Hello, Peter, and thank you for your question. It's a good one because there are "official" minimum FICO scores and "real life" minimum FICO scores.
The official version:
1. For a 96.5 percent loan with 3.5 percent down, your representative credit score (the middle of three scores or the lower of two scores) must be at lest 580.
2. For a 90 percent loan with 10 percent down, that minimum drops to 500.
However, most lenders impose higher minimums, and even FHA says that while a low credit score is okay, it's NOT okay if the reason for it is bad financial management. Scores can be low because the applicant has a short or limited credit history, derogatory events in the distant past, or too many accounts, for example. Here's what FHA says in its guide:
"Generally, a borrower is considered to have an acceptable credit history if he/she does not have late housing or installment debt payments, unless there is major derogatory credit on his/her revolving accounts."
The real life version:
Many lenders add "overlays" to official requirements to minimize the possibility of a loan going "sideways," or into default. That often includes a minimum FICO of 620, 640 or even higher.
This article tells you more about "real life" FHA guidelines.
Or simply answer a couple of basic questions and get real quotes from actual lenders.