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Articles by: Joe Wallace

Joe Wallace - Staff Writer

By Joe Wallace

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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FHA Home Loan

Before You Buy Your First Home

Are you a first-time home buyer? The house hunting process is one that is best approached with some planning, and you will find plenty of advice online about what to do ahead of your loan application. But what about what NOT to do? There are fairly obvious things not to do. Nobody should apply for a car loan while buying a home, for example. You should not quit your current job, or make major financial changes while trying to convince a lender you are an acceptable risk for a home loan. But what about the other things to avoid when buying your new home? Don’t Take The First House You Really Like Some borrowers get emotional about the first property they find that they could see themselves owning. If you | more...

Getting Ready For Your Home Loan

FHA Home Loan Questions, FHA Home Loan Answers

First-time home buyers looking for an affordable home loan often turn to the FHA mortgage. The low downpayment requirement for those who financially qualify is an option worth looking into. Many first-time FHA borrowers have questions. Here are some of the most frequently asked. Do FHA Borrowers Need A Real Estate Agent? A real estate agent is not a requirement when you buy a home with an FHA mortgage. That said, many prefer to work with a real estate agent or realtor since they can be helpful for those who don’t know the local area and to those who need help finding a home near the right services. Some house hunters are simply are not comfortable navigating the purchase of a home and in such cases a real estate agent | more...

FHA mortgages and refinance loans

How Much FHA Loan Do You Need?

How much can you borrow with an FHA mortgage? If you are looking at FHA loan limits as a new home buyer, it’s easy to assume those numbers represent the total amount that the lender will offer once the loan application is approved. But should you expect to borrow that maximum loan amount? FHA Loan Limits 101 FHA loan limits vary. They are not identical for all housing markets or housing sizes. There is a maximum loan amount for high-cost counties, FHA loan limits are higher for multi-unit homes, and there is a lower FHA loan limit in areas that don’t cost as much as the most expensive housing markets.  What To Know About FHA Loan Limits FHA loan limits have a maximum or “ceiling” for high-cost housing markets and | more...

FHA Loans

Tips You Should Know About FHA Loan Down Payments

Down payment issues may vary depending on the home loan you select, whether it is an FHA loan, a VA mortgage, or a USDA construction loan, but some things are common for all mortgages where down payment money goes. Do You Need A Down Payment Gift? Get It In Writing A participating FHA lender can accept down payment gift funds from a variety of sources. The money can come from family, friends, and employers. But these gift-givers must also provide a letter detailing where the cash comes from and that it does not come from unapproved sources, which we will explore below. The down payment gift letter must explain where the money is from, such as cash saved at home, investments that have been cashed in for the gift, or | more...

FHA mortgage

Do You Want To Buy A House This Year?

Do you want to buy a house this year? There is still time in 2023 to take advantage of the lower FHA loan limits set at the beginning of the new year. There are also things you should do to prepare for the loan, and it’s a very good idea to give yourself extra time to get it all done. It’s best to come to the application process with the following steps already accomplished. Check Your Credit Report Start reviewing your FICO scores and details to make sure there are no errors, identity theft, outdated information, etc. You are legally entitled to a free credit report. Contact Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion to learn more about contesting errors or other issues on your credit reports. Use A Mortgage Calculator An online | more...

FHA mortgage options

Things You Can Do With An FHA Mortgage

What can you buy with an FHA mortgage? First-time home buyers and experienced home buyers who have never used an FHA mortgage sometimes wonder whether they can use an FHA loan to buy certain property types. We examine some of these issues below. Remember that state law, local ordinances, and FHA loan rules may change over time, it’s best to reexamine the rules before you start your house-hunting phase of the journey. Use An FHA Loan To Buy A Multi-Unit House One permitted use of an FHA home loan program is buying a multi-unit property. You can use an FHA mortgage to buy a house with as many as four living units. Use An FHA Loan To Buy A Multi-Unit Rental Property This is allowed by FHA loan rules. The | more...

FHA Loans

Buying A Home With A Refinance Strategy

For some, buying a home in 2023 is a bad idea. At least, that is the impression some get when looking at today’s high interest rates in the third quarter of the year. Some compare these numbers to the rates available a year or two ago and wonder why they should consider buying a house in today’s market. Saying no to an FHA home loan in these circumstances could be the right answer for those without a refinance strategy to help them get out of today’s higher rates as soon as lower interest rates are offered consistently. But what about those who think long-term and have a strategy to refinance their home loan as soon as it’s feasible? FHA Loans And Housing Market Competition Major news outlets reported mortgage loan | more...


Preparing For An FHA Home Loan

We get a lot of questions about preparing for an FHA loan. Some of the most popular topics? Credit scores, what it takes to get loan approval, and whether it’s good to wait out the current high interest rates we are experiencing at press time in the fall of 2023.  There are many sources of credit advice, especially advice on how to prepare your credit ahead of a major application like an FHA mortgage. But what do the credit agencies themselves say about how to become more creditworthy ahead of a home loan application? How should you prepare? Improve Your Chances At Home Loan Approval There is some interesting advice from one of the “big three” credit reporting agencies, Experian. That credit agency recommends you start as early as possible, | more...

FHA Mortgage Rates and Refinance Options

FHA Home Loans And High Interest Rates

Interest rates on FHA home loans, VA mortgages, and conventional equivalents are higher in 2023. Consider the rates listed in the first five days of September, when the numbers reflected rates between 6% and 7.6%. Those numbers are a serious increase from the record-setting interest rate days of 2020. Looking at just one day, 16 September 2020, we learn home loan interest rates were listed below 3% for qualified applicants. Despite the higher numbers we see in the fall of 2023, some borrowers will not wait for rates to come down. Instead, these borrowers are applying, getting approved, and buying now regardless of rates. Why do some choose to buy now? Are they taking foolish risks with their money?  Not in all cases. Some borrowers enter the house-hunting process with | more...


How Much Should I Save For My FHA Loan Down Payment?

How much money should a home buyer save for a down payment? The answer can’t be given in dollars and cents because the amount of your down payment depends on the purchase price of the home in part, you’ll need to know the sale price before you can calculate the down payment amount. The percentage of the down payment (based on the price of the home) depends on the type of home loan you want, whether you want to avoid mortgage insurance, and whether your FICO scores are high enough to qualify for the lowest down payment. Some down payment percentages are higher than others for various reasons including risk to the lender in some cases. Down Payments For VA Mortgages VA loans offer a no-money-down option, but there is a | more...