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What FICO® Score Do You Need to Qualify for a Mortgage?

What FICO® Score Do You Need to Qualify for a Mortgage? | MyKCM

While a recent announcement from CNBC shares that the average national FICO® score has reached an all-time high of 706, the good news for potential buyers is that you don’t need a score that high to qualify for a mortgage. Let’s unpack the credit score myth so you can to become a homeowner sooner than you may think.

With today’s low interest rates, many believe now is a great time to buy – and rightfully so! Fannie Mae recently noted that 58% of Americans surveyed say it is a good time to buy. Similarly, the Q3 2019 HOME Survey by the National Association of Realtors said 63% of people believe now is a good time to buy a home. Unfortunately, fear and misinformation often hold qualified and motivated buyers back from taking the leap into homeownership.

According to the same CNBC article,

“For the first time, the average national credit score has reached 706, according to FICO®, the developer of one of the most commonly used scores by lenders.”

This is great news, as it means Americans are improving their credit scores and building toward a stronger financial future, especially after the market tumbled during the previous decade. With today’s strong economy and increasing wages, many Americans have had the opportunity to improve their credit over the past few years, driving this national average up.

Since Americans with stronger credit are now entering the housing market, we are seeing an increase in the FICO® Score Distribution of Closed Loans (see graph below):What FICO® Score Do You Need to Qualify for a Mortgage? | MyKCMBut hang on – don’t forget that this does not mean you need a FICO® score over 700 to qualify for a mortgage. Here’s what Experian, the global leader in consumer and business credit reporting, says:

FHA Loan: “FHA loans are ideal for those who have less-than-perfect credit and may not be able to qualify for a conventional mortgage loan. The size of your required down payment for an FHA loan depends on the state of your credit score: If your credit score is between 500 and 579, you must put 10% down. If your credit score is 580 or above, you can put as little as 3.5% down (but you can put down more if you want to).”

Conventional Loan: “It’s possible to get approved for a conforming conventional loan with a credit score as low as 620, although some lenders may look for a score of 660 or better.”

USDA Loan“While the USDA doesn’t have a set credit score requirementmost lenders offering USDA-guaranteed mortgages require a score of at least 640.”

VA Loan: “As with income levels, lenders set their own minimum credit requirements for VA loan borrowers. Lenders are likely to check credit scores as part of their screening process, and most will set a minimum score, or cutoff, that loan applicants must exceed to be considered.”

Bottom Line

As you can see, plenty of loans are granted to buyers with a FICO® score that is lower than the national average. If you’d like to understand the next steps to take when determining your credit score, let’s get together so you can learn more.

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Jeff Duneske

With over 20 years of real estate experience, a career volume of over $250 million, over 1,000 properties sold, Jeff Duneske, broker/ owner of Duneske Real Estate Advisors at Keller Williams Advantage, has a lot to be proud of. However, his greatest source of pride is his honor: Jeff has built his business — and thrived in the industry — by instilling his clients’ trust.“ I have always said that we meet our clients at the crossroads of life and change — that we can make a difference, earn their trust and help our clients during this change.” “Knowing that I have earned the trust of over 1,000 clients and the privilege of guiding them through one of life’s largest financial transactions to achieve the American Dream is by far the greatest reward of my business.” Jeff was born and raised in Novi and earned the distinguished rank of Eagle Scout when he was 15 years old. In 1996, Jeff graduated from Novi High School and The Oakland Fire Academy and was intent on becoming a full-time firefighter. After serving as an auxiliary firefighter and EMT in Novi and Walled Lake for several years and not landing a full-time position on the force, Jeff decided to shift gears and find another professional path where he could help people and began his real estate career in 2000. Having been the #1 agent or team at various brokerages over his career, as well as the #1 team at Keller Williams Advantage and the #4 team in the Michigan-Ohio region of Keller Williams International in 2019, Jeff has certainly demonstrated his drive to reach for the sky and his commitment to his clients. “We never rest on our laurels, and we’re always improving our current systems — and implementing new systems — to boost efficiency and assure stellar service.” Jeff, who has served on the Professional Standards Committee for the past nine years, embraces a strong mindset to persistently achieve his goals without compromising his morals, standards, or ethics for anyone or any transaction. “You must uphold your standards because if you don’t uphold them, you have no standards at all.” “I run my life and my business by The Golden Rule: Treat others the way you would like to be treated.” Jeff’s noble purpose — conducting his business with the highest morals, ethics, and standards — has led him to a successful real estate career. More importantly, his ethical and moral standards have enriched his life and the lives of others in immeasurable ways … and because Jeff does not waver, he will continue to lead with purpose, honor, and great promise.

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