This may come as a surprise, but you don’t need a perfect credit score to buy a home or get a mortgage.
In some cases, your credit just needs to be sufficient. Good, bad, ugly or indifferent, as long as your credit score matches the criteria of the mortgage size and property type you are looking for, you may be able to get financing.
Here’s a quick cheat sheet of the top three most commons mortgages and their basic credit score requirements.
Conventional loans. You generally need a credit score of 620. However, anyone with a 620-679 credit score should expect to pay higher interest rates and fees.
FHA loans. You’ll generally need a credit score of at least 600. There are lenders that do FHA Loans with credit scores as low as 580, but it’s going to come at a cost. Expect the lender to go through your file with a much finer-toothed comb if your score is at 620 or below. Conversely, if your credit score is 620 or higher, not only will you get better rates and fees, but you’ll also have an easier loan process.
Jumbo Loans. You’ll generally need a credit score of at least 680. You will also generally need at least 30% equity when buying or refinancing a home. A 700 or better score yields better rates and terms and requires less down (possibly as little as 20%).
Of course, a good credit score generally helps you net better terms and conditions. If you have some credit challenges preventing you from getting a mortgage with competitive rates and fees, here are some strategies straight from a mortgage pro that could improve your situation.