Yes, sometimes your score takes a nasty hit for a minor blip—a late payment, one too many hard inquiries, and the like. However, you’d be foolish to look at that 580 score and think that you can pay back a $350,000 mortgage. You don’t have the cash, and your credit score reflects that. 

So, if you have a credit score less than 650 (and definitely if it’s lower than 600), your ability to get a mortgage for the home you want at an interest rate you can afford will be severely compromised. Because when all is said and done, your credit score is about risk—the lower your score, the bigger the risk is that you won’t pay back what the bank loans you.

 If your score is less than excellent (750 or above), a bank is going to be less apt to loan you money at a low rate, because the higher the interest rate, the more money you’ll pay them before you default. It sounds mercenary, but that’s the way it is. Don’t hold it against them—they’re in business to make money, too. Instead, take the hint. If your credit is rocky, maybe you should put off buying that house until you’re on smoother financial ground and your score improves. Saving more, paying off smaller debts or getting a second job all will improve your score and will give you a more solid footing when you do decide to go for it—and you’ll be better off financially in the long run, to boot.