If you’re planning on applying for a mortgage, it’s critical to ensure that you have a good credit rating before you make an application. A bad credit score could mean that you are faced with extra terms and expenses like a co-signatory, higher interest rates, or a higher down payment. And, if your credit score is low enough, your application could end up being denied altogether. In order to ensure that your mortgage application gets you the best results, here are three tips to help you spruce up your credit rating before you apply.

Work With What You Have

One of the biggest mistakes that people make when trying to improve their credit score in a hurry is to go looking for new sources of credit, and end up with an even lower credit rating. If you’re trying to open up several new sources of credit within a short period of time, financial institutions will take notice; your credit score could end up being lower than it was when you first started. When it comes to credit ratings, the secret ingredient is time. If you have negative information on your credit report, credit bureaus can list this information for anywhere from two to ten years. This means that building up your credit rating will take time and perseverance. If you’re trying to open up several new lines of credit when your existing credit score is already low, you’ll run into trouble. But, if you’re diligent at making payments on the credit sources you already have, you’ll start to see improvements.

Rebuild Your Broken Credit Through a Secured Credit Card

If your credit rating has been seriously damaged, there are ways to fix it. Again, this solution will not come quickly. One way to rebuild a broken credit rating is through a secured credit card. With one of these cards, you can boost your credit rating by making payments on time for the first one to two years, by making more than the minimum payment every time, and by spending less than 60 percent of your allotted credit limit. Over time, you will be able to build up your credit limit to a point that is acceptable for mortgage brokers. For most lenders, this will mean somewhere between $1,000 and $2,000. Just be careful in this situation not to fall into the trap mentioned above. If you’re seriously thinking about a secured credit card, choose wisely the first time, as multiple applications can land you in hot water with credit agencies.

Save Up and Pay Down

The easiest way to improve your credit rating is simply to save up money so that you can pay down your debts. To achieve your ultimate credit rating, the best situation is to be entirely debt free. The best way to be debt free is to start saving money so you can pay down any debt you might have. If this is the situation you’re in, you can challenge yourself by seeing how much money you can pay towards your debts each month and then trying to raise that amount one month at a time. Start out with your minimum payment, and then try to pay 10 percent more the next month – or even 20 percent or 30 percent more. Soon, you’ll be at the point where you can make your full payment on time every month.

If you’re planning on applying for a mortgage, the best approach to take is to find out what your credit score is before you make your application. That way you don’t have to worry about your application being denied because you didn’t know your credit score. Then, you can make the necessary plans to get your credit score to where it needs to be when you apply for a mortgage.