Gwen Pangle's Blog
FHA loans have long been a valuable resource for Americans who want to fulfill their goal of homeownership but who don’t have the benefit of a lengthy credit history and equity.
If you’re hoping to buy a home in the near future but want to explore all of your options in terms of financing, this article is for you.
Today we’re going to talk about FHA loans and how to know if you qualify for one.
What are FHA loans?
FHA loans are issued by private mortgage lenders across the country, just like regular mortgages. The difference, however, is that an FHA loan is “guaranteed” by the federal government.
Lenders decide your borrowing eligibility, and how much you can borrow, by determining risk. If you don’t have a sizable down payment (oftentimes 20% or more) and you have a low credit score, most mortgage lenders will see you as a risky person to lend to.
When you get an FHA loan, however, the federal government assumes some of that risk, allowing you to secure the loan anyway.
This means you can buy a home with a low credit score, a smaller than usual down payment, and save on some closing costs.
How do I qualify for an FHA Loan?
To find out if you qualify for an FHA loan, you’ll head to the same place as a traditional mortgage--a mortgage lender. Oftentimes, you can simply call or visit the website of lenders to get the process started.
As with all things, it’s a good idea to shop around for a mortgage lender. Their offerings will be largely similar, but there might be minor differences that make one better than another for your particular circumstances.
Down payment requirements
To secure an FHA loan, you will need to make a down payment of at least 3.5%. However, this low down payment comes with a price. You’ll typically be required to pay private mortgage insurance (PMI) fees on top of your accruing interest for your loan.
Credit score requirements
While you can often secure a mortgage with a lower credit score through an FHA loan, there are still some requirements. To secure a loan with the lowest possible down payment (3.5%), you’ll need a credit score of 580 or above.
Previous homeowners and FHA loans
A common misconception about FHA loans is that they are only for first-time homeowners. However, you can still qualify for an FHA loan if you’ve owned a home before as long as it has been three years since you’ve had a foreclosure or two years since filing for bankruptcy.
If you meet these three conditions, you should be able to secure an FHA loan through a traditional mortgage lender.
As a homebuyer, it may be beneficial to establish goals. Because once you know what you want to accomplish during the homebuying journey, you can take the necessary steps to achieve your homebuying aspirations.
Now, let's take a look at three factors to consider as you develop homebuying goals.
1. Your Dream Home
Define your dream house – you will be glad you did. If you know what you want to find in your ideal residence, you can map out your homebuying journey accordingly.
Generally, it helps to make a list of house must-haves before you launch a home search. This list should include any features you require from a residence, along with your preferred cities and towns.
If you need a home that provides convenient access to your office in the city, for example, owning a house in or near the city itself is a must. Or, if you require a home that offers ample space for you and your kids, you can search for residences that provide multiple bedrooms and play areas.
2. Your Homebuying Budget
When it comes to buying a house, it is beneficial to get your finances in order. That way, you can hone your home search to residences that fall within your price range.
Meeting with banks and credit unions allows you to learn about a broad assortment of mortgage options. These financial institutions can teach you about different types of home financing. Then, you can select a mortgage and enter the real estate market with a budget in hand.
3. Your Homebuying Timeline
Consider how long it will take you to find and purchase a home that matches your expectations. If you establish a homebuying timeline, you may be better equipped than ever before to optimize your time and resources as you search for your dream residence.
Of course, it helps to maintain a flexible homebuying timeline. And if you encounter challenges during the homebuying journey, you can adjust your timeline as needed.
For those who plan to pursue a home, it may be helpful to hire a real estate agent, too. If you employ a real estate agent, you can get the support you need to navigate the homebuying journey like a pro.
A real estate agent is happy to help you explore a variety of homes in your preferred cities and towns. If you find a house you want to buy, a real estate agent will help you craft a competitive offer to purchase this residence. Plus, if your offer to purchase is accepted, a real estate agent will guide you along the final stages of the homebuying journey.
As you prepare to conduct a home search, you may want to develop goals. If you begin a home search with a plan, you could streamline the process of finding and purchasing your ideal residence. Best of all, you may be able to acquire a first-rate house that will serve you well for an extended period of time.
Seeing your desire to buy a waterfront property through is a big accomplishment. Before you sign on the dotted lines, there are a few things that you should know about the process of choosing the perfect waterfront property for you.
Decide What You Need
The first step in finding the right property of any kind is understanding your own needs. How do you want to use the property? Will it be your year-round home, or will you be there only a portion of the year? Really map out what your priorities are when it comes to searching for waterfront properties. From here, you can figure out what areas you’d like to search in and what type of property you want to find to suit you. What types of activities will you be doing at your property? Will a lake property do the job or do you need an ocean escape? Is canoeing or kayaking a part of your dream, or is simply sitting by the water enough enjoyment for your needs? Answering all of these questions can help you to narrow down your needs for a waterfront property.
