What Credit Score Do You Need To Buy a House?

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FACT-CHECKED
Published Dec. 16, 2022
Homebuyers look over what interest rates different credit scores will earn them.

The credit score requirement for getting a mortgage varies depending on the type of loan you’re applying for. Here’s how to find out what credit score is needed to buy a house by loan type.

These are the minimum credit score requirements for common types of home loans:

Credit Score Requirements for Different Mortgage Types

Loan TypeMinimum Credit Score Requirement
Conventional620
FHA500 with a down payment of at least 10%; 580 with a down payment of at least 3.5%.
VANo minimum credit score requirement. 
USDANo minimum credit score requirement, though lenders may set their own. 
JumboSet by individual lenders, though generally a score of at least 680 is required.

Conventional Loan Requirements

Conventional mortgages are the most common loan type. There are two types of conventional mortgages: conforming and nonconforming.

Conforming loans meet certain government-set conditions that allow the lender to sell the loan to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. For 2023, the limit for one-unit properties is $726,200, up $79,000 from $647,200 in 2022. In high-cost areas, the limit is $1,089,300 for one-unit properties. You typically need a credit score of at least 620 to get a conforming loan. 

Nonconforming loans cannot be sold to Fannie or Freddie, and the minimum required credit score is up to the individual lender.

FHA Loan Requirements

FHA mortgages are backed by the Federal Housing Administration, and require a credit score of at least 500. While this is lower than the requirements for other types of loans, your credit score also will determine how much of a down payment you’ll need to make. If your credit score is at least 580, then your minimum down payment can be as low as 3.5% of the purchase price. If your credit score is between 500 and 579, then you’ll need to put down at least 10%.

VA Loan Requirements

VA loans are backed by the Department of Veterans Affairs, and are offered to active-duty military service members, veterans, and their surviving spouses. VA loans have no minimum credit score.

USDA Loan Requirements

USDA loans are backed by the Department of Agriculture, and are intended for low- and moderate-income borrowers buying homes in specific rural areas. USDA loans also don’t have a minimum credit score requirement, though many lenders may set their own. Borrowers with a credit score of 640 or higher may qualify for a streamlined credit analysis during underwriting.

Jumbo Loan Requirements

Jumbo loans exceed the limits set by the government for conforming loans. You typically need a credit score of 680 or higher to qualify for a jumbo loan, but the exact minimum score is up to individual lenders.

Tips on Qualifying For a Mortgage

If you’re planning to buy a home in the near future, then there are some steps you can take to increase your credit score and your chances of getting approved for a home loan. For example, you can:

  • Review your credit report and dispute any inaccuracies.
  • Pay off as much debt as you can.
  • Keep your credit card balances low.
  • Pay your bills on time.
  • Avoid applying for new lines of credit.
  • Save for a bigger down payment.

What If Your Credit Score Isn’t High Enough?

One option is to hold off on buying a home until you can improve your credit. Alternately, it helps if you make a larger down payment. Putting more money down makes you seem like a less risky borrower and can also help you score a lower interest rate.

You also could add a co-signer with strong credit to your mortgage application, which will improve your chances of getting approved. Just remember that co-signers assume legal responsibility for the loan if you fail to repay it. That means if you have trouble making your payments, your co-signer will be legally obligated to pay the loan.

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