Ohio FHA Mortgage Credit Score Requirements

Ohio FHA Home Loans

MAY 2013 UPDATE: I have received quite a few emails and phone calls recently regarding FHA loans and credit scores of less than 640.  While I still have access to one lender whose guidelines allow for scores as low as 580 for maximum financing (3.5% down on a purchase or 2.25% equity for a refinance), it has been getting more and more difficult to get these loans approved. A few things that may be required are rental history (cancelled rent checks for 12 months), debt ratios less than 43%, no negative credit after a major derogatory event (bankruptcy, foreclosure, auto loan repossession), and in some cases collection accounts will need to be paid.  Also, the lender will want to see at least 3 open, active, good credit accounts that have been active for 12+ months. In some cases they will allow alternative credit accounts (12 months pay history on things such as utilities, auto insurance, etc.)

FHA mortgages have rose in popularity over the last few years. Some attribute the increased demand to the void that the subprime market left. The increased demand for FHA mortgages in Ohio may also be due to the lower credit score requirements compared to its Conforming (or Conventional) counterpart.

Let’s look at the Credit Score requirements for a few different FHA mortgage programs in Ohio. To check what options you have available for an FHA loan in Ohio head over to the FHA Rate Quote Request page and fill out the simple form (no social security number required). Make sure you keep in mind that FHA sets the minimum standard, and individual lenders are free to impose more strict guidelines, which most do in regards to credit scores.

HUD has set the following minimum requirements for FHA mortgages:

Credit Score of 580 and above – eligible for maximum financing (96.5% for purchases and 97.75% for refinances)
Credit Score of 500 to 579 – limited to 90% financing
Credit Score Below 500 – not eligible for FHA insured mortgage financing
Borrowers with non-traditional or insufficient credit – may be eligible for maximum financing if they can document 12 months of satisfactory credit history including no history of late payments on rental payments, no more than one 30 day late on payments to other creditors, and no collections or judgments filed in the past 12 months

So that is the minimum standard that HUD has set for Ohio FHA mortgages, both purchases and refinances. Now, lets look at what lenders in the real world have set for FHA credit score requirements.

Ohio FHA Mortgage Credit Score Requirements

Most main stream lenders have imposed minimum credit score requirements for FHA Mortgages in Ohio at 640, with a few going slightly lower with a 620 minimum score.

Some smaller lenders are offering FHA Mortgages down to a 560 credit score. However, a credit score of 560 to 579 will cap a borrower at 90% financing. Also, most lenders that are offering Ohio FHA home loans for credit scores below 640/620 will impose some additional requirements including, but not limited to, documenting 12 months mortgage/rent payments via cancelled rent checks, setting a maximum acceptable payment shock (your existing rent/mortgage payment compared to the new housing payment), setting a minimum amount of assets needed after closing (commonly referred to as reserves), etc.

There are exceptions to the rules, and new lenders are entering the market here and there, so use this as a guide to help you get started when looking into an FHA loan. If you are concerned about your score and your ability to qualify for an Ohio FHA mortgage, give T.C. Strait a call at 513-777-8383 and we can discuss your options and review your credit report.

44 Responses to “Ohio FHA Mortgage Credit Score Requirements”

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  1. Kristy Tatman says:

    Do you know any FHA lenders that will finance a loan with a 560-620 score in OH? We are looking but having a hard time finding anyone that will.

    • admin says:

      Kristy, I know of one lender and have had some success with them. However, in order to qualify for maximum financing (96.5% = 3.5% down payment) FHA requires a 580 score. Less than a 580 and you would be required to put 10% down (per FHA). Feel free to give me a call or send me an email if I can be of any assistance (bottom right hand corner of the website is my contact info). Thanks and good luck.

      • nick says:

        Looking for FHA in Ohio, purchase price $109.000, credit score around 610.
        Nick and Eileen

        • T.C. Strait says:

          Nick, just sent you an email. Feel free to give me a call in the office at 513-777-8383 x222 (T.C. Strait)

  2. Alexandria says:

    Do you know a lender who will finance a 515 in ohio?

    • admin says:

      Unfortunately I only know of one lender that goes below a 640. That lenders minimum score for FHA is a 560. Keep in mind that per FHA guidelines, below a 580 score you must put down 10%.

  3. megan says:

    i have a 564 score and interested in a fha home. im trying to clean up my credit from my ex but also need a home. is there anyone that can help me buy my first home? are there certain homes thats on a list that id have to look at getting or can i choose my own? thanks!

