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FHA loans have long been a valuable resource for Americans who want to fulfill their goal of homeownership but who don’t have the benefit of a lengthy credit history and equity.
If you’re hoping to buy a home in the near future but want to explore all of your options in terms of financing, this article is for you.
Today we’re going to talk about FHA loans and how to know if you qualify for one.
What are FHA loans?
FHA loans are issued by private mortgage lenders across the country, just like regular mortgages. The difference, however, is that an FHA loan is “guaranteed” by the federal government.
Lenders decide your borrowing eligibility, and how much you can borrow, by determining risk. If you don’t have a sizable down payment (oftentimes 20% or more) and you have a low credit score, most mortgage lenders will see you as a risky person to lend to.
When you get an FHA loan, however, the federal government assumes some of that risk, allowing you to secure the loan anyway.
This means you can buy a home with a low credit score, a smaller than usual down payment, and save on some closing costs.
How do I qualify for an FHA Loan?
To find out if you qualify for an FHA loan, you’ll head to the same place as a traditional mortgage--a mortgage lender. Oftentimes, you can simply call or visit the website of lenders to get the process started.
As with all things, it’s a good idea to shop around for a mortgage lender. Their offerings will be largely similar, but there might be minor differences that make one better than another for your particular circumstances.
Down payment requirements
To secure an FHA loan, you will need to make a down payment of at least 3.5%. However, this low down payment comes with a price. You’ll typically be required to pay private mortgage insurance (PMI) fees on top of your accruing interest for your loan.
Credit score requirements
While you can often secure a mortgage with a lower credit score through an FHA loan, there are still some requirements. To secure a loan with the lowest possible down payment (3.5%), you’ll need a credit score of 580 or above.
Previous homeowners and FHA loans
A common misconception about FHA loans is that they are only for first-time homeowners. However, you can still qualify for an FHA loan if you’ve owned a home before as long as it has been three years since you’ve had a foreclosure or two years since filing for bankruptcy.
If you meet these three conditions, you should be able to secure an FHA loan through a traditional mortgage lender.
The year’s end brings a lot of joy, a lot of stress, and hope for the new year. One thing that you may not consider at the end of the year is buying a house.
There are pros and cons to buying a home at the end of the year. The positive being that you can get a home for a better deal. The negative is that there is often a limited selection of homes. There’s much more to this.
Sellers Avoid The End Of The Year
Sellers tend to avoid listing at the end of the year. It could be because of wintry conditions, short days, or the notion that buyers won’t bite at this time of year. People who are selling at the end of the year are highly motivated. They need to move their property fast for one reason or another. Life circumstances like a death in the family, a job change, or divorce can lead to the need to sell at this time of year. As a buyer, you can take advantage of the need for these sellers to get a property off their hands.
The limited selection of homes is perhaps the most significant downside to searching for a home over the holidays. The limited supply problem is where your real estate agent will come in handy. Your agent can access expired listings. These are homes that were formerly for sale and have faded off the market. The seller may have decided not to sell, were lacking offers, or just didn’t pay enough attention to marketing their listing and let it fall by the wayside.
Your real estate agent can also contact other agents who tend to work in a preferred neighborhood or area. Your agent can get the inside scoop on homes that aren’t listed for sale yet but are being prepped to go on the market. These properties are known as “coming soon.”
Another significant advantage to buying a home during the holiday season is that there’s not a lot of competition. This means you can possibly avoid bidding wars, get a home at a better price, and even find sellers who have their homes on the market for less than you would during a peak season.
Easy Access To Realtors
Another advantage to buying during the holiday season is that of easy access to real estate agents. These professionals are less busy during this time of year, meaning they have more time to spend with each client. You can often get an agent’s undivided attention. Open access to an agent means that you can get to see more home showings with the listings that are available and be able to look at the homes in detail.
Regardless of when or where you search for a house, a home buying checklist is essential. With this checklist in hand, you can quickly and effortlessly discover a residence that suits you perfectly.
Now, let's take a look at three factors to incorporate into your home buying checklist.
1. Your Home Buying Timeline
Account for how much time is available to find and purchase a house. That way, you can boost the likelihood of getting the most out of the time and resources at your disposal.
As you create a home buying checklist, consider how much time you have before you need to relocate from your current address. Then, you can see how much time you have to pursue your dream home and evaluate the steps you will need to take to make that process run smoothly.
2. Your Home Must-Haves and Wants
Consider what you absolutely require from your new home. For instance, if you need a house that is close to your office in the city, you should check out homes in or near the city itself. Or, if you require a home that offers ample space for you and your children, you should hone your search to residences that have two or more bedrooms.
Of course, it helps to create a list of home wants and needs when you develop a house buying checklist. With the ability to evaluate your home needs at any time, you will be better equipped when deciding if a particular house is right for you.
