March 7, 2021

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Articles by: Joe Wallace

Joe Wallace - Staff Writer

By Joe Wallace

March 5, 2021

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 for (8) years and is currently the Associate Editor for

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FHA Refi loans

Questions You Should Be Asking About FHA Refinance Loans

Refinancing your home loan can be a smart move for some homeowners, especially in times where rates are low. At press time, the rates in March of 2021 are rising, but FHA mortgage loan rates have up to this point still remained below the three percent line, so it’s still a good idea to consider your refinance loan options if you want a lower interest rate. Remember, rates are subject to change and in 2021. We’re going to see a LOT of rate changes if current indicators provide any clues to the future or mortgage loan interest rates. Mortgage loan interest rates last year back in 2020 hit three-year interest rate lows due to a variety of factors including hangovers from trade war woes with China, the coronavirus, and other | more...

Do You Need Down Payment Help?

FHA Loans Versus Conventional Mortgages

If you aren’t sure whether to apply for an FHA loan or a conventional mortgage to purchase or refinance your home, there are some comparisons you can make between FHA and conventional loans. Don’t pull the trigger on a new loan application without comparing the features of both types of loan. Even if you decide not to choose an FHA mortgage in the end, making the most informed decision you can is paramount. FHA Mortgage Payoff Rules Borrowers who refinance or pay off their mortgage early by paying extra each month or doubling down on payments at some point should know that certain mortgages may subject you to a financial penalty for doing so. Your loan may also have a different procedure for making the final payment–be sure to know | more...


Which Construction Loan Is Right For You?

There is a kind of home loan called a One-Time Close construction loan that lets you build a home on your own lot. There are government-backed One-Time Close construction loans offered including a USDA version of the One-Time Close construction loan, a VA Loan allowing you to do the same thing, and an FHA One-Time Close construction loan.  The One-Time Close mortgage features a single application and closing date for the entire process–compare that to construction loans that feature one application and one closing date for the construction phase plus a separate application and closing date for the purchase of the property once it has been built.  This is NOT how the process works with the One-Time Close loan which makes this process easier for borrowers and lenders by eliminating | more...

Mortgage Rate Trends

FHA Mortgage Loan Interest Rate Watch

FHA 30-year fixed rate mortgages have, at press time a 52-week average of 2.25% (best execution or assuming ideal circumstances) at the lowest end and 4.0% at the highest. However, the numbers currently available–the rates for FHA 30-year fixed-rate mortgages at press time–are listed a 2.88%, a definite rise from the lowest point on the 52-week average. Reading this, some future home loan applicants are likely wondering if they should hurry up and apply for a mortgage even if they are not quite ready to do so. If you read finance blogs and mortgage industry writers, you discover that among some industry professionals, there’s a view that the economic stimulus has at least a partial role in creating conditions ripe for mortgage loan interest rates to start going up again. | more...

Construction Loans For First-Time Home Buyers

Home Loan Approval: Documents You Need To Get There

What’s the most important thing you can do in the planning stages of a new home loan? It really does not matter whether you might be contemplating buying a home with an FHA mortgage or building one on your own lot using an FHA Construction Loan known as the One-Time Close mortgage; there are some documents you will need to gather in the planning stages to help you get closer to loan approval. Some of these documents are no surprise–your most recent pay information is a good example. Your lender will want to see verification of your current income. What is not so obvious? The reality that your loan officer might ask you to provide details about a salary or other income information from your previous employer, especially if you | more...


HUD Announces Further Modifications Of Home Loan Policy During COVID-19

The pandemic has forced many business owners, consumers, house hunters, and home sellers to rethink their approach to the task at hand. The FHA and HUD have modified many FHA loan rules to accommodate the need to socially distance and implement other coronavirus mitigation procedures and prevent the spread of the virus. And in 2021, those modifications must continue. On Tuesday, February 23, 2021, the HUD official site announced extensions of already-modified Single Family mortgage loan policies–modifications that would allow the FHA to help “maintain new mortgage originations for homebuyers and allow 203(k) rehabilitation projects to continue during the COVID-19 pandemic”.  Extending these policies insures continued flexibility in certain guidelines for single family home loans. Why is it needed? To ensure home loans are available via the FHA program for | more...

FHA Rehab Loans In 2021

Buying And Repairing A Home With An FHA 203(k) Rehab Loan

Are you considering home repairs and renovation? In 2021 some are as part of disaster recovery. Other homeowners need a home repair or upgrade, or they want to purchase a fixer-upper house. Whether you want to replace your current home, or remodel it, the FHA 203(k) rehab loan can help These rehabilitation loans (which are also available as a refinance loan) are for any home owner who wants to buy or refinance a property and repair or renovate it at the same time. There is a standard version of the 203(k) purchase and refinance loan, and a limited version of both for smaller renovation projects. Some Won’t Use An FHA 203(k) But some borrowers won’t use an FHA 203(k) rehab loan. They either cannot, due to the nature of the | more...

Buying A Home With A Lower Credit Score

FHA Loans: The Credit Check

FHA loan rules in HUD 4000.1 give instructions to the lender on how to establish an FHA borrower’s creditworthiness. FHA loan rules tend to be more flexible on credit issues than their conventional equivalents, but borrowers are still required to financially qualify. Are you looking for a condo loan, a mobile home loan? There’s an FHA loan for that. Do you want to build a house on your own land with an FHA construction loan? Some don’t realize the credit requirements in the FHA Lender’s Handbook are identical. For construction loans, borrowers should expect slightly higher credit requirements from the lender. But on paper, FHA loan rules make no distinction between different loan types and the minimum FICO score needed to qualify for maximum financing. One area that is also | more...

HUD Announces Changes To Exterior-Only Appraisal Guidelines For FHA Purchase Loans

HUD Further Extends COVID-19 Foreclosure Relief

The FHA and HUD have announced new modifications to coronavirus relief options for FHA borrowers in need of foreclosure avoidance help during the pandemic. Effective immediately, HUD has implemented a variety of modifications: Extended foreclosure and eviction moratoriums now expire June 30, 2021; Deadline for “first legal action” and “Reasonable Diligence Time Frame” is extended to 180 days; COVID-19 Forbearance start dates are now extended to June 30, 2021; HECM extension period is extended to June 30, 2021; HUD now offers up to two additional three-month COVID-19 Forbearance periods or HECM extension periods “for certain Borrowers”; HUD now allows additional Borrowers, “regardless of delinquency status or participation on a COVID-19 Forbearance” to apply for FHA’s COVID-19 Loss Mitigation Options; HUD has removed the restriction on “Borrowers receiving more than one | more...

Information You Need To Pre-Qualify Or Get Pre-Approved For A Mortgage

Refinancing Your Mortgage With An FHA Loan

If you have been looking at home loan interest rates in 2021 and considering your refinance loan options, it’s a good idea to take some steps that will help you get closer to refi loan approval. Borrowers who need or want to refinance should shop around for their new loan, and get all the information possible about how much their refinance loan will cost over the loan run and up front. Addressing Credit Issues Before applying for ANY loan, refinance or not, review your credit report in detail. You may have credit problems associated with the pandemic, there may be COVID-19-related factors in your credit that can be accounted for as a one-time problem created due to circumstance. And the Federal Trade Commission advises borrowers that such unique issues will | more...