What is the credit score needed to buy a home in California? (2024)

What is the credit score needed to buy a home in California? (1)

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California is a hot market known for high housing prices, and the minimum creditscore you need to be approved for a loan there will depend on several factors. These factors include how much of a down payment you have, the price of the home, and whether you qualify for government-backed loan programs.

Never forget the number one rule with loans: the higher your credit score, the better loan terms you’ll get. For a conventional mortgage in California, you typically need a minimum score of at least 600. If you qualify for certain government-backed loans, however, you may be able to buy a home with a score as low as 500.

Read on to learn about credit scores and how they affect your ability to make a home purchase.

What is a credit score?

A credit score is a number that tells lenders how likely you are to repay your debts. When you apply for credit, lenders will check your credit score to determine if you’re a good risk. Although there are several scoring models available, most lenders use FICO® scores to assess borrowers.

FICO scores are based on your financial habits—things like your payment history and the amounts you currently owe. Payment history is one of the most important, accounting for 35 percent of your FICO score

The amount of money you owe makes up another 30 percent of your FICO score. If you have high credit card or loan balances, a lender may hesitate to lend you additional funds.

FICO scores also depend on the following factors:

  • Length of credit history
  • Credit mix
  • Number of new accounts

How does my credit score affect mortgage interest rates?

What is the credit score needed to buy a home in California? (2)

Your credit score can make it more or less expensive to borrow money. If you have a high credit score, lenders see you as more creditworthy, prompting them to offer more competitive interest rates and better terms on mortgages and other types of credit. Lending to borrowers with low scores is riskier, so lenders account for that risk by charging more interest or presenting less favorable terms for repayment

What credit score do I need to buy a house in California?

As of February 2022, the median home price in California exceeded $771,000. Home prices are especially high in San Francisco, San Diego, Los Angeles, and Oakland due to the demand for housing in and around the state’s financial and technological centers. The median home price in Orange County has now topped $1 million for the first time ever.

With home prices in California so much higher than the national average, many buyers worry about how high their credit scores need to be to live there. Credit scores are indeed a big factor, but don’t forget it also depends on your financial situation and the purchase price of the home you want to buy.

There isn’t a standard credit score that is needed across all of California, but, generally, mortgage firms and banks prefer to see a score of 600 or higher for loans. Again, that is just a general number. Different home loans have different necessary credit scores, and your relationship with your finances can help you when your score isn’t as high as you would like.

What is the credit score needed to buy a home in California? (3)

What is the average credit score needed to buy a house?

The average credit score need to buy a house depends on what type of loan you need. Conventional loans, also known as conforming loans, aren’t backed by the government. As a result, they have more stringent borrowing requirements. You typically need a minimum credit score of 620 to qualify for a conventional mortgage.

Government-backed loans—including VA loans and FHA loans—typically have more flexible requirements. If you’re interested in the FHA loan program, you can qualify for maximum financing with a minimum score of 580 and a down payment of 3.5 percent of the home’s purchase price or a credit score between 500 and 579 and 90 percent financing with a 10 percent down payment.

Can I get a mortgage with bad credit?

Anyone can experience financial difficulties, so don’t worry if your credit report has a few blemishes. You may have to wait a little while to build up your credit, but it’s possible to qualify for a mortgage even if you have a low credit score, especially if you qualify for a government-backed loan program.

What other factors do mortgage lenders look at?

Your credit score is just one aspect of your mortgage application. Lenders also look at the following factors to determine if you qualify for a home loan:

  • Income: Lenders want to see that you have a steady source of income. This helps them determine if you can afford to make monthly mortgage payments.
  • Bank statements: Your lender will generally ask to see your bank statements to make sure there are no unusual deposits. Reviewing bank statements can also help a lender determine if you have enough money on hand to make a down payment and cover the closing costs on a home loan.
  • Assets: A mortgage lender may ask you to provide documentation related to investment accounts, insurance policies, and other assets. If you have high-value assets, a lender is likely to see you as less of a risk because you’d be able to sell those assets and use the proceeds to pay your mortgage if you run into any financial difficulties after closing on the loan.
  • Loan to value: Lenders will look at the amount of your mortgage request vs. the appraised value of the home. The higher your down payment, the lower your loan to value (LTV) ratio will be.
  • Comparable sales: Lenders will also evaluate comparable sales of similar homes to make sure prices are in line with market conditions.
  • Credit reports: Your lender will also look at your credit report to make sure you haven’t made any large purchases or opened new lines of credit during the underwriting process. Underwriting is the process of verifying the information you provided on your application.

How can I raise my credit score?

If your credit score isn’t where you want it to be, don’t panic. Because your scores are based mostly on your financial habits, there are a few things you can do to increase them in anticipation of applying for a mortgage.

Payment history is the most important component of your credit score. If you have a low score, make it a priority to make payments on time every month. Over time, late payments have less of an impact on your score, so avoiding additional missed payments can help improve your credit.

Account balances also have a significant impact on your score. If you have a maxed-out credit card or a personal loan with a high balance, focus on paying down the debt as quickly as possible.

If you need additional guidance on increasing your credit score, a credit repair company can help.

Note: The information provided on CreditRepair.com does not, and is not intended to, act as legal, financial or credit advice; instead, it is for general informational purposes only.

