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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 loans

FHA Manufactured Housing Rules You Should Know

FHA announced changes to the FHA loan limit structure in early 2024. Those changes included updating FHA Title I manufactured loan limits which had not been changed in 15 years at press time. The FHA Title I Manufactured Home Loan program offers higher loan limits now, part of an effort to provide more affordable housing. “The increases better align with current market prices and are expected to encourage more lenders to offer the program to homebuyers seeking to purchase manufactured homes and the lots on which they sit” according to a press release at HUD.gov. Making Manufactured Housing More Available These changes are the first serious FHA manufactured home loan update since 2008. HUD Secretary Martha Fudge calls the move an option to alleviate an “affordable housing supply crisis” by | more...

Get A Home Inspection

Buying A Home: How To Inspect A House

Borrowers should always pay a licensed pro to inspect a home as a condition of buying a house. But before paying for that important service, the borrower has to look at multiple homes to find the right one to make an offer on. That process can be daunting for some first-time home buyers. What do you need to look for in a home’s physical condition to decide whether to buy? Inspecting The House In some cases you can learn by looking and researching later. When reviewing the basement, do you see cracked walls? A bit of research reveals that may be a symptom of a foundation problem, which is a serious issue. Another red flag is evidence of “excessive moisture” in the crawl space where applicable. Pooling water in the | more...

FHA Home Loan

What To Ask When Buying A Home With An FHA Loan

If you want an FHA loan to buy a home, it is always a good idea to compare lenders, real estate agents, and other service providers who serve the housing industry.  When comparing, there are important questions to ask each provider to learn more about whether they are right for you. How Long Have You Worked In This Field? The answer will vary depending on the inspector, real estate agent, or lender and when doing so but there are trade-offs to consider for newcomers to the business. A more experienced lender or real estate agent likely understands more complex issues related to your home loan and can deal with them more efficiently than a “noob.” That said, newcomers aren’t always the liability you might assume they are, especially if they | more...

FHA Home Loan

When You Need To Renovate Your Home

There is more than one way to improve your home in 2024 with an FHA loan. Do you want to cash out the equity you have built in the home and use some of the cash for repairs? In such cases, an FHA cash-out refinance is the right loan. But in other circumstances, a different FHA loan option may be better. How do you choose? FHA Rehab Loan Options The FHA 203(k) rehab loan helps those who want to buy or refinance a fixer-upper home or a house that needs improvements to bring it up to code. The FHA 203(k) rehab option is for any qualified borrower, and there is a disaster relief version known as the 203(h) for those who have homes in federal disaster areas. FHA 203(k) rehab | more...

Getting Ready For Your Home Loan

Home Loan Choices

Every part of the home loan process has a set of choices to make. For most house hunters this process begins with the decision to own your own home and quit renting. What other choices await you on the road to homeownership? Interest Rate Options: Conventional, FHA, Fixed, Adjustable No matter which type of home loan you choose, VA, FHA, USDA, or conventional, you’ll need to decide whether to apply for a fixed or adjustable mortgage.  The fixed-rate loan is good for those who need a predictable house payment for the full duration of the mortgage. Unless you refinance, the rate will not change. An adjustable-rate mortgage has an introductory period (typically at a lower rate) followed by periods of rate adjustments.  FHA adjustable-rate mortgages may, for some borrowers, be | more...

Getting An FHA Mortgage After Bankruptcy

Buying Older Real Estate With An FHA Mortgage

Interested in buying an old house? A fixer-upper? Does the house you fell in love with need extensive repairs to make it worth owning? FHA loans include options for older homes and fixer-uppers. We cover some key points below. FHA Loan Options Are More Flexible Than You Might Think There’s no single FHA mortgage option. You can’t use one loan to buy any property type that is allowed. There are just too many different options and needs that must be taken into account in the housing market. Want to build a home from the ground up? There’s an One-Time Close FHA construction loan for that. Want to buy an old property and rework it into a newly renovated home? There are FHA loan options for that choice, too. If you find | more...


What To Consider As You Plan Your FHA Mortgage

Are you a new borrower with questions about how the FHA loan process works? There are important details to learn and remember to get along the way to get the most out of your FHA mortgage. Borrowing Limits For FHA Mortgages  For FHA loans, HUD 4000.1 says 31% is the highest number for typical FHA mortgages without an Energy Efficient Mortgage add-on. Those loans can technically go higher. FHA loan amounts are typically guided by the appraised value of the home and the FHA loan limit for your area, among other factors. It’s possible to be approved for an FHA loan for up to 96.5% of the home’s sale price. That means your downpayment is 3.5%, which is comparatively low. But should you pay only the minimum? Borrowers interested in | more...

FHA Home Loan Credit Score Requirements: FICO Scores And More

FHA Home Loan Credit Score Requirements: FICO Scores And More

Many borrowers worry about their credit scores ahead of an application for an FHA home loan, and it’s hard for some to gauge whether they have sufficient credit to get a loan approved. FHA loans have more forgiving credit requirements, and borrowers should not assume they do not qualify for a home loan without discussing their circumstances with a participating lender. When is a low credit score too low? FHA home loan rules specify that the lender must ensure a 500 FICO score (the very minimum) to qualify for an FHA mortgage, but your credit score numbers don’t tell the whole story. Lender Requirements For Home Loan Approval Vary You may read that FHA loan rule minimums for FICO scores do not always reflect the participating lender’s credit score requirements–this | more...

Getting Ready For Your Home Loan

Before You Reach Closing Day

Once your home loan application is approved, is a borrower really home free on the way to closing day? Is the loan application a done deal once approved? Not quite, and that’s a factor some new borrowers should keep in mind at all times. Never assume the deal is done until the keys are in your hand. Why do we say this? There are important reasons which we explore below. Damage To The Property The house you want to buy with an FHA loan may be in great condition when you make an offer to the seller. But what happens if the house experiences a major disaster, fire, or even an accident? If your loan has not yet closed, you and the lender must determine whether the sale can happen.  | more...

FHA Loans

How To Avoid Confusion When Buying Your First Home

Many first-time house hunters are confused by mortgage loan industry jargon, real estate acronyms, and industry terms used incorrectly. How do you separate the facts from the fiction when learning new terms along the way to closing day? There are many issues. Calling an appraisal an “inspection” is one good example (see below.) There are also industry terms that sound familiar but don’t mean what some think they mean. The whole concept of mortgage insurance is a great example (see below). We examine some of the most common of these below. Owner-Occupied Homes Are Not Investment Properties An FHA purchase or refinance loan is meant for owner-occupiers. These are the buyers who want the FHA loan to be used for the property they intend to live in. An FHA purchase | more...