In addition, statistically, borrowers with lower credit scores default more often than those with higher credit scores. That’s why most lenders require a higher minimum credit score than does the FHA. The good news: FHA has updated its policy on how it grades lenders, which should allow more lower credit score home buyers to qualify for FHA.
Mortgage lenders rely on FICO scores to make credit decisions. The FICO score range dips as low as 300 and rises as high as 850. Additionally, most mortgage lenders require even higher credit scores for FHA loans, based on their own risk appetite. So a 500 credit score might not actually cut.
FHA loans have the lowest credit requirements of any mortgage, often referred to as bad credit home loans. In order for the FHA to insure a mortgage loan the borrower must have at least a 500 credit score with a 10% down payment.
FHA loans have lower credit score requirements and may allow a higher debt-to-income, or DTI, ratio. "If a borrower has good credit but limited cash on hand, other government-backed loans are available for less money down," says Stephen Moye, senior loan officer for Citywide Home Loans.
Minimum credit score requirements for FHA home loans depend on which FHA loan product the applicant needs. Generally speaking, to get maximum financing on typical new home purchases, applicants should have a credit score of 580 or better. Those with credit scores between 500 and 579 are, according the the FHA guidelines, "limited to 90 percent.