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FHA Home Loan Credit Score Rules

FHA Home Loan Credit Score Rules

What do you need to know about FHA loan credit score rules? There are issues you can begin addressing very early in your FHA home loan planning process that can help you get closer to FHA loan approval; know these important rules before you apply.

If you need to improve your credit scores in order to get approved for an FHA mortgage, you’ll need to begin very early in the planning stages and NOT after you have turned in loan paperwork.

FHA Loan Credit Score Minimum Requirements

According to the FHA loan handbook, HUD 4000.1, the very lowest credit score you can have and still be considered for FHA loan approval is a FICO score of 500. That is the FHA minimum, and FICO scores below 500 are not eligible for an FHA loan.

FICO scores between 500 and 579 do not qualify for “maximum financing” and require a higher down payment.

FHA Minimum Credit Score Requirements For Maximum Financing

The FHA minimum FICO score for maximum financing is 580. Those with FICO scores of 580 or higher are, according to the FHA loan handbook, eligible to be considered for an FHA mortgage with a minimum down payment of 3.5% of the adjusted value of the home.

Those who have FICO scores between 500 and 579 are eligible to be considered for an FHA loan with a required minimum down payment of 10% of the adjusted value of the home.

FHA Down Payment Rules And Credit Scores

No matter what your FICO score is, if you qualify for an FHA forward mortgage, you will be required to make a minimum down payment of some kind, with the only exception being for FHA 203(h) loans for those in federally-declared disaster areas.

The minimum down payment rules state that your FHA home loan down payment is required separately from all other expenses on the transaction. That means you cannot count your appraisal fees, FHA lender fee, or other expenses as part of your down payment.

FHA Loan FICO Score Minimums Are Not The Only Standards To Be Met

The FHA loan FICO score requirements you see here are the minimum as established by the Federal Housing Administration. Your lender may have higher requirements, and this is permitted by the FHA loan program as long as those higher standards are applied in accordance with federal law.

FHA Lona FICO Score Requirements Are Not The Only Loan Approval Standard

It is a mistake to believe that your home loan will be approved or denied based solely on FICO score information. Your debt-to-income ratio, employment reliability, and history of debt repayment will all factor into the lender’s decision to approve your home loan.

Working on these issues should begin long before you turn in FHA loan application paperwork. It will take time to improve your debt-to-income ratio, establish a history of reliable payments, etc.

Joe Wallace - Staff Writer

By Joe Wallace

January 8, 2018

Joe Wallace has been specializing in military and personal finance topics since 1995. His work has appeared on Air Force Television News, The Pentagon Channel, ABC and a variety of print and online publications. He is a 13-year Air Force veteran and a member of the Air Force Public Affairs Alumni Association. He was Managing editor for for (8) years and is currently the Associate Editor for

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About was launched in 2010 by seasoned mortgage professionals wanting to educate homebuyers about the guidelines for FHA insured mortgage loans. Popular FHA topics include credit requirements, FHA loan limits, mortgage insurance premiums, closing costs and many more. The authors have written thousands of blogs specific to FHA mortgages and the site has substantially increased readership over the years and has become known for its “FHA News and Views”.

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