What Credit Score is Needed to Buy a House?

If you’re in the market to buy a home, knowing what kind of shape your credit score is in can give you an idea of whether you’ll qualify for a loan and what kind of interest rate you’ll pay. Loans are necessary for most future homebuyers because they cannot afford to pay cash upfront.

While lenders look at your income, debt and savings when making mortgage decisions, your credit score is the biggest factor in determining whether you get approved or rejected for financing. That’s why it’s so important to check your credit report regularly so you can gauge the overall state of your financial health.

If you want to buy a house soon or are looking into house refinance for an existing mortgage, checking your credit score should be at the top of your to-do list. Here’s a look at just how important your credit score is for mortgage lending decisions.

Find out how your credit score compares to people who have a mortgage loan. (Data is based on nearly 140,000 People who have a mortgage; 67,000 People who have an FHA mortgage.)

• People who have a conventional real estate mortgage: Average score is 682

• People who have an FHA mortgage loan: Average score is 649

• People who do not have a mortgage (or FHA loan): Average score is 613

Before we get into the details of buying a house, getting a mortgage, and what your credit needs to look like, let’s back up and lay out exactly what a mortgage is. A mortgage is a loan specifically used to finance the purchase of a home.

A house mortgage is likely the largest loan you will ever take on and that is why they have multiple parts and they can last 15-30 years. Mortgages include collateral, a down payment, taxes and insurance. It is important to keep these different parts in mind before deciding whether you can take on this much debt. Once you’ve decided to take the plunge, you’ll need to know what it’s going to take to get your dream home.

The minimum credit score needed to buy a house isn’t set in stone and in fact, it can change quite often especially during and after a recession when the economy is on a downturn. It’s not unusual for lenders to enforce tighter restrictions on borrowing when the economy is shrinking instead of expanding.

In the wake of the housing collapse, for instance, applicants with credit scores of 720 and above were getting rejected for mortgage loans.

Fortunately, the real estate market has improved dramatically since 2008 and lenders have eased up a bit in terms of the minimum credit score they’re looking for. The minimum score also depends on the type of loan you’re applying for.

Lenders will also look at the area you are looking to purchase a home in because there are outside factors that might make increase the risk thereby increasing the credit score needed to secure a mortgage loan. As you can tell, there are many different requirements to buy a house so do not take the decision to become a homeowner lightly. Get to work !!!