January 21, 2022

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Articles by: Bruce Reichstein

Bruce Reichstein - FHA News Author

By Bruce Reichstein

January 18, 2022

Bruce Reichstein has spent over three decades as an experienced FHA and VA home loan mortgage banker and underwriter where he was responsible for funding “Billions” in government backed mortgage loans. He is the Managing Editor for FHANewsblog.com where he educates homeowners on the specific guidelines for obtaining FHA guaranteed home loans.

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Planning To Buy A Home? Credit Resources You Need

Home Loan Myths: 20 Percent Down Payments

Why do people still believe you MUST make a 20% downpayment on a home loan? Like other persistent home loan myths (including the one that holds that FHA mortgages are ONLY for first-time homebuyers), the 20% issue has been passed along to unsuspecting first-time home buyers for decades. What is the reality? FHA mortgages require 3.5% down at a minimum. That’s for borrowers who financially qualify with FHA and lender credit score requirements.  FHA loan rules in HUD 4000.1, the FHA Single-Family Lender’s Handbook, says that 580 or better is the FHA standard.  You will need to ask the lender you choose whether there are higher FICO score requirements with that financial institution. (There often are.) With conventional mortgages, 20% down is typically required for borrowers who want to avoid | more...

Should I Buy A Condo With An FHA Home Loan?

Advantages Of An FHA Cash-Out Refinance Loan

Do you know the advantages of an FHA cash-out refinance loan? There are several, especially if you are considering an FHA loan to get money to renovate your existing home. FHA Cash-Out Refinancing Loans: Good For FHA and Non-FHA Mortgages FHA cash-out loans are for all mortgages, FHA, or not. You can refinance a USDA, VA, conventional, existing FHA loan, etc. The rules to qualify are the same no matter what kind of home loan you wish to refinance, and the longer you have been making mortgage payments, the better. FHA Cash-Out Refinance Loan Funds Are Not Restricted The uses you put your cash-out refinance money towards is not restricted; you can use your cash-out funds any way you see fit. That includes debt consolidation, vacations, and home repair. FHA Cash-Out | more...

Cash out refinancing

FHA Home Loans: The Escape Clause

Of course it’s not formally known as the “escape clause” but first-time homebuyers should know about the FHA home loan rules that govern what happens if the appraised value of the home comes in lower than the asking price of the real estate. HUD 4000.1 instructs the lender that a clause must be inserted into any legally binding commitment to purchase the home that guarantees that the borrower does not forfeit earnest money or retain an obligation to purchase the property if the appraisal is lower than the sale price. The wording of such a clause is suggested in HUD 4000.1 (page 117) as something to this effect: “It is expressly agreed that notwithstanding any other provisions of this contract, the purchaser shall not be obligated to complete the purchase | more...

New FHA Home Loan Guidelines Announced

Getting A Lower Monthly Payment With An FHA Mortgage

If you want a lower mortgage rate, refinancing your home loan can help if the interest rates offered to you at the time are more competitive than what you pay under the original home loan. Lower rates can result in lower monthly payments.  There are also options to refinance for the express purpose of getting a lower payment but for some, this issue is complicated by an option known as mortgage recasting. When you refinance, you apply for a new loan to replace the old one. The new loan may be for a shorter term or for the same number of years you committed to originally. If you refinance an FHA mortgage using an FHA Streamline Refinance loan, one of the benefits from doing so can be a lower monthly | more...

Higher FHA Loan Limits In 2021

When Is An FHA Loan Assumable?

When is an FHA loan assumable? Let’s start by examining what the FHA single-family home loan handbook, HUD 4000.1, defines as a loan assumption. “Assumption refers to the transfer of an existing mortgage obligation from an existing Borrower to the assuming Borrower.” An FHA loan assumption is generally possible-for most FHA loans closed today, the lender’s participation and approval will be required in order to carry out a loan assumption transaction. There are also occupancy requirements which may apply depending on what year the original mortgage was closed in. From HUD 4000.1: “If the original Mortgage was closed on or after December 15, 1989, the assuming Borrower must intend to occupy the Property as a Principal Residence or HUD-approved Secondary Residence. If the original Mortgage was closed prior to December | more...

