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Is It Better to Clear Loans and Debt Before Applying for a Mortgage?

This guide was last updated 18 June 2024

When preparing to apply for a mortgage, many potential borrowers wonder whether they should clear their loans and debt beforehand. The answer to this question can depend on individual circumstances, but there are several key factors to consider.

1. Impact on Your Credit Score

Clearing loans and reducing debt can positively impact your credit score. A higher credit score often translates to better mortgage rates and terms. Your credit utilisation ratio, which is the amount of credit you are using compared to your credit limit, plays a significant role in determining your credit score. Reducing this ratio by paying off debt can improve your score.


2. Affordability Assessments by Lenders

Lenders will scrutinise your financial health during the mortgage application process. This includes looking at your existing debts and how much of your monthly income is used to service these debts. High levels of debt can reduce the amount you are eligible to borrow because it affects your debt-to-income ratio (DTI).


3. Interest Savings

Clearing high-interest debts can save you money in the long run. Mortgages typically come with lower interest rates compared to personal loans and credit cards. By paying off higher-interest debt, you can reduce your overall interest payments, freeing up more of your income for mortgage repayments.


4. Mortgage Rates and Terms

Lenders view borrowers with lower debt levels as less risky. Consequently, having less debt can qualify you for more favourable mortgage rates and terms. This can significantly reduce the total cost of your mortgage over its term.


5. Financial Flexibility

While it’s beneficial to clear some debt before applying for a mortgage, it’s also important to maintain financial flexibility. Ensure that you have enough savings for a deposit, moving costs, and an emergency fund. Depleting all your savings to clear debt might leave you financially vulnerable.

Source: Which? advises maintaining a balance between reducing debt and keeping sufficient savings for other expenses.


6. Strategic Debt Management

If you cannot clear all your debts, focus on managing them strategically. Prioritise paying off debts with the highest interest rates first and consider consolidating your debts if it leads to lower overall payments and simpler management.

Source: The Money Advice Service suggests using the debt avalanche method, which prioritizes debts with the highest interest rates for repayment.



In summary, clearing loans and reducing debt before applying for a mortgage can be beneficial for improving your credit score, passing affordability assessments, and securing better mortgage rates and terms. However, it’s essential to maintain a balance and ensure you have enough savings for a deposit and unforeseen expenses. Each individual’s financial situation is unique, so it’s advisable to seek personalised advice from a mortgage adviser to determine the best strategy for you.

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