FHA loans offer many advantages to homeowners who qualify for these low-cost mortgages. Before applying for one, it helps to know what the requirements are, and how to improve your chances of getting approved without problems or delays.
The Federal Housing Administration (FHA), an agency of the federal government, insures private loans that are issued for new and existing housing, and loans that are approved for home repairs. Although the FHA doesn't actually make mortgage loans to homeowners, it provides insurance to protect lenders. In other words, your lender accepts less risk with an FHA loan because it's insured in the event that you default on your mortgage payments.
Benefits of FHA mortgage
- They help reduce the cash needed to purchase a home.
- FHA mortgage insurance costs are paid by the homebuyer, but they end approximately five years after you buy your home, or when the FHA mortgage balance is 75 percent of the property's value.
- They have flexible payment schedules and rules regarding required monthly income, allowing more borrowers to qualify.
- If you don't have lots of cash to use for your down payment, an FHA loan can help you buy your home.
To qualify for an FHA loan, you'll need to have a good credit rating. Before applying for one, work to improve your overall credit score. If you have had credit problems in the past, the FHA recommends a consumer credit counseling program to avoid being denied a loan.
Qualifying for an FHA loan
The FHA asks for a great deal of information on your loan application. For example, you'll need to provide two years worth of:
- All addresses where you have lived.
- Your employers' names and addresses.
- W-2 tax forms.
- IRS tax returns.
You'll also need to provide your monthly gross income.
Gather all paperwork and documentation before you begin your application. This way, you'll have everything handy and available to share. The FHA asks that veterans submit the DD Form 214-or official Armed Forces discharge paperwork-along with the FHA loan application paperwork. You can request the form online from the Department of Defense.
Never has this kind of lender reassurance been more critical than it is in today's crisis-laden credit environment. If you qualify for an FHA loan, it may save you lots of money, and help you buy a home that you might otherwise not be able to finance with an ordinary loan.