Credit score mortgage calculator FAQ
What should my credit score be to buy a house?
You might be surprised at the minimum credit score to buy a house. On paper, mortgages backed by the Federal Housing Administration — otherwise known as FHA loans — allow a minimum credit score of 500, so long as you're making a 10% down payment. That's about as low as it gets.
However, with all types of mortgages, lenders can set their own minimum credit scores. So if your credit score could use some work, or if you're close to the dividing line between two credit score ranges, you should get quotes from multiple lenders. While your score might not qualify for the loan type you want with one, it could be high enough for another.
Bear in mind that your credit score isn't all lenders look at when they're considering you for a home loan. Your debt-to-income ratio, employment history and the size of your down payment all play a role in determining how much you'll be approved to borrow.
What is the best credit score to buy a house?
No real surprise here — a credit score that's 740 or higher will give you the most loan options and the best mortgage rates. However, lenders will look at your finances holistically, not just your credit score, when determining whether and how much you'll be approved to borrow, and what interest rate you'll be offered.
How can I elevate my credit score to buy a home?
If you hold off on your home purchase until your credit has improved, you may be able to qualify for more types of loans and get a lower interest rate.
There are several ways that you can build credit fast, but know that it takes time for new information to be reported to the credit bureaus — and thus for you to see your updated score.
Here are some strategies for getting your credit score ready to apply for a mortgage:
Pay all your bills on time. Late payments can ding your score, so try not to miss the due date on your credit card, car loan or other regular bill.
Try to use less than 30% of your available credit. You don't need to pay off your credit cards all at once — making multiple payments per month can help keep your credit utilization lower while avoiding a shock to your bank account.
Dispute any errors on your credit reports. Incorrect information could be denting your score, so it's worth taking the time to review your credit reports and fix any inaccuracies. You can request credit reports from the three major credit bureaus for free.
And when you're ready to apply for a home loan, be sure to submit all your applications within a 30-day period. Requests for mortgage preapproval result in a "hard pull" on your credit report, but if multiple lenders submit inquiries within a brief period of time, they'll only count as one.