With so many mortgage options available for Charlotte-area home buyers, it helps to know what you need to have in terms of down payment and credit score. The requirements vary for each loan program. 

From rural North Carolina houses to urban townhomes and condos, choosing the right loan for the right home means you need to know the loan limit, required credit score and minimum down payment. Reach out if you have questions— our Charlotte mortgage experts can show you all of your options, even if you think you don’t qualify for a particular loan yet.

Understanding mortgage program terms

Learn more about loan programs and requirements so you can choose the right loan for your new home.

Down payment

The down payment is like your deposit on the home loan. You put down a certain percentage of the loan amount up front and pay the rest in regular installments over time. While the common down payment amount is 20%, many loan programs allow you to put down much less than that. You can use our Mortgage Calculator to estimate how much of a down payment you can afford.

Loan amount limits

The loan amount limit refers to the maximum amount you can borrow.

Credit score

How to understand and boost your credit score

Your credit score shows the mortgage lender whether you can handle making the payments regularly and on time.


But your credit score doesn’t have to be perfect—you can still get a loan with fair credit (above a 580), depending on the loan program.

Improving your credit score

Don’t let a poor credit score stop you from buying your dream home! Fairway of the Carolinas offers lots of tools and advice to help you learn more about credit scores and how to improve yours. 


We even offer a Creditools program that will help you get your scores into optimal shape—and it doesn’t cost you a thing.

Learn more about Creditools.

Conventional loans

Conventional loans are what you typically think of with a home mortgage: a regular loan not backed by a government agency, but by a private lender. 


To get into a conventional loan in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina (meaning Charlotte and beyond), you’ll need a minimum: 


Down payment: 3%

Credit score: 580 (Fair Credit)

Loan limit: $647,200

Income limit: None


Compare conventional loans to the mortgage programs available below.

FHA Loans

An FHA loan is a Federal Housing Administration loan and it is backed by the U.S. government. FHA loans help more people own their own homes by making the down payment, closing costs and credit requirements easier to manage.


To qualify for an FHA loan in Charlotte in 2022, the requirements are:


Down payment: 3.5%

Credit score: 620 (Fair Credit)

Loan limit: $420,680

Income limit: None

USDA Loans

USDA loans come from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and they are for eligible rural homebuyers. They offer mortgages with zero down payments, which can be so helpful. To qualify for a USDA loan, your income must meet certain criteria and your prospective home must be in a rural area as defined by the USDA. For USDA loans in the greater Charlotte area, you’ll need:


Down payment: 0%

Credit score: 620 (Fair Credit)

Loan limit: $336,500

Income limit: $96,800 (1-person)

VA Loans

Veterans (and active service members as well as surviving spouses) may want to look into VA home loans, which are partially backed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. These loans help our service members own their own homes. To be eligible for this mortgage program in the Charlotte area, you’ll need:


Down payment: 0%

Credit score: 580 (Fair Credit)

Loan limit: $417,000

Income limit: None

Reverse Loans

Also known as a reverse mortgage, a reverse loan lets you buy a new home without selling your old home. There is one federally backed reverse mortgage program, known as the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM). For a reverse mortgage, you’ll need:


Down payment: 40%

Credit score: 580 (Fair Credit)

Loan limit: $970,800

Income limit: Varies

NCHFA NC Home Advantage Mortgage

One more loan type to mention for homebuyers in Charlotte, North Carolina: the NCHFA NC Home Advantage Mortgage. This mortgage program is specifically designed for buyers who are looking at an FHA, USDA, VA or conventional loan and meet the requirements of the chosen loan type. These loans offer down payment assistance of up to 5% of the purchase price, and it offers $8,000 to eligible first-time or veteran home buyers. And, if you stay in your home long enough, your down payment will be forgiven.

Charlotte mortgage help

As always, reach out for personalized advice — you may qualify for more than you think.

Get in touch with Fairway of the Carolinas, because every situation is different. You may not meet the requirements now, but our mortgage experts can you them on the right track or help you find another loan type that fits you better.


Contact us



What Is a Conventional Loan? – Experianhttps://www.experian.com › blogs › what-is-a-convention…

Mecklenburg County, NC 2022 Loan Limits – USHousingData …https://www.ushousingdata.com › loan-limits › mecklenbu…

Conforming Loan Definition – Investopediahttps://www.investopedia.com › … › Mortgage






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and were not approved by HUD or a government agency.

A down payment is required if the borrower does not have full VA entitlement or when the loan amount exceeds the VA county limits. VA loans subject to individual VA Entitlement amounts and eligibility, qualifying factors such as income and credit guidelines, and property limits. Fairway is not affiliated with any government agencies. These materials are not from VA, HUD or FHA, and were not approved by VA, HUD or FHA, or any other government agency.

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