Home Loans & Credit Do VA Home Loans Require a Minimum Credit Score? – INQUIRER.net

Do VA Home Loans Require a Minimum Credit Score? – INQUIRER.net

13 min read

inThe Department of Veteran Affairs does not set a minimum credit requirement for a VA home loan. However, there may be credit requirements established by the lender who funds it.

As a benefit of military service, a VA home loan helps U.S. veterans and their spouses become homeowners without having to make a down payment and regardless of having less than fair credit scores. Lenders all over the country offer these loans, which the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) insures. Aside from having no obligation to make a down payment, there are other significant benefits of a VA mortgage:


  • Easier eligibility requirements than a traditional loan
  • No mortgage insurance
  • Minimal closing costs and interests rates
  • Accepts debt-to-income (DTI) ratios above 36 percent

No Minimum Credit Score Required

Each VA home loan gets insured by the VA, and they do not need veterans to have any particular credit score. However, the loans offered by private lenders may have the requirement for a minimum score, which usually ranges from 580 to 620. Veterans need to be eligible for a credit. That is determined when lenders analyze their credit profile. Typically, lenders pull reports from the three primary agencies for credit-reporting: TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax. For qualification, the median or middle rating gets used as your credit score.

Since the VA is not funding the loan, it is the lender who sets a specific benchmark for the credit score. Not all vendors use the same parameter, but reports indicate the average credit score requirement is a FICO score of 620.

Credit scores aren’t the only things checked within the qualifying credit profile. Also, your past patterns with credit get used in the establishment of your repay willingness. If for at least 12 months, a veteran has made payments on time, he or she shows a readiness to repay any credit obligations to come.

Contrarily, a borrowing veteran who has a history of making payments late, delinquent accounts, or judgments, lenders may not consider him or her a satisfactory applicant to receive a loan.

Good Credit Means Better Mortgage Rates Today

While having a low credit score does not completely disqualify you from getting a VA home loan, but having a higher score is helpful. You can get better loan terms and better mortgage rates today than you would with less than fair credit. It is at the discretion of the lender to decide the percentage offered to each borrower. In general, those individuals with the excellent credit get offered the best rates. However, many homeowners and homebuyers are taking advantage of the current mortgage rates trend which shows the rates retreating.

Other Factors Affecting Approval of VA Loans

There are other financial considerations lenders make to help them determine if you can repay a VA home loan. They consider various factors, such as current income and employment record. Additionally, there are veteran requirements that need to be met, like the character of service, duty status, and length of service. Having a VA Certificate of Eligibility (COE) is an essential component of your loan application. To qualify for a VA loan, you must meet at least one of these conditions:


  • You are the spouse of a service member who is no longer alive because of a service-related disability or died while in active duty.
  • During wartime, you have served in active service for 90 consecutive days.
  • You have over six years of Reserves or National Guard service.
  • During peacetime, you have served in active service for 181 days.

There are six items which could negatively affect your ability to obtain a VA loan and impact your credit profile:


If a borrower’s past residence or real property got foreclosed on or you were given a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure in the last two years after the date of disposition, a person would generally not be eligible to receive a VA loan. FHA loan defaults can lead to waiting of three years for a VA loan. If it was a VA loan foreclosure, full entitlement for a new mortgage might not be available.

Late Payments on Mortgage

In cases unrelated to bankruptcy, a Veteran or spouse and Veteran can have reestablishment to satisfactory credit if for 12 months after the derogatory credit item there were adequate payments made. Having more than one 30-day late payments may be acceptable by some lenders. The policies regarding late payments are different for each vendor. If the court has made a judgment on account balances, it is subject to a plan with timely repayments or it must be paid in its entirety. Judgment policies can vary from lender to lender


Federal Debts and Collections

Derogatory and collection debt may be allowable within a threshold of which the caps would vary by other factors but primarily the lender. There needs to be a history of timely repayments on a plan for federal debt delinquency or default. It is possible for lenders to put a halt to a VA loan until the borrower is no longer in CAIVRS, which is the federal debt database.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

According to VA guidelines, at least two years must pass by after the date of discharge for the borrower or spouse’s Chapter Seven bankruptcy. It is not the date it got filed. The borrower would need to provide a detailed explanation of the bankruptcy. Also, he or she must have a stable income, be eligible for the loan financially and have re-established decent credit.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Under the VA guidelines, a borrower is still paying on a Chapter 13 bankruptcy if it’s verifiable that satisfactory payments got made to the court for one year. To proceed, the court trustee must provide written approval to do so. There needs to be a complete explanation of the bankruptcy, and the borrower must have secure employment, re-established good credit, and financially qualify.

No Credit to Report

Lenders do not find a lack of established credit history favorable. If a borrower has only one credit score, it must meet the lender’s in-house benchmark for some to see it as permissible. Without a credit score, borrowers will have to spend a lot of time building a credit profile before getting the ability to secure a VA home loan. Consideration of a borrower’s non-traditional credit tradelines may have guidelines that vary by lender.

Additional Resources

How Can Your Debt Equity Ratio Impact Your Overall Finances?

How to Get out of Debt With the Debt Snowball Method

How to Get out of Credit Card Debt?

Should I Buy a House? 10 Must-Do’s Before Making a Decision

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