Our goal at Credible Operations, Inc., NMLS No. 1681276, referred to below as “Trusted,” is to give you the tools and confidence you need to improve your finances. Although we promote products from our partner lenders that provide us with a solution to our services, all opinions are our own.
Any time you apply for a credit-based account, whether it is a credit card or a mortgage refinancing loan, your credit score will be a key factor. Lenders use credit scores to determine the likelihood of your loan being repaid in a specific way when deciding whether to lend to you.
Your credit score may affect your loan approval, but the terms of the loan you are offering and the interest rate. Here’s a look at the importance of your credit score when you’re refinancing a mortgage.
You can use Credible Compare mortgage refinancing rates From various lenders within minutes.
What credit score do I need to refinance a home?
Knowing the exact credit score you need to refinance a home can be tricky as there is no single score threshold.
Credit score requirements may vary depending on the type of loan you are taking and the individual lender. Factors such as your loan-to-value ratio and the type of home you have may also change your credit score requirements.
In general, the credit score requirements for each type of mortgage refinancing are:
- Traditional mortgage loans (including cash-maturity and rate-and-term): 620 to 720
- FHA loans (including cash and rate-and-term): 500 if the LTV ratio is 90% or less; 580 if the LTV ratio is greater than 90%
- FHA Loans (Streamline): There is no minimum credit score required
- VA Loans (IRRRL and Cash Out): There is no minimum credit score required
- USDA Loans: A minimum credit score is not required, but must demonstrate the ability to manage debt
It is important to note that just because a particular type of loan does not require a particular credit score minimum or no, it does not mean that you are automatically approved if your score meets that need. Other personal factors – such as your new loan’s LTV ratio, your payment history, and your debt-to-income ratio – need to have a high credit score to qualify.
FHA (Rate-and-Term and Cash-Out)
FHA Cash-Out Refinance and Rate-and-Term Refinancing Loans are offered by third-party lenders but are FHA-insured, which usually means lower credit score requirements.
According to the FHA guidelines, you will need at least a 500 credit score for the FHA rate-and-term refinancing if your new loan’s LTV ratio is 90% or less. If your new loan’s LTV ratio is over 90%, you’ll need a credit score of at least 580. For FHA cash-out refinancing loans, homeowners are limited to an LTV ratio of 80% or less. They must have at least a 580 credit score to qualify.
Keep in mind that individual lenders may need credit scores higher than the baseline FHA loan minimum.
FHA Streamline Refinance Loans are only offered to borrowers with an existing FHA-backed mortgage loan. These loans are usually quicker, require fewer paperwork and generally do not require a home appraisal.
FHA Streamline Refinance has a maximum LTV ratio of 97.75%; There is no upper LTV ratio limit without valuation.
Traditional (Rate-and-Term and Cash-Out)
Traditional rate-and-mortgage refinancing allows you to change your loan interest rate, term, monthly payment amount, or all three. Various banks and lenders offer these loans, so it makes sense to shop around to find the best terms for you and your credit score.
Traditional lenders can set their own credit score requirements. On average, the minimum credit score of a traditional refi loan ranges from 620 to 720. The credit score required to refinance depends on factors such as your home’s equity, payment history, income, loans and your current liquidity.
If your LTV ratio is less than 75%, your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio is less than 36%, or if you have at least two months worth of savings in savings, you may qualify for a refinancing with a lower credit score. Borrowers with a higher DTI ratio, higher LTV ratio, or less money in savings can often expect the need for a higher credit score.
Credible lets you Compare mortgage refinancing rates Without affecting your credit score.
VA (IRRRL and Cash Out)
VA refinancing loans do not have the minimum credit score requirement. Whether you’re looking for an interest-rate refinancing loan (IRRRL) or a VA cash-out refi, lenders for VA-backed mortgage loans need to look at the borrower’s overall financial profile instead of their credit score.
With that, some lenders may still have their own credit score that you need to meet to qualify for a refinancing loan.
Borrowers can choose from three USDA refinance loan options: streamlined, streamlined and streamlined-help. Each has its own requirements for valuations, maximum loan amounts and credit scores.
With a non-streamlined or streamlined USDA refinancing loan, borrowers are subject to a full credit review. They will need to show that their existing debt has been paid off, at least 180 days before the referee application.
An existing USDA loan does not require a streamlined-help refinancing credit check, and there is no specific credit score minimum. But lenders consider other aspects of the borrower’s financial profile, such as the 12-month mortgage payment history of applying.
Can I Refinance a Mortgage with Bad Credit?
A good credit score can open many financial doors, but a bad credit score limits your options when it comes to any credit-based product. This is especially true with home loans. It is possible to refinance a mortgage with bad credit – but it can be a bit more challenging.
First, let’s define “bad credit” in relation to lenders. Although many credit-scoring models exist – FICO Score and VantageScore Models – the most commonly used model is FICO 8.
FICO 8 credit scores range from 300 to 850, with a score of 579 or less falling into the poor category. If your score is below 579, you may have a hard time getting your desired refinancing loan or interest rate.
If you have bad credit, you may be ineligible for certain types of refinancing loans. If you are eligible, you will need to meet specific lender guidelines, such as maximum LTV limits, a positive payment history, or a certain amount in liquid savings. These will help lenders cover your perceived risk, making it easier for them to approve your loan application.
In some cases, you may need to improve your credit score first to refinance your home loan, especially if you want a more competitive interest rate. You may be able to qualify by offering a large down payment on a new loan or applying with a co-lender for better or better credit.
How to get the best refinancing rate
Getting the best possible interest rate on your refinancing loan can help you reduce your monthly payments, reduce your overall financing fees, get you out of debt or get a third. But how exactly do you go about finding the best interest rate when refinancing?
Here are some things to consider when looking for the most competitive rates for your situation:
- Improve your credit score. The better your credit score, the more competitive your refi loan options are. Lenders look less risky if they have an excellent credit history. Pull your own credit reports from each of the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) and look for any errors and where you can make improvements before applying for a refinancing loan.
- Reduce your overall debt burden. Your DTI ratio and credit usage also represent a risk to lenders. The higher these numbers, the higher your interest rate. By paying off balances such as credit cards or student loans – you reduce your overall debt burden and improve your chances for a lower rate.
- Comparison Store for Lenders. When buying a car or home, you usually don’t see one before making the jump. Finding refi lenders should be the same way. It is wise to shop around to see what rates various lenders offer you. The easiest way to shop multiple lenders in one place is to use a platform like Credible.
- Add a co-borrower. By adding a co-lender with good or excellent credit to your refinancing loan, you may be able to deduct lower interest rates. Make sure the co-lender is someone you want to jointly own your home with and understands the financial liability they are involved in.
If you are willing to refinance, use Credible Compare mortgage refinancing rates From different lenders to find the one that suits you best.
When should I refinance my mortgage?
Deciding when to refinance your mortgage depends on a number of personal factors, and the answer is different for each homeowner.
In general, it may be wise to refinance:
- You want to reduce your monthly mortgage payment.
- Market interest rates have fallen since you bought your home.
- You are paying for private mortgage insurance (PMI) on your home but you now have enough equity (due to paying off the valuation or increasing the value of your home) to remove the PMI.
- Your credit score has improved since taking out your original loan.
- You will be able to refinance at a lower rate without extending your loan term.
- You save more than refinancing loan fees at closing costs.
Refinancing can be a pretty involved process. But this can be a wise financial decision for many homeowners, especially if they meet certain personal and credit score requirements.