    • admin says:

      Megan, I have one lender that offers FHA down to a 560. However, per HUD guidelines for FHA, you must put down 10% if your credit score is below a 580. You can buy any home with an FHA mortgage, assuming it meets guidelines (livable condition). If I can be of any assistance, feel free to call me in the office at 513-777-8383.

      T.C. Strait

      • megan says:

        thank you so much! is there a way to boost my score?

        • admin says:

          Megan, without taking a look at your credit report I can only give general ways of improving the score, which would be the following:
          1. Pay down/off any credit cards. Generally I recommend to keep credit card balances below 30% of the limit. Put paying them off is even better.
          2. Pay off any liens (tax liens) or judgments
          3. Pay off any non medical collections. Generally you can call the collection agency and “wheel and deal” with them, negotiating a lower settlement. Although I would urge you to get it in writing from the collection company before paying them.
          Feel free to call me if you have any other questions. T.C. Strait 513-777-8383. Thanks.

  4. Becky says:

    I have a credit score of 565 and looking for a FHA loan. Do I have any chance?

    • T.C. Strait says:

      Unfortunately it is getting more and more difficult to get any loans less than a 640 done. With a 565 score you would need (at a minimum) 10% down payment, 12 months verifiable rent history (cancelled checks), maximum debt ratio of 43%. And credit history will come into play, as recently the lender I have that will do these has been requiring that some collection accounts be paid. Another deal breaker is if there is a major derogatory credit item (bankruptcy, foreclosure, auto repo) and there are any negatives after it.

      Feel free to give me a call, 513-777-8383 x222, if you have any further questions. Thanks.

  5. Jennifer says:

    Good afternoon,

    I have a TU score of 653 and a EX score of 714 (not sure what my EQ score is), but my concern is that my income is rather low ($29k/year). I’ve been looking at houses in the $40k-$60k range, and I have $4k to put down. Is possible to get a loan with my income?

    • T.C. Strait says:

      Jennifer, the ideal debt to income ratios for an FHA loan are 31% (your debt from your credit report compared to your income) and 43% (debt from credit report + new house payment compared to your income). $29,000/year equates to $2416/month, which means that your total debts on your credit would need to be less than $750, and all your debt from the credit report PLUS the new house payment (including taxes/insurance/mortgage insurance) would need to be less than $1040/month. So it is very feasible that you could qualify for an FHA mortgage. My issue would be the loan size, as all of my lenders have minimum loan sizes. With a middle score of a 653 (worse case, since you don’t know your Equifax score), I would advise you talk to a local bank. Feel free to call me in the office next week if I can be of any assistance. 513-777-8383 x222

  6. jtwaits says:

    My husband and I are trying to purchase a new home. His credit score is 650 mine is 631. He has a bankruptcy that will be discharged 2 years in August. We are looking to purchase a 97000 home in rural Ohio. Our current DTI ratio is around 19%. We do not have much in savings. Can you give me on a lender that would be able to help?

    • T.C. Strait says:

      I just sent you an email. Give me a call in the office at 513-777-8383 x222 when you have a few minutes to discuss possible options. Thanks.

  7. STACIE says:


    Middle Credit score of 638. 5 years on my job.Looking to buy in Columbus or surrounding area. Was told to look into fha.

    • T.C. Strait says:

      Stacie, I just sent you an email. Feel free to contact me in the office tomorrow at 513-777-8383 x222. Thanks.

  8. Cristal says:

    I have a judgement lien that was paid off earlier this year. A few, 2, charged off credit cards that have been paid off. Student loan collections that I’ve paid off. However I have a repo ($9k charged off 3 years ago) on my credit report. I also have a few other collection accounts (3 or 4 totalling approx $1000, maybe less) that I’m disputing &/or working on paying off in the very near future. I’m working hard to get my credit cleaned up! lol I live w/ my parents, never rented. I don’t have a car payment or any credit cards right now. All of my debt is 3 to 4 years old w/ no new credit. I want to buy a house next year. Do you have any suggestions? I appreciate your help.

    • T.C. Strait says:

      Obviously my advice is based on the info you have provided, and not a review of your credit. My best suggestion would be to open a credit card (regular or secured) as soon as possible. You need to get some good credit on your report to start improving your scores. My general rule of thumb is to never put more than 30% of the limit on the card (for instance $300 limit, never put more than $90 on the card) and pay it off each month. It probably would help if you opened up a second card as well. That will help you to start establishing credit. I would also suggest setting up a payment plan on the repo, and getting the other collections paid off. I will also email this info to you in case you don’t check back here. Feel free to call or email me anytime if you have questions. 513-777-8383 x222. Thanks.

