I am often asked by my buyers, “When I am shopping for a home loan with multiple loan companies will my credit be affected each time a credit report inquiry is made?” It won’t be affected significantly, if the credit checks are done in a short period of time.

When a credit check is made by a potential lender it is called a hard inquiry. When a hard inquiry occurs it does have an impact on your credit score. However, when you’re shopping for a mortgage or a car loan, credit bureaus typically group the hard inquiries together because the credit reporting bureaus understand that the buyer is shopping for the best loan.

So for example, if you’re shopping for a new mortgage and three potential lenders pull your credit score within three weeks, that is looked at as one inquiry for that purpose.

Keeping your credit clean is critical when you’re looking to purchase a home. Don’t make any new major purchases, like buying a new car, before or during the time you are looking to purchase a home.

You can check your credit history for free once a year at annualcreditreport.com. The free reports will not contain an actual credit score, but you can get the scores for a fee.

Another good credit-checking resource is found at truecredit.com. The website offers access to tools to manage a consumer’s credit health by receiving credit reports, credit scores, credit monitoring, and informational materials.