Since there are many FHA home loans, the guidelines vary depending on the loan type. Usually the credit stipulations are morei lenient but the loan requirements are stricter.
- Less than perfect credit ok
- Low down payments
- Gifts or grants allowed toward down payment
- Sellers, builders, or lenders may pay some of borrower's closing costs
- 30% housing ratio
- Higher home inspection standards
In order to get a Fixed Rate mortgage, you'll need to go through a few simple steps. If you're shopping for a home, the first thing most borrowers do is get preapproved for a loan.
Having a credit preapproval can:
- Save you time shopping for properties in your price range
- Create credibility with sellers by letting them know you're qualified and serious
- Speed up the closing process and get your loan funded sooner
- Improve your experience in the home buying process
If you're looking to refinance your mortgage with a Fixed Rate loan, you'll want to have proof of income and copies of:
- Homeowner's Insurance: Verify adequate coverage
- Proof of Income: Show past employment and income history
- Asset Information: Bank account statements, 401k, and other investment records
In order to obtain a VA home loan, you must first get a VA Home Loan Certificate of Eligibility. This certificate is issued only through the Veterans Administration, and is the first step towards applying for your loan. Veterans, active duty, guard or reserve, and military spouses potentially qualify for this certificate. Keep in mind that the Certificate of Eligibility, while necessary, only allows an eligible individual to apply for a home loan; it does not guarantee a loan approval.
Eligibility for the Certificate is based on an individual's (or a spouse's) military service. Congress establishes eligibility with strict guidelines. Here are five common categories of those who normally qualify for a Certificate of Eligibility:
Wartime - Service During:
WWII: 9/16/1940 to 7/25/1947
Korean: 6/27/1950 to 1/31/1955
Vietnam: 8/5/1964 to 5/7/1975
You must have at least 90 days on active duty and been discharged under other than dishonorable conditions. If you served less than 90 days, you may be eligible if discharged for a service connected disability.
Peacetime - Service during periods:
7/26/1947 to 6/26/1950
2/1/1955 to 8/4/1964
5/8/1975 to 9/7/1980 (Enlisted)
5/8/1975 to 10/16/1981 (Officer)
You must have served at least 181 days of continuous active duty and been discharged under other than dishonorable conditions. If you served less than 181 days, you may be eligible if discharged for a service connected disability.
Service after 9/7/1980 (enlisted) or 10/16/1981 (officer)
If you were separated from service which began after these dates, you must have:
Completed 24 months of continuous active duty or the full period (at least 181 days) for which you were ordered or called to active duty and been discharged under conditions other than dishonorable, or Completed at least 181 days of active duty and been discharged under the specific authority of 10 USC 1173 (Hardship), or 10 USC 1171 (Early Out), or have been determined to have a compensable service-connected disability; Been discharged with less than 181 days of service for a service-connected disability. Individuals may also be eligible if they were released from active duty due to an involuntary reduction in force, certain medical conditions, or, in some instances for the convenience of the Government. Gulf War - Service during period 8/2/1990 to date yet to be determined
If you served on active duty during the Gulf War, you must have:
Completed 24 months of continuous active duty or the full period (at least 90 days) for which you were called or ordered to active duty, and been discharged under conditions other than dishonorable, or Completed at least 90 days of active duty and been discharged under the specific authority of 10 USC 1173 (Hardship), or 10 USC 1173 (Early Out), or have been determined to have a compensable service-connected disability, or Been discharged with less than 90 days of service for a service-connected disability. Individuals may also be eligible if they were released from active duty due to an involuntary reduction in force, certain medical conditions, or, in some instances, for the convenience of the Government.
Active Duty Service Personnel
If you are now on regular duty (not active duty for training), you are eligible after having served 181 days (90 days during the Gulf War) unless discharged or separated from a previous qualifying period of active duty service.
Selected Reserves or National Guard
If you are not otherwise eligible and you have completed a total of 6 years in the Selected Reserves or National Guard (member of an active unit, attended required weekend drills and 2-week active duty for training) and
Were discharged with an honorable discharge, or
Were placed on the retired list, or
Were transferred to the Standby Reserve or an element of the Ready Reserve other than the Selected Reserve after service characterized as honorable service, or
Continue to serve in the Selected Reserves
Individuals who completed less than 6 years may be eligible if discharged for a service-connected disability.