      • Cristal says:

        Thxx so much for the prompt response! I was looking for some general info and what you have advised is exactly what I needed to know 🙂 I’m definitely working on paying off my smaller debt.. which should be done very soon.. and I had planned on opening 1 secured card, because I’m afraid I won’t qualify for a unsecured one. But I can open 2 if you think that would help more. Now what I wasn’t planning on doing was making a payment arrangement on the repo.. it’ll take forever to pay off (probably not, but in my mind it will). I will do that if you believe that there’s no way to get financed for a home without doing so. I’m just wondering what the creditor will agree to in terms of an arrangement. Again, thxx so much for your help!

        • T.C. Strait says:

          Cristal, the reason I suggested setting up the payment plan with the repo, is to show the lender that you are taking responsibility for your past credit mishaps. There really isn’t anyway to know what the creditor will agree to, but it can’t hurt to talk to them. Hope that helps.

  9. Kat says:

    I have a credit score of 573. My husband does not have a credit score. Is there any way we can get financed for a home? We are first time buyers.

    • T.C. Strait says:

      Kat, per FHA guidelines a 573 credit score would require 10% down. With that said I do have one lender that would consider this. However, based on recent experience it will be very, very difficult to get done. You would be much better off working to get your scores higher, and get your husbands report to generate a score. I’d be more than happy to discuss the situation with you. I’ll be in the office all week, 513-777-8383 x222. Thanks.

  10. Kelley says:

    Hello, I have a middle score of around 650 and my hubby is stuck at 615 middle score. He has some very old medical collections, only one 5 year old non medical Sprint bill. We make around $100,000/year combined, have both been at our jobs 5+ years. We have a solid payment history on student loans (me only) and a few credit cards. Small amount of savings but could definately swing 3.5% down. He literally has very little debt, owes out $1000 or less on credit cards. I however, have a car loan and student loans that i carry so I have a little more debt. DTI would be well under FHA requirements. Any chance at a loan with a middle 615 for him? Or does 620 open up more options? No lates on over 2 years. We have a house in mind and I hate missing out over 5 points! haha Thank you!

    • T.C. Strait says:

      Kelley, you would be much better off getting his score to a 620 (opens up more options…aka additional lenders). It is feasible to get it done with a 615 score, however you are limited to one lender (that I know of), and they are not the easiest to deal with. Based on the basic info you provided, my best suggestion would be to have your husband pay off the credit cards. You can contact the creditors (call the 1-800 customer service number) and ask what day of the month they report his accounts to the credit bureaus. Then wait until 5 days after the latest one reports and have your credit pulled. This should maximize his credit scores, and hopefully get the 5 point bump he needs. I will also email you this info. Give me a call or email me with any questions. – T.C. Strait

  11. Cherie says:

    My credit is above 700. My husbands is below 600. We bring in over 10K per month but we recently started our w-2 jobs. Our business writes off most of its income so my last 3 years of taxes show self-employment and below 20K of earnings. I have paid 1400 in rent for almost 3 years now. I need my husband to qualify because most the income is under him but we let one of his private student loans go in default and don’t want to fully pay it off yet. I’m not in Ohio though but looking for a similar service to yours in the state of AZ.

    • T.C. Strait says:

      My best suggestion would be to talk to family/friends/co-workers for their recommendation on a good Mortgage Broker to talk to. I only know of one lender offering FHA mortgages under a 620 score, and believe that they do business in Arizona. I will warn you, generally lenders that offer loans for lower credit scores are not the easiest to deal with. However, a good loan officer at a mortgage broker will be able to assist you in getting the loan done. I don’t have any contacts that do mortgages in Arizona, or I would have been happy to refer you to someone. Thanks.

  12. Mary says:

    My credit score is 633. I had filed for bankruptcy more than 10 years ago. I would really like to buy a small home for myself. Where do I go to try and get approved for a loan?

    • T.C. Strait says:

      Mary, give me a call in the office today 513-777-8383. FHA should be a good option for you. I’d be happy to discuss the ins/outs with you. Thanks.

  13. Penny says:

    Me and my husband live in the home we are trying to purchase. The land contract was for two years and is now in default. The home did give us a extra year, but we are having trouble finding a lender. My credit is 600 my husband is 580. We make the payment on time every month to the seller. The payment includes principle, interest, taxes and we pay the insurance. Is there any one that will lend to us, we are about to loss our home just because we can’t obtain a mortgage. PLEASE HELP!!!!

