FHA: Some Facts and Tidbits


Now that subprime loans are a faint memory of the past, we often look to the FHA loans to fill in the void. Not that we miss those ugly sub primes all that much. But alas, FHA does provide a hearty loan for those who may have had a shaky credit past.  So, here are a few fun facts and figures on the famous FHA loan.

1)  You do not have to have perfect credit to qualify for an FHA loan! Yes, this is great news. In fact, even with a bankruptcy or a mortgage late, it is easier for you to qualify for an FHA loan than a conventional loan.

2)  FHA loans have a low 3.5% down payment. This money can come from a family member, an employer or even from a charitable organization as a gift. Most other loan programs do not allow this unless you have a much larger down payment or 5% of your own money invested.

3)  FHA rates are competitive! Believe it or not, because the Federal government insures these loans, they offer comparable rates. Your rate won’t be sky high if you opt for FHA instead of a conventional mortgage. The government makes sure of this!

4)  FHA helps you stay in your home. This may have sounded funny a few years ago. But today this is extremely relevant! The FHA has been in place since 1934. They want to protect the folks who have bought. FHA has various options to help keep you in your home should you run into difficulties and to help you avoid foreclosure in the long-run.

5)  You can buy or refinance various types of new or existing homes on an FHA loan: A one-unit, single family home; a duplex, triplex or four-plex; a condominium unit or even a manufactured home (provided the manufactured unit is on a permanent foundation). Sorry, no houseboats as of yet!

6)  Finally, for qualified buyers FHA mortgages are assumable!  This means a buyer of your home may take over your existing mortgage if they qualify.  This may help you sell a home with an FHA mortgage down the road if interest rates have gone up.

So, there you go. A few little details on the famous FHA loan.  Most likely tidbits you have heard before, but worth remembering for the day you may choose to use an FHA loan.

HUD’s internet site provides plenty of additional information. I also suggest talking to your realtor about their experience with FHA clients.  And, if you want to see if you qualify for the FHA loan, just give Mike or me a call. We can let you know in no time!

Creative Commons License photo credit: Kamal H.

FHA 203(k) Financing/Rehabilitation Loans

With so many REO’s  (bank owned properties) there is no telling what state some of these homes might be in. You may fall in love with the neighbourhood, the location or some other attribute of the home and even properties in distress.  You don’t have to give up on the property just because you may not have the means to fix up the place. The FHA offers a program which allows you to wrap in the cost of fixing up a place all within one loan. It’s called the FHA 203(k) program.

Under the 203k you are allowed to purchase or refinance a property and finance the construction costs for home improvements at the same time. The loan amount is based on the projected value of the property with the work completed. The 203k program is excellent for properties that need home repairs to be liveable or for home buyers that want to give a home a makeover.

Many listing agents who represent properties in need of repair have used the 203K program to market these distressed properties. This program allows borrowers that otherwise could not purchase the property to buy it and do the necessary rehabilitation. Some contractors who are familiar with the requirements of the 203k program will put together a proposal for necessary repairs on the property listed for sale. The agent can then market the property similar to a new build. The buyer can pick the paint color, cabinets, flooring, etc.

Many buyers agents use the program to find homes for their clients at bargain prices or to make a potential home work when it needs a little help.

Many lenders have stayed away from this program because on the additional layers of risk involved and some have added additional requirements to those of FHA. From our experience the key to a smooth transaction is to have an experienced, reliable 203k consultant and contractor. Surety companies can be very helpful in this type of transaction. This program will take longer and will be more stressful than a regular FHA loan even with the most competent team. The process can be a nightmare if your team is lacking. However, if you work with the right group of professionals who are experienced then you don’t have to pass up on a REO just because it needs a little bit of love.

FHA and New Construction

AMG Note: We don’t normally do a lot of guest posts on this blog. However, when Kat Sanders contacted me and asked I felt it was worth a try. So, here is one of her first posts.


FHA loans are some of the most sought-after loans when people are planning to buy a home, more so now because of the fiasco that happened with the sub- prime market. For the uninitiated, a Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loan is one that is administered by the federal government for people who fit in the low income bracket. The FHA does not actually give out the loans; it only insures the loans provided by private lenders.

FHA loans are perfect for those who are buying a home for the first time and don’t have too much money to offer as down payment. It also helps that monthly installments are not too high and that they do not fluctuate beyond one or two percentage points (if you go in for an adjustable rate loan).

The FHA Construction/Rehabilitation 203(k) loan is available if you want to buy an existing home and perform any renovation work on it or add to the existing building. The FHA does not insure loans for building new homes, ones where you want to buy the land and secure finance for the materials, labor and the design. However, if you are planning to build a new nursing facility or a home for the aged and infirm, the FHA 232 loan allows you to borrow money for the construction costs.  You can also take out a loan to buy an existing facility and renovate or improve it.

If you are looking for a way to build a new home with an FHA loan, you could apply for the 203(k), buy an old house, tear it down completely, and then build the house of your dreams. If not, you’re better off choosing a construction loan offered by private lenders, or you could go in for the HomeStyle loan offered through lenders who are approved by Fannie Mae.


This article is written by Kat Sanders, who regularly blogs on the topic of construction management degrees at her blog The Fixer-Upper Blog. She welcomes your comments and questions at her email address: [email protected]


Note:  Some hyperlinks were added for editorial reasons.

This site is for informational purposes only. It is not sponsored or in any way affiliated with the government. If you are in need of a mortgage loan, consult with a licensed mortgage professional. All fair housing and equal housing opportunity laws apply when applying for a mortgage or buying a home. Copyright 2012.