Related Terms: Creditworthiness, Credit Report, Credit Score
Your credit history is a record of your ability to pay back your debts, whether it be credit card bills, student loans, or a mortgage. Having this history shows lenders that you would be able to make your mortgage payments on time.
You need to have credit to get credit. Unfortunately, it’s very common for first-time home buyers to not have a substantial credit history. This may be because they’re younger and haven’t had a lot of time to establish credit, or because they choose to pay up front for most purchases. In such cases you have the option to apply for the mortgage with a co-borrower or co-signer, and take advantage of their higher credit scores.
If you know that you will need to rely on credit to make large purchases in the future, there are a few ways you can start building credit. You can start with a secured credit card that is backed by a cash deposit. Your credit limit on the card goes as high as the deposit you make. You can also become an authorized user on someone else’s credit card and build credit by making payments. There are even “credit-builder loans” that exist simply to report your payment habits to credit bureaus; the money you “borrow” is held by the lender, and is released once you complete payments on it, building your credit and savings.