We see many credit reports with low credit scores (anything less than 620), and often many scores in the 500's. This is BAD credit. If you are one of the folks affected by this terrible economy, you have a low credit score and you have a dream of buying a home, here's some simple advice for you.
It is unlikely you could be approved for mortgage financing with that credit score at this time.
Beware of any mortgage professionals promising you an approval with such a low score. Wait on buying a home. I recommend you take the time to resolve your credit issues.
First, settle any outstanding debt. If you owe money on collection accounts, charge-offs and/or judgments, make payment arrangements and get these accounts paid promptly.
Next, begin rebuilding your credit. If you have current accounts with good payment histories, or even some previous late-payment-blemishes, make sure you continue to pay those accounts on time. If you do not have any existing credit accounts then you'll need to establish several in order to create a viable credit history.
I have found that CONSUMER ACTION is an excellent resource for objective advice on all things credit related. You'll find free and sincere advice on everything from settling collection accounts to rebuilding credit to building credit from scratch on their website.
Beware of anyone offering to "repair" your credit! The Federal Trade Commission issued a stern warning last year that such offers are scams. Find more from the FTC HERE.
The best way to buy a home is to have a decent credit history combined with sufficient Income and Assets for a home purchase.
The best way to have a decent credit history is to settle negative outstanding obligations and pay all your bills on time for at least two years.
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Here are some rules of thumb most lenders follow:
12 plus months positive credit will usually equal an A paper loan program, depending on the overall credit. FHA loans usually follow this guideline more often than conventional loans.
Unpaid Collections, judgments and charge offs must be paid prior to closing an A paper loan. The only exception is if the debt was due to the death of a primary wage earner, or the bill was a medical expense.
If a borrower has negotiated an acceptable payment plan, and has made on time payments for 6 to 12 months, a lender may not require a debt to be paid off prior to closing.
Credit items usually are reported for 7 years. Bankruptcies expire after 10 years.
Foreclosure - 5 years from the completion date. From the fifth to seventh year following the foreclosure completion date, the purchase of a principal residence is permitted with a minimum 10% down and 680 FICO score. The purchase of a second or investment property is not permitted for 7 years. Limited cash out refinances are permitted for all occupancy types.
Pre-foreclosure (Short Sale) - 2 years from the completion date (no exceptions or extenuating circumstances).
Deed-in-Lieu of Foreclosure - 4 year period from the date the deed-in-lieu is executed. From the fifth to the seventh year following the execution date the borrower may purchase a property secured by a principal residence, second home or investment property with the greater of 10 percent minimum down payment or the minimum down payment required for the transaction. Limited cash out and cash out refinance transactions secured by a principal residence, second home or investment property are permitted pursuant to the eligibility requirements in effect at that time.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy - A borrower is eligible for an A paper loan program 4 years after discharge or dismissal, provided they have reestablished credit and have maintained perfect credit after the bankruptcy.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy - 2 years from the discharge date or 4 years from the dismissal date.
Multiple Bankruptcies- 5 years from the most recent dismissal or discharge date for borrowers with more than one filing in the past 7 years.
The good credit of a co-borrower does not offset the bad credit of a borrower.
Credit scores usually range from 400 to 800. Changes to lending standards are occurring on a daily basis as a result of tightening lending standards, and can vary from lender-to-lender-- so this information should be considered simply a guideline. For conforming loans, most lenders will lend down to a FICO of 620, with additional rate hits for the lower-end credit scores and loan-to-values. When you are borrowing more than 80%, they typically will not lend if you have a FICO below 680. The FHA/VA program just changed their minimum required FICO to 620, unless you are qualifying a borrower with non-traditional credit. The few non-conforming loan programs that are still available typically require 30% down payment with a minimum FICO of 700 for self-employed and 650 for W-2 employees, and the loan-to-value will change with the loan amount.
Thanks so much,