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What Credit Score Is Needed To Buy A Home

Your credit score is the biggest factor in determining whether you’ll qualify for a loan and what kind of interest rate you’ll pay. Unless you’re paying cash for a new home, you will really need to boost your credit score in order to secure the best rates on a mortgage.

If you’re buying a home soon or in the future, knowing your credit score is one of the first steps to determine where you stand.

credit score to buy a house

What’s The Minimum Score To Buy A Home?

In actuality, there is no definite minimum score needed to buy a home.   It depends on what type of loan you’re applying for.  Below you will find the minimum requirements for different types of loan.


FHA Loan

If you are interested in applying for an FHA loan, to qualify for the low down payment of 3.5 percent, your FICO score must be 580. If your credit score is below 580, you can still apply for an FHA loan however, you will have to put down a 10 percent down payment to qualify for a loan.

So if you’re planning to buy a home and your credit score doesn’t meet the minimum, think whether you should put down a larger down payment or work on increasing your credit score first.



USDA Rural Housing has no minimum FICO score however, most lenders want their borrowers to have at least a 620 score with no bankruptcies, foreclosures, or major delinquencies in the past years.  You will still need to provide a decent credit history, demonstrating the ability to pay your mortgage in order to qualify.


Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Loan

If you want to take out a mortgage loan backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, you will need to have a minimum FICO score of 620. Your Loan-to-Value ratio plays an important role too, your Loan-to-Value ratio must be less than 75 percent. If it’s greater than 75 percent, you will need a minimum FICO score of 680.


VA Loan

VA loan has no minimum FICO score requirement, however most lenders want borrowers to have a credit score of at least 620 to qualify for VA financing. The minimum requirement varies from lender to lender.


Your Credit Score Affects Your Mortgage Rate

Your credit score holds major influence in your interest rate. The better your score is, the better your interest rate will be. It also goes without saying that a high credit score can give you better chances of getting a home loan. Buyers with a FICO score of 620 and below, can still get a mortgage, but will be in for a rough ride.

Based on myFICO, a borrower with a FICO score between 680 and 699 trying to borrow $200,000 in South Carolina would have qualified for a 3.677 percent rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage, resulting in a $918 monthly payment. In comparison, a borrower with a FICO score between 620 and 639 would have qualified for a 4.863 percent rate, resulting in a $1,057 monthly payment. That’s $50,038 difference on interest payment.

Credit Score Interest Rate Monthly Payment Total Interest Paid
760-850 3.279% $874 $114,496
700-759 3.5% $898 $123,312
680-699 3.677% $918 $130,468
660-679 3.89% $942 $139,189
640-659 4.319% $992 $157,111
620-639 4.863% $1,057 $180,506

Source: Loan Savings Calculator; rates based on South Carolina averages, assumes $200,000 loan principal, 30-year fixed-rate mortgage.


While a not so good credit score can impact the interest rate you’ll pay on your mortgage, it doesn’t have to be a road block to reach your goal of buying a home. You can still get a mortgage. You’ll just have to put in more effort to improve your score or put down more money.

If you do not have the minimum credit score to buy a home and you need to buy a home in the near future, you can  improve your credit score in 6-12 months by following these tips. Work on improving your credit score as soon as you can since it can take few months to see improvement in your score. Make sure you stay current on your payments, pay off your debts, check your credit report for errors and dispute them if you found inaccuracies.



Free Mortgage Guide

If you are buying a home or anyone you know who is thinking of buying a home, use this Home Loan Toolkit to help you understand and help you get the best mortgage specific for your situation. This guide will also help you understand the mortgage process and overview of the total costs of homeownership.


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Our agents write often to give you the latest insights on owning a home or property in the Greater Greenville Area area.