credit score to buy a house


When it comes to the credit score you need to buy a house, in general, the higher your credit score, the better. That said, you don’t need a perfect credit score to buy a house. 

Thinking of buying a house some day? There’s so much to consider when you decide to start house shopping, not the least of which is whether you can even qualify for a mortgage based on your credit score. I recently bought a home despite being saddled with student loan debt and a pretty OK credit score.

Your credit score will have an impact on your mortgage in two ways: (1) to see whether you qualify for a mortgage at all and (2) to calculate how much you’ll pay in interest on your mortgage. The higher your credit score, the more likely you’ll be approved for a mortgage. Similarly, the higher your credit score, the lower the interest you’ll pay on your mortgage. 

The credit score you need to buy a house largely depends on the kind of loan you are seeking. In addition, the required credit score will vary by lender. Here’s a generalized break down of what credit score you’ll need to buy a house by each of the mortgage loan types:


Conventional Mortgage

For a conventional mortgage, you will most likely need a credit score of 620 or higher to qualify for a mortgage. The higher your score, the better interest rates will be available to you. A conventional mortgage is probably what you think of when you think of buying a home. Typically these mortgages are for 10-30 years and require a down payment of 20%. 

FHA Loans

For FHA loans, the credit score limits are a little less strict than for conventional loans. You’ll need a credit score of 580 to qualify to be able to make a down payment of only 3.5%. If you do not have a credit score of 580, you aren’t necessarily excluded from getting an FHA loan, but you may have to make a down payment of 10% of the purchase price of the home. FHA loans are designed to help borrowers buy homes even though they may not be able to afford a 20% down payment and or if they have a lower credit score. They’re insured by the Federal Housing Administration and are fairly popular with first time home buyers. With an FHA loan, you’ll have to pay for monthly mortgage insurance. 

VA Loans: what credit score do I need to buy a house?

For VA loans, there actually isn’t a set number of credit score that you’ll need to buy a house. As a general rule of thumb, your loan likely won’t be approved unless it is under 640. VA loans help servicemembers, veterans, and their spouses, become homeowners. VA guarantees a portion of the loan so that the lender can offer borrowers more favorable terms. 

Adjustable Rate Mortgage

For an adjustable rate mortgage, you’ll need a higher score than for a fixed rate mortgage, since you’ll be getting the benefit of a lower (but variable) interest rate. You’ll need a credit score of at least 680 with most lenders to get an adjustable rate mortgage. An adjustable rate mortgage is exactly what it sounds like– a mortgage where the interest rate periodically changes. It typically caps off at a certain amount on the high and low end (ex: pay as low as 2.75% some months, as high as 6.4% others). It usually starts with an interest rate below the market. 

Interest Only Mortgages

Interest only mortgages are also just what they sound like. You’ll pay only interest for a specified period of time and then later start making payments on the principle. The credit score you’ll need to buy a house with an interest only mortgage is typically on the higher end– 720 or above. 

Jumbo Mortgages: credit score needed to buy a house?

The typical credit score needed for a jumbo mortgage is 680, but some lenders may require an even higher score. That makes sense since a jumbo loan is typically for a home purchase price of $548,250 and above. You’ll also likely need more cash in the bank and a larger down payment than with conventional or other types of loans and you can also expect higher closing costs. A down payment for a jumbo mortgage is usually at least 20%. 


For a USDA loan, you’ll need a credit score of about 640 to buy a house. A USDA loan is a mortgage issued by the United States Department of Agriculture and requires no down payment for eligible rural home buyers. In addition to having a credit score of 640 above, you’ll have to meet other income limits. If your credit score is below 640, it doesn’t mean you won’t qualify for the loan, rather, it just won’t be as streamlined of a process. 

Ready to see what kind of mortgage and interest rates you could get? You can compare multiple interest rates from multiple lenders with no impact to your credit score here

credit score to buy a house

If you aren’t too familiar with how credit scores work, here’s a quick break down of what is considered “poor” credit up through what is considered “excellent” credit. The lower your credit score is, the less likely it is you’ll be able to get a mortgage to buy a house. 

Poor credit is a credit score under 580

Fair credit is between 580 and 669

Good credit is between 670 and 739

Very Good credit is between 740 and 799

Excellent credit is 800 and above.

Trying to pay off debt to increase your credit score so you can buy a house? Here’s what debt you should pay off first to raise your credit score. 

What is considered good credit to buy a house? 

A score above 680 will qualify you for most mortgage types. 680 is considered good credit to buy a house. Of course, anything above 680 is good. Again, the higher your credit score, the more likely you’ll qualify for a mortgage and you’ll also get better offers on interest rates. 

Can I get a mortgage with a 600 credit score?

You may qualify for a mortgage with a 600 credit score. That’s because your credit score just only one factor that comes into play when it comes to getting a mortgage. Lenders will also look at your income, debt to income ratio, whether you’ve recently applied for credit, whether you’ve filed for bankruptcy in the past, and assets you own. Essentially, what they are trying to figure out is how risky it appears giving you a mortgage is. 

Your credit score is important when it comes to buying a house, but it is not the only factor a lender will consider in issuing you a mortgage. The type of credit score you need to buy a house depends on the type of mortgage you are seeking. All things considered, a credit score of 680 or above is a good credit score to buy a house.

Ready to improve your credit score and achieve financial freedom? Grab our FREE guide, the Debt Payoff Starter Kit, here. 


credit score to buy a house

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