One of the most common questions people have about home buying is this: “What credit score do I need to qualify?” The reality is there is no one-size-fits-all answer. Your credit score plays a significant role in your ability to finance a home, but your loan application decision will be the result of several factors – not just the number on your credit report.
Factors in Loan Applications
When making a home-lending decision, lenders typically look at your income, debt, and amount of savings, as well as your credit score. If you don’t have a rough idea of your credit score, it’s a good idea to check online. Annualcreditreport.com is a government-backed website that allows you one free report each year. While it won’t give you a numerical score, it will alert you to any possible red flags, such as account in collections or inquiries you don’t recognize.
Minimums for Certain Loan Programs
It’s important to note that certain loan programs do have minimum acceptable scores. A conventional loan backed by Freddie Mac, for example, requires a credit score of 620. An FHA loan, on the other hand, has a minimum score of 580. Your application will also depend largely on the state of the real estate market itself. Lenders were rejecting applicants with credit scores over 700 in the immediate aftermath of the real estate turndown.
Your credit score will ultimately affect your mortgage interest rate. If you have fair-to-average credit and are approved for a loan application, your interest rate will be higher than someone with good-to-excellent credit. Generally, lenders reserve the most competitive interest rates for those with scores of 760 and above.