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In Canada, anything less than an exceptional credit score might limit your ability to qualify for a mortgage. This is especially true in some of the pricier cities. If you’re worried about your credit score, the best time to address it is before you start house hunting. Not only will you have a better chance of getting pre-qualified—an important step for potential buyers—but it will take a load off your mind and give you a better sense of what you can afford.

Here are some tips for boosting that credit score:

Pay your credit bill every month.
Ideally, you should be paying as much as you can each month. Paying the minimum balance will only cover the interest, so the more you can pay off, the faster your debt decreases and the faster your credit score is likely to increase.

Lower your credit utilization.
In a nutshell, this means the ratio of credit available to you versus credit you’ve used. The more credit you’ve used, compared to what’s available to you, the lower your credit score. For example, if you only have a single credit card and it’s almost maxed out, that’s not going to look good in the eyes of the bank.

This can be tempered by paying off more of your credit balance, or by applying for a credit increase, which will lower your ratio.

Be diligent about your household bills.
Pay your bills on time and in full. Disorganized? Consider setting up automatic withdrawals so that you’re not on the hook for remembering to pay them yourself.

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