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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

Buying a Home? Use These Credit Resources to Prepare

November 30, 2020 - From the simple act of reviewing your credit scores all the way to getting an appointment with a local housing counselor to discuss how to properly get ready for your mortgage application, there are a variety of options to help you prepare for your loan.

Prequalifying for an FHA Mortgage

November 23, 2020 - Getting prequalified is an initial step toward the loan. You are not committing to the mortgage yet, just exploring your options. You’ll want to have the general information about your income, the amount of debt you carry, your credit scores, and other details.

Mortgage Loan Income Guidelines: What You Need To Know

November 22, 2020 - FHA loan rules include instruction to your loan officer about how to process your employment information and also includes guidelines about how much time in the job market is required in order for you to be seriously considered as a home loan applicant.

Which Matters More, FICO Score or Credit Report?

November 20, 2020 - When you apply for an FHA mortgage (or any other type of home loan) you might wonder which factor the lender relies on more to approve or deny your loan--the overall contents of your credit report, or your FICO scores specifically? Which one does the lender rely on more?

Do Bankruptcies, Foreclosures, or Short Sales Affect Home Loan Chances?

November 19, 2020 - In the era of coronavirus, everyone will experience financial hardship at some point. But how you weather these problems can affect your future home loan plans and it’s good to have a contingency plan in case you run into trouble paying your bills.