Timely news, information and advice concentrating on FHA, VA and USDA residential mortgage lending.

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Articles by: Bruce Reichstein

Bruce Reichstein - FHA News Author

By Bruce Reichstein

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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FHA Mortgage Loan

FHA Home Loans And Housing Counseling

Even in the best of times, buying a home can be tough. It’s hard for first-time buyers to know what to expect, and in an era of rising interest rates and limited housing supply, it’s more important than ever to be a fully-informed borrower. FHA home loans are for many different kinds of borrowers. They are for experienced and first-time home buyers alike. But it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the process if you are new to it or haven’t purchased real estate before. That is one reason why it’s a very good idea to consider talking to a HUD-approved housing counselor. Did you know you can call the FHA at their toll-free number, 1-800 CALL FHA, and request a referral to an approved housing counselor? The Department of Housing | more...

 
FHA Home Loan

Important Features To Consider When Shopping For A New Home

Are you new to house hunting? There are things to look for when considering homes to buy with an FHA mortgage. These are features that often may enhance the home and make it more efficient. Once you are used to shopping around for a home, you can establish a checklist to remind you as you review each property. Ceiling Fans Not all homes come with ceiling fans. Are you buying a home in a warmer or more humid climate? A lack of ceiling fans can be a drawback; homes that do not have them installed might have other issues such as mold or mildew, but this will depend greatly on how the individual house was maintained. Exterior Lighting Exterior lights can provide additional safety, and not just to prevent burglaries | more...

 
FHA Rehab Loans

FHA Rehab Loans: The Limited 203(k) Option

FHA 203(k) rehab loans include an option for smaller, less ambitious rehab projects. Borrowers who want a home loan to do rehab or repair work but don’t want to do a large project might assume FHA loan funds are not available, but this is not true thanks to the FHA Limited 203(k) Rehab Loan option. What Is The FHA Limited 203(k) Rehab Loan? HUD 4000.1, the FHA loan handbook, describes the FHA Limited 203(k) mortgage as being good for “minor remodeling and non-structural repairs”. The rules for this loan state that the total rehabilitation cost may not exceed $35,000. The good news? There is no minimum repair cost for this type of rehab loan. Ineligible Projects For FHA Limited 203(k) Mortgages HUD 4000.1 features a list of things 203(k) funds | more...

 
FHA Home Loan

Why You Should Not Apply For An FHA Home Loan And Other Credit At The Same Time

Plenty of websites, books, and financial podcasts warn about managing your credit properly during the home loan application process. One bit of advice from many of these sites? Don’t apply for a car loan at the same time or just before a home loan. Don’t apply for any new credit during this time for best results. Why? There are several reasons, one of the most important? That your debt-to-income ratio is negatively affected by any new line of credit and a home loan lender will be required to consider that when deciding whether or not to approve your mortgage loan. The minimum payment required each month on the car loan will be factored in with the rest of your debt, and if you significantly change your debt ratio during the | more...

 
FHA home loans

Which Is Better: Conventional Mortgages Or FHA Home Loans?

Which is better, a conventional mortgage or an FHA home loan? If you are struggling to make this choice, rising interest rates and home ownership costs might make you look twice at your upfront costs and other expenses associated with each type of mortgage loan. The more forgiving credit requirements and down payment expectations of an FHA mortgage may have you thinking twice about going conventional. When it comes to FICO scores, FHA loans on paper are easier to be approved for than conventional home loans. And while a conventional mortgage could be more affordable over the lifetime of the mortgage, those who need more flexible credit requirements and lower upfront costs may find the FHA mortgage worth considering. There are a few objections to FHA loans. Some are less | more...

 
FHA loans

Article Update: FHA Loan Appraisal Rules For Central Heating and Air Conditioning Systems

In 2017, we asked an important appraisal question. We asked, “What are the FHA loan appraisal rules for central heating and air conditioning systems? Does a house need to have central air/heating to be FHA approved?” There were two answers to this question back then and the same issues apply today. In HUD 4000.1, we learn the following about the appraisal requirements for heating systems and central air conditioning units, including the following requirement: “The Appraiser must examine the heating system to determine if it is adequate for healthful and comfortable living conditions, regardless of design, fuel or heat source. FHA loan rules say the Appraiser must notify the Mortgagee of a deficiency if the permanently installed heating system does not: “Automatically heat the living areas of the house to | more...

 
FHA loans

What To Ask About FHA Refinance Loans

Getting ready to refinance? Even if you are considering using the same lender that you got your mortgage from originally, there are some important questions to ask your loan officer about the refinance transaction. Do you know how much your loan will cost? Do you understand the differences between a simple refinance, an FHA Streamline refi loan, and other types of mortgages? Find out more today and get ready to find the best deal for your needs. FHA Refinance Loan Questions: How Much Will My Loan Cost? In the earliest stages of the refinance loan process, don’t expect to get exact figures, but do ask your loan officer for estimates based on the typical set of costs for the refinance loan you need. You may not be charged identical costs | more...

 
FHA mortgages

What Is An FHA Loan Limit?

What is an FHA loan limit? The answer to this question can be found in HUD 4000.1, the FHA Single-Family Lender’s handbook, which begins by explaining: “A Mortgage that is to be insured by FHA cannot exceed the Nationwide Mortgage Limits, the nationwide area mortgage limit, or the maximum Loan-to-Value (LTV) ratio. The maximum LTV ratios vary depending upon the type of Borrower, type of transaction (purchase or refinance), program type, and stage of construction.” Furthermore, the handbook says that for most FHA loan programs the maximum mortgage is either the Nationwide Mortgage Limit for that area or “a percentage of the Adjusted Value”. The handbook breaks down how a home’s adjusted value is calculated, according to transaction. For new purchases or “forward mortgages”, the FHA Lender’s Handbook states: “For | more...

 
FHA Home Loans And The Biggest Credit Mistake You Can Make

FHA Cash-Out Refinance Loan Rules You Should Know

What should borrowers know about FHA cash-out refinance loans? There are many areas, but some of the most important include how you can use the proceeds of a cash-out refinance loan, and the rules the lender is required to follow when verifying the borrower is eligible for a cash-out loan. Borrowers may wish to pay off credit card debt with an FHA Cash-Out refinance loan, or use the money to pay off nuisance debt, buy a car, go on vacation, etc. What are the rules for FHA cash-out refinance loans and the money back to the borrower? How To Use FHA Cash-Out Refinance Loan Proceeds Did you know that some FHA loans have specific guidelines as to how the loan funds may be used? For example, if you applied for | more...

 
VA One Time Close Construction Loan

VA One-Time Close Construction Loan Options for Military Veterans Expanded

Some house hunters get fed up with looking for just the right home, while others start out their home loan journey knowing in advance they want a house built for them. What options to these borrowers have? There is an FHA home loan known as the FHA One-Time Close / Single-Close construction loan that lets borrowers apply for a single loan that covers both construction costs and the mortgage itself. The FHA version of this type of construction loan requires the borrower and lender to work together to establish a plan for the project including estimated completion times, interest rates, budgets, and more. Some borrowers aren’t interested in FHA home loans since they have other options; do qualifying military veterans have a VA loan version of the FHA One Time | more...