    • T.C. Strait says:

      Penny, I know of one lender still offering FHA loans down to a 580 middle score. However, it has become next to impossible to work with them over the last few months. I have been advising my clients that we need to get their credit scores up to a 620 to have a reasonable chance of getting them into a home. I’d be happy to discuss your situation, feel free to call me in the office at 513-777-8383. Thanks.

  14. Summerc says:

    Hi, I have a 515 credit score, and I filed bankruptcy and have been discharged for about 2 yrs now. I gave 3 credit cards that are in collections. I have recently started working with a credit repair company that says they can “fix” my credit and increase my credit score. If I get my credit score up to a 580 will I be able to qualify for FHA loan, I also have a foreclosure that was included in my bankruptcy as well.

    • T.C. Strait says:

      I know of one lender that offers FHA loans between a 580-620 scores. However, it is EXTREMELY difficult to meet their requirements. I have been advising clients that we need to get their scores up to a 620 minimum to have a realistic chance of getting the mortgage closed. With a previous bankruptcy, FHA requires that you wait 2 years to get a new mortgage. With a previous foreclosure (even if included in the bankruptcy) you must wait 3 years. One thing lenders look at closely is negative credit (collections, late payments, etc.) after the bankruptcy. Lenders want to see that the bankruptcy (negative) is a one time event, so negative credit afterwards is looked at and viewed as a history of financial mismanagement. I would suggest working to get the collections paid, and getting new/good credit established. Once you are 3 years out of the bankruptcy checking your credit and seeing where things stand. If at a 620 or higher, then you may have a shot at getting the mortgage.

  15. Summerc says:

    Ok thanks! Do you think I should continue working with this credit repair company as well?

    • T.C. Strait says:

      Are they charging you money? Do you feel like you are getting your money’s worth? If so, then I would say yes. However, generally what they do is the same as what you can do yourself. If they are legitimate collections, then more than likely they will have to be paid. You can always contact the creditor to try and negotiate a lower payoff.

  16. ATank says:


    I Live In Ohio And Have A Middle Credit Score Of 640 Exactly. I Think I Would Be Able To Qualify By Myself But My Wife Has A Very Large Amount Of Student Loan Debt. Would She Have To Be Included InThe Loan? I Would Would Be Over The Debt To income Limits If She Does.

    • T.C. Strait says:

      Both spouses are not required to be on the mortgage, so I would be able to look at the loan both ways to help you determine what is best for your situation. Give me a call when you have a few minutes to discuss. I’ll be in the office the rest of the week. 513-777-83838. Thanks.

  17. Guillermo says:


    My credit score is 617 i want a house i do have a car loan i pay 410. A month, i make about 2k a month have 2 small credit card one secured and the other one unsecured.. I had a repo back in 07 and its charge off… Can someone help me buy a house? It is possible or i need to wait more time?
    Columbus/ Ohio


    • T.C. Strait says:

      Per FHA guidelines a repo (which is classified as a collection) would either have to be paid in full, a payment plan setup to satisfy the debt, or 5% of the outstanding balance would be included in your Debt to Income ratio calculation. Based on $2000/month in income, and keeping your debt ratio around 45%, that means the max your monthly debt could be would be $900. Considering that you have a $410/month auto loan, that would leave $490 for the collection and the new house payment (assuming that your credit cards were paid off). Using some rough figures, that would put your maximum purchase price in the $50,000 range. Unfortunately the lenders I have access to that will accept applications with credit scores below a 620 have minimum loan amounts of $50,000. With a purchase price of $50,000 your loan amount would be less than $50,000. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me in the office at 513-777-8383 x222. Thanks.

  18. Brianne says:

    My credit score is 557 and I have been trying to find a loan for months, I have paid a few debts and have opened a credit card. Anyone have any advice? I need to buy a house within 1 month or I will be homeless. Things are not looking good…..

    • T.C. Strait says:

      Brianne, unfortunately FHA requires a 580 credit score to qualify for maximum financing (3.5% down payment). Technically FHA will allow a 560-580 credit score if you are putting 10% of more down on the home. Currently I know of 2 lenders that are offering FHA down to a 580, but none that go below that. 1 month may not be enough time to get your scores up. You may want to speak to a local/community bank (not the big banks) to see if they have any programs that might assist you.

  19. deb says:

    Does FHA let you purchase repo homes?

    • T.C. Strait says:

      FHA does not restrict borrowers from purchasing a foreclosed home. However, if the house is not in livable condition (requires repairs such as plumbing, mold removal, etc.) then a normal FHA loan would not be possible. In that case an FHA 203K loan may work, as a 203K loan allows the homebuyer to finance repairs.

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