How Your Credit Score Impacts Your Home Buying Process

Your credit score is so very important. Like I said in the post How Your Credit Score Affects Your Life + Credit Sesame Review, your credit score has the ability to impact all areas on your life whether you want it to or not. Some are completely against credit scores and think they can just do…

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Last Updated: May 12, 2024

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Find out how your credit score impacts your home buying process. This is a great list!Your credit score is so very important. Like I said in the post How Your Credit Score Affects Your Life + Credit Sesame Review, your credit score has the ability to impact all areas on your life whether you want it to or not.

Some are completely against credit scores and think they can just do without trying to improve their score, but I don’t think that’s the correct way to go.

Your credit score can impact all areas of your life, such as obtaining a job, waving additional deposits when signing up for new bills (such as utilities), renting a home, and probably most important of all – obtaining a mortgage and buying a home.

Even though it can make such a large impact on your life, your credit score can be quite easy to improve for the better, so why not just do it?

So, how important is a credit score to buy a house? 

Answer: It is very important!

The needed credit score to buy a house can vary a little, but the higher your credit score the better. When you are in the 620 to 720 range, you may come across some problems as stated later in this post.

Check your credit score with Credit Sesame for free!

Below are different ways your credit score can impact your home buying process.

 

Your credit score can impact whether you are approved for a home loan or not.

The very first thing your credit score can impact is whether you are even approved for a mortgage. If your credit score is too low, then you may just be flat out rejected for a home loan.

Usually, the minimum credit score to buy a house is around the 620 to 650 range.

However, even if you are approved, you can still come across other problems which may prevent you from buying a home, as stated below.

 

Your credit score can impact how large of a home loan you are given.

If your credit score is not high enough, then you may not be approved for the home loan you are desiring. This may limit your home choices greatly.

Even if you think you can afford a home, the bank usually wants to see a credit score to back that up.

 

Your credit score can impact how large of a down payment you are required to put down. 

If your credit score is not where the mortgage bank wants it to be at, you may be asked to put down a larger down payment so that the bank knows you are serious about your home purchase.

This shows to them that you are less likely to back out of the mortgage since you’ll have more put into it.

For example, instead of putting down 20%, you may be asked to put down 30%.

 

Your credit score can impact your interest rate.

Lastly, your credit score can impact the interest rate you receive on your home loan. Even if your credit score is high enough to get you approved, it does not mean you will get the best interest rate.

An interest rate difference of just 1% can mean a difference of around $100 or sometimes even more each month, so it is wise to get the best interest rate you can.

Related content: Everything You Need To Know About How To Build Credit

What was your credit score last time you bought a home? Did it impact your home buying process at all?


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Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Author: Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Hey! I’m Michelle Schroeder-Gardner and I am the founder of Making Sense of Cents. I’m passionate about all things personal finance, side hustles, making extra money, and online businesses. I have been featured in major publications such as Forbes, CNBC, Time, and Business Insider. Learn more here.

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  1. As far as I can remember, my score was 760 to 780. I was above the scale and able to get a home loan. I am still maintaining or even improving my score for the future just in case I need another loan.

  2. Quick Credit Pte Ltd

    I agree with your explanation because without credit score we can’t do anything, if our credit score is high there are more chances of positiveness and every thing will be going fine, thanks for sharing this interesting topic with us.

  3. We’re in debt and it has really impacted my credit score. We don’t currently own a house but it is on our master plan that we will be home owners in the near future.

    I know debt is going to damage the mortgage deal that we’ll be offered. We want to get a big deposit together which we hope will help with our buying process. I’m also looking at ways I can increase my score by making sure the information is fully correct and managing credit in a good way.

    1. Sounds like you have a good plan Naomi.

  4. Amy @ DebtGal

    My husband and I both had great credit scores when we got our mortgage, so it wasn’t an issue then. Both of our scores went down as we accumulated more debt over the past few years, and it was an issue when we applied for a home equity loan a few months ago. The loan in my husband’s name, and he was not able to get the lowest interest rate, but did get the second lowest (which is still a lot lower than the rates on the credit cards we paid off with the money!). It was the first time in my life – at least that I was aware of – that credit scores clearly had a negative impact on me. And since we had to close several of the credit card accounts completely as part of the loan process, I lost a good bit of credit history, and my score has gone down a bit more. I’m eager to get it moving back up in the right direction!

    1. I hope it goes back up soon. I’m sure it will!

  5. My bf and I have been apt hunting, so I’ve been on him about keeping his credit in check. Good credit can give you more negotiating power even when you’re just renting.

  6. oh, that should be easier…

      1. Well, the entire process. There are many cases that’s just not fair like it is.
        You explained it well, but I don’t like the system…

        1. There are many ways to increase your credit score. I promise it’s really not that hard once you devote time and the correct methods to do so ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. MarieMakesCents

    I always have a hard time when Dave Ramsey tells people to stop believing in credit and to get their score to zero. It seems unrealistic to me when you need it for everything from buying a house to renting an apartment. If you don’t have cash to pay for the whole house then you would be doing yourself a disservice by not having credit. Charles and I had great credit scores and got a nice rate, but I don’t remember what the numbers were.

    1. I agree! It’s really not that hard to bring up your credit score if you know exactly what affects your credit score.

  8. Mrs. Maroon

    We have worked up to having great credit scores… over 770 for both of us. A huge benefit has been the sense of relief from a potential loan officer as we shopped around. They had confidence that we were going to be good customers, which showed in all of the subsequent conversation. We just re-financed our house. In fact, the loan payoff is scheduled for tomorrow. We were able to snag a 3% rate on a 10-year note.

  9. We’re in the process of buying a house, thankfully we both have near perfect credit. I don’t know how much I’ll care in the future though, this will (ideally) be the last purchase we’re making without full cash value up front. (I’m even kind of against buying now without being able to pay for it outright, but I’ve been outvoted.)

    1. Yeah, the main reason I care about it now is so that we can get the best rewards credit card sign up bonuses haha ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. We are getting ready to get pre-approved to purchase a new home. I’m a little nervous that our credit card debt will be an issue. We refinanced about 5 years ago for a 15 year mortgage at 3.75%. It’s a great rate!

  11. Our scores were in the upper 700’s, and we were told that anything about 750 and you’re golden (as far as interest rate goes). The other piece to the puzzle was the down payment, and with only 5% in hand, we went FHA. Worked out well for us, as we were able to do a no-cost Streamline ReFi a few years later to get us down from 5% to 3.25% on a fixed rate 30 yr.

    I generally only care about credit score for two things, and this is one of them (the other being credit card bonuses ๐Ÿ™‚ )

    1. Yes, same here! Mortgage and credit card bonuses ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. Credit scores can provide some good leverage in the home buying process. Like you said, having a low score can force you to make a large down payment or get a higher interest rate. With a high credit score, lenders usually assume you’re a good risk so that will allow you some room to negotiate on certain terms. A great credit score can potentially save you tens of thousands of dollars compared to having only a good one,

    1. Yes, these are all great reasons to increase a credit score.

  13. Hi Michelle, I thought some of your readers might be interested in the UK perspective.

    Here your credit record is very important, but each lender does their own scoring, so the numbers from Credit Reference Agency calculations need to be viewed with a certain amount of caution.

    Also since changes to mortgage lending regulation in April 2014, you can have a great credit score and still be refused a mortgage if you fail the new “affordability” tests. I’ve written more about this here http://debtcamel.co.uk/mortgage-with-debts/ and about how you need to be fanatical about improving your credit history in the 6-12 months before an application:

    1. Very good information. Thanks!

  14. Yes, that’s an important factor as well.