You know that your credit score affects your ability to get a loan, including a mortgage. Too many hopeful homeowners believe that’s the end of their dreams, but a bad credit score isn’t the end-all, be-all. Don’t hang up your fantasies of a white picket fence and your own property just yet.

Turn to the government

Government-backed loans are one option for homeownership if your credit is less than perfect. The Federal Housing Commission offers FHA loans to people with poor credit scores. If you have a score of 620 or above, you only have to put down a 3.5 percent payment. Home buyers with lower ratings are responsible for 10 percent.

Consider a lending network

Working with a lending network is a helpful option for anyone with a lower credit score. While the network isn’t a lending service itself, it will take your information and connect you with the lending companies that are willing to work with you. Just be honest about your credit score when you sign up with the service.

Think about a PMI

Because buyers with low credit scores or those who pay less than 20 percent of the down payment are considered risky, you can opt to pay Private Mortgage Insurance instead. It will make your monthly mortgage payment higher, but only for a set number of years, at which point your payment decreases.

Save up the cash

The more cash you put down, the better your mortgage rate, and the more impressive you look to lenders. A substantial down payment can’t completely cancel out your poor credit score, but it acts as a balance. As a bonus, you won’t have to bother with PMI, and you’re likely to have lower payments each month.

Get someone to co-sign

Asking someone to co-sign your loan is huge because they assume the risk if you don’t pay your bills. However, it pays to have a person with an excellent credit score to vouch for you. That can push lenders toward giving you a chance, but you have to make your mortgage payments on time. Someone else’s credit is at stake.

Are you eager to buy a home? Is your credit score standing in your way?