You may also be determined eligible if you:
Are an unremarried spouse of a veteran who died while in service or from a service connected disability, or
Are a spouse of a serviceperson missing in action or a prisoner of war
Note: Also, a surviving spouse who remarries on or after attaining age 57, and on or after December 16, 2003, may be eligible for the home loan benefit. However, a surviving spouse who remarried before December 16, 2003, and on or after attaining age 57, must apply no later than December 15, 2004, to establish home loan eligibility. VA must deny applications from surviving spouses who remarried before December 6, 2003 that are received after December 15, 2004.
Eligibility may also be established for:
Certain United States citizens who served in the armed forces of a government allied with the United States in WW II.
Individuals with service as members in certain organizations, such as Public Health Service officers, cadets at the United States Military, Air Force, or Coast Guard Academy, midshipmen at the United States Naval Academy, officers of National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, merchant seaman with WW II service, and others.
USDA home loans offer 100% financing, low rates, and affordable payments. These loans are becoming more popular by the day, as buyers discover an easier way to buy a home with zero down payment.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) sets lending guidelines for the program, which is why it is also called the USDA Rural Development (RD) Loan. This mortgage type reduces costs for home buyers in rural and suburban areas. It is one of the most cost effective home buying programs in the marketplace today.
Since its inception in 1949, the USDA Rural Development loan has helped over 1 million home buyers obtain housing with little or no money down. In 2011 alone, 130,000 people benefited from the program.
The USDA home loan is available to borrowers who meet income and credit standards. Qualification is easier than for many other loan types, since the loan doesn't require a down payment or a high credit score. Home buyers should make sure they are looking at homes within USDA-eligible geographic areas, because the property location is the most important factor for this loan type.
When you have little equity in your home, or owe as much or more on your mortgage than your home is worth, it can be difficult to find a lender willing to help you refinance. But for borrowers who have remained current on their mortgages, and have loans owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, there is hope. It's called HARP.
Introduced in March 2009, HARP enables borrowers with little or no equity to refinance into more affordable mortgages without new or additional mortgage insurance. HARP targets borrowers with loan-to-value (LTV) ratios equal to or greater than 80 percent and who have limited delinquencies over the 12 months prior to refinancing.
Significant changes have been made to HARP since the program was first introduced. For example, in 2011 the LTV ceiling was removed, property appraisal requirements were waived in certain circumstances, certain risk fees for borrowers selecting shorter amortization terms were eliminated, and certain representations and warranties were waived. In 2013, the eligibility date was changed from the date the loan was acquired by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac to the date on the note, increasing the pool of eligible borrowers.
Through HARP, you can get a lower interest rate (which means less out-of-pocket costs each month), get a shorter loan term, or change from an adjustable to fixed-rate mortgage. There's no minimum credit score needed, either.
And now that HARP guidelines are simpler, even people who were formerly turned down may now be eligible for HARP refinancing.
Reverse Mortgage Loans
A reverse mortgage is a loan for seniors age 62 and older. HECM reverse mortgage loans are insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and allow homeowners to convert their home equity into cash with no monthly mortgage payments.
After obtaining a reverse mortgage, borrowers must continue to pay property taxes and insurance and maintain the home according to FHA guidelines. Typically the loan does not become due as long as you live in the home as your primary residence and continue to meet all the loan obligations.
A reverse mortgage loan uses a home's equity as collateral. The amount of money the borrower can receive is determined by the age of the youngest borrower, interest rates and the lesser of the home's appraised value, sale price and the maximum lending limit. The funds available to you may be restricted for the first 12 months after loan closing, due to HECM requirements. In addition, you may need to set aside additional funds from loan proceeds to pay for taxes and insurance.
The loan does not generally have to be repaid until 6 months after the last surviving homeowner moves out of the property or passes away. At that time, the estate typically sells the home to repay the balance of the reverse mortgage and the heirs receive any remaining equity. The estate is not personally liable for any additional mortgage debt if the home sells for less than the payoff amount of the reverse mortgage loan.