuate between the different credit reference agencies due to their different scoring systems. We have provided a table below to reflect the three main agencies scoring system to help you understand where you sit.

Credit reference agency  Very low Low Fair Good Excellent
Experian  0-560 561-720 721-880 881-960 961-999
Equifax 0-438 439-530 531-670 671-810 811-1000
TransUnion 0-550 551-565 566-603 604-627 628-710


Do not worry if you are considered as ‘very low’ or ‘low’ as a mortgage could still be possible with the help of a bad credit mortgage broker. Lenders take a lot of factors into consideration such as your affordability, income, employment status and commitments. Specialist advisors, like our mortgage superheroes here at MoneyNest, can evaluate your case thoroughly and support you in finding a mortgage provider who suits your needs. They will ask for copies of your credit reports and other documentation to support your affordability assessment. Some of the documents you could be asked to prepare would be:

  • Payslips or tax returns and proof of any other income (Bonuses, commissions, overtime etc)
  • Identification (Passport, driving license, Visa)
  • Proof of deposit (Savings account statement etc.)
  • Proof of address (Bank statement or utility bill)
  • Gifted deposit letter (if relevant) – If you are receiving help with your deposit the lender will need a letter from the person gifting you that deposit. It must state they are gifting you the funds and will not have any share or interest in the property you are using the mortgage for. 

This is just a small example of what you could expect from a mortgage application. It will vary from person to person as some lenders could need more or less documentation to evaluate your case. 

Do I need a large income if I have bad credit and a low credit score?

Whilst income is definitely a factor that is evaluated by the lender, having a large income is not the only solution to getting a mortgage with bad credit. Having a sufficient income that makes the mortgage affordable is what the lender needs. 

Lenders will look at how much you earn against your monthly committed expenditure such as bills, insurances, debt payments, dependants and childcare costs etc. If your current income covers your existing expenditure plus the cost of the mortgage payments whilst still allowing you to maintain the same quality of life they you should satisfy the lender’s affordability checks. If your income does not cover this the lender may be concerned about your application, particularly if you already have a history of bad credit. You may be asked to increase your deposit or asked to bring someone else onto the mortgage to act as a guarantor or to use their income too. Your broker will evaluate your affordability before your application goes to the lender and therefore will help find you to most affordable and viable route for your circumstances.

How much of a deposit do I need with bad credit?

The size of the deposit that you will need will depend on multiple factors such as how severe  and how old your adverse history is. A history of bad credit may mean you need to provide a larger deposit to offset some the risk you present to the lender. 


  • 5-10% deposit 

If you use a specialist whole of market broker like our superheroes you may have access to mortgages with a loan to value (LTV) of 90-95% if your bad credit issues are considered minor, such as missed phone bill payments, providing you meet the lender’s other eligibility criteria.


But it is likely you will struggle to find a mortgage with such a high LTV if you have a more severe credit history which includes bankruptcies and repossessions, particularly if they are less than 3 years old.

  • 50% deposit 

A deposit that large will certainly help you find a mortgage with bad credit – putting down a substantial lump sum offsets some risk to the lender which is often enough for many to consider a wide range of credit issues. Again, it depends on what the issue is and when it was. You will of course still be subject to affordability checks and the lender’s other criteria.

Overall, there is no ‘lowest’ credit score to buy a house as a credit score is only used for indication only purposes. You could still secure a mortgage with a low score or bad credit you just need the help of a specialist to navigate the complexities surrounding the process. Our mortgage superheroes can quickly show you what you could be accepted for as they know the market well. Get in touch today and trust us with your journey to securing a mortgage. 

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FCA Disclaimer

Based on our research, the information on this page is correct as of the time of writing. Because lender criteria and rules are frequently updated, please contact one of the advisors with whom we work to ensure that you have the most up-to-date accurate information. The content on this site is not tailored advice for each specific individual who reads it, therefore it does not constitute financial advice. All of our mortgage advisors are qualified to give mortgage advice and do so only for firms that have been licensed and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. They will provide you with any specialised information you require. The FCA does not regulate some forms of buy-to-let mortgages. Consider carefully before relying on other debts against your property. If you do not make payments on your mortgage, your home may be taken back by the lender. The equity released from your house will also be secured against it.