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LendingTree is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appear on this site (such as the order). LendingTree does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.

Minimum Mortgage Requirements for 2024

Updated on:
Content was accurate at the time of publication.

If buying a home is on your wish list for 2024, it’s important to understand the minimum mortgage requirements for the most common loan programs.

We’ll give you a quick tour of the loan landscape, so you know which loans come with the lowest credit score and down payment requirements, the highest loan limits and more. And if you’re carrying debt? We’ll also cover how much debt you can carry and still qualify for each program.

Down payment3%3.5%0%0%
Credit score620
  • 580 with 3.5% down
  • 500 with 10% down
No minimum, 620 is standardNo minimum, 640 is standard
Mortgage insurance or similar feePMI 0.14% to 2.33%
  • UFMIP 1.75%
  • Annual MIP 0.15% to 0.75%
1.40% to 3.60% VA funding fee
  • Upfront guarantee fee 1%
  • Annual guarantee fee 0.35%
DTI ratio45%43%41%41%
Loan limit for a single-family homes$766,550 to $1,149,825$498,257 to $1,724,725 depending on locationN/A with full VA entitlementN/A

Conventional loans, which remain the most popular mortgage option, aren’t guaranteed by any government agency. Instead, lenders that offer conforming conventional home loans follow rules set by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. This means that qualifying for a conventional loan tends to be a little more difficult than qualifying for government-backed loans.

Conventional loan borrowers will have over $40,000 more borrowing power in 2024 than they did the previous year, as conforming loan limits increased from $726,200 to $766,550 for a single-family home in most parts of the country.

 See current conventional mortgage rates today.

It may be easier to qualify for an FHA loan, a mortgage backed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), than a conventional loan. FHA-approved lenders are protected against losses when you pay for FHA mortgage insurance. This extra insurance allows lenders to make loans to borrowers with lower credit scores and more debt than conventional loans, because the insurance covers their losses if the borrower defaults.

Borrowers struggling to qualify for a mortgage will have more FHA buying leverage in 2024: FHA loan limits increased to $498,257 for most parts of the country. Higher-cost areas get even more bang for the buck, with maximum loan amounts as high as $1,149,825.

 See current FHA loan rates today.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) makes qualifying for a home loan easier for military borrowers. VA loan borrowers won’t have to make a down payment if they have full VA entitlement, and active-duty personnel, reservists, veterans and eligible surviving spouses are able to qualify.

The VA doesn’t set loan limits for borrowers with full entitlement, which means VA borrowers can buy higher-priced homes. This gives military borrowers an edge over nonmilitary borrowers who may need complicated and pricey jumbo loans (mortgages that exceed conventional conforming limits) to buy homes in expensive parts of the country.

 See current VA loan rates today.

Loans guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA loans) are designed to help low- to moderate-income borrowers buy homes in eligible rural areas with no down payment. Unlike FHA and conventional loans, there are no set loan limits. However, strict income, location and square footage limits typically result in maximum loan amounts well below current FHA and conforming loan limits.

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If you’re looking for a second home, your only choice is conventional financing — FHA, VA and USDA loans can only be used for a primary home. There are also additional requirements if you’re buying an investment property.

Second home loan requirements

The following guidelines apply to second home purchases:

  • You must live in the home for part of the year
  • You can only purchase a one-unit home
  • You must be able to live in the home year round
  • The property can’t be managed by another company or used as a rental home
  • You’ll need at least a 10% down payment

Investment property loan requirements

Conventional financing is your only option if you want to buy an investment property. To get an investment property loan, you’ll need:

  • A minimum 20% down payment
  • Proof of rental income
  • An appraisal that analyzes the market rents for the home
  • A minimum 640 credit score
  • Cash reserves of two to six months’ worth of mortgage payments
 Interested in using home equity to get another property? Read about second mortgages.

Buying a two- to four-unit home can be a quick way to earn multiple streams of rental income from a single property. However, you’ll need to spend more money upfront than you would for a single-family home.

To buy a multifamily property with a conventional loan, you’ll usually need:

  • A minimum 5% down payment
  • A minimum 680 credit score for a two-unit home
  • A minimum 660 credit score for a three- to four-unit home
  • A DTI ratio of 36% or less (though you may qualify with a DTI ratio up to 45% if you can meet a slightly stricter credit score minimum)


House hacking with a government-backed multifamily loan

If you don’t mind being a homeowner and landlord at the same time, at the same property, you may want to consider house hacking. This is when you buy a two- to four-unit home with a government-backed loan. As long as you live in one of the units, you can buy the property with as little as 0% down with a VA multifamily loan, or 3.5% down with an FHA loan.

FHA loans have an added perk: They allow you to use the rental income on the other units to qualify. The only drawback is you’ll need to have six months’ of cash reserves to qualify for a multiunit FHA purchase.

USDA loans offer another good option, as long as you live in a qualifying rural area. Known as multifamily housing direct loans, these loans require only a 3% to 5% down payment and don’t enforce a minimum credit score. There are some unique limitations, though — you’ll have to rent to low-income tenants, people with disabilities or seniors.

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If you plan to apply for a home loan in 2024, having the right documents upfront will lead to a smoother mortgage experience. Here’s a list of the most common items you’ll need:

 Pay stubs for the last 30 days
 W-2s for the last two years
 Bank statements for the last 60 days
 Federal tax returns for the last two years
 Proof of homeowners insurance
 1099 forms (if you’re self-employed or commissioned)
 Documented dividends, stock earnings and other sources of income
 Proof of bonus income
 Pension statements
 Securities documents, such as stocks, bonds and life insurance policies
 Social Security or disability income award letters, if applicable
 Specific forms required by FHA, VA or USDA-approved lenders
 Gift letter (if any portion of your down payment is coming from a donor gift)
 A fully signed purchase agreement

If you’re thinking about buying a home in 2024, here’s a brief recap of which programs may be the best fit for your finances:

 A conventional loan is a good fit if:

 An FHA loan makes sense if:

  • You have credit scores between 500 and 619
  • You have at least a 3.5% down payment and a 580 credit score
  • You want to buy a two- to four-unit home with a 3.5% down payment

 A VA loan may be the best choice if:

  • You’re an eligible military borrower
  • You can’t or don’t want to make a down payment
  • You want to avoid mortgage insurance

 A USDA loan is the best option if:

  • You have a low to moderate income
  • You’re buying in a USDA-designated rural neighborhood
  • You don’t have the money for a down payment

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