FHA loans require just 3.5% down, and are ultra-lenient on credit scores and employment history compared to other loan types. The first step to seeing if FHA can make you a homeowner is to run the numbers with this FHA mortgage calculator.Verify your FHA loan eligibility (Feb 28th, 2020)
*You could save up to $3,000 in interest payments by comparing rates from multiple lendersRequest Rates
FHA loans are typically available to those who meet the following qualifications:
These are general guidelines, however, and home shoppers should get a full qualification check and pre-approval letter from an FHA lender. Many buyers are eligible, but don’t know it yet.Verify your FHA loan eligibility (Feb 28th, 2020)
FHA loans are easier to qualify for than many other mortgages. Generally, you can qualify for an FHA loan with a credit score of 500 and down payment of 10 percent; or a credit score of 580 and down payment of 3.5 percent. You may also be able to qualify for an FHA loan with a higher debt-to-income ratio than the 43% than most loans allow. But remember, qualification guidelines vary by lender. So shop around to see where you qualify for the best FHA loan rates and terms.
The FHA loan amount you qualify for depends on your income, credit score, down payment, and current debts, among other factors. The higher your credit score and down payment, the bigger FHA loan you’ll qualify for. Use the FHA loan calculator above to see exactly how much FHA loan you qualify for based on your down payment and current interest rates.
FHA caps the amount of money it will lend to any one home buyer. Starting January 1, 2020, FHA loan limits for a single-family home are: $331,760 in low-cost areas; $765,600 in high-cost areas; and $1,148,400 in Alaska, Hawaii, Guam, and the Virgin Islands. Find current FHA loan limits in your area here.
No, FHA is not reserved for first-time home buyers. FHA loans are also available to repeat buyers. However, an FHA loan can only be used to buy a primary residence (one you’ll live in). Repeat buyers cannot use an FHA loan to purchase an investment property. But first-time and repeat buyers alike can use an FHA loan to buy a 2- to 4-unit rental property — as long as they live in one unit while renting the others.
In October 2019 (the most recent data at the time of this writing), FHA mortgage rates averaged 3.94%. But like all mortgage rates, FHA interest rates are constantly in flux. And mortgage insurance has to be factored in. FHA loans come with annual mortgage insurance equal to 0.85% of the loan amount. So that essentially adds 0.85% to the FHA rate — raising it to 4.79% in the example above.
Your own FHA loan rate depends on your application. A higher credit score, sizeable income, and bigger down payment can all net you a lower interest rate. Plus, rates vary by lender. You’ll have to compare more than one FHA lender to find your lowest rate.
FHA loans do not allow you to buy a house with no money down. FHA down payments start at 3.5 percent. But you have the option to cover the whole FHA down payment using gift funds. And borrowers who need flexible credit or income requirements can find zero-down loan options outside FHA. USDA loans offer zero-down in qualified areas, and VA mortgages allow no down payment for qualified military members and veterans.
FHA closing costs are similar to conventional closing costs — about 3-5% of the loan amount. However, FHA mortgage insurance also has to be factored in. FHA upfront mortgage insurance, equal to 1.75% of the loan amount, is due at the time of closing. You can roll that 1.75% insurance fee into your FHA loan. But you cannot finance other closing costs using FHA.
With most lenders, you can qualify for FHA financing with just 3.5% down and a 580 credit score. Even if your score is between 500-579, you could qualify for an FHA loan by making a 10% down payment. There are no income limits required to qualify with FHA.
Want to see whether you qualify for an FHA loan today? Start here.
FHA is the loan of choice for thousands of first-time and repeat buyers each month. In 2016 alone, nearly 900,000 buyers used an FHA loan to purchase a home.
The above FHA mortgage calculator details costs associated with FHA loans or with home buying in general. But many buyers don’t know what each cost is for. Below are definitions for these expenses.»RELATED: 6 Low or No Down Payment Mortgage Options for 2019
Principal and interest. This is the amount that goes toward paying off the loan balance plus the interest due each month. This remains constant for the life of your fixed-rate loan.
FHA mortgage insurance. FHA requires a monthly fee that is a lot like private mortgage insurance. Called FHA Mortgage Insurance Premium (MIP), this fee is a type of insurance that protect lenders against loss in case the home buyer can’t make the payment. The FHA MIP rate is 0.85% of the loan amount per year, but can vary from 0.45% to 1.05% per year depending on your loan amount and down payment. Read more about FHA MIP here.
Property tax. The county or municipality in which the home is located charges a certain amount per year in taxes. This cost is split into 12 installments and collected each month with your mortgage payment. Your lender collects this fee because the county can seize a home if property taxes are not paid. The calculator estimates property taxes based on averages from tax-rates.org.
Homeowners insurance. Lenders require you to insure your home from fire and other damages. This fee is collected with your mortgage payment, and the lender sends the payment to your insurance company each year.
HOA/Other. If you are buying a condo or a home in a Planned Unit Development (PUD), you may need to pay homeowners association (HOA) dues. Lenders factor in this cost when determining your ratios. (See an explanation of debt-to-income ratios above). You may put in other home-related fees such as flood insurance in this field, but don’t include things like utility costs.
Down payment. This is the dollar amount you put toward your home cost. FHA requires 3.5%. This can come from a down payment gift or eligible down payment assistance program.
Interest rate. The mortgage rate your lender charges. Shop at least three lenders to find the best rate.
Upfront MIP. FHA requires an upfront fee which is wrapped into the loan amount (not paid in cash). Like monthly MIP, it insures lenders so they can approve loans at FHA’s lenient standards.
Make sure your loan is within FHA loan limits, which equal 115% of the county’s median home price.
Learning about FHA loans is easy. See our FHA loan guide for everything you need to know about the program. Additionally, see our other articles on this powerful loan program.
Many home buyers qualify for FHA — they just don’t know it yet. Check your eligibility and start the pre-approval process now.Verify your FHA loan eligibility (Feb 28th, 2020)