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8 min read Nov 10, 2022

How to Get a Mortgage with Bad Credit

How to get a Mortgage with Bad Credit

If you’re interested in buying a house, you may be worried about whether your credit score is high enough to get a home loan. Finding a home loan with bad credit can be a daunting task. First, the good news is that it’s possible to get a mortgage with bad credit. But your options may be limited. You might not get the best rates or mortgage terms. There are multiple mortgage options available for people with bad credit. 

Here’s everything you need to know about mortgages with bad credit-

What’s considered a Bad Credit Score?

The ideal definition of a bad credit score varies between different lenders. But, as a rule of thumb, the FICO scoring model considers scores below 580 to be “poor” or “bad.” If you’re looking for a loan with a credit score beneath 620, it may be considered a low-credit loan.

Here’s how the categories usually fall:

Excellent credit 720 and above
Good credit690-719
Fair credit630-689
Bad Credit300-629

Types of Mortgages for Bad Credit

Here are some types of mortgages for borrowers with bad credit:

Type of LoansMinimum Credit Score
Conventional Loans 620
FHA Loans500
VA Loans580
USDA Loans640

Conventional Loans

A conventional loan is built specifically for residential properties and these loans are made available by mortgage lenders (credit unions, banks, etc). Conventional loan providers service their loans, which means that they collect monthly installments and would seek foreclosure if a default occurs. 

In contrast to USDA or FHA loans, conventional loans are not guaranteed by the government. Moreover, a mortgage must abide by the lending guidelines established by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae in order to be categorized as a conventional mortgage. 

» How to buy a house with Bad Credit: Check out how you can buy a house with a bad credit score!

Conventional Loan Prerequisites

The down payment prerequisite might vary based on each individual. It might depend on your personal situation, the kind of loan you’re looking for, etc. If you’re a first-time home buyer, it is possible to get a mortgage at a low rate. You can get as low as 3%. 

First-time homebuyers may be able to obtain a standard mortgage with a down payment of as little as 3%. However, depending on your individual circumstances, the sort of loan or property you’re buying, and other factors, the down payment need may change:

  • The required down payment is 5% if you are not a first-time home buyer and your income is less than 80% of the local median income.
  • You might need to put down 15% if the property you’re buying has more than one unit and isn’t a single-family residence.
  • The down payment for a second house must be at least 10%.
  • The minimal down payment necessary for an adjustable-rate mortgage is 5%.

You may determine whether your down payment amount will impact your future monthly payments using a mortgage calculator.

Types of Conventional Loans

There are two types of conventional loans: conforming and non-conforming loans. Conforming loans are ones that meet the criteria for lending established by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. 

Non-conforming loans, the second type of conventional loan, do not adhere to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac lending criteria, making it difficult for the lender to sell them fast. 

FHA Mortgages

A Federal Housing Administration loan is a government-backed mortgage loan that typically allows you to buy a home with looser financial requirements.

You may be able to purchase a home with an FHA loan thanks to its lenient financial standards. If you have debt or a low credit score, you might be eligible for an FHA loan. Also, you might be able to acquire an FHA loan even with bankruptcy or other financial issues on your record,

Although FHA loans feature reduced minimum credit score requirements and low down payment alternatives, you will still have to pay mortgage insurance.

Although you don’t have to be a first-time home buyer to qualify, FHA loans might be particularly appealing for first-time home buyers due to the possibility of a low down payment and more relaxed credit standards. The following are some advantages of FHA loans:

  • In comparison to other loans, there are fewer credit score restrictions.
  • A smaller down payment may be accepted by your lender.
  • If you had a bankruptcy or other financial difficulties in your past, you can still be eligible for an FHA loan.
  • Frequently, FHA closing expenses can be incorporated into your loan.

FHA Loan Requirements

There are certain requirements that you must meet if you are to qualify for FHA Loans: 

  • An FHA-approved appraiser must evaluate the house you are considering.
  • Your prospective home must be your primary residence in order to qualify for a new FHA loan and it cannot be an investment asset or a second home.
  • You must move into the house within 60 days of closing. 
  • There must be an inspection, and the inspection must document whether the property satisfies the required minimum criteria. 

VA Loans 

Veteran Affairs or VA loans are loans for military service members. It is a government loan backed by the US Department of Veteran Affairs.  Eligible veterans can avail of this loan option. If you are a veteran or are currently serving in the military, you are eligible for a VA loan. If you are a surviving spouse, you can too get a VA loan. When you are looking to purchase or refinance, VA loans allow you to get a mortgage at a low-interest rate. Even if you have a bad credit score.

Qualification for VA Loan 

VA loans are alluring for people who fit the eligibility criteria as they don’t generally need a down payment. Moreover, they have lower interest rates than similar mortgages for the same term period. Also, you don’t need to pay monthly mortgage insurance. 

Everyone who has served in Army is not eligible. To fit the criteria you must need to have at least one of the following things- 

  • Have fulfilled 181 days of active duty during peacetime.
  • Must have completed 90 days in a row of active duty during wartime.
  • You need to have served the 90 days of the Title 32 duty, with at least 30 of those days being consecutive, or more than 6 years of service in the National Guard or Reserves.
  • You are the spouse of a service member who lost their lives on duty or as a result of a service-connected disability. 
Types of VA LoansDescription

Purchase Home Loan 
A standard mortgage backed by the VA
NADL Program (Native American Direct Loan) If you are a Native American Veteran or are married to a Native American and you are eligible, then you can opt for this program.
IRRL (Interest Rate Reduction Loan)Have a mortgage that is currently VA-backed? To lower or stabilize your monthly payments, see if you qualify for an IRRRL supported by the VA.
Cash-out refinance LoanWant to withdraw money from your home equity to settle debt, fund a purchase, or meet other needs? Find out if you qualify for a cash-out refinance loan that is backed by the VA.


The United States Department of Agriculture offers USDA loans, which are intended for people who want to buy a house in a rural location. For low-income people living in specified rural areas, a USDA home loan is a cost-effective mortgage alternative that helps make buying a home more reasonable.

Due to the government’s support, mortgage lenders can frequently provide interest rates lower than those of conventional loans. Also, you can purchase a property with zero down payment if you meet the requirements, but you’ll still have to pay closing costs.

Types of USDA Loans:

  1. Direct Loan: They are issued for low-income borrowers with an interest rate of 1%.
  2. Loan Guarantees: Loan guarantees are types of loans issued by participating lenders. They offer low-interest rates and minimal down payment, at times as low as 0%.
  3. Home improvement loans: Improvement loans are given to make repairs and improvements to qualified homeowners.

USDA Loan Eligibility Pre-requisites

To be eligible for a USDA construction loan or be qualified for a USDA loan to buy a home, a home buyer must meet specific USDA eligibility conditions. For instance, the house must be your primary home and you must reside there. Here is a summary of the other prerequisites.

USDA loans make home ownership more economical for those who live in qualifying rural areas. Furthermore, you will still have to pay closing costs, but if you are eligible, you’ll probably get a lower rate of interest and won’t be making a down payment.

USDA loans are only available to families who can illustrate economic requirements, therefore, your total income cannot exceed 115% of the area’s median income. And. you can check your income eligibility in the same place where you check asset eligibility.

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