Is there an ideal credit score for buying a house?

Asked by Nottimburton, San Jose, CA Wed Feb 8, 2012

If so, what is it?

Help the community by answering this question:

+ web reference
Web reference:


stephen webb…, Agent, Kirkland, WA
Thu Jun 27, 2013
Your Credit May Not Be As Bad As You Think,

By Stephen Webber Retired After 34 Years of Real Estate For First Time Home Buyers

Most importantly don’t do anything until your loan officer looks it over with you. So many times people do what would seem like a good idea; pay off a past due or pay off a credit card and close the account to later discover they actually lowered their rating.

Loan officers work with credit continually and many times can suggest a notification or two and presto the rating is up. Maybe there is a late pay that didn’t happen or maybe should have fallen of the report months earlier.

They have a very strong incentive. They can’t make a loan unless the credit is acceptable so the experienced loan officers know their stuff.

An article that will serve you well is '#13 Consultation Interviewing Loan Officers' at Your Road Also article #5 Your Credit and Financing Your Home.

Choose your loan officer before you allow anyone to fix or monitor your credit. Your loan type will dictate the required rating. Once you know exactly what needs to happen you can direct the requirements, establish a time line and plan your next step.

The shortest path to owning your home.

Most importantly;
Don’t let anything or anyone deter you from your goal of owning your home.

Best of Luck, Stephen Webber Retired After 34 Years of Real Estate For First Time Home Buyers
Web Reference:
1 vote
James Mauldw…, Agent, Saratoga, CA
Wed Feb 8, 2012
If your credit is good or average you will have many options. First step is to talk to a mortgage banker.

Jim Mauldwin
Intero Real Estate
Web Reference:
1 vote
Bob Willett, , Sacramento, CA
Wed Feb 8, 2012
There is no “ideal” score unless it’s 850 – this highest you can get, and higher is always better. (It’s kinda like having a truck that will pull 4,000 pounds when the most you will ever pull will be 2,000.)

What everyone wrote is correct; a 740 (760 on Jumbo) is the score that will get you the best terms on conventional financing. FHA it’s 640 or 680 depending on the investor, and there is not usually an advantage for higher scores as far as rates go.

The one thing I didn’t see mentioned it he issue of depth. It is possible to have a mid-700s credit score with only one 6-month old account. Most conventional lenders will require that there be three lines of credit that are 12 months old or more. Also, having a disputed account can cause issues regardless of the score because most investors will consider that the score is not reliable because the disputed account may not be considered.
Web Reference:
1 vote
Mitchell Pea…, Agent, San Jose, CA
Wed Feb 8, 2012

To clarify the previous 4 answers:

1. The middle of the tri-merge report (Transunion, Equifax, and Experion) credit score of the weakest buyer will be the score used to qualify.

2. You can get a conforming loan with a credit score as low as 620, but at much higher interest rate and with mortgage insurance through FHA if you are going to live in the home.

3. If you are going to live in the home, you can get a conforming loan at up to 97% loan to value.

4. Conforming loans are up to $625,000 unless with FHA where you can go to $729,000 with the higher credit scores or really good excuses for lower credit scores.

5. Jumbo loans are above the amounts described in the previous paragraphs, any you will need AT LEAST 20% down with credit scores above 740 and 30% down with credit scores above 700 and 40% down with credit scores above 680. (These are rough guidelines, not absolutes.)

Hope this helps. You can reach me off line to discuss your particular loan prospects by calling me at 408-639-0211 or writing me at I hope you find and buy the home that fits your dreams and your needs.

Mitchell Pearce, realtor and mortgage loan officer
1 vote
Norman Aless…, Agent, San Jose, CA
Wed Feb 8, 2012
Colleen has given you great advice, I have used her before and my buyers were very satisfied. If you need a realtor to assist you drop me a line.
At your service,
Certified Distressed Property Expert
DRE# 01397256
1 vote
Colleen Loop, , Saratoga, CA
Wed Feb 8, 2012
If your score is 740 or higher you will receive the best pricing on interst rates. You can still get a loan with a lower score but the rate will be slightly higher. Your credit report needs to be a tri-merge report, pulling from all three bureas. The mid score is what is used to qualify. Hope this helps.
1 vote
Kelly Miller, Home Owner, Santa Ana, CA
Mon Feb 10, 2014
Credit scores range from about 300 to 850. Consumers should regularly review their credit reports to make sure there are no errors on them. An applicant has things to clear up financially before being able to achieve a good credit score.
0 votes
John Arendsen, Agent, Leucadia, CA
Sun Feb 19, 2012
The lowest that I know of for any type of reasonable financing is 600. But if I were you and given the current market conditions, I'd opt out until my credit was pristine and I was in control of my own destiny and the power of negotiation was in my court.
0 votes
Noel Smith, , Boise, ID
Thu Feb 9, 2012
Hi -

To get premium rates:

660 for FHA, USDA, and VA.

