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Rocket Mortgage Pre-Approval and Your Credit Score: Exploring the Impact

Getting pre-approved for a mortgage is an important first step when buying a home. It allows you to shop for houses knowing your approximate loanamount and interest rateRocket Mortgage is one of the most popular online lenders that offers a fast and easy pre-approval process. But does checking your eligibility with Rocket Mortgage impact your credit score

Rocket Mortgage’s pre-approval process involves a soft credit check, which does not affect your credit score. However, once you formally apply for a mortgage, Rocket Mortgage will conduct a hard credit inquiry, which can cause a small, temporary drop in your credit score. This is typical of any lender when seeking mortgage financing.

This is an understandable concern. Your credit score plays a crucial role in determining the mortgage terms you’ll be offered. You want to avoid any unnecessary damage during the home buying process.

In this article, we’ll explain how Rocket Mortgage’s pre-approval works, whether it requires a hard credit inquiry, and steps you can take to protect your credit.

Man and woman looking at their financials

How Does Rocket Mortgage Pre-Approval Work?

With Rocket Mortgage, getting pre-approved is simple. You start by entering some basic personal and financial information into their online form. This includes your name, income, employment, and desired loan amount

Rocket Mortgage then does a soft credit check and reviews your details. If your information looks good, you’ll get a pre-approval letter estimating your mortgage eligibility. This letter isn’t a guaranteed loan approval, but it shows lenders you are a serious buyer.

Does Rocket Mortgage Pre-Approval Require a Credit Check?

Yes, Rocket Mortgage does need to check your credit to provide a pre-approval letter. But the initial check is “soft,” meaning it won’t affect your credit score. Soft checks allow lenders to review your credit history without the impact of a hard inquiry.

However, Rocket Mortgage will do a hard credit check before final loan approval. Hard checks register as inquiries on your credit report and can cause a small, temporary drop in your score.

How Does a Credit Check Affect Your Credit Score?

There are two types of credit checks – soft and hard.

Soft checks don’t affect your score at all. Only you and the lender can see them on your credit report. 

Hard inquiries indicate you’ve applied for new credit and may slightly lower your score. Each hard check can drop your score by a few points but the impact is small. Too many hard inquiries in a short period can have a larger cumulative effect.

Can Rocket Mortgage Pre-Approval Hurt Your Credit Score?

The initial pre-approval soft check will not hurt your credit score at all. But when Rocket Mortgage does the final hard inquiry for official approval, your score may drop slightly. 

This small decline is typical whenever you apply for a mortgage. The effect is temporary as long as you don’t have too many other recent hard inquiries.

How Much Can Your Credit Score Drop from a Mortgage Inquiry?

Most mortgage inquiries cause less than a 5 point drop in your score. Some estimates put the average impact between 2-3 points. This small change usually has a negligible effect on your interest rate.

However, if you have multiple hard inquiries within a short period, your score can drop more significantly. Each new credit application compounds the effect. Too many inquiries can worry lenders and negatively impact your rates.

How Long Does a Mortgage Inquiry Stay on Your Credit Report?

Mortgage inquiries usually remain on your credit report for 12 months. But FICO scoring models only consider mortgage inquiries from the past 45 days when calculating your score. 

After 45 days, inquiries stop affecting your score. And the impact from a single inquiry diminishes over time. However, the inquiry itself can stay on your report for up to a year.

How to Protect Your Credit Score During the Home Buying Process

Here are some tips to minimize the credit impact when getting pre-approved and applying for a mortgage:

  • Only allow soft credit checks for pre-approval letters. Hard checks aren’t necessary until you’ve found a home.
  • Compare rates and pre-approve with multiple lenders within a short window of time. Credit scoring models count multiple mortgage inquiries in a 45 day period as one inquiry. 
  • Avoid new credit applications for other loans or credit cards. Added inquiries can compound the mortgage impact.
  • Review your credit report for errors before applying. Correct any issues immediately.
  • Pay all bills on time leading up to your mortgage application. Your recent payment history also affects your score.

What are the Benefits of Getting Pre-approved with Rocket Mortgage?

There are several advantages to getting pre-qualified with Rocket Mortgage:

  • Convenience: Their online process is fast and easy. Pre-approval only takes minutes.
  • Loan estimate: You’ll get an estimated loan amount, rate, and monthly payments you’re qualified for. This helps focus your home search.
  • Strong buyer position: Sellers know a pre-approved buyer can move quickly with less risk of financing issues.
  • Lock a rate: In some cases, Rocket may allow you to lock an interest rate with your pre-approval for added protection.

What are the Alternatives to Rocket Mortgage for Home Loan Pre-approval?

Some other top online lenders that offer easy pre-approval include:

  • Better Mortgage – They offer competitive pre-approval quotes from multiple lenders.
  • Lenderfi – A personalized pre-approval process with licensed mortgage experts.
  • LoanDepot – One of the largest non-bank lenders with online pre-approval.

You can also get pre-approved through traditional banks and credit unions. This may require an in-person appointment.


Getting pre-approved is an important step in the home buying journey. Rocket Mortgage offers a fast and convenient online pre-approval process. Their soft credit check doesn’t hurt your score. But when you formally apply, expect a small temporary drop from the hard pull. This is typical with any lender when seeking mortgage financing. By limiting hard checks and maintaining good credit habits, you can minimize any impact.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

Does Rocket Mortgage impact your credit score?

Rocket Mortgage does not directly impact your credit score. However, when you apply for a loan with Rocket Mortgage, a hard inquiry will be made on your credit report, which may temporarily lower your score. Additionally, if you make timely payments on your loan, this can help to improve your credit score over time.

What is the downside to using Rocket Mortgage?

The main downside to using Rocket Mortgage is its lack of flexibility. Unlike other mortgage lenders, Rocket Mortgage does not offer adjustable-rate mortgages, and the loan terms are limited to 15 or 30 years. Additionally, Rocket Mortgage does not offer jumbo loans, home equity loans, or other specialized loan products. Furthermore, Rocket Mortgage does not provide in-person customer service, so borrowers may not have access to the same level of personal assistance as they would with other lenders.

Is Rocket Mortgage a hard or soft inquiry?

Rocket Mortgage is a soft inquiry. This means that it does not affect an individual’s credit score and is only used to determine the individual’s eligibility for a loan. The inquiry does not appear on a consumer’s credit report and lenders cannot use it to make credit decisions. Rocket Mortgage only collects the necessary information to determine the individual’s eligibility, such as income, employment history, and credit score.

Does Rocket loans pull credit?

Yes, Rocket Loans does pull credit when assessing loan applications. The company reviews an applicant’s credit score, credit history, and other financial information to determine their eligibility for a loan. Rocket Loans also checks for any existing debt obligations that may affect the applicant’s ability to repay the loan.