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Borrower qualification for a 3.5% down payment mortgage requires a minimum FICO® score of 580. However, approved lenders may have stricter requirements.

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FHA Credit Requirements

FHA Credit Requirements

One of the main things many first-time homebuyers worry about then shopping for a mortgage, is whether their credit score is high enough. It's a source of stress for Americans looking to get a loan. Your credit score impacts the type of mortgage you'll qualify for, what interest rate you get. When it comes to the FHA, it also determines how big of a down payment you'll have to make.

Credit Scores Needed for FHA Loan Qualification

The FHA has famously low credit score requirements; that's what makes them so appealing. You need a credit score of at least 500 to be considered eligible for an FHA loan, but this doesn't qualify for the FHA's most affordable down payment options.

Your credit score is directly tied to your down payment requirement. Borrowers with a credit score of 580 and higher can qualify for the FHA's lowest down payment requirement of 3.5%, whereas those with scores between 500 and 579 must pay 10% of the loan amount.

In terms of actual dollars, with a 520-credit score, you'd need to pay $25,000 (10%) as a down payment on a $250,000 home. But with a credit score of 610, you would be paying $8,750 (3.5%).

Your credit score will also impact the interest rate on the mortgage. A higher interest rate shows lenders that you are less of a risk, which will likely get your a lower interest rate and make you eligible for adjustable-rate mortgages or loans with shorter terms.

Know Your Credit Score

It's important for potential homebuyers to do their homework. So if you're getting ready to buy a home, make sure you check your credit score. You might have a high enough score to where you don’t have to worry about being approved. If not, there are ways you can work at improving it:

  • Pull your credit report and review it. Check to see if there are any errors and if so, dispute them.
  • Make sure you are paying your bills on time, every time. Set up automatic online payments where you can so you never miss a due date. Missed or late payments can stay on your record for years.
  • If you don’t have an established credit history, start building one. Set up utility bill payments online through a credit card account in your name to help establish credit.
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To qualify for an FHA loan with a 3.5% down payment, the FHA requires a credit score of at least 580. A 500 FICO® score will qualify you with a 10% down payment.
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FHA Loan Articles

Some Important Points About FHA Rehab Loans

FHA rehab loans are a specialized type of mortgage loan offered by the Federal Housing Administration that allows borrowers to finance both the purchase or refinance of a home and the cost of needed repairs.

Important FHA Loan Terminology

Borrowers considering an FHA loan should be familiar with some basic loan terminology. These loans are popular among first-time homebuyers and those with lower credit scores because they often offer more flexible eligibility requirements and lower down payment options.

FHA Credit Requirements and FICO Scores

The Federal Housing Administration has specific credit requirements and guidelines for borrowers looking to buy or refinance homes with an FHA loan. In addition to what FHA guidelines state, lenders may have more stringent requirements that may vary from one lender to another.

How Is a Mortgage Interest Rate Different than APR

Mortgage APR (Annual Percentage Rate) and a loan's interest rate are two different things, although they are closely related. Understanding the difference is an important part of a borrower's analysis of the true cost of their mortgage.

Refinancing With Various FHA Loan Options

FHA refinance loans allow homeowners with existing FHA loans to refinance their mortgages. These loans are designed to help borrowers take advantage of lower interest rates, reduce their monthly mortgage payments, or access equity in their homes for various purposes.

Can I Get a No Money Down FHA Loan?

FHA loans typically require a minimum down payment of 3.5% of the purchase price of the home with the right credit score. This means that if you're buying a house for $240,000, you would need to make a down payment of at least $8,400.

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