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Guide to Home Loans with No Credit

Updated on April 9, 2024

At a Glance

  • Getting a mortgage without a credit score is possible through non-traditional lenders.
  • Establish a payment history through rent reporting services and provide proof of income and payment history for other expenses.
  • Options include FHA mortgages, smaller lenders, and credit unions.
  • Making a sizable down payment reduces risk and interest rates, ensuring affordability by considering additional expenses and maintaining an emergency fund.

Do you want to buy a home? Are you looking for the perfect place to raise your family? Or are you just in the market to buy a property? If so, do you know how you’ll purchase the real estate?

Immigrants and people living on a visa have a hard time getting access to certain financial services like mortgages and loans. How can someone without a credit history get access to credit? Don’t fret, because we know of a way in which you can possibly qualify for home loans for no credit. This is what you need to know.

How to Get a Mortgage with No Credit Score

You could still get a mortgage without a credit score. Lenders nowadays have more than one way to verify your creditworthiness. If you find the right lenders you can possibly qualify for home loans for no credit. You just need to comply with the simple eligibility criteria.

Traditional lenders like banks often refrain from helping immigrants and undocumented people with credit. But non-traditional lenders like credit unions and online lenders are willing to help. They have alternative ways to still determine your ability to manage credit.

Let’s look at a few ways in which you can still prove your financial wellbeing. You could still qualify for an undocumented immigrant home loan.

Using Your Payment History in Place of a Credit Score

A credit history helps prove your spending habits and other related financial behavior. Lenders want to know about your financial wellbeing before they offer you any credit deals. But how can you prove your history if you have no credit score?

You can use your payment history at different places where you actively keep an account up to date. Rent reporting services can help prove your payment history. Most rent reporting services also report your payments to credit bureaus. These reported payments then help build a credit score.

Not all rent reporting services report to every credit bureau. You need to report your payments to all credit bureaus in the U.S. to increase the believability of your credit score. Lenders check your credit score at more than one credit bureau to verify your creditworthiness.

Dave Ramsey, personal finance expert and host of The Ramsey Show, explains that it’s not impossible to get a mortgage without credit, but “You’ll need to show verification of your income for the last 12–24 months, as well as a steady payment history for at least four regular monthly expenses.”

Even if you don’t have a credit score yet, you may still be able to qualify for home loans for no credit. Find the right lender (like an online lender for instance) who uses alternative ways to calculate your creditworthiness. It gives you more options to choose from. Shop around and get more offers to find the best and cheapest mortgage.

Mortgage Options for People with No Credit

Do you know what types of mortgages you need to look for? Did you know there is more than one type of mortgage? Here are a few options you can consider:

  • FHA Mortgage
  • Small Lendder
  • Credit Unions

Each is for a different scenario and one of them may fit yours.

FHA Mortgages

FHA mortgages are a viable option. It can help people who have no or very low credit to still get a mortgage. The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) offers these loans through approved lenders.

The eligibility criteria for these mortgages are much more lenient. The minimum required down payment for this type of mortgage is much lower than the average conventional home loan. The minimum down payment could be as low as 3.5% if you have a credit score of 580.

This may help you to get a mortgage but beware, FHA loans are very expensive. The interest rates could be higher than other mortgages. It’s also a bit risky to take a mortgage with a low down payment. A little later we’ll look at reasons why a well-sized down payment is actually a good thing.

Smaller Lender

Smaller lenders like online lenders could be better suited to helping you. Some smaller lenders are geared to help the underserved. They have a better understanding of your needs and could offer you the best help you can find. Just because they are smaller doesn’t mean they offer a service of a lesser standard. In fact, their size could be their advantage. Smaller lenders are more adaptable and could help create services and offers that suit your needs. They could offer a good no credit home loan.

Credit Unions

Credit unions serve their members. Only specific people can qualify for a specific credit union. Hispanic immigrants can, for instance, become a member of a Latino credit union. The union can perhaps help them with credit offers that could help to purchase a home.

Credit unions could be a good option as opposed to traditional banks. They serve specific communities and therefore understand the exact type of needs experienced by that group. A credit union serving Latinos will understand the challenges uniquely experienced by the Hispanic community.

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The Importance of a Down Payment

As mentioned earlier, a down payment is a very important part of a mortgage. It may work in your favor if you could make a sizeable one. But why is it so important?

A sizeable down payment reduces the amount of debt on your mortgage. You are essentially making an upfront deposit payment on the property. Which means the remaining value of the home is the value of the debt. The lender’s risk is reduced since there is less debt on the mortgage. Mortgages with sizeable down payments have lower interest rates as well. Less debt equals less risk for the lender. They can then offer you a lower interest rate.

