Contrary to popular belief, a good credit score isn’t a requirement for homeownership—but it can be helpful if you want to get access to the best loan interest rates. Lenders use credit scores to evaluate your credit history and determine your eligibility for mortgage and interest rate options. Boosting your score improves your chances of getting approved for lower rates on your mortgage, which saves you money over the life of the loan. That said, conventional loans are hardly the only mortgage loan option available to homebuyers. Government-backed loans, like Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans or U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) loans, make it possible to purchase a home with a FICO credit score as low as 500 to 580 in some cases. These types of loans can be a great way for buyers with credit blemishes to get funding for their homes at low interest rates.