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What You Need to Know About VA Loan Credit Requirements

What You Need to Know About VA Loan Credit Requirements

January 11th, 2021

When it comes to house loans, aspiring homebuyers have a variety of mortgage options to choose from. Whether you’re looking at conventional (private mortgage) or non-conventional loans (government-backed), finding the best option for your financial situation is crucial so you can purchase your dream home.

If you are a veteran serving in the military, you can apply for a Veterans Administration (VA) loan. This loan is a program established by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs—previously the Veterans Administration—which helps US veterans, active duty service members, and surviving spouses purchase a house.

In this article, we’ll specifically share the minimum credit score requirement for a VA loan approval, if ever you plan to apply for a mortgage loan.

VA loans in a nutshell

A VA loan is one of the two non-conventional loans available today, aside from the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). While it is government-backed, it is issued by private lenders. It was initially introduced as part of the GI Bill back in 1944.

To qualify for this, you are required to be:

  • An active duty service member or a discharged veteran who has 90 consecutive days of active service during wartime or 181 days of active service during peacetime
  • A service member to have been part of the National Guard or the Selected Reserve for more than six years 
  • The spouse of a service member who died in the line of duty

To apply for this, you need to obtain and submit a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) to the mortgage lender showing you’re qualified for a VA loan.

Minimum credit score requirement

A good credit score helps you get approved for your much-coveted VA loan. However, you don’t necessarily need to have a blemish-free credit report and a high credit score to secure VA financing.

The truth is that this program endeavors to accommodate as many military home buyers as possible by providing a simple and accessible mortgage. But the primary question is: what is the minimum credit score requirement of a VA loan?

Most VA lenders set a credit score requirement; however, it varies from one lender to another. Any application below the set benchmark will not be approved or will require additional paperwork.

However, to answer the main question, you need to have a credit score of at least 660 for your VA loan application to be processed.

In comparison with other loans

The Fair Isaac Corporation (FICO) credit score ranges from 300 to 850. It’s worth knowing that the 660 minimum credit score is a reasonably borrower-friendly requirement. While it may not be easy to obtain, it’s an accommodating benchmark compared to other loan options.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Conventional loans: As conventional loans are not backed by the government, lenders have a greater risk of providing a mortgage. To avoid this risk, they typically require a high credit score. For the most part, a credit score below 740 requires stringent scrutiny for loan approval. 
  • Other non-conventional loans: Most conventional mortgages, such as FHA and USDA loans, have no credit score minimum. However, as with VA loans, most lenders opt for those with a credit score of at least 660. If you have a score lower than this, you can still avail of the loan, but you will be required to submit additional paperwork for further scrutiny.

Conclusion

At this point, you now know what a VA loan entails and what its credit score requirement is. If you are a bit doubtful of your application, it’s best to talk to a loan expert to see if it’s a good route to take for your mortgage.

Are you wondering if you’re eligible for a VA loan given your credit score? Let our loan experts assist you—we’re proud to help veterans find the best mortgage rates in Salt Lake City! Whether you’re planning to refinance or apply for a mortgage loan, contact us today!

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