Give Yourself Credit!

What to do when you have no credit score or minimal credit history

As consumers, we have no control over the rate of interest or the cost of housing. However, we do have some control over our credit rating. If you are willing to take a pro-active approach and complete a few extra steps, you can make a difference.

The newest changes from both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac allow mortgages to borrowers with no credit scores. In order to build your own credit profile, you will need to submit documentation to your lender that demonstrates your history of paying bills on a timely basis. Generally, the proof that is submitted pertains to creditors that do not report to credit bureaus. Both conventional and government agencies refer to this option as “non-traditional credit.”  Sources of non-traditional credit documentation can include any of the following:

  • Cell phone bills
  • Utility bills (gas, electric)
  • Cable television bills
  • Automobile insurance
  • Health insurance
  • Payments to child care centers
  • Payments for medical care

Credit reports include details and payment history of mortgages, personal loans, vehicle loans, department store cards, and revolving credit cards such as VISA or Mastercard, etc. The creditors noted above do not report to the credit agencies—however, collection and delinquent accounts are reported.

Your lender may request anywhere from two to four references, and you will need to provide 6 to 12 months history that demonstrates a regular pattern of timely payments. If there are two borrowers applying for the mortgage, the number of references required may be reduced if one borrower has a full credit report and score.

All this is explained in Chapter 5 of Housing Finance 2020, along with specific requirements for conventional, FHA, VA, and Rural Housing loans.  If you have had credit problems in the past, you are not alone. There is guidance included, along with instructions on how to obtain a free copy of your credit report.

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Follow the “where to buy” links on this site. Select BookBaby, and at checkout, use code 2020E for print, or 2020EE for e-book.   Spanish edition: Hipoteca 2020: use code 2020S for print, or 2020SE for e-book.



  1. Mike Justice on September 15, 2019 at 1:50 am

    I’m looking for any kind of Real Estate Investor , Down payment assistance in rural Kentucky.

  2. Anna DeSimone on September 15, 2019 at 8:39 am

    If you want to build your own home in a rural Kentucky, check out the Self-Help Build Your Own Home program. Can you provide a city or town location for me to send you anything else you need. Thanks,
    Here is the link.
    Kentucky Highlands Investment Corp. – London

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