What credit score is needed to buy a home

Credit scores play an essential role in the home buying process. The FICO score determines whether you qualify for a loan and affects the terms of your mortgage. It's critical to know whats a good credit score to buy a house.

Best credit score for mortgage

You don't need an ideal credit score to get a mortgage. But because credit scores assess the risk of you defaulting, lenders reward higher scores with more choice and better interest rates.

For most types of loans, good credit score to buy a house starts from is at least 620.

Minimum credit rating for different types of loans

Let's talk about what credit score is needed for best mortgage rates.

Conventional loan: 620

While you can get a regular loan with a credit score of just 620, these mortgages usually require higher scores. According to ICE Mortgage Technology, the FICO score for homebuyers using conventional loans averaged 757 for the six months ending mid-2021. Debtors with higher scores also receive a discount on the cost of private mortgage insurance, or PMI, which is required if they make a down payment of less than 20% on a conventional loan.

FHA loan: 500

If you have a credit rating of 500, your best chance of getting a mortgage will be insured by the Federal Housing Administration. FHA loans let down payments as low as 3.5%, but you'll need a FICO score of 580 or higher to pretend. With a mortgage credit score of 500 to 579, you will be required to make a down payment of 10%.

VA loan: 640

Mortgages insured by the Department of Veterans Affairs, more commonly known as VA loans, do not have a government-mandated minimum good credit score for buying a home. Their primary qualification is that you are a veteran, active duty member, or eligible spouse. However, VA lenders choose their minimum credit scores. They vary but are usually in the range of 600 to 600 units.

USDA loan: 640

Like VA loans, USDA home loans do not have a set minimum credit score, and lenders may require their minimum scores. But if your score is over 640, you may be eligible for simplified USDA loan processing.

Jumbo loan: 700

If you plan to get a mortgage that exceeds the applicable credit limit, more commonly known as a jumbo loan, most lenders want to see a credit score of around 700 or higher. Because lending that much money is hazardous, lenders look for potential homebuyers with stable financial records, including a good FICO score mortgage.

What to do if your rating is not enough to buy a house?

Bad credit or no credit can mean you're unlikely to get a mortgage unless someone you know is willing to help. Having a guarantor with a higher credit score can help you get a loan. 

Another option is for a friend or family member to buy a house, add you to the title, and then try to refinance in your name when your credit score improves enough.

How to improve your credit score

If you don't have a suitable credit score for 400k house or the kind of mortgage, it might make sense to put off purchasing a home for a while and use that time to improve the position in the eyes of the creditor. Some tips on how to do it:

  • Avoid late payments: payment history is the most critical factor affecting your credit score.
  • Keep your credit card balance low: experts recommend using no more than a 30% limit on any credit card, and the lower, the better. How much of your available credit you use is called your credit use and is the second-largest factor in your score.
  • Check your credit reports: look for errors that lower your score. If you find a discrepancy, dispute it. Until the end of 2022, you are eligible to receive at least one free credit report weekly from three credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion.
  • Keep credit cards open: closing a card reduces the size of available credit you have, leading to increased credit usage and lower your score. Sometimes make a charge and pay it on time, which deters the issuer from closing your account for inactivity.
  • If you are trying to create a thin credit file, you can add a new credit card. Remember that it should be six months or more between opening a new account and applying for a mortgage based on credit score, so perform wisely.

By following these guidelines, you will quickly achieve best credit score to buy a house.

Check your credit and track your progress

While working on the credit score, you need to buy a home and track your progress with a free score, which many credit cards and personal finance websites offer. 

Free credit scores are often VantageScores, a competitor to FICO. Either type of assessment can be used to track your progress - they both emphasize the same factors with slight weight differences, so they move in tandem.

If you are close to or in the range of an excellent credit score in a free scores source, you do not need to pay to check your FICO scores. You almost certainly have credit score needed for best mortgage rate.