FHA Requirements


The FHA will refinance your existing loan without any additional cost to the borrower. Be smart when it comes to your FHA loan and your financial future.

Calculating the Max Amount for an FHA Backed Loan

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Remember, the FHA does not make home loans. They insure the FHA loans that we can assist you in getting. Be smart when it comes to your FHA loan and your financial future. Refinancing can be an effective way to put your home equity to work.

This program lets buyers get a single loan with just one closing. Compare mortgage rates for your refinance or home purchase loan. Do you know what's on your credit report? Learn what your score means. We'll send you fast results including the cash required at closing and how much you are able to purchase. Just enter your e-mail and have your results delivered in moments, including a plain-English explanation with everything you need to know about your borrowing options.

The FHA sets caps on what you can borrow based on where you live or where you intend to purchase a home. These loan limits are based on the average price of a home in your area and on the type of home it is, including single family, duplex, triplex and four-plex.

In , the FHA announced that it would increase the loan limits for the program in response to rising house costs. Loan limits vary significantly depending on where you intend to purchase a home. Only a couple percent of counties are at the ceiling, while thousands of counties are at the floor. If you want to know what your local FHA loan limits are, click here.

This interactive tool will show you the local FHA limits in your area. You can narrow it down by state and county. A table highlight FHA loan limits is published below. Loan limits are just a starting point for determining how much you can borrow with an FHA loan.

As with other home loans, FHA loans require lenders to meet guideline for housing expense ratios and debt-to-income ratios. Traditional mortgages require that your total monthly mortgage payment not exceed 28 percent of your monthly gross income, and that your total monthly debt payments — including your mortgage, car loan, student loans and other obligations — not exceed 31 percent of your gross monthly income.

However, the FHA increases these limits, allowing you to have a 31 percent housing expense ratio and a 43 percent total debt-to-income ratio. You can find these ratios by dividing your monthly mortgage payment by your monthly income, or by totaling up your monthly debt payments and dividing them by your monthly income.

FHA loans also require that you carry mortgage insurance, which is included in your monthly mortgage payment. The more expensive the home you buy, the more expensive the mortgage insurance will be. Like other loans, you are also required to carry homeowner's insurance, which includes paying the premium at closing, and to pay your property taxes in escrow.

Many lenders like to see credit scores in the mids and higher. The FHA has lower credit score requirements, and this makes it more accessible to more people. It is good to know that your down payment will largely depend on your credit score.

You can qualify with a or higher FICO score and still be eligible for the 3. After the recession credit standards tighted to where traditional mortgages required that total monthly mortgage payment not exceed 28 percent of your monthly gross income, and that your total monthly debt payments — including your mortgage, car loan, student loans and other obligations — not exceed 31 percent of gross monthly income.

However, the FHA increases these limits, allowing you to have a 31 percent housing expense ratio and a 50 percent total debt-to-income ratio. People who have high debt-to-income DTI ratios typically find it hard to obtain financing.

In the past few years, the documentation requirements have gone up for the FHA loan program. The more documentation you have, the better chances you have of getting approved for your loan.

If the applicant has changed jobs three times in the last year, the FHA will take further steps to verify the applicant's employment. They want to see a steady stream of income, and this helps them believe the applicant will be able to pay them back.

To better compete with government insured loans, both of the major GSE have launched low downpayment loan options. Ideally, you want at least a year of reliable payments before you apply for an FHA loan. It is important to know that a lender may not reject an application simply because the applicant chose not to use credit in the past.

No matter if you have traditional or nontraditional credit, your FHA loan officer will look into it when you apply. Eight Factors to Help You Qualify If you are on the edge or over the limit and you're worried about being approved for your mortgage, there are a few steps you can take. While these won't guarantee you your mortgage, they may help to increase your odds of getting approved. Lenders understand that some things are simply out of your control, but there are several things you can control and you should be mindful of them when you're waiting to qualify or close on your FHA loan.

If you've filed for bankruptcy and you want to qualify for an FHA loan, you'll have to wait two years and you'll have had to re-established your credit within this two years. A conforming mortgage normally requires a four-year period between successfully qualifying for a mortgage and a bankruptcy. You'll be expected to re-establish your credit inside of these four years. There are exceptions, and some lenders do accept a two-years instead of the more traditional four.

FHA loans don't concentrate on credit scores, but they look at the applicant's entire credit profile. If you're below a credit score, the down payment amount increases from 3. Typically, you do need a credit score of or above to qualify. Conforming mortgages look at credit scores, and the higher your credit score is, the less you'll pay each month for insurance. Additionally, most Conforming mortgages look for credit scores of and above, but they'll typically accept a credit score of and up.

Your FHA loans will require a 3. There is also an annual fee of 0.