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The FHA loan is a very popular mortgage that is insured by the FHA (Federal Housing Administration). It is always issued by a lender that is approved by the FHA in the US. The Federal Housing Administration appeared in 1934 because there were many low-income borrowers that couldn’t obtain a mortgage through the regular methods.

Crediful highlights that the process is not like the one involving the regular home loan because it is backed by the government. Lenders are protected against defaults so they can offer much better interest rates than the other loans on the market, which are naturally riskier.

Is The FHA Loan Just Another Mortgage Loan?

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At first glance, the FHA loan is just like other mortgages. You borrow money and then have to pay it back over a long timeframe, like 30 years. However, the big distinction between the two is that the FHA loan has both monthly and upfront insurance premiums.

The big advantage is that a very low down payment is needed to be approved. The same thing goes for the credit score requirements. You have it a lot easier to qualify for FHA loans than regular mortgage loans. Also, borrowing money with this method is insured, so security is very high. Even closing costs are lower.

What’s The Minimum Down Payment?

The minimum down payment for an FHA loan varies from one lender to the other, but it can be around 3.5% of the property’s purchase price. This applies when your credit score is over 580. Closing costs are all included in the borrowed amount, so not much extra money is necessary for closing the deal.

Some people say that it is possible to get an FHA loan with zero down payment, but this is not the case. The only situation when this can happen is if there is a third party that gifts the down payment as a donor. The borrower then does not have to make a down payment.

Why Are Deals So Different?

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If you look at different FHA loans issued by different lenders, you notice differences in the deals offered. This is because the Federal Housing Administration has lax guidelines for them. The individual lender can set specific FHA underwriting guidelines, which are referred to as being lender overlays.

Remember that the FHA is not the institution that lends the money. It just ensures the FHA loan given out by an approved lender.

How Much Can You Get?

Maximum amounts are set by the Federal Housing Administration for the entire year. The same amounts apply, but there are exceptions for counties where construction is more expensive. You need to check the maximum amounts for the type of property that you want to buy in order to see how much you can obtain. As an example, the maximum financing amount for 2020 for a single-unit home is set at $765,600.

What About Income Requirements?

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With most mortgages, there is a minimum requirement for the borrower’s income. This is not the case with the FHA loan. There is also no maximum income that is necessary. Both wealthy and low-income individuals can take advantage of the FHA loan.

However, some DTI limits do exist, and applicants have to respect them. This can vary from case to case. The good news is the Federal Housing Administration is liberal, and requirements are not at all as serious as with other mortgage options offered by regular financial institutions.

Is This Only For The First-Time Buyer?

No. The FHA loan can be utilized by repeat property buyers and first-time buyers. It is more popular among the first-home buyers due to the fact that there are limited down payments necessary. Also, when you buy a second home with the money you receive, you need to list it then as your primary residence.

Are Reserves Necessary?

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When you get money to buy a 1-2-unit real estate property, reserves are not needed. This is not the case with 3-4-unit real estate properties. In this case, 3 PITI payment months are needed. All the reserves used will not be gifted, and transaction proceeds cannot be utilized for these payments.

Who Offers Such Financing?

Every single lender or bank that gives you access to mortgages is very likely to offer FHA loans. However, due to specific violations that recently happened, some lenders were taken out of the program. Even so, around 90% of the lenders do offer them.

Finding the best lender is something different. The very best one for you is the institution that closes the loan without charging a lot or offering a high rate.

Unfortunately, there are huge differences between lenders. In order to get the best possible deal, you need to look at the details that relate to your current situation. Is the money meant to cover a home of a specific value? This is the money you need, and you should find the lender that gives you the most competitive rates, together with analyzing all other details that apply.

Types

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Lenders offer both ARM and fixed-rate FHA loans. However, most borrowers opt for the 30-year duration and the fixed interest rate.

The FHA gives you access to many programs that are meant to help first-time buyers, and there are also reverse mortgages that can be accessed by seniors. You can use the FHA loan for refinancing and new purchases. This does include the use of cash-out refinances.

For the cash-out FHA loan, the maximum LTV is 80% at the moment. However, this does change from year to year, so you need to be aware of the rate that applies now.

Final Thoughts

On the whole, FHA loans are highly beneficial for those that have a low income and cannot afford to buy a home. However, this does not mean that you have to blindly go for the very first deal that you find on the market. There can be huge differences between lenders, and you need to be extremely careful before you sign a contract.