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What is the credit score needed to buy a home in California? (2024)


What is the credit score needed to buy a home in California? ›

Requirements to buy a house

What is the minimum credit score to buy a house in California? ›

The required credit scores for mortgages in California differ based on the type of loan. Conventional loans demand a score of 620, while government-backed loans are more lenient. However, a score below 500 makes mortgage approval difficult.

What credit score is needed to buy a $300K house? ›

What credit score is needed to buy a $300K house? The required credit score to buy a $300K house typically ranges from 580 to 720 or higher, depending on the type of loan. For an FHA loan, the minimum credit score is usually around 580.

What credit score do you need for a $250000 mortgage? ›

Conventional loan | Credit score: 620

To qualify for a conventional loan, you'll need a credit score of at least 620, though some lenders may choose to approve conventional mortgage applications only for borrowers with credit scores of 680 and up.

What credit score do you need to buy a $600000 house? ›

You'll typically need a credit score of 620 to finance a home purchase. However, some lenders may offer mortgage loans to borrowers with scores as low as 500. Whether you qualify for a specific loan type also depends on personal factors like your debt-to-income ratio (DTI), loan-to-value ratio (LTV) and income.

What is the minimum salary to buy a house in California? ›

According to the report the minimum qualifying income needed to buy the median California home is $208,400. But in Orange County, the California Association of Realtors' first quarter housing affordability report shows a minimum annual income of almost $349,200 is needed to purchase a median home.

What credit score do I need to buy a house with no money down? ›

A USDA loan is insured by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and is meant for low- to moderate-income home buyers. The USDA doesn't require a down payment and doesn't set a minimum credit score requirement, though most lenders will want borrowers to have at least a 640.

Can I afford a 300K house on a 40k salary? ›

To purchase a $300K house, you may need to make between $50,000 and $74,500 a year. This is a rule of thumb, and the specific annual salary will vary depending on your credit score, debt-to-income ratio, type of home loan, loan term, and mortgage rate. Homeownership costs like HOA fees can also impact affordability.

Can I afford a 300K house on a 60k salary? ›

An individual earning $60,000 a year may buy a home worth ranging from $180,000 to over $300,000. That's because your wage isn't the only factor that affects your house purchase budget. Your credit score, existing debts, mortgage rates, and a variety of other considerations must all be taken into account.

How much income do I need for a $400,000 mortgage? ›

Assuming a 30-year fixed conventional mortgage and a 20 percent down payment of $80,000, with a high 6.88 percent interest rate, borrowers must earn a minimum of $105,864 each year to afford a home priced at $400,000. Based on these numbers, your monthly mortgage payment would be around $2,470.

How to pay off $250k mortgage in 5 years? ›

Increasing your monthly payments, making bi-weekly payments, and making extra principal payments can help accelerate mortgage payoff. Cutting expenses, increasing income, and using windfalls to make lump sum payments can help pay off the mortgage faster.

How much income do I need for a 250k mortgage? ›

If you follow the 2.5 times your income rule, you divide the cost of the home by 2.5 to determine how much money you need to earn annually to afford it. Based on this rule, you would need to earn $100,000 per year to comfortably purchase a $250,000 home.

What is a good FICO score for a mortgage? ›

670–740: Good credit – Borrowers are typically approved and offered good interest rates. 620–670: Acceptable credit – Borrowers are typically approved at higher interest rates.

How much house can I afford if I make $36,000 a year? ›

On a salary of $36,000 per year, you can afford a house priced around $100,000-$110,000 with a monthly payment of just over $1,000. This assumes you have no other debts you're paying off, but also that you haven't been able to save much for a down payment.

What is a good credit score by age? ›

Consider yourself in “good” shape if your credit score is above the average for people in your age group. Given that the average credit score for people aged 18 to 26 is 680, a score between 680 and 690 (the average for people aged 27 to 42) could be considered “good.”

How much house can I afford if I make $70,000 a year? ›

The home price you can afford depends on your specific financial situation—your down payment, existing debts, and mortgage rate all play a role. Most experts recommend spending 25% to 36% of your gross monthly income on housing. For a $70,000 salary, that's a mortgage payment between roughly $1,450 and $2,100.

Can I get an FHA loan with a 600 credit score? ›

Yes, you can buy a house with a 600 credit score — but it would be less challenging if your score were higher. A 600 score will not be high enough to qualify for a conventional home loan, so look into FHA loans, which have lower requirements: 500 with a 10 percent down payment, and 580 with a 3.5 percent down payment.

What can I get approved for with a 600 credit score? ›

What Does a 600 Credit Score Get You?
Type of CreditDo You Qualify?
Unsecured Credit CardYES
Home LoanYES (FHA Loan)
Personal LoanMAYBE
Auto LoanMAYBE
1 more row

What is the lowest credit score needed for a house? ›

Credit score needed to buy a house by mortgage type
Loan TypeMinimum Credit Score
Conventional loans620
FHA loans500 (with 10% down payment); 580 (with 3.5% down payment)
USDA loans640
VA loansThe VA has no minimum limit, but lenders generally like to see at least 620
1 more row
Jan 10, 2024

Can I get a loan for a house with a 580 credit score? ›

You can get a mortgage with a credit score as low as 620, 580 or even 500, depending on the type of loan. Some mortgage lenders offer bad credit loans with more flexible qualifying requirements but higher costs. Others offer free credit counseling to help you improve your score before applying for a loan.

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