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Hard Pull vs. Soft Pull Credit Inquiries: What They Are and How They Affect Your Credit Score

Larry Mastropieri

Larry Mastropieri is co-founder of FloridaHomesBocaRaton.com Real Estate Group in Boca Raton, Florida...

Larry Mastropieri is co-founder of FloridaHomesBocaRaton.com Real Estate Group in Boca Raton, Florida...

Jul 26 4 minutes read


Buying a home is one of the most important financial decisions you will likely make. It is important to know the factors that will contribute to a successful home buying process. 

One of the most important factors you must consider when buying a home is your three-digit credit score. Your credit score can change when a lender checks your credit reports or credit score, and other times your credit score will remain the same. Why? It’s all because of the difference between a hard credit inquiry or pull and a soft credit inquiry or pull. 

A credit pull or credit inquiry is when you or someone else checks your credit report and your credit score. But there’s a difference between a soft pull and a hard pull. Here’s what you need to know. 

Soft Checks vs. Hard Checks

  • A soft pull occurs when you check your own credit. When a credit card company or a lender checks your credit on their own to determine if you qualify for a loan or credit card offer, this is also considered a soft pull. 

  • A hard pull occurs when you apply for a new loan. Lenders, banks, and mortgage brokerages will check your credit to make sure lending isn’t too much of a risk. When they check your credit, it is considered a hard pull.

While you and lenders will see similar information, whether it’s a hard pull or a soft pull on your credit reports, the difference is how a soft pull and a hard pull affect your credit score. A hard pull can cause your credit score to drop, a soft pull won’t. Knowing the difference is important, because your credit score plays a major role in determining whether you qualify for a loan and what interest rate you pay. The lower your credit score, the more likely lenders are to reject your loan. A low credit score also typically translates to a higher interest rate on your loans. 

In fact, it is recommended that consumers check their credit scores at least one time per year. Consumers who check their credit on a regular bases are more likely to find mistakes on their report and correct them, giving their credit score a boost. You can obtain a free credit report from annualcreditreport.com. 

How To Minimize the Impact of Hard Inquiries

A hard inquiry on your credit is required when applying for a home loan. While a hard pull can negatively impact your credit score, there are things you can do to lessen the impact. When applying for a home loan, it is important to shop around and find the best deal. Home buyers have a 45 day shopping period. While multiple lenders will conduct a hard pull on your credit, these pulls will be treated as just one hard inquiry. Credit Bureaus are aware that applying with multiple different lenders is a smart financial move and won’t penalize you for it. They know that if you apply for the same type of lending product with multiple lenders during a short period of time, this is a sign you are shopping around for the best deal, not looking to accumulate debt through several different loans. 

Common Soft Inquiries and Hard Inquiries

Common soft inquiries include: Credit card applications, Rental applications, Some utility applications and Credit limit increase requests. Common hard inquiries include: Credit Card Pre approval offers, Insurance quotes, Credit monitoring services, Prospective employer credit checks

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