Ask the Real Estate Agent: Do I Qualify for a Mortgage?

by Dan Lesniak

What Kind of Credit and Down Payment Do I Need to Qualify for a Mortgage?

Recently, we have been getting questions from buyers and readers about if they can buy a home. We often get questions such as:

  • Can I even qualify for a mortgage?
  • Do I need to have excellent credit history?
  • What if I don’t have much in savings or assets?

Most buyers have misconceptions about what is needed to qualify for a mortgage loan to buy a home. The most common misconception is that you need to have 750+ credit score and a 20% down payment. Not entirely true.

According to, there is a pretty decent distribution of credit scores across the FICO score spectrum.

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As you can see from the graph, the highest percentage of scores are in the 750-799 range. Overall, the the highest collective percentage of scores are between the 600-749 range with 54% approximately compared to the 46% approximately of the 750+ scores.

Some analysts believe that if more people were aware that they can qualify for mortgage at lower credit scores, the graph would shift to the left more.

As far as down payments go, there are many different loan products and programs for lower down payments, down payment assistance, etc. Granted, the staple is 20% percent down, you can use alternative financing to have 0-3.5%(FHA/VA) or 5%-20% (Conventional).

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Pre-qualification is the best way to see what your buying power is. You may be shocked at what you can afford.

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