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FHA Loan Reader Questions: Down Payment Assistance

045A reader asks, “I want to move and was qualified for an FHA but needed to know if there is any programs to help assist with the down payment. I know there is an option for sellers to offer 6% sellers assist but is there any else to cover the rest?”

The FHA itself does not offer any type of down payment assistance program. In the past there have been down payment assistance programs offered on a state or local level, but some federal laws have banned certain types of down payment assistance. Others not banned by federal law would be obliged to meet FHA loan rules as to the source of down payment money (see below).

What does this mean?

FHA loan rules require all borrowers to make a “minimum cash investment” or down payment on single family new purchase home loans. There are specific rules and guidelines for FHA loan down payments include the source of that down payment money. According to the FHA loan rules written in HUD 4155.1 Chapter Two, “The seller and/or third party may contribute up to six percent of the lesser of the property’s sales price or the appraised value toward the buyer’s closing costs, prepaid expenses, discount points and other financing concessions.”

FHA loan rules describe what this “six percent rule” includes:

  • third party payment for permanent and temporary interest rate buydowns, and other payment supplements
  • payments of mortgage interest for fixed rate mortgages
  • mortgage payment protection insurance, and
  • payment of the upfront mortgage insurance premium (UFMIP).

There are rules that permit third parties to make an “outright gift” of down payment money to a borrower. HUD 4155.1 Chapter Five, Section B says the following about such programs:

“An outright gift of the cash investment is acceptable if the donor is

  • the borrower’s relative
  • the borrower’s employer or labor union
  • a close friend with a clearly defined and documented interest in the borrower
  • a charitable organization
  • a governmental agency or public entity that has a program providing home ownership assistance to low- and moderate-income families, or first-time homebuyers.”

For more information on the rules for such programs, contact the FHA directly at 1-800 CALL FHA.

Do you have questions about FHA home loans? Ask us in the comments section.

Joe Wallace - Staff Writer

By Joe Wallace

June 24, 2013

Joe Wallace has been specializing in military and personal finance topics since 1995. His work has appeared on Air Force Television News, The Pentagon Channel, ABC and a variety of print and online publications. He is a 13-year Air Force veteran and a member of the Air Force Public Affairs Alumni Association. He was Managing editor for www.valoans.com for (8) years and is currently the Associate Editor for FHANewsblog.com.

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FHANewsBlog.com was launched in 2010 by seasoned mortgage professionals wanting to educate homebuyers about the guidelines for FHA insured mortgage loans. Popular FHA topics include credit requirements, FHA loan limits, mortgage insurance premiums, closing costs and many more. The authors have written thousands of blogs specific to FHA mortgages and the site has substantially increased readership over the years and has become known for its “FHA News and Views”.

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