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Can You Cash out Refinance with a Low Credit Score?

Written by Allison Martin

Allison Martin is a personal finance enthusiast and a passionate entrepreneur. With over a decade of experience, Allison has made a name for herself as a syndicated financial writer. Her articles are published in leading publications, like, Bankrate, The Wall Street Journal, MSN Money, and Investopedia. When she’s not busy creating content, Allison travels nationwide, sharing her knowledge and expertise in financial literacy and entrepreneurship through interactive workshops and programs. She also works as a Certified Financial Education Instructor (CFEI) dedicated to helping people from all walks of life achieve financial freedom and success.

Updated December 21, 2023​

6 min. read​

Are you considering a cash out refinance but have a low credit score? If you’re having reservations about applying because you aren’t sure if you’ll get approved, don’t fret.

Some lenders may accept lower credit scores for cash-out refinances. However, you may face higher interest rates or additional requirements. So, shopping around and comparing offers from multiple lenders is essential to find the best fit for your situation.

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What Is a Cash Out Refinance?

A cash-out refinance involves replacing your current mortgage with a new, larger one to access the equity in your home. When you choose to do a cash out refinance, you’ll typically receive a lump sum payment, which comes from the difference in value between your old mortgage and the equity you pull out.

Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of how a cash-out refinance works:

  1. Step 1: You apply for a new mortgage that is larger than your existing home loan.
  2. Step 2: The new loan pays off your current mortgage.
  3. Step 3: You receive the difference between the two loans in cash.

This option can be beneficial if you need additional funds for home improvements, debt consolidation, or to cover other major expenses. That said, it’s essential to understand that cash-out refinancing typically comes with a higher interest rate than standard mortgage refinancing. This means that you’ll end up paying more in interest over the life of the loan. Plus, your monthly mortgage payments will likely increase, which could stretch your budget thin if you don’t prepare beforehand.

Can You Cash Out Refinance With a Low Credit Score?

As mentioned, a lower credit score doesn’t automatically disqualify you from a cash-out refinance. It depends on the lender and other factors. Here’s a closer look at what you should know about doing a cash out refinance with less-than-perfect credit and the minimum thresholds.

Can You Refinance Your Mortgage With a 500 Credit Score?

If you have a credit score of 500, refinancing your mortgage can be challenging but not impossible. Traditional lenders like banks and credit unions often hesitate to offer loans to individuals with low credit scores.

However, some government-backed programs, such as FHA loans, may accept borrowers with scores as low as 500, provided they have sufficient equity in their property and meet other requirements.

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What Is the Lowest Credit Score for a Cash-Out Refinance?

The minimum credit score for a cash out refinance ultimately depends on the specific lender and the type of loan you are seeking. Here’s a general overview of some popular loan types you can use to do a cash-out refinance and their credit score requirements:

  • Conventional Cash-Out Refinance: This type of refinance allows homeowners to access their home equity by refinancing their existing mortgage for an amount greater than what they currently owe. The homeowner receives the difference in cash. Many lenders require a minimum credit score of 620 for conventional cash-out refinances, but some may have higher requirements.
  • FHA Cash-Out Refinance: Offered by the Federal Housing Administration, this option allows homeowners with an existing FHA loan to refinance and access their home equity. The maximum loan-to-value ratio for FHA cash-out refinances is typically lower than for conventional cash-out refinances. The FHA sets a minimum credit score requirement of 500, but individual lenders may have higher standards. Borrowers with a credit score below 580 are required to make a 10 percent down payment.
  • VA Cash-Out Refinance: Available to eligible veterans and service members, this type of refinance allows borrowers to convert home equity into cash. VA cash-out refinances are backed by the Department of Veterans Affairs and may offer more favorable terms for qualified applicants. The Department of Veterans Affairs does not set a minimum credit score requirement for VA loans, but lenders often have their own credit score requirements, which typically range from 580 to 620.

Remember that even if your credit score is within the required range for a particular loan type, lenders will still consider other factors, such as your debt-to-income ratio, payment history and current financial standing. If you’re unsure whether you qualify, it’s best to consult with a mortgage lender or a financial expert to determine the best course of action for your unique situation.

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The Impact of Having a Low Credit Score on Cash Out Refinance

The primary factors affected by your credit score are the interest rate, monthly payments, and loan terms.

A low credit score generally results in steeper borrowing costs. Lenders perceive you as a higher-risk borrower. Consequently, they will likely charge you a higher rate to offset the risk they take by extending a loan to you. Simply put, you can expect a higher interest rate in this situation than if you had a better credit score.

As previously mentioned, higher interest rates impact your monthly payments. With a low credit score, your monthly payments on the new loan will be higher than they would be with a better credit score.

Loan terms can also be influenced by your credit score. With a lower credit score, lenders may be more reluctant to provide longer loan terms, which could result in a shorter maturity date for your new loan.

A shorter loan term could also increase your monthly payments since you will have less time to repay the amount borrowed. It is vital to keep this in mind as you explore your cash out refinance options.

