What credit score do you need to qualify for a conventional home loan?

Credit-requirements-for-conventional-loan.jpg

Credit Score Requirements for Conventional Home Loans

Everyone’s heard tales of how difficult it is to qualify for one of the most coveted products in the mortgage world: the conventional loan. Although there’s nothing particularly exciting about these mortgages, they do offer lower mortgage insurance rates and fewer fees at closing than other types of home loans.

Though it isn’t always easy to qualify for one of these loans, if your credit score and other numbers fall in line with the eligibility matrix, you’ll have a great mortgage product built for the long term.

Qualifying for a Conventional Mortgage

Fannie Mae and her brother, Freddie Mac, are both somewhat flexible when it comes to credit scores. If you have other things in your favor, like a really low debt-to-income ratio, the credit score necessary to qualify may end up being lower than you might expect. Even if your credit isn’t sparkling, compensating factors like a low DTI can help signal to the bank that you’re a good bet.

A conventional mortgage is approved based on a lot of information beyond your credit score, including any compensating factors, like these:

Debt-to-Income Ratio

This was already mentioned above, it’s a point that’s important to stress. The amount of debt you have in relation to your income matters. If you’re asking about your credit score because you’re planning for a future mortgage, make sure you pay some debt down because that can make all the difference in qualifying for a conventional loan.

Downpayment

You can secure a 30-year fixed rate conventional loan with as little as three percent down, and the more you can bring, the better. A 25 percent downpayment can convince Fannie Mae to forgive a lot of trespasses.

Cash Reserves

Borrowers with high credit scores and low DTI have probably never come face to face with the cash reserve question. People who are a little lower down the credit ladder may be asked to provide a reserve fund that’s equal to a certain number of months’ payments, including insurance and taxes. The bigger the fund you can produce, to a point, the less of a risk your low credit score becomes.

All of that being said, the lowest score Fannie Mae will accept this year (because the loan guidelines can change yearly), is 620. However, at 620, you’ll have to have a fixed rate loan, have a DTI under 36 percent and bring a 25 percent downpayment.

Here’s a chart to break this down into something a bit easier to digest:

Eligibility Matrix for Standard Conventional Purchase Loans

Credit-Eligibility-For-Conventional-Home-loan.jpg

As you can see, your credit score is just one piece of the puzzle when it comes to qualifying for a conventional loan. The lender will take a variety of factors into consideration when deciding if you’re a good fit for this loan product. Now that you know what to expect and what factors will make the most difference on your application, get out there and lower your DTI and work on your credit score so you’re a shoe in for a conventional mortgage!