Can I buy a $620,000 home with a low credit score?

This morning I received this email:
My wife and I found a house we are in love with. I wanted to write and tell you our situation, maybe you can tell us if we are even in the "ballpark".    The house we like is 620,000. We have 20% to put down. We have very little debt and well documented income. I have a low credit score, 660 or lower. Is this worth pursuing or is the credit score too low?
Based on current guidelines/pricing, you really need to have your credit scores above 660 if you’re considering loan amounts above "true conforming" (presently $417,000). It’s very possible that this couple can buy a home utilizing an FHA jumbo mortgage which leans more towards credit history rather than credit score.  Here are some factors that would indicate whether or not this is a possibility for this couple:
  • Credit history.
  • Loan limits.

Unfortunately the loan limits where this couple are considering to purchase are much lower than what we have in the King County area.  They’re wanting to buy in Clark County which currently has a temporary jumbo limit of $418,750.   They would need about $200,000 for their down payment with the seller paying closing costs and prepaids (est. at $12,000).   Or they could opt for conforming financing with a loan amount of $417,000 and try to get a conventional approval (with a larger down payment, it’s possible).

If they were buying in King, Pierce or  Snohomish County, the loan limit is currently $567,500 and would have the option of putting less than 20% down (as low as 3.5%), should they wish assuming they qualify for the payment.

Regardless of where the property is located, the last 12 months of credit history is more critical than credit score (as long as the credit scores are 600 or higher) for a purchase using an FHA insured loan.

FHA loans are full doc and will need to be sourced and seasoned.  Buyers should be prepared to provide their last 2 years of W2s (and possibly tax returns) as well as at least 30 days of income on their paystubs.

Remember, we should be learning in early November what the new jumbo loan limits will be.  I’ll keep you posted!

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