Credit scoring has been widely used for decades in some format and some lenders required a certain score for a particular type of loan while others ignored the score and concentrated instead on a line-item-by-line-item review.

Today however, when financing residential properties all conventional lenderscredit scores for real estate investing require a minimum score with most ranging between 620 and 640. Before credit scores were widely used by mortgage lenders beginning in the late 1990’s, an underwriter would review a credit report manually and give a credit approval, a denial, or a “need more information.”

Today, lenders care little about any particular line item and pay attention to the score. That is of course if the item doesn’t read something to the effect of “Judgment” or some other negative note. And even in this instance, a score would be too low for an approval any way.

Score requirements typically can’t be overridden by the lender. If the score requirement is 620 and the borrower’s score is 619 the lender might simply say “no.” If the lender did make an exception the loan could be subject to a buy-back and unsalable in the secondary market. Too much of that and the lender is out of business.

When scores are a “just miss” it might be best for the borrower to do nothing except continue to make their monthly credit obligation payments on time. Given a few months, the scores will naturally rise. If there is a mistake on the report that keeps the score artificially low and the borrower can document the error, a mortgage lender can take the documentation, provide it to the credit agency who may then be able to “re-score” the file and produce an acceptable number. Writing a consumer complaint or a dispute letter does little to nothing to affect a score but if there is a mistake, there is a way to quickly get the score where it’s really supposed to be.