If you are thinking of applying for an FHA home loan or an FHA refinance loan, there are some important resources you should know about in the planning stages. These resources can help you prepare for your loan application, give you information about estimated mortgage payments, and help you located FHA loan limit information for your county.
The first thing a potential home buyer should know about is the ability to contact the FHA to get a referral to a HUD-approved housing counselor who can help you understand the mortgage loan process, what it means to start preparing your credit for a home loan, and more.
You can contact the FHA directly by calling 1-800 CALL FHA to request your referral.
Another important resource? Online listings of FHA loan limits by county. These loan limits will vary depending on whether you are buying a single-unit home, two-unit, etc.
FHA loan limits also vary depending on the county you live in. There are high-cost areas, low-cost zones, and “typical” housing markets. Do you know which one applies to the zip code where you want to buy your home?
Another important tool? The online mortgage calculator. Need to get a better idea of how much mortgage payments might be when you get approved for the loan? A mortgage calculator can help. It can also help you decide if your price range for the home is too ambitious or maybe even not ambitious enough.
And once you get to the stage where you are considering what to do about your down payment (and that stage should be earlier than you think!) you can explore your options for down payment assistance in the form of grants or local programs that can help you get into a home with lower upfront costs.
Keep in mind that the FHA itself does not offer down payment assistance. Your lender cannot provide you with a down payment grant, and the seller of the home is not permitted to help you with the down payment.
That prohibition does NOT apply to closing costs–your seller can provide up to six percent of the sale price of the home toward your closing costs without penalty.
Knowing about the availability of these resources before you start working on your home loan in the planning stages can be a real help. Remember that you should begin planning and saving for your mortgage roughly a year in advance or better for best results–especially where working on your credit and establishing a pattern of dependable payments is concerned.
If you aren’t sure about the credit, downpayment, and mortgage insurance requirements for an FHA mortgage, you can always learn about these issues before you start working on your mortgage.
And finally, once you are ready to commit to a specific home, be sure to read the guidance from the FHA and HUD about home inspection–this document is a HUD PDF from the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s official site.