740 Conventional.

620 is typically the lowest the majority of investors will go.
0 votes
Ruth and Per…, Agent, Los Gatos, CA
Thu Feb 9, 2012
Hi Nottimburton

740+ will give you the best rate.

720and plus to get a loan at a reasonable rate.

620 plus for FHA.

Good luck.
0 votes
Mark Doring, Agent, Coconut Creek, FL
Thu Feb 9, 2012
740 and up will get you the best rates available.
0 votes
Victor Chanc…, Agent, Holton, KS
Thu Feb 9, 2012
I was in a meeting yesterday put on by a lender and they said 640 will get you any loan that you want.
0 votes
Andrea Wince…, Agent, Milpitas, CA
Thu Feb 9, 2012
I would say about 740 would be ideal but a credit score is not the only factor for ability to purchase a home. Having at least a 20% down payment (or higher is "ideal") will exclude you from the lenders "risk" category, strengthen your personal financial wealth by going in with instant equity, and also exclude you from having to pay monthly mortgage insurance (PMI). In addition to a healthy down payment, appropriate income is important as well as low debt ratio.
0 votes
Taylor Grant, Agent, Fort Collins, CO
Wed Feb 8, 2012
The fastest shortest answer is: 760+ is the top tier. The better answer is: a combination of credit score and ability to pay (including reserve amounts in 401K, savings, CDs, bonds, etc) = the best rate possible and the most probable that you will qualify for the best rates you see advertised.
0 votes
Steve Chin, , California
Wed Feb 8, 2012
Most lenders offer their best rates to borrowers with a mid-score(middle score of the 3 credit bureaus) of 740. Lenders will still lend with a mid-score as low as 620 but the rate will be slightly higher. Keep in mind that your fico score is only one factor that goes into determining your rate. If you are concerned that your scores may be low there are steps that you can do to improve it.

Steve Chin
0 votes
Ricky Ablaza, Agent, Milpitas, CA
Wed Feb 8, 2012
Hi Notimburton,

Conforming, greater than 80LTV need 660+
if credit score is below 680 then max DTI is 41% not 45%
740 has no restrictions.
600 i think is lowest for FHA

Non-conf,700-720 is good.
changes for cash out or investment prop.
10 point score exception is possible.

If you need more information call me at 408-316-0793 or email me at
0 votes
Gabriel Nguy…, , Campbell, CA
Wed Feb 8, 2012
Hi Nottimburton,

Thanks for giving us an opportunity to answer your question. Well, as you might already know, you can buy a home with credit score below 700. However, the higher score you have, the lower DTI (debt-to-income) ratio, the lower rate and easy to qualify you will get.

If you need to get pre-approval letter prior to start looking for house, please give me a call at 408-426-1441 and I will hook you up with lender and get you pre-approval letter at no cost to you. Also, FYI, I do not do loan, but people I do business with can and will get you lowest cost at close escrow, guaranteed!


Gabriel Nguyen
1-STOP Realty Group
900 E. Hamilton Ave.#100
Campbell, CA 95008
Web Reference:
0 votes
Gregorio Den…, , San Diego, CA
Wed Feb 8, 2012
Actually, 740 if the number for conforming loans, 760 for Jumbo. You will incur the least adjustments to pricing with these scores.
Web Reference:  http://WeFixRates.Com
0 votes
charles butt…, Agent, san jose, CA
Wed Feb 8, 2012
Thank you for that question, Notimburton:

Bill McCord gave you an excellent answer.

Essentially the higher your credit score, the better your chances for getting financing in this very restrictive lending environment.

There are programs available for people with lower credit scores than 720, buy they are more difficult to get financing, and you need to be working with a very good, experienced loan officer if you are to be successful..

Thank you,
Charles Butterfield MBA
Real Estate Broker/REALTOR
American Realty
Cell Phone: (4080509-6218
Fax: (408)269-3597
Email Address:
0 votes
Bill Mccord, Agent, San Jose, CA
Wed Feb 8, 2012
Average 720 or more across all 3 Credit reports and you will have minimal problems. Are you fully aware that this is just one of many qualifying requirements?
Good luck, Bill
0 votes
Search Advice
Ask our community a question

Email me when…

Learn more