Credit Scores

FHA loans are insured by the Federal Housing Administration and conventional mortgages aren’t insured by a federal agency. Both types of loans have their advantages for any type of buyer..

FHA loans are easier to qualify for, with a minimum credit score of 580 to be eligible to make a 3.5% down payment. If your credit score is 500 to 579, you may qualify for an FHA loan with a 10% down payment.

Conventional loans typically require a credit score of 620 or higher. FHA loans have a minimum down payment of 3.5% for borrowers with credit scores of 580 or higher. Some conventional mortgages have a minimum down payment of 3% but require a credit score of 660 or 680, depending on how much you have left in savings after you close the loan.

Your debt-to-income ratio, or DTI, is the percentage of your monthly pretax income that you spend to pay your debts, including your mortgage, student loans, auto loans, child support and minimum credit card payments. The higher your DTI, the more likely you are to struggle with paying your bills.

Your debt-to-income ratio must be 50% or less to qualify for an FHA loan. Conventional loans allow debt-to-income ratios up to 50% in some cases, too. Even though lenders allow debt-to-income ratios that high, approval is more likely for mortgage borrowers with DTIs of 43% or less.

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