For first time home buyers, what credit score is required?

Asked by Jasmine Newby, Las Vegas, NV Wed Feb 1, 2012

I have no car nor home loans out. I currently have 1 major credit card w/ 2 store credit cards. I have student loans that I'm paying every month on. I'm going to open a secured credit card through the bank that I'm banking with on my next paycheck from work. I'm tired of renting an apartment and want to own my own house. Please give me advice on what to do to start the process of looking for a home for my family and I. Thank you.

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Wed Feb 12, 2014
As a rule of thumb, however, a credit score below 640 will make buying a home very difficult. A FICO score below 640 is considered sub-prime. In the past there were mortgage companies that specialized in sub-prime mortgages. Because of the challenges in the credit market over the last year or so, however, sub-prime loans have become difficult if not impossible to obtain.

A FICO score between 620 and 650 is considered fair to good credit. But keep in mind, this range of credit scores does not guarantee you will qualify for a mortgage, and if you do qualify, it won’t get you the lowest interest rate possible. Still, to buy a home aim for a score of at least 640, recognizing that other factors weigh in the decision and that some banks may require a higher score.

Information used to calculate your credit score can include:

the number and type of accounts you have (credit cards, auto loans, mortgages, etc.);
whether you pay your bills on time;
how much of your available credit you are currently using;
whether you have any collection actions against you;
the amount of your outstanding debt; and
the age of your accounts.

Joel Lobb
Senior Loan Officer

American Mortgage Solutions, Inc.
800 Stone Creek Pkwy, Ste 7,
Louisville, KY 40223

phone: (502) 905-3708
Fax: (502) 327-9119
2 votes
Credit: Most lenders want a 640 credit score, however there are some lenders now doing FHA loans down to a 620 score with no bankruptcies in the last 2 years and no foreclosures in the last 3 years. You have three fico scores and they will throw out the high and low score and take the middle score of the lowest between both borrowers. They take the lowest of both borrower's middle score.
Flag Mon Jul 4, 2016
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Sat Feb 11, 2012
Credit scores get a lot of press because they are easy to determine, but they are not the deciding factor, only the minimum threshold. The AUS and underwriters look at the application as a whole, so you could meet the minimum credit score and still not be approved. Have your Realtor introduce you to the loan officer they trust the most. Gather all of the support documents that will be needed to apply for a loan and meet with the LO face-to-face, have them walk you through the process and options available, good luck, home this helps,
1 vote
Deav, Home Buyer, Fort Lauderdale, FL
Tue Apr 11, 2017
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0 votes
Hank Wilson, Agent, Bowling Green, KY
Sun Feb 23, 2014
First thing to do is get with a local mortgage company to see what you can qualify for. Every situation is different and I qualified and purchased my first home with outstanding student loan debt and average credit. The only way to really know is to talk to an expert and get information ahead of time. The desire to own is the first step, and a good one at that. Good luck!
0 votes
Chad Roberts, Agent, Henderson, NV
Sun Feb 23, 2014
The swift answer is contact a lender to qualify for financing. There is not one set score that determines your eligibility as many factors play a part. A general range is 620-650, but it can be determined by your type of financing for the loan, among other considerations.

Chad Roberts
Realty One Group
0 votes
Jesse Lawler, Mortgage Broker Or Lender, 92653
Wed Feb 12, 2014
Hi Jasmine,

We have FHA programs available for FICO scores as low as 500! With that being said, FHA purchase options (and any loan options) become much more appealing when you credit is higher. Our credit bench marks are set at 500, 580, 620, 640, 680, and 720. At each credit bracket, your options will look more appealing in regards to the available rates and lender credit for closing costs.

I counsel all of my clients with suggestions on how to improve their credit scores (if needed). One of the options I often suggest is a secured credit card. So you may be one the right track.

I would like the opportunity to review your situation and give you some advise on what things should be done to boost your score and get you qualify for a home purchase. I also have down payment assistance programs, which offer up to a 5% free grant for your down payment and closing cost. Call or email me for more information.


0 votes
Hey Jasmine,

Additionally, as you can see from the other posts, credit scores are not the only deciding factor in purchasing a home. Employment history, debt-to-income ratios, assets, etc., are all used in determining eligibility for financing. Let me know how I can help!

Flag Wed Feb 12, 2014
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Wed Feb 1, 2012

Most lenders will require a minimum 620 middle credit score but just in case your score falls below this minimum, I can still provide financing. There are a few factors that play into getting pre-approved, some of which were already mentioned in the responses before mine.

You must have at least 2 years history of the same line of employment, acceptable debt to income ratios, down payment... basically it is best to consult with a lender to better understand your scenario and determine which loan program and monthly payment best suits your needs.

You can contact me direct at 702.324.2377

Eugene Prospero
Mortgage Consultant
All Western Mortgage
0 votes
Susan Frush-…, Agent, Henderson, NV
Wed Feb 1, 2012
Hi Jasmine,
There are many variables that lenders look for in addition to your credit score and there are quite a few options for first time home buyers right now. You will definately need to be pre-approved for a loan prior to making an offer and I would highly recommend seeking the advice of loan officer who will be able to tell you whether or not you qualify for a loan and what your options may be. As you are located in Las Vegas, I would recommend that you contact Kellie Saari at IMortgage ( We have worked together for many years and I have closed every transaction that she has been involved in. If I can be of any further assistance, please feel free to contact me at or call me at (702) 321-0131 and I would be very happy to answer any other questions you may have.
0 votes
Steve Mikrut, Agent, Henderson, NV
Wed Feb 1, 2012
There are several loan products (FHA, Homepath, Conventional, etc.) and each of them have their own requirements as far as credit scores, down payment, work history, income to debt ratio, etc. Your best bet is to call a lender (I have an awesome one if you'd like--very knowledgeable and trustworthy) and have them run your credit, etc. They can give you the best information as far as what you qualify for and, if you don't qualify NOW, what you can do to qualify in the future and what kind of time frame you are dealing with. If you have any other questions on how to get this process started please give me a call. I'd love to assist you in purchasing a home.
0 votes
Myra Gouger, Agent, Las Vegas, NV
Wed Feb 1, 2012
You need a minimum of a 620 credit score. In addition to that, you have to have a low debt to income ratio, 2 years of job history preferably with the same company or in the same industry and several months of bank statements showing that you make the money you say you do. Myra Gouger / Realty ONE / 702-858-9311 /
0 votes
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