The most popular FHA loan is the 203(b). This fixed-rate loan often works well for first time home buyers because it allows individuals to finance up to 97 percent of their home loan which helps to keep down payments and closing costs at a minimum.
The 203(b) home loan is also the only loan in which 100 percent of the closing costs can be a gift from a relative, non-profit, or government agency.
Insurance on FHA mortgages are often rolled into the total monthly payment at 0.5 percent of the total loan amount which is roughly half of the price of mortgage insurance on a conventional loan. After five years or when the loan balance reaches 78 percent, the additional mortgage insurance is typically met and therefore drops off the total monthly payment.
The benefits of the FHA Loan includes:
- Low Down Payments
- Low Closing Cost
- Easy Credit Qualifying
FHA Loan Requirements
For borrowers interested in buying a home with an FHA loan with the lowdown payment amount of 3.5%, applicants must have a minimum FICO score of 580 to qualify. However, having a credit score that’s lower than 580 doesn’t necessarily exclude you from FHA loan eligibility. You just need to have a minimum down payment of 10%.
The credit score and down payment amounts are just two of the requirements of FHA loans. Here’s a complete list of FHA loan requirements, which are set by the Federal Housing Authority:
- Borrowers must have a steady employment history or worked for the same employer for the past two years.
- Borrowers must have a valid Social Security number, lawful residency in the U.S. and be of legal age to sign a mortgage in your state.
- Borrowers must pay a minimum down payment of 3.5 percent. The money can be gifted by a family member.
- New FHA loans are only available for primary residence occupancy.
- Borrowers must have a property appraisal from a FHA-approved appraiser.
- Borrowers’ front-end ratio (mortgage payment plus HOA fees, property taxes, mortgage insurance, homeowner’s insurance) needs to be less than 31 percent of their gross income, typically. You may be able to get approved with as high a percentage as 40 percent. Your lender will be required to provide justification as to why they believe the mortgage presents an acceptable risk. The lender must include any compensating factors used for loan approval.
- Borrowers’ back-end ratio (mortgage plus all your monthly debt, i.e., credit card payment, car payment, student loans, etc.) needs to be less than 43 percent of their gross income, typically. You may be able to get approved with as high a percentage as 50 percent. Your lender will be required to provide justification as to why they believe the mortgage presents an acceptable risk. The lender must include any compensating factors used for loan approval.
- Borrowers must have a minimum credit score of 580 for maximum financing with a minimum down payment of 3.5 percent.
- Borrowers must have a minimum credit score of 500-579 for maximum LTV of 90 percent with a minimum down payment of 10 percent. FHA-qualified lenders will use a case-by-case basis to determine an applicants’ credit worthiness.
- Typically, borrowers must be two years out of bankruptcy and have re-established good credit. Exceptions can be made if you are out of bankruptcy for more than one year if there were extenuating circumstances beyond your control that caused the bankruptcy and you’ve managed your money in a responsible manner.
- Typically, borrowers must be three years out of foreclosure and have re-established good credit. Exceptions can be made if there were extenuating circumstances and you’ve improved your credit. If you were unable to sell your home because you had to move to a new area, this does not qualify as an exception to the three-year foreclosure guideline.
- The property must meet certain minimum standards at appraisal. If the home you are purchasing does not meet these standards and a seller will not agree to the required repairs, your only option is to pay for the required repairs at closing (to be held in escrow until the repairs are complete).
Ready to apply today?