Applying for a mortgage for the first time can be nerve-wracking, especially when you're unsure if your credit score is good enough. Do you have to have a credit score higher than 800? (Answer: No.) Can you get one if your credit score isn't what it could be? Maybe...keep reading!
A good credit score for a mortgage is usually considered to be above 700. However, the specific credit score that you will need to qualify for a mortgage will depend on several factors, including the type of mortgage you are applying for, the lender you're working with, and the specific terms of the mortgage. In general, the higher your credit score, the more likely you are to be approved for a mortgage and to secure a favorable interest rate.
Why Your Credit Score Matters
Your credit score is a measure of your creditworthiness and financial responsibility. It's based on information in your credit report, which is a record of your credit activity. Your lender will use your credit score to evaluate your credit risk and determine whether it's worth offering you a mortgage.
A high credit score not only will make it easier to get approved for a mortgage, but it will also help you secure more favorable interest rates that can save you an enormous amount of money over the years. On the other hand, a low credit score can make it difficult to get approved for the loan you want and can result in higher interest rates and fees.
Your credit score is an important factor in your financial life, so it's important to manage your credit responsibly and work to maintain a good credit score. This includes paying your bills on time, using credit responsibly, and checking your credit reports regularly to ensure that the information contained in them is accurate.
What You Can Expect With Your Credit Score
Here's a general guide to credit scores and their corresponding mortgage approval rates:
- Credit scores above 800: You have an excellent chance of being approved for a mortgage with a credit score in this range. You're likely to secure the most favorable interest rates and fees.
- Credit scores between 720 and 799: You have a good chance of being approved for a mortgage with a credit score in this range. You may be able to secure a favorable interest rate and fees.
- Credit scores between 680 and 719: You'll probably be able to obtain a mortgage with a credit score in this range, but you may face higher interest rates and fees.
- Credit scores between 620 and 679: You may be able to obtain a mortgage with a credit score in this range, but you'll face higher interest rates and fees.
- Credit scores below 620: You'll have difficulty obtaining a mortgage with a credit score in this range. If you're able to secure a mortgage, you'll face higher interest rates and fees.
These are general guidelines, and the specific credit score requirements will vary depending on your lender and the type of mortgage you're seeking. You'll also need to fulfill other requirements to qualify for a mortgage, such as having appropriate income and/or assets and a favorable debt-to-income ratio for the amount you want to borrow. It is always a good idea to check with multiple lenders to compare mortgage offers and to work with a lender that understands all the requirements for the mortgage you are seeking.
How to Raise Your Credit Score
Could your credit score stand a little TLC? There are several steps you can take to improve it so you can get the best terms possible for your mortgage:
- Pay your bills on time: Late payments can have a significant negative impact on your credit score. Make sure to pay all of your bills on time, including credit card bills, student loans, and other debts.
- Use credit responsibly: Avoid maxing out your credit cards or using a large portion of your available credit. Instead, try to keep your credit utilization (the amount of credit you are using relative to the amount of credit you have available) as low as possible.
- Don't apply for too much new credit: Every time you apply for new credit, it can have a negative impact on your credit score. Try to limit the number of credit applications you make and only apply for credit when you really need it.
- Check your credit reports: Make sure that the information on your credit reports is accurate and up-to-date. If you find any errors, dispute them with the credit bureau and the lender.
- Consider asking for professional help: If you have serious credit issues, you may want to consider working with a credit counselor to help you improve your credit score. At Hanscom FCU, we offer free credit report and score reviews* and we'll show you what you need to do to get your credit score in tip-top shape.
Remember, improving your credit score takes time, so be patient and continue to manage your credit responsibly. With consistent effort, you should be able to improve your credit score over time and get approved for a mortgage.
*Note that Hanscom FCU's Credit Score and Report Review requires a hard pull on your credit, which will temporarily reduce your credit score.
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