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Summary: This article explains the lowest or minimum credit score required for a VA home loan in Washington State. It also includes the average FICO credit score for VA loans nationwide, based on data gathered published by the mortgage origination software company Ellie Mae.
VA loans are a great mortgage option for those veterans and members of the military who qualify. They provide lax lending criteria and can make homeownership more affordable for qualified buyers. But are there any minimum credit score requirements for VA loans like there are for other loan types?
Regardless of what type of mortgage loan you apply for, your credit score will partly determine whether or not you get approved for the loan. It can also affect the mortgage rate you received from a lender. So it’s a pretty important three-digit number.
Some mortgage programs have minimum credit-score requirements imposed by the government agency that manages the program. For example, borrowers who use an FHA loan must have a score of at least 580 to qualify for the low down payment option.
But with a VA loan, there is no official minimum credit score requirement. It says as much on the Department of Veterans Affairs website. When explaining the basic requirements for the program, the department states:
“No minimum credit score requirement; instead VA requires a lender to review the entire loan profile to make a lending decision.”
In Washington State, the lowest credit score for a VA home loan generally falls somewhere between 600 and 620. But that number is not set in stone. It just represents current trends within the mortgage industry, as of 2020.
It’s important to realize that credit scores are just one of the factors mortgage lenders use when reviewing applications. Equally important is your debt and income situation, and your ability to repay the loan. Instead of looking at just one qualifying factor, such as a credit score, lenders tend to consider a variety of factors when reviewing mortgage applications.
On the VA loan eligibility page, the Department of Veterans Affairs website explains that borrowers “must have satisfactory credit, sufficient income, and a valid Certificate of Eligibility (COP) to be eligible for a VA guaranteed home loan. The home must be your own personal occupancy.”
We talked about the lowest or minimum credit score required for a VA loan in Washington State. But what about the average score for borrowers who actually use this program? To get some insight into this subject, we can turn to the “Origination Insight Report.”
This monthly report is produced by Ellie Mae, a company that provides mortgage origination and processing software for the lending industry. According to their latest Origination Insight Report, the average FICO credit score for VA loans that successfully closed was:
As you can see, the average credit score among VA loan borrowers is significantly higher than the minimum or lowest score required by lenders. That’s because borrowers who use this program tend to have scores across a very broad spectrum. So it’s only natural for the average to be higher than the minimum. That same is true for FHA and conventional home loans.
The bottom line here is that a higher credit score will improve your chances of qualifying for a VA loan. It could also help you secure a lower mortgage rate, which in turn could save you a lot of money over time.
On the other hand, a lower score might make it harder to qualify for mortgage financing, and could result in a higher mortgage rate as well.
Disclaimer: The minimum credit score required for a VA loan varies across the lending industry. So you shouldn’t get too hung up on the exact numbers mentioned above. This article is only meant to offer some general insight into the subject.
If you have questions about VA loans or any other mortgages, we have the answers. Sammamish Mortgage is a local, family-owned company based in Bellevue, Washington. We serve the entire state, as well as the broader Pacific Northwest region and provide borrowers with a variety of mortgage programs. Please contact us if you have mortgage-related questions.
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