Only 1 credit score, or limited credit? It is possible to obtain a USDA Mortgage

How to get a USDA home loan with limited credit on your credit report
How to get a USDA home loan with limited credit on your credit report

Limited Credit and Looking for No Money Down?

We just recently closed a USDA loan for a buyer that only had one credit trade line reporting on the credit report. The buyer had 3 credit scores with a middle of over 660 and no bad credit. We were able to receive an automated pre-approval through USDA’s system called GUS and we have investors that will allow this limited credit on the credit report as long as we are able to prove a good rent history and other nontraditional credit such as utilities, insurance, etc. The buyer closed with zero money out of pocket in the end with a USDA loan and an MCC tax credit to save money on their tax returns each year. Learn more about the MCC tax credit here.

It is Even Possible to Buy a Home with One Credit Score!

An important point to keep in mind is that these scenarios and programs are not allowing approvals with no scores or only one score along with bad credit. To have a chance of approving loans with these characteristics, there can be no to very little derogatory credit.

For buyers looking to use a USDA loan for financing that has limited credit AND only one credit score, we will need the following to submit for a manual underwriting approval but it is possible!

Credit Guidelines for only 1 Credit Score USDA Purchases:

  • Credit report may NOT reflect ANY derogatory credit or collection items in the last 36 months and overall derogatory credit may not be overridden by alternative credit references
  • A sufficient amount of alternative credit references must be verified including the following:
    • Satisfactory payment history for rent: If the rent is paid to an individual, we will need a verification of rent form completed by the landlord and will need the last 12 months of cancelled checks from the buyer to prove no 30 day late payments. If the rent is paid to a company, the verification of rent alone will be sufficient.
    • Must be able to verify 3 or more group 1 credit references (rent included)
      • Group 1: Utility company accounts (gas, water, electric, cable, and landline phone
    • USDA requires that we exhaust all Group 1 references prior to considering any other references. If unable to supply enough Group 1 references, then the following Group 2 references may be used
      • Group 2: Insurances, school tuition, cell phone services, rent to own accounts, savings account history, buy here pay here accounts, etc. these items cannot be paid directly from the buyer’s paycheck to count as payment history. for instance, health insurance taken from the paycheck does not count because the buyer has no choice of paying or not.
  • A non-occupying co-borrower is not allowed in this circumstance of using nontraditional credit
  • All assets must be verified and a cash flow analysis will be made on the buyer’s bank statements to verify the buyer can make the housing payment
  • The alternative credit references will need to be verified by our credit reporting company and added as a supplement to the credit report
  • Loan file will require a signed letter from the buyer regarding the reason for the lack of credit history

Limited Credit with 2 or 3 Credit Scores is Easier!

We can often approve buyers for a USDA loan when over a 640 score even if the credit is limited and the higher the score, the better chance of approval. So if you have limited or no traditional credit, but can provide sufficient documentation above, contact us to apply for a USDA mortgage approval.

USDA Credit Guidelines Has Just Relaxed Even More.  See the details here!

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Written By: Russell Smith