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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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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

FICO Scores and Home Loans: What You Need to Know

June 22, 2021 - If you don’t know the contents of your credit report, you aren’t ready to apply for a mortgage loan, an auto loan, or even a personal line of credit. Your lender will review not only your FICO score, but your credit activity for at least the last 12 months leading up to your loan application.

Five Down Payment Assistance Tips

June 19, 2021 - If you are considering an FHA mortgage but need down payment help, there are programs offered by state and local agencies that may be able to help. Not all of them meet FHA loan guidelines--you’ll need to make sure that the program you choose meets the sourcing requirements for the money.

FHA Mortgages vs. Fannie Mae Home Ready Mortgages

June 18, 2021 - When exploring home loan options, some borrowers want a loan that has the lowest upfront costs possible. This makes sense if money is tight, or when a borrower has goals for their money and a down payment would hurt those plans.

Home Loans And FICO Scores

June 9, 2021 - What do you need to know about home loans and FICO scores? To get started, it’s important to know what FICO score ranges are considered good, and how these ranges are viewed by lenders. Your credit scores matter, but how should they be interpreted?

Building Credit Ahead of a Home Loan Application

June 2, 2021 - Many first-time home buyers feel at a loss when it comes to working on their credit. Don’t apply for your first credit card and your first home loan in the same year. A lender will be looking at your credit habits for at least the 12 months leading up to your credit application.