First Time Home Buyers: Improve Your Credit With Credit Monitoring

FHA Home Loans: Not All Are “Typical” Mortgages

Not every home loan application is a typical one. You might be trying to buy a home that doesn’t meet FHA loan appraisal requirements–if you try to apply with a new purchase loan you might not be approved in such cases. But if you are buying a fixer-upper home with an FHA rehabilitation loan you won’t be required to have the home pass the appraisal when the loan closes but you are required to bring it up to minimum standards as a condition of loan approval. See how choosing the right FHA mortgage can make the difference sometimes between loan approval and loan denial? There are plenty of unique situations a lender might encounter–one of them could be yours. For example, are you trying to refinance a home you inherited?  | more...


FHA Loan Limits Increase In 2022

There are higher FHA loan limits scheduled for the year 2022. The FHA and HUD have published two mortgagee letters explaining the new limits for purchase loans and reverse mortgages guaranteed by the FHA (known as FHA Home Equity Conversion Mortgages). According to the HUD official site, the new forward mortgage loan limits for FHA loans in 2022 are available to view but do not take effect until the new year. HUD.gov reminds readers that the FHA loan limit calculations include “a nationwide forward mortgage limit ‘floor’ and ‘ceiling’ for a one-unit property. In 2022 the floor is $420,680 (low-cost areas) and the ceiling is  $970,800 (high-cost areas). The floor is established at 65% of the national conforming loan limit of $647,200 for a single-unit home. For multi-unit properties in | more...


When Will You See The New FHA Home Loan Limits For 2022?

FHA loan limits for 2022 have not been published at the time of this writing but many who are planning to purchase a home in the new year are eager to know whether loan limits are changing–higher or lower depending on where you live. When do the new rates get published? This time last year, FHA loan limits for 2021 wound up being published on December 2, 2020, FHA issued Mortgagee Letter 20-41 (setting the FHA loan limits for purchase loans, also known as forward mortgages) and Mortgagee Letter 20-42, establishing the limits for FHA Home Equity Conversion Mortgage loans. In both cases, the loan limits are effective starting on the first day of the new year and not before. That means that even if you can look up the | more...


HUD Updates Appraisal Guidelines

The FHA and HUD are updating appraisal requirements for residential mortgage loans guaranteed by the Federal Housing Administration. In June of 2021, President Joe Biden announced a move to bring appraisals into compliance with Fair Housing Act guidelines–the move was introduced as an effort called the Interagency Task Force on Property Appraisal and Valuation Equity or PAVE. The FHA has issued guidelines that reinforce and clarify the “existing requirements for Appraisers and Mortgagees regarding compliance with Fair Housing laws” related to the appraisal of properties that will serve as security for FHA-insured mortgages. What kind of guidelines? A Mortgagee Letter published at HUD.gov states that the federal agency “expects all parties engaged in FHA mortgage insurance programs to eliminate all considerations of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, | more...

FHA Home Loan

How Long Do You Have To Be At A Job To Get An FHA Loan?

How long do you have to be at one particular job to get an FHA loan? The employment issue is an important one, but some borrowers misunderstand the rules, thinking them to be more strict than they actually are. What is the reality of the FHA loan employment rules? FHA Loan Rules For Minimum Employment Standards The rules governing FHA loan employment standards are found in the FHA loan handbook, HUD 4000.1, which includes the following requirement on how the lender must verify the borrower’s employment history: “Mortgagees must not accept or use documents relating to the employment, income, assets, or credit of Borrowers that have been handled by, or transmitted from or through the equipment of unknown parties, or Interested Parties.” Furthermore, the lender “may not accept or use | more...