Landlord Poll: What is the MINIMUM Credit Score You'd Accept in Tenant Selection?
Let me preface this by saying that while I endured some financial adversities in my life over the past few years that caused me to be late on payments (hence damaging my three credit scores) I have been working dilligently recently to improve them. As of right now my credit scores are as follows:
(Average of 605)
Yes, I'm aware those are bleak, but to put things into perspective I was rejected for a car loan exactly two months ago, and all three of my scores were in the 575-590 range, showing that, on average, each of my scores has been trending upwards by 10-12 points per month. I just made a payment today that will bring my Discover Card balance down to around 30% of my available credit line, and I suspect this alone should boost my credit scores next month to an average of 615-620.
I know the FHA requires a minimum credit score of 620 (not sure if they use the average of all three scores or if they go by Equifax, which seems to be the harshest scorer) to qualify for them to back your mortgage, and considering I hope to buy a house sometime during 2012 I've been
working as fastidiously as I can to ensure I can boost my current 600 Equifax score up to 620, which would probably bring my average up to around 625-630 from that current 605 mark---still horrible, of course, but on the path to improvement.
Anyhow, since I'm considering going the route of a "rent-to-own" option I was wondering what the MINIMUM credit score range you landlords would accept from a prospective tenant. I'm not sure if you landlords tend to go by the three-score average or the harshest (Equifax) in your determination, so please elaborate upon that as well (you'll be voting TWICE in the poll above). Also, would you be inclined to accept a tenant that was below your threshold IF they could supply positive references, including from their current landlord, employer, clergy, etc. I'm looking on CraigsList and a lot of landlords want to be paid a "non-refundable" $30-$40 credit check fee, so I wouldn't want to waste hundreds of dollars on these fees only to be rejected.
Thanks in advance! Any and all advice any of you could offer in terms of getting to my MINIMUM goal of 620 for both Equifax and my average for the three scores (so I could qualify for an FHA-backed mortgage and buy a starter fixer-upper home with 3.5% down) would be greatly appreciated as well.