Buying A Home Home Loans

What’s the Minimum Credit Score Needed to Get a Mortgage?

Written by Rebecca Lake

Buying a home takes more than just a big enough down payment or a steady income to get approved for a loan; you’ll also need a solid credit score. As someone who recently went through the home-buying process, I’ve been schooled firsthand on how credit scores affect your odds of being approved. Before you approach the bank for a mortgage, read this to learn what kind of scores lenders are looking for.

Conventional Loans

A conventional loan is what most people think of when they think of a mortgage. This is a loan that’s backed by either Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. The minimum credit score you’ll need to qualify for a conventional loan ultimately depends on how large your down payment is and your debt-to-income ratio.

At the low end, a borrower with a 620 FICO score could qualify for a Fannie Mae loan as long as the loan-to-value ratio is less than or equal to 75%. That means you’d need to pony up at least 25% of the purchase price for the down payment, assuming your total debt-to-income ratio is 36% or less. On the high side, you’d need a FICO score of 700 or better if you’re financing more than 75% of the purchase price and your debt-to-income ratio is closer to 45%.

One thing to keep in mind with conventional loans is that Fannie Mae is now using trended data to make lending decisions. Someone who’s paying their credit card bill in full each month is going to be viewed more favorably than someone who carries a balance but always pays on time. If you’ve got balances on your cards, you could help your chances of getting a loan by paying those debts down before applying for a mortgage.

About the author

Rebecca Lake

Rebecca Lake is a personal finance writer and blogger specializing in topics related to mortgages, retirement and business credit. Her work has appeared in a variety of outlets around the web, including Smart Asset and Money Crashers. You can find her on Twitter at @seemomwrite or her website,


  • Hello me and my roommate both are disabled and are on Social Security we have been trying to buy a house and neither one of us had credit I’ve been working on mine and the store should be showing soon together we make 2000 a month and wondering if there is a program to help disabled with minimal credit and minimum down payment cuz being on Social Security we live month-to-month is there any kind of programs or help for us Our Hope cuz we don’t make three times the rent. The way we’re saying is if your on Social Security you left out

    • I’m in that situation – on Social Security and disabled. I get $15 for food stamps. I have $1,000 from S.S. Trying to get on my own —- I don’t see any way to be able to get a home. my credit score is 650 from Equifax and 643 from Trans Union. I’m slowly paying off bills on my credit report and I pay bills on time.

  • Hello I am thinking about consolidating my lcredit cards which I max out. I only want to lower the interest and pay off the balances. Question would that hurt my credit score? Thanks for your reply

  • Hi, we are planning on purchasing a new home, but we couldn’t get a conventional mortgage from a bank, we came across “owner finance “. Is this a safe way to get a house, do we get to keep the deed and be sole owners of the house we are trying to purchase?

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