The Federal Housing Administration, also known as FHA, has been insuring mortgages since the 1930s. From the time of the Great Depression, the agency has assisted low to middle income consumers in their quest to purchase a home that, otherwise, they may not be able to afford. While FHA mortgages have a reputation of being more costly for the consumer, FHA also offers other perks that make these loans attractive. Here are 6 reasons an FHA mortgage may be the better choice:
When using an FHA loan, the borrower is subjected to less stringent credit requirements. For automated underwriting approval, an FHA mortgage requires that a borrower have a minimum credit score of 620 and a maximum debt to income ratio of 43%. However, manual underwriting can take into consideration additional compensating factors that are used to strengthen a loan approval. In addition, FHA will also consider non-traditional sources of credit, such as cell phone and utility bills and payments.
2. Down Payment
FHA offers one of the lowest down payment mortgage programs available to consumers. With a down payment of 3.5%, an individual with a credit middle score of at least 620 and a debt to income ratio of no more than 43% can purchase a home.
3. Gift Funds or other sources
FHA mortgages allow the borrower to use gift funds that meet approval to help fund the loan. Gifts may come from a variety of sources, such as family, friends and employers. Many borrowers will also combine an FHA mortgage with funds from state or local housing initiatives that come in the form of low interest loans or bonds.
4. FHA Refinance
FHA mortgages offer an existing borrower an easy way to refinance through its FHA streamline refinance program with no cash out. With the streamline program, a borrower is not required to submit any documentation, a credit history is not required and an appraisal is not needed. FHA relies on the borrower’s current mortgage payment history which must be satisfactory. In addition, there must be a “net tangible benefit” when refinancing with the streamline. This means that the borrower must save a certain amount of money each month through the approved refinance. However, other situations could be considered a benefit, such as moving from an adjustable rate mortgage to a fixed rate mortgage.
FHA mortgages are assumable, something that is not available with conventional loans. An assumable mortgage is one that a buyer can assume from the seller at the interest rate that the seller currently has. There are some stipulations that must also be met and the borrower must be approved in order for the assumed mortgage to be accepted. However, this is a definite perk for a home seller who holds an FHA mortgage.
6. Multiple Mortgage Programs
There are many different types of FHA mortgage programs available to home buyers. The FHA 203(k) is a type of mortgage that is used when there are repairs or maintenance issues that must be addressed when purchasing a home. FHA also offers sweat equity loans for home buyers who are interested in using their sweat equity towards their down payment. Manufactured housing loans are also available through FHA. Today, FHA’s energy efficient loans are also becoming a popular choice.
The type of loan that a home buyer chooses will always depend upon their needs and their goals. It is an individual decision that requires a home buyer to become educated about what is available to them. By doing so, a home buyer can become a successful homeowner for the long term.