Ramsey explains, “Normally, we recommend a down payment of at least 10% to 20% of the home price. But if you have no credit score, aim for 20% or more since it reduces the lender’s risk and demonstrates your ability to handle money responsibly.”

A down payment helps cheapen a mortgage. The down payment itself requires cash, but the effects thereof are profitable. A lowered interest rate reduces the rate at which interest accumulates. Your monthly payments are cheaper and you could possibly settle the mortgage faster.

A down payment also acts as a type of barrier to fluctuations in the property market. A down payment helps reduce the value of the debt on your home. It will be bad for your financial well-being if your home’s value falls below the value of your mortgage. This means you’re repaying a debt that is worth more than your home. A down payment helps reduce the probability that your home’s value can fall below the value of your mortgage. But how much should a down payment be to capitalize on its benefits?

Overcoming the No-Credit Hurdle in Home Financing

Embarking on the journey to homeownership without a credit history can seem daunting. When the typical avenue to obtaining a mortgage down payment—a personal loan—often requires a solid credit history, finding a path forward requires creativity and a strategic approach. If you’re seeking to secure a personal loan for your down payment but lack a credit history, here’s a guide tailored to help you navigate this scenario.

Understanding the Challenge

Credit history is a critical component in a lender’s decision-making process because it provides a record of how a borrower has managed debt in the past. Without this history, lenders have no traditional means to gauge creditworthiness, making them less likely to approve a loan application. However, all is not lost—there are ways to work around this obstacle.

Step 1: Explore Alternative Lenders

Traditional banks might be less likely to lend to someone without a credit history, but alternative lenders—such as credit unions, online lenders, and community banks—often have more flexible lending criteria. Some might use other forms of verification, like proof of regular income, bill payments, or bank statements, to assess your reliability as a borrower.

Step 2: Consider a Co-Signer

A co-signer with an established credit history can bolster your loan application significantly. This individual—a family member, a friend, or a trusted associate—agrees to take on the responsibility of the loan if you default. Their good credit can compensate for your lack of credit history, giving lenders the assurance they need to approve your loan.

Step 3: Look into Credit-Builder Loans

Some financial institutions offer credit-builder loans specifically designed to help individuals build a credit profile. These loans hold the amount borrowed in a bank account while you make payments. Once the loan is fully paid, you receive the funds, and you have built a credit history in the process.

Step 4: Leverage Non-Credit Financial History

Gather evidence of your financial responsibility that doesn’t involve credit. Rent payments, utility bills, insurance premiums, and even your track record with a checking or savings account can demonstrate to a lender that you are capable of managing regular payments responsibly.

Step 5: Prepare for Higher Interest Rates or Fees

Without a credit history, you may be seen as a higher-risk borrower, which can lead to lenders offering loans with higher interest rates or additional fees. It’s important to calculate these potential costs into your overall budget for purchasing a home.

Step 6: Offer Collateral

If you’re unable to find an unsecured loan or a co-signer, consider secured loan options. Secured loans require collateral, such as a car or savings account, which the lender can claim if you fail to repay the loan. This reduces the risk for the lender and can help you get loan approval.

Step 7: Establish a Repayment Plan

Have a clear plan for how you will repay the personal loan. Budget for the loan repayments along with your future mortgage payments to ensure that you can manage both without straining your finances.

As seen previously with FHA loans you need at least a minimum payment of 3.5% of the home’s value. But otherwise, there is conventional consensus that a mortgage needs a 20% down payment. This helps reduce the risk of property price fluctuations and it will reward you with all the added benefits of making a sizeable down payment (like cheaper interest rates).

You’ll have to speak to your lender and ask if 20% is enough. Some borrowers may be required to make a larger down payment before they qualify for a mortgage. It depends on your creditworthiness and the policies of your lender.

Be Realistic About What You Can Afford

Finally, remember to be realistic about what you can afford. You should make sure you have an emergency fund and enough to cover essential expenses on top of your mortgage payment.

Paula Pant, a personal finance expert and real estate investor, also recommends that you consider other non-obvious expenses, as well. “Maybe you have family overseas and you send them remittances. That’s not the type of thing an underwriter will screen for but that’s a responsibility you have that will take a bite out of your budget.”

If you plan well, research all of your options, and are able to convince lenders that you can afford payments, you should be able to get a mortgage even if you don’t have credit.

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Frank Gogol

I’m a firm believer that information is the key to financial freedom. On the Stilt Blog, I write about the complex topics — like finance, immigration, and technology — to help immigrants make the most of their lives in the U.S. Our content and brand have been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and more.

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