3. Your Home Buying Budget
You know you want to purchase a house, but your current financial situation may be limited. Fortunately, if you prepare a home buying budget, you will know how much you can spend on a residence and map out your search accordingly.
Oftentimes, it helps to meet with credit unions or banks before you begin a home search. Credit unions and banks can teach you about different types of mortgages and how they work. Plus, these financial institutions can help you get pre-approved for a mortgage.
For those who want to streamline the home buying journey, it's a good idea to hire a real estate agent, too. A real estate agent can help you craft a home buying checklist, as well as provide tips and guidance as you search for your ideal house.
A real estate agent understands what it takes to find a terrific house at a budget-friendly price. First, a real estate agent will help a buyer evaluate the local real estate sector and narrow their home search. A real estate agent will also help a buyer discover a home that matches their expectations. Finally, a real estate agent will work with a buyer to put together a competitive offer to purchase this residence.
Craft a home buying checklist today – you will be happy you did. Once you have a home buying checklist, you can more seamlessly navigate the house buying journey.
A home inspection often plays a key role in the homebuying journey. If an inspection shows that there are no underlying problems with a house, you should have no trouble moving forward with a home purchase. On the other hand, if an inspection reveals a variety of structural problems with a house, you may need to reconsider your purchase decision.
Ultimately, a homebuyer who knows what to expect during a home inspection can plan accordingly. This buyer also may be better equipped than others to accept the results of an inspection and make an informed choice about whether to move forward with a home purchase.
What does it take to achieve the best-possible results during a home inspection? To find out, let's take a look at three tips to ensure you can prep for a house inspection.
1. Hire an Expert Home Inspector
There is no shortage of home inspectors available in cities and towns nationwide. However, employing an expert home inspector will require you to conduct an in-depth search.
When it comes to finding an expert home inspector, it pays to search far and wide. Because if you have an expert home inspector at your side, you can boost the likelihood of identifying major and minor house issues during an inspection.
2. Assess Every Area of a House
Oftentimes, a home inspection takes several hours to complete, and for good reason. In order to fully evaluate a residence, you'll want to be diligent. That way, you can minimize the risk of missing potential problems as you perform a home assessment.
As you walk through your house with an inspector, don't hesitate to ask questions too. In fact, a home inspector may be able to provide insights into home problems and repairs that you might struggle to obtain elsewhere.
3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent
A real estate agent can help you find your dream house, as well as put you in touch with the top home inspectors in your area. Plus, this housing market professional likely will walk through a house with you during an inspection to ensure you can get the support you need to make an informed homebuying decision.
Furthermore, a real estate agent is happy to consult with you before and after a home inspection. Prior to an inspection, a real estate agent will help you put together a plan to assess a house. Meanwhile, after an inspection, a real estate agent can discuss the inspection results with you and help you determine the best course of action.
Let's not forget about the assistance that a real estate agent can provide throughout the homebuying journey, either. This housing market professional can help you streamline your search for your dream house, submit a competitive offer on a residence and ensure you can purchase a terrific house at a budget-friendly price.
A home inspection may seem daunting at first. Luckily, if you plan ahead for a home inspection, you can use the assessment to gain the insights that you need to determine whether a house is right for you.
Common-interest housing includes individually owned spaces and common areas shared by all owners. The common areas can include clubhouses, landscaping, parking lots or pools. Multistory buildings share lobbies, stairwells, and elevators. Any community that shares property including single-family free-standing homes in developments, falls into the common-interest category.
The two most familiar types of common-interest housing terms are condominiums (or condos) and townhomes (or townhouses). Although both belong in the category of common-interest housing, condos and townhouses may mean different things depending on regional or legal definitions.
A condo is a shared building or group of buildings and common spaces in which housing units are owned individually. This could be a single unit within a tower building or a conjoined home having its own ground floor with exterior entry. Other homes in the condominium category include single-family cottages or even modular homes inside planned communities. When you purchase a condo, you own the unit itself while you are a co-owner of the common areas.
A townhome is a style of house that is connected to another structure on at least one side. It may be solely owned by an individual as part of a CID, part of a multi-family apartment dwelling, or individually owned without property in common. A true townhome is built with independent sidewalls that stand alone even if they touch the walls of another townhome. When you purchase a townhouse, you own the unit itself and whatever yard area is affiliated with it as you would with a detached single-family house.
While condominium units might incorporate elements like private outdoor spaces, individual ground-floor entry options or design elements that resemble those of a townhome, it is ownership that truly defines them.
All CID properties have a homeowners’ association (HOA) of some sort. While some are mainly hands-off with regard to individual units, others have specific regulations regarding renting, remodeling, and exterior décor.
If you are trying to decide between purchasing a condominium or a townhouse, have your agent explain the differences in common ownership between them, and make certain to factor in the HOA fees to your monthly budget.