Approaching a Cash Out Refinance With a Low Credit Score

If you’re still interested in applying for a cash-out refinance, here’s how to prepare.

Steps to Take Prior to Applying

Start by evaluating your credit health and taking steps to improve it, if possible. Regularly check your credit report for errors, and dispute any inaccuracies you find. Work on reducing your debt by paying off credit card balances and making timely payments on your existing loans.

Another important step is to prepare financial documents that demonstrate your ability to repay the loan. Examples of these documents include:

  • Recent pay stubs
  • Bank statements
  • Tax returns
  • W-2 forms

Providing these documents shows lenders that you’re financially responsible despite a low credit score. It’s worth noting that they are generally required as the lender will review these documents to determine if you qualify for a cash-out refinance.

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Overcoming Credit Score Barriers in Cash Out Refinance

The government programs mentioned above may help you overcome credit score barriers in a cash-out refinance. As a refresher, they include FHA cash out refinances and VA cash out refinances.

You can also explore alternative lenders. Some non-traditional or private lenders specialize in providing refinancing options for individuals with poor credit. These lenders may offer cash-out refinance products tailored to borrowers with lower credit scores.

Finding Lenders Willing to Refinance With Low Credit Scores

Shop around and compare offers from multiple lenders. Doing so can ensure that you find the best rates and terms available for your specific situation. The Internet is an excellent resource for researching mortgage lenders, and reading reviews from borrowers with similar credit scores can help you find the right fit.

Also, try contacting local community banks and credit unions to increase your chances of finding a lender that is more flexible with credit scores. These smaller institutions often have more lenient lending practices and may cater to borrowers with lower credit scores.

By taking these actions and carefully evaluating your options, you can improve your chances of successfully obtaining a cash-out refinance, even with a low credit score.

Is a Cash Out Refinance Worth It With a Low Credit Score?

When considering a cash-out refinance with a low credit score, it’s essential to weigh the benefits and potential drawbacks. If executed wisely, a cash-out refinance can help you tap into your home’s equity while securing a more favorable loan term or interest rate. However, a low credit score may pose some challenges in obtaining the best deal.

You may still qualify for a cash-out refinance despite having a low credit score. However, you can expect a higher interest rate than you would with a stronger credit score. However, if you manage to secure a lower rate than your current mortgage, it has the potential to decrease your monthly payments.

That said, it’s important to note that this type of refinance typically comes with closing costs, which can range between 2 percent and 5 percent of the mortgage amount.

Some additional factors to consider:

  • Loan-to-Value (LTV) ratio: Make sure you have enough equity in your home to ensure a good LTV ratio. Generally, lenders prefer a ratio of 80 percent or less to offer the best rates.
  • Current interest rates: Keep an eye on the market’s interest rates, as your low credit score cash-out refinance deal may not be as attractive if interest rates rise.
  • Purpose of funds: Ensure you have a clear, financially responsible plan for the funds you obtain through the refinance, such as home improvements or debt consolidation.
  • Future financial plans: Consider the long-term implications of the refinance, as it may extend the term of your loan.

Ultimately, deciding how to move forward depends on your unique circumstances.

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How to Refinance Your Mortgage With a Low Credit Score

Refinancing your mortgage with a low credit score doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Begin by exploring cash-out refinance options that may be available to you. Also, check your credit score to gauge if it’s high enough to qualify or if it needs work. If it’s the latter, you’ll need to take a step back and do the following to increase your chances of refinancing with a low credit score:

  • Evaluate your credit report: Look for any inaccuracies or errors and take steps to correct them. Be sure to keep track of your credit utilization and consistent on-time payments to improve your credit score. And if needed, create a plan of action to tackle other negative items in your report that are dragging your credit score down.
  • Pay down debts: Reducing your debt-to-income ratio can improve your chances of refinancing, even with a low credit score. And paying down revolving debts, like credit cards, also helps your debt utilization rate and typically boosts your credit score.
  • Consider a co-signer: Having a co-signer who has a strong credit score can help you get approved for refinancing. Ask a friend or family member with a strong credit profile and steady source of income to lend a helping hand.
  • Shop around: Explore multiple lenders and evaluate their options, as some may offer loans specifically designed for people with low credit scores.

Remember, while having a low credit score can make refinancing more difficult, you’re not completely out of luck. By considering different refinancing options and following these tips, you can improve your chances of successfully refinancing your mortgage despite your low credit score. Most importantly, you can get the cash you need without having to jump over several hurdles.

If you are considering refinancing your mortgage but have a low credit score, Mutual of Omaha Mortgage can help you access the cash that you need. With their years of experience in the industry, they can provide you with valuable insights and recommendations. Plus, their experienced professionals will guide you through the entire process and answer any questions you may have. Their streamlined application process makes it easy to get started.

Take the first step by submitting this form, and a loan officer will contact you shortly to discuss your options. Get in touch with Mutual of Omaha Mortgage today and start regaining control over your financial situation.

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