Does Getting an Agreement in Principle (AIP) Affect My Credit Score?

Couple in the kitchen AIP credit score

When venturing into the world of home buying, you may have come across the term Agreement in Principle (AIP), also known as a Decision in Principle (DIP) or a Mortgage in Principle (MIP). This is a statement from a lender indicating how much they might be willing to lend you, based on a preliminary assessment of your finances. One key question that often emerges is: does getting an AIP affect your credit score? Let’s dive into this.

Understanding AIP

An Agreement in Principle is a crucial step in your home buying journey. It gives you an idea of how much you can borrow, which in turn helps in budgeting and focusing your property search. An AIP is not a guarantee you’ll get a mortgage, but a statement of intent from the lender.

The Impact on Your Credit Score

The effect of an AIP on your credit score largely depends on how the lender carries out their credit check. There are two types of credit checks: ‘soft’ and ‘hard’.

Soft Credit Checks

Many lenders in the UK perform a ‘soft’ credit check when issuing an AIP. A soft check reviews your credit history without leaving a ‘footprint’, meaning it is not visible to other lenders. This type of check will not affect your credit score. It’s akin to a background check that gives the lender an overview of your creditworthiness without delving too deep.

Hard Credit Checks

Some lenders might conduct a ‘hard’ credit check. This is a more thorough assessment and is recorded on your credit file. Other lenders can see this footprint, and if you have several hard checks over a short period, it could be seen as a sign of financial distress, potentially impacting your credit score negatively.

How to Protect Your Credit Score

  1. Ask the Lender: Before applying for an AIP, ask your broker or lender if they will perform a soft or hard credit check. This information will help you make an informed decision.
  2. Limit Applications: Try not to apply for multiple AIPs within a short period, especially if hard checks are involved. This strategy will help in minimising any potential impact on your credit score.
  3. Check Your Credit Report: Before applying for an AIP, it’s wise to check your credit report, you can do this on sites such as Experian. This will give you an idea of your credit standing and any areas you might need to address.
  4. Space Out Applications: If you need to apply for multiple AIPs, space them out. This approach reduces the likelihood of them appearing as a red flag on your credit report.

Long-Term Impact

It’s important to remember that the impact of credit checks on your credit score is temporary. If you manage your finances well, any small dips caused by hard checks will recover over time.

AIP’s Role in Mortgage Applications

Having an AIP does not guarantee a mortgage, but it does put you in a stronger position. It shows sellers and estate agents that you are a serious buyer with a lender’s backing. When you proceed to the formal mortgage application, the lender will carry out a full credit check, which is typically a hard check.


In summary, whether an AIP affects your credit score depends on the type of credit check the lender conducts. A soft check has no impact, while a hard check could have a temporary effect. It’s essential to be mindful of how you approach the process, keeping in mind the number of applications and the type of checks involved – if you’re concerned it’s always wise to speak with a mortgage advisor who can guide you through the entire process. They will understand individual lenders criteria and avoid unnecessary checks by matching your circumstance with the right lender. Remember, an AIP is a step towards your dream home, and understanding its implications on your financial health is crucial in making this journey a smooth one.

If you need an Agreement in Principle, or help with mortgage or protection products available, contact one of our friendly advisors who would be happy to have a chat and help guide you through it all.

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