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How do I Get a Home Loan With a 550 Credit Score?
Low credit scores don’t have to lock you out of home ownership.
FHA Guaranteed Loan
Find a lender in your area approved for FHA loans. Go to the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Lender List page on the HUD.gov website. Enter the city and state or zip code and click Search to find a list of approved lenders and contact information. Ask the lender about its credit requirements, as some lenders may decline your application if your credit score is 550.
Determine the most FHA will let you borrow for the area in which you plan to buy your home. Go to the search page for FHA Mortgage Limits. Use the pull-down menu to select the state and then enter the county where you plan to buy your home. Click Send. The next page that comes up will show the limits available for FHA insured loans, based on the type of property — single-family up to four-family dwelling.
Calculate how much home and monthly payment you can afford with a Home Affordability Calculator, such as the one from Realtor.com. Enter the required information, including your annual or monthly before-tax income and estimated mortgage interest rate, then click Calculate. To qualify for an FHA loan, your housing-expense-to-income ratio cannot exceed 31 percent of your monthly gross income and your long-term-debt-to-income ration cannot exceed 43 percent of your monthly gross income. The first ratio only takes into consideration the monthly mortgage payment. The second ratio includes the monthly mortgage payment as well as car, credit card and other debt payments.
Make a down payment equal to 10 percent of the value, or price, of the home you have found to buy. Since your credit score is 550, FHA will not insure a loan of more than 90 percent of the home s price.
USDA Guaranteed Loan
Maintain a prompt payment history during the 12 months prior to when you anticipate applying for a USDA guaranteed loan; making late payments and having outstanding judgments or accounts referred to a collection agency or department will disqualify you. You also cannot have a foreclosure or discharged bankruptcy on your records within the prior three years. Pay off your taxes or other debts to the federal government.
Find a home in a location that qualifies as rural. Go to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Income and Property Eligibility Site. Click on the Single Family Housing link under Property Eligibility. Enter the address of the home you wish to buy. You can also drag and zoom the map to the desired state and city or community; brown shaded areas shaded represent places that do not qualify for a Rural Development loan.
Verify that you are income eligible. Choose Single Family Housing under Income Eligibility on the Property Eligibility Site. Select the state in which the home is located from the pull-down menu and follow the prompts on the succeeding pages to enter the county, household information, expenses and monthly gross income. Click Finish. The next page will tell you whether you are eligible or ineligible for the Section 502 Guaranteed Rural Housing Loan.
Figure what priced home and mortgage payment you can afford using Realtor.com’s Home Affordability Calculator. Enter the required information, including your annual or monthly before-tax income and estimated mortgage interest rate, then click Calculate. To qualify for a USDA loan, your mortgage payment cannot exceed 29 percent of your monthly gross income and your mortgage, car, credit card and other debt payments cannot exceed 41 percent of your monthly gross income. You are not required to make a down payment but doing so can lower these ratios since you will be applying for a smaller loan.