If you want to buy a home and get a mortgage, it's important to know what your credit score is and how it affects your ability to qualify for a loan.
What credit score do I need for a mortgage?
The minimum credit score for a mortgage loan varies by lender. Most lenders will require you to have a FICO® Score of at least 620, but some may be as low as 580 or as high as 680. The higher your credit score, the more likely you are to qualify for a loan. However, even if you don’t have perfect credit, there are lenders who can help you get a mortgage with less than perfect credit. What is a FICO® Score? A FICO® Score is the most widely used credit scoring system and ranges from 300 to 850. The score is based on five different factors: payment history (35%), amounts owed (30%), length of credit history (15%), new credit accounts opened in the last two years (10%) and types of credit used (10%).
If your credit score isn't high enough to qualify for the best rates, it doesn't mean you can't get a mortgage loan. You just might need to make some changes first. That's where we come in. We've got tips on how to improve your chances of getting better rates even if you're below that 620 mark, schedule a consult with us :)
A good credit score opens doors to homeownership
A good credit score opens doors to homeownership and other financial services. A bad or poor credit score, on the other hand, can make it difficult to obtain a mortgage loan or other types of financing. It also makes it more difficult to open new lines of credit such as a credit card account or even your first cell phone line. A good credit score can save you money on interest rates. The higher your credit score, the lower your interest rate will be. It’s not uncommon for borrowers with excellent credit scores to get mortgage rates under 4% or even as low as 2%.
Your ability to obtain a mortgage loan is dependent on several factors including your income, debt-to-income ratio (DTI), down payment amount and whether your credit history meets lender requirements for applicants with blemishes on their report such as late payments and/or charge-offs (accounts that have been sent to collections).
If you're ready to get back on your feet, we're here to help. We've helped over 500 people like you get their lives back up and running again. That's why we're rated the #1 Credit Restoration Service in Wisconsin.
Mortgage Credit Requirements
Mortgage credit requirements can vary from lender to lender and loan type to loan type. Some lenders may be more lenient than others, but generally speaking:
Credit scores of 640 or higher are widely considered "good." You'll still have a chance at getting approved for the best deals, but you may have to pay a slightly higher interest rate or put down a larger down payment.
Scores between 620-640 are on the borderline for approval. You'll likely get approved if you're able to provide documentation that explains your lower score and proves you're currently managing your finances responsibly (like showing that you've been making payments on time).
Scores under 620 don't bode well for approval; however, it's possible some banks will approve these applications with evidence of good financial habits and/or additional collateral (e.g., real estate or investments).
Minimum credit score requirements
As with any loan, the minimum credit score requirements to qualify for a mortgage vary by lender. Some lenders may have more lenient standards than others. Lenders also tend to have different minimum requirements depending on the type of mortgage you’re applying for:
Fixed Rate Mortgages: Your credit score will typically be considered if you are applying for a fixed rate mortgage, but it is not always required since these loans don’t tend to include as many variable factors like an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM).
Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARMs): Most ARMs require a minimum credit score in order for approval and for certain features offered by the lender such as interest-only payments or payment flexibility options. The requirement varies by lender but generally ranges from 620-680 depending on how complex your situation is (i.e., number of late payments and length of history).
FHA Loans: If you are looking at FHA loans as one option for financing your new home purchase, then there is no official minimum credit score requirement; however many lenders will use their own internal guidelines based on their local market conditions so we recommend checking with each specific institution before submitting an application.
Minimum credit score requirements by loan type
Mortgage: A Fannie Mae loan requires a minimum credit score of 620, while a conventional loan (those not backed by the government) requires a minimum score of 620.
Credit card: The average credit cardholder has about four open accounts and two in collections, according to TransUnion. Bad news: If you have more than five total accounts or three in collections, your credit score will be negatively impacted. The higher your number of open accounts is relative to your total number of accounts, the worse it is for your credit score.
Auto loan: Most car dealerships will require at least a 680 or so to qualify for their financing—but that doesn't mean you can't get approved with lower scores! There are plenty of lenders out there willing and able to provide auto loans even if you don't meet these requirements—as long as they see something promising in the rest of your application (like high income).
Student loan(s): Your student loans aren’t part of your credit report yet because they haven’t been reported by lenders yet; instead they show up as an “EVIDENCE OF PAYMENT" on Experian instead until they do get reported/scored (which could take anywhere from 6 months after graduating with debt up until 7 years later).
If your credit score isn’t where it needs to be, consider improving all aspects of your financial health before applying for a mortgage loan. The good news is that it’s not too difficult to improve your credit score, let us take care of your credit & fix it up while you sit back and relax! Schedule a consult with us.