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While the 580 FICO score minimum is a major factor in how an applicant will pay for a mortgage, your credit score is not the only thing the FHA takes into account.

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NOTICE: Some FHA mortgage lenders are substantially raising FICO score requirements during the Coronavirus crisis, even though FHA minimums remain unchanged.


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FHA.com is a privately owned website, is not a government agency, and does not make loans.

Higher Credit Helps You Get a Loan

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FICO Scores Over 580 Help Borrowers Qualify For FHA Loans

Home buyers looking to take advantage of great FHA loan benefits should already know they need to establish the best possible credit rating. Applicants with a better credit rating increase their options for mortgage or refinance loans. In order to qualify for the low 3.5 percent FHA loan down payment, applicants will need a FICO score of at least 580. Those that don't meet that criteria will have to put a down payment of 10 percent on the mortgage they want.

FHA loans are designed to help home buyers, so these government-insured loans usually come with more lenient requirements than typical mortgages or refinancing terms from traditional lenders. While the benefits don't vary much between someone with good credit and excellent credit, there is a very noticeable margin for those with bad credit and average to good credit.

Why You Need a Better Credit Score

While the 580 FICO score threshold is a major factor in how an applicant will pay for a mortgage, your credit score isn't the only thing the FHA takes into account. Payment history, bankruptcies and foreclosures are also issues that the agency looks at. While these factors may hurt your credit score, they don't necessarily eliminate you from loan eligibility.

That doesn't mean, however, that you can neglect your credit. While the FHA is lenient enough to help those with bad credit ratings, they also require recent credit history to be in good standing.

Extenuating circumstances like job loss, injury or anything else that prevented you to pay in a timely manner can, and most likely will, be taken into account. However, if you have demonstrated you purposely neglected payments or your credit rating, your chances of qualifying for an FHA loan will be reduced.

Be Safe, Not Sorry With Your Credit

Obviously, it's better to have good credit than bad credit when applying for any loan. Don't take your credit history for granted, though, because you might find an error or inaccuracy that could hurt your chances of qualifying for an FHA loan. Instead of going through the headache of disputing your application with your agency and holding up the process, be proactive and make sure your credit score and ratings are where they should be before approaching the FHA.

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FHA Loan Articles and Mortgage News

Who Can Apply for an FHA Mortgage?

November 21, 2021 - Can anyone apply for an FHA home loan? It’s true there are few limitations in terms of who may apply without being rejected out of hand. One scenario that disqualifies applicants for purchase or refinance loan approval are those where hopeful borrowers have FICO scores below 500.

First-Time Home Buyer Advice

November 18, 2021 - FHA home loans aren’t restricted to first-time homebuyers, but the FHA mortgage program is a good option for those who have never owned a home before--there is a low down payment requirement and more flexible FICO score guidelines for FHA mortgages.

How to Prepare Your Credit for an FHA Home Loan

November 16, 2021 - How much time do you need to start working on your credit to become ready to apply for an FHA mortgage? Focusing on your credit habits, credit card account balances, and more in the year or more leading up to your home loan is an important part of the process.

Facts About Your Credit Scores

November 11, 2021 - If you are preparing for a large investment like a home loan, you’ll want to start looking at your credit reports early and pay attention to them over the long term. That is why it’s recommended to start working on your credit a full year or more in advance. You will definitely want the time.

Home Loans After Bankruptcy: What You Need to Know

November 8, 2021 - If you are considering a new home after a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy has been discharged, you should know the rules that apply in such cases. Knowing them ahead of time will definitely help when you are ready to explore your options again.