It seems like a no brainer, right? You are buying a home, so you’ll pay off your credit cards to reduce your debt, but keep them active so you can buy some furniture or deal with emergencies even when you have a mortgage to pay. Wrong.
It’s obvious that a lender will consider your credit card debts and the monthly repayments on those when you apply for a mortgage. But what many people do not realise is that credit cards that don’t have any balance owing can also impact a lender’s assessment of what you can afford to borrow.
If you have a high credit limit, you also have a high debt risk in the eyes of your lender. As the logic goes, there is no stopping you from racking up debt on your credit card the day after your loan is approved. Say, on lovely furniture to fill that new house.
“We have to take account of three per cent of the total credit card limit, regardless of what the applicant owes,” says the finance broker.
“If they had a $10,000 limit but they only owe $1000, we still have to assess $300 a month and that comes directly out of their liability. It does make quite a difference” , says the broker.