Don’t Apply for Several Mortgages at Once (And Four Other Mistakes That Can Leave Black Marks on Your Credit Report)

Dominique Grubisa
Dominique Grubisa

Published 1:09 am 9 Oct 2019

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Black marks remain on your credit report for five years. Here are key mistakes that lead to these negative listings.

Negative information in your credit history will limit what you can do financially. For example, let’s say you want to buy a property. The lender’s going to take a look at your loan serviceability to see if you’re a good borrower.

As part of those checks, they’ll examine your credit file.

If they see black marks on your credit report, they’re less likely to grant the loan. Those marks suggest that you’re an irresponsible borrower who has bad credit.

Worst of all, these black marks stay listed on your credit report for five years.

The key is to avoid making the mistakes that lead to these marks appearing in the first place. Here are five you need to keep in mind.

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Mistake #1 – Applying for Several Mortgages at Once

Shopping around for a good mortgage is definitely recommended. The problem comes when you try to hedge your bets by making several applications at once. You may want to have something to fall back on if you don’t get approved for the mortgage you want. So you send out several applications at the same time.

In a article, CEO Luke Keller explains why this is a bad idea:

“Shopping around is a negative behaviour for all credit applications – cards, personal loans, and home loans. It implies that the borrower is a higher risk because they are having to go to lots of different lenders to try and get credit.”

The main issue here is that each application creates a mark on your credit report. Applying for credit from many lenders in quick succession suggests that your applications get refused.

This makes any new lenders less likely to accept the application. Thus, you create a cycle where each new application makes it harder for you to get a loan.

It’s best to wait several months between applications to show that you’re not desperate for a loan.

Mistake #2 – Only Looking at the Banks

As mentioned, every loan application you make to a bank gets recorded on your credit report.

Many people make the mistake of assuming banks are their only option. 

However, there are alternatives, such as peer-to-peer lending. If you’re aware of Kickstarter, you have an idea of what this is. Instead of going to a lender, you essentially ask other individuals to fund your loan. People offer to loan you the money, often as part of a crowd of lenders, and you cut out the middleman. 

This type of lending doesn’t have an effect on your credit report. As long as you repay your debts on time, it’s a viable alternative to traditional borrowing.

overdue bills causes bad credit marks

Mistake #3 – Missing or Delaying Payments

Speaking of paying your debts on time, failure to do so can leave marks on your report. Your payment history plays a huge role in determining your credit score. Every missed payment leaves a mark, with defaults being particularly difficult to clear.

Beyond the mistake of missing payments, you may also make the assumption that you only need to worry about loans and credit cards. This is not the case. Even your phone and utility bills get counted. If you miss any payments related to them, you may create a black mark that counts against you later.

Mistake #4 – Ignoring Errors on Your Credit Report

You have the right to request a free copy of your credit report every year from organisations like Experian and Equifax.

Failing to do so is a mistake in itself. Not having a current copy of your report means you can’t see what lenders see when they look into your background. It also means you can’t search for ways to improve your credit score.

When examining your credit report, you may spot errors. For example, a clerical error could lead to a debt getting attributed to you twice.

It’s crucial to take appropriate action to clear these mistakes.

Mistake #5 – Mismanaging Your Credit Card

How you manage your credit card can make or break your credit score.

Every card you have offers a maximum credit limit. Let’s assume that yours is $10,000. If you borrow $9,000 on that card, you’re close to maxing it out. This suggests to lenders that you’re an irresponsible borrower. Coming close to the max on several cards at the same time is an even worse sign.

According to Canstar:

“Most online sources agree that a credit utilisation ratio of about 50% will begin to affect your credit score. Spending between 10% to 30% of the available credit limit may be less likely to hurt a borrower’s credit rating.”

Try to stick within that 30% borrowing limit. This shows lenders that you only use credit in appropriate circumstances.

You may also feel tempted to do away with your credit cards altogether in an effort to improve your credit score.

This can also be a mistake.

While it doesn’t lead to black marks on your report, getting rid of a card with a good payment history means you can’t benefit from it. A track record of responsible borrowing and on-time repayments can actually help when you’re applying for a loan.

Closing a credit card you use responsibly gets rid of the evidence that you’re a good borrower.

If You’re in Debt

Being in debt places you into a precarious financial situation which can quickly snowball into a catastrophe.

One of the clients at DGI Debt Management was a business owner and the primary provider for his family, when the pandemic hit and dramatically reduced his income. In order to continue paying his bills and putting food on the table, he began to take on more debt than he could afford and quickly found himself with $20,642 in debt.

The Debt Management team was able to reduce his debt down to just $3,759, cutting 82% of his total debt off and giving him the breathing room he needed to get back on his feet.

On top of that, he no longer had to worry about the possibility of bankruptcy, or having to deal with creditors anymore.

To find out if the Debt Management team can improve your debt situation, visit DGI Debt Management today.

Good Debt Vs Bad Debt With Dominique Grubisa - DG Institute

Lawyer, Asset Protection Specialist and Property Educator

Dominique Grubisa is a practicing lawyer with over 25 years experience. She is a property investor and developer, an entrepreneur with businesses in Australia and Southeast Asia, a speaker, educator, writer and published author.

This column has been written for general information purposes only. It is not intended as legal, financial or investment advice and should not be construed or relied on as such.

About DG Institute

Founded in 2009, DG Institute strives to empower everyday Australians to grow and protect their wealth. Our goal is to provide direction, motivation and inspiration to our clients and help them perform at their very best. We do that through our professional services, in addition to teaching them how to grow their wealth through property and business education.

This column has been written for general information purposes only. It is not intended as legal, financial or investment advice and should not be construed or relied on as such.

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