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FHA Home Loan Credit Requirements For First Time Home Buyers

FHA Home Loan Credit Requirements For First Time Home Buyers

First time home buyers and house hunters should know what the FHA loan requirements are for FICO scores, credit history, and factors that affect home loan approval for first time home loan applicants.

Are you buying your first home? Are you looking for down payment assistance help and local first-time home buyer programs? FHA mortgage loan rules are designed to make your first home more affordable. Knowing the requirements before you begin your home loan planning process can save you time and money in the long run.

FHA Loan FICO Score Requirements For First Time Home Buyers

FHA FICO score requirements for all home loan applicants are identical whether you are purchasing your first home or buying another property after having already owned a home.

  • FHA loan FICO score minimums: 580 or higher to be eligible for maximum financing with a 3.5% minimum down payment.
  • FHA loan FICO score minimums: FICO scores between 500 and 579 are eligible for an FHA mortgage loan with a 10% minimum down payment.

First time home loan applicants should know that these FHA minimum FICO score requirements for FHA mortgages do not include lender standards. Those standards will vary depending on who is issuing your home loan.

FHA loan credit requirements don’t factor in any lender rules for certain types of home loans including FHA One-Time Close construction loans, which participating lenders may have different FICO score rules for compared to existing construction loans.

First Time Home Buyer FHA Loan Credit Requirements: Payment History

Do you currently have 12 months of on-time payments for all financial obligations leading up to your home loan application? This is a very important factor and anything less than a full 12 months of no late or missed payments can may it hard for your loan officer to justify approving your loan.

Are you a first time home buyer with excellent credit qualifications but with a negative financial event on your credit report? FHA loan rules state that in many cases the existence of these problems does not mean an automatic denial of the loan application but your lender will need to know the details, how long ago the negative event occurred, whether or not the issue was beyond the borrower’s control.

In cases of bankruptcy and foreclosure there may be a mandatory wait time or seasoning period before a new loan application may be considered. Lender standards will also apply; FHA loan rules aren’t the only ones that will apply.

Some bankruptcy filings may require the court’s permission (in writing) for the borrower to apply for a new home loan. In other cases you may need to demonstrate that the problems have been resolved to the satisfaction of the creditors.

FHA loan credit requirements include having a low enough debt-to-income ratio to show the borrower can afford the mortgage loan. If your income is eaten up by half or more of your monthly expenses, you’ll need to work hard to lower that debt ratio for a better chance at loan approval.

Joe Wallace - Staff Writer

By Joe Wallace

January 18, 2019

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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