By Diana Clement, MSN Money expert
Having defaults on your credit record is not a good look. Imagine it from a lender's point of view. You've got form for not paying your debts. Why then would you care about paying your mortgage?
That's not to say your chances of getting a mortgage are dead in the water just because you've got defaults. Getting a mortgage is a bit like entering a beauty parade. You do your best to cover your faults to look better.
You may have had flabby credit in the past. You might be able to point out to the lender, for example, that your default was three years ago and you've been clean ever since. You're now a reformed person and your finances are looking fit.
Lenders sometimes agree to lend to people with black marks on their credit records, but ask for a higher deposit or higher interest rate to reduce the risk for them.
There are also mortgages available from fringe lenders for people with poor credit records. You don't really want to go there, however. They charge even higher interest rates and fees as well as having quite onerous terms and conditions.
Even if you can't borrow now, that doesn't mean you won't be able to borrow in the future. In the meantime keep your record clean and save for a larger deposit. Your lender will view you with fresh eyes in six months to a year's time.
If all else fails, defaults only last five years on your credit record before the slate is wiped clean.