The FHA usually requires two lines of credit for qualifying applicants. An FHA loan might make the difference between owning your dream house comfortably and turning it into a financial nightmare.

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FHA.com is a privately owned website, is not a government agency, and does not make loans.

Credit Requirements for FHA Loans

Good Credit History Makes it Easier to Qualify

FHA loans provide great assistance to many first-time homebuyers by offering mortgage loans with lower down payments. While this is a benefit for many people, recent changes in policy may have put the loans just out of reach for some would-be homeowners with questionable credit history.

Credit History and Score Requirements

FICO Scores

For those interested in applying for an FHA loan, applicants are now required to have a minimum FICO score of 580 to qualify for the low down payment advantage, which is currently at around 3.5 percent.

If your credit score is below 580, however, you aren't necessarily excluded from FHA loan eligibility. Applicants with lower credit scores will have to put down a 10 percent down payment if they want to qualify for a loan.

So if you're planning to buy a house, and your credit score doesn't meet the minimum, you should weigh the advantages and disadvantages of putting down a larger down payment or using those funds to try and improve your credit score first.

Benefits of an FHA Loan

The reason why FHA loans are so popular is because borrowers that use them are able to take advantage of benefits and protections unavailable with most traditional mortgage loans. Loans through the FHA are insured by the agency, so lenders are more lenient. Here are a few benefits you can enjoy with an FHA loan:

  • Easier to Qualify
    While most loans exclude applicants with questionable credit history and low credit scores, the FHA makes loans available with lower requirements so its easier for you to qualify.
  • Competitive Interest Rates
    You've heard the horror stories of subprime borrowers who couldn't keep up with their mortgage interest rates. Well, FHA loans usually offer lower interest rates to help homeowners afford housing payments.
  • Lower Fees
    In addition to lower interest rates, you can also enjoy lower costs on other fees like closing costs, mortgage insurance and others.
  • Bankruptcy / Foreclosure
    Just because you've filed for bankruptcy or suffered a foreclosure in the past few years doesn't mean you're excluded from qualifying for an FHA loan. As long as you meet other requirements that satisfy the FHA, such as re-establishment of good credit, solid payment history, etc., you can still qualify.
  • No Credit
    The FHA usually requires two lines of credit for qualifying applicants. If you don't have a sufficient credit history, you can try to qualify through a substitute form.

For many homebuyers, using an FHA loan can really make the difference between owning your dream house comfortably or turning it into a financial nightmare. The FHA provides a wealth of benefits for applicants that qualify, so make sure you're making full use of them.

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FHA Loan Articles and Mortgage News

Get to Know the FHA Reverse Mortgages

April 6, 2024 - The FHA reverse mortgage is an option for these qualifying applicants that lets the borrower take cash at closing time on a loan that is not due until the borrower dies, sells the home, or stops using it as the primary residence.

Are FHA Loans a Good Idea?

April 5, 2024 - FHA mortgages are a good idea for borrowers who want to save money upfront on the mortgage and ideally have FICO scores of 580 or better. Those with FICO scores below 580 should work on credit and other financials before applying for a loan.

Housing Outlook Improves in First Quarter

April 4, 2024 - Trying to time your commitment to a specific day doesn't make sense when rates dip lower. Why? Because you can’t get an interest rate lock commitment from the lender until you are ready to commit to a specific property you want to buy.

What to Know When Hiring a Rehab Contractor

April 3, 2024 - If you buy a fixer-upper with an FHA loan, you must hire contractors to do the labor. There are some general guidelines about this process all borrowers should know before committing. Don’t consider unlicensed contractors. Your lender can’t approve a loan under such circumstances.

What Finance Blogs Say About FHA Loans

April 2, 2024 - There are lots of finance and mortgage-related publications. Some of these discuss FHA loan guidelines with varying degrees of accuracy. Here are some facts--and corrections--about FHA loans as published by others.