A comprehensive guide to FHA Loan

Whether you are confident that an FHA loan is right for you or are still trying to figure out what an FHA is, we have considered all the most critical points. There is no need to google dozens of articles; the main FHA loan facts are collected here.

The definition of an FHA loan

An FHA loan is a mortgage loan insured by the Federal Housing Administration; it provides a minimum mortgage down payment of 3.5% for borrowers with a credit score of at least 580. The FHA insures mortgage loans originated by lenders such as banks, credit unions, and non-banks. This insurance saves lenders in the event of a default, so FHA lenders are willing to offer favorable terms to debtors who might not otherwise qualify for a mortgage loan. Only an FHA approved lender can issue a loan with FHA insurance.

You can use an FHA mortgage loan to purchase or refinance single-family homes, two-to-four-unit apartment buildings, condominiums, and ready-made homes. Certain types of FHA loans can also be used for new construction or renovation of an existing home.

Main differences between an FHA loan and a conventional loan

When we know how does FHA loan work, we can compare it with a conventional loan. 

It's easier to pretend for an FHA loan than a conventional loan, which is a mortgage that is not insured or guaranteed by federal institutions.

  • FHA loans have a lower credit score than conventional loans and sometimes lower monthly mortgage insurance payments.
  • FHA rules are more liberal with down payment gifts from family, employers, or charities.
  • FHA loans sometimes include closing costs that are not required for regular loans.

FHA loans are available to clients with lower credit scores and are easier to qualify for. Ordinary loans allow you to reduce the down payment for house slightly.

 Type of FHA loan Advantages Disadvantage
Basic Home Mortgage It can be used to buy or refinance a primary real estate with a low minimum down payment. It cannot be used to purchase a home that needs more than $5,000 worth of repairs.
Rehab  Mortgage It may be used to finance fixer-uppers.

The cost of repairs must be more than $5,000, but repairs cannot take more than six months.

A qualified technician must carry out repairs.

Construction Loan Suitable for buying land and financing the construction of a new house. Getting a loan is difficult and time-consuming.
Property Improvement Loan It can be used for home improvement and as an addition to a rehabilitation loan. Such a loan can be obtained without refinancing. You can borrow up to $25,000 for a single-family property (or $25,090 for mobile homes with land) and $60,000 for an apartment building.
Energy Efficient Mortgage It can be used to improve the energy efficiency of the home

The home must be professionally assessed to qualify.

Improvements must be considered cost-effective.

The most common kinds of FHA loans

The FHA offers a variety of loan variants, from reasonably standard purchase loans to products designed to meet particular needs. Below we will look at the loans that are most often used to buy a house:

When choosing a loan type, determine whats a good down payment for a house.

FHA loan limits

There are FHA loan limitations no matter which type of FHA mortgage you choose; they vary by county. The maximum FHA loans for single-family homes in low-cost counties is $420,860. An example is Lucas County, Ohio. The upper limit for FHA loans in the highest cost counties is $970,800 – for example, San Francisco County, California. Home prices are somewhere in between in some counties, so FHA loan limits are also in the middle. It's essential to understand how much down do you need for a house.

How to get an FHA loan?

You must meet some requirements to pretend for an FHA loan. Let's just say that these are the minimum requirements of the FHA, and lenders may have additional conditions.

Credit score

The minimum credit score for an FHA loan is 500. If your score falls between 500 and 579, you can still qualify for an FHA loan, but you will need to make a larger down payment. Again, these are FHA guidelines – individual lenders may require a higher minimum credit score. As we can see, the credit rating affects how much the down payment on house.

Down payment amount

If you have a credit score of more than 580, your FHA down payment can be as low as 3.5%. A credit score from 500 to 579 means you'll have to shell out 10% of the purchase price. Calculate how much downpayment to buy a house you can afford.

You may use gift money for an initial FHA donation provided that the donor provides a letter with their contact information, their relationship with you, etc.

Mortgage insurance

FHA mortgage insurance is present in every loan. When you get an FHA mortgage, you make mortgage insurance down payment (which may be included in the total loan amount) and then monthly payments.

If you start with a down payment of less than a 10%, you will continue to pay mortgage insurance throughout the life of the loan. Those with a 10% down payment for house must pay FHA mortgage insurance for 11 years.

All pros and cons of an FHA loan

Even if your credit score and monthly income leave you with no other choice, be aware that FHA loans come with some trade-offs.

Advantages of FHA loans:

  • Lower minimum credit scores than conventional loans.
  • The down payment is only 3.5%.
  • The debt-to-income ratio can be as high as 50%.
  • Disadvantages of FHA loans:
  • FHA mortgage insurance lasts the entire loan term with less than 10% down payment.
  • Real estate must meet strict health and safety standards. 
  • There are no jumbo loans: the loan amount cannot exceed the corresponding limit for the region.

Although the FHA sets standard requirements, the requirements of FHA-approved lenders may vary.