As with any other type of home search, you should take the time to scope out the properties that you’re interested in. This means not only looking at the properties themselves but looking at the communities and neighborhoods as well. What does the area have to offer you? Is it near a town or nestled away in a secluded spot? Remember that with a typical house the size of the home is what contributes to the majority of the value of the home. With a waterfront property, the surroundings are key. The closer to the water you are, the more valuable your piece of real estate is. Consider all of the typical factors when looking at properties along with the additional concerns of being close to the amenities and natural pleasures that you crave.
Other Important Things To Consider
Other things that you should consider in finding your perfect piece of waterfront heaven are things like:
- How close is the beach?
- Does the beach or lake have easy access?
- Is there an adequate amount of privacy at this property?
- What kind of view is there?
The more breathtaking the views and the more space between you and your neighbors will give you an advantage not only in your own living situation but in renting out the property and even selling it in the future.
There are a lot of things that go into making the decision of finding the right waterfront property. Sometimes, hiring an experienced realtor in the area can be just what you need to understand all the aspects of your investment from the area to the type of home you choose. Don’t be afraid to hire an experienced realtor to help you in your search.
Home showing preparation is key for any homebuyer. In fact, if you know how to get ready for a home showing, you may be better equipped than other buyers to assess a house and determine whether to move forward with an offer to purchase.
Ultimately, there are many ways that a homebuyer can prepare to attend a home showing, and these include:
1. Create a List of Questions
A home listing provides plenty of information, but it also may leave many unanswered questions about a house. Fortunately, if you craft a list of questions about a home prior to a showing, you can gain comprehensive home insights during this showing.
There is no such thing as a "bad" question to ask about a house during a showing. Remember, a home purchase is one of the biggest transactions that you may complete in your lifetime. And if you prepare a list of questions before a showing, you can take an informed approach to this showing and gain the insights you need to determine whether a house is right for you.
2. Perform Plenty of Housing Market Research
The housing market constantly fluctuates, and a real estate sector that favors homebuyers one day may favor home sellers the next. Thus, it generally is a good idea to study the housing sector closely to determine whether you're operating in a buyer's or seller's market.
In a buyer's market, there is no shortage of high-quality residences available. And if you attend a home showing in a buyer's market, you may be able to take your time to decide how to proceed with a residence.
Comparatively, in a seller's market, there is an abundance of homebuyers and a limited number of top-notch residences. This means you likely will need to act quickly if you want to acquire a deluxe residence following a showing in a seller's market.
3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent
The housing market can be complex for both experienced and first-time homebuyers. Luckily, real estate agents are available who can offer expert guidance at a home showing and ensure you can achieve the best results during your home search.
A real estate agent understands what it takes to acquire a home in any housing market. As such, he or she will help you plan ahead for a home showing and guarantee you can obtain in-depth home insights during this event.
Let's not forget about the assistance that a real estate agent can provide throughout the homebuying journey, either. A real estate agent can help you find houses in your preferred cities and towns and submit offers on residences. Plus, a real estate agent is happy to respond to any of your homebuying concerns and questions.
Take the guesswork out of attending a home showing – consult with a real estate agent today, and you can get the support you need to discover your dream house in no time at all.
Purchasing a home should be fun, memorable process. However, many homebuyers struggle with fears as they embark on the process of acquiring their dream homes.
Some of the most common homebuying fears include:
1. I will pay too much for a house.
Overspending on a house is a common fear among homebuyers nationwide.
If you pay too much for a house, you may struggle to afford the monthly payments for the duration of your mortgage. Perhaps even worse, your house may lose value over time. And if you eventually decide to sell your home, you may be forced to accept less than what you initially paid for it.
Ultimately, an informed homebuyer will understand the differences between a buyer's market and a seller's one. He or she will be able to determine whether a home is affordably priced and proceed accordingly.
An informed homebuyer also will know the importance of getting pre-approved for a mortgage. With a mortgage in hand, this homebuyer will understand exactly how much that he or she can spend on a house.
2. I'll wait too long to submit an offer on a residence.
If a homebuyer is uncertain about buying a particular house and waits too long to submit an offer, he or she risks missing out on this residence altogether.
Fortunately, there is a simple way to avoid this problem.
A homebuyer who knows what he or she wants to find in a dream home can narrow a home search. Then, if the homebuyer discovers a home that matches or exceeds his or her expectations, this individual can submit an offer right away.
Don't forget to submit a competitive offer, i.e. one that accounts for the needs of both a homebuyer and home seller, as well. A competitive offer will stand out from other proposals and increase a property buyer's chances of securing his or her dream residence.
3. I'll buy a home that will fail to maintain its long-term value.
What you pay for a home today is unlikely to remain the same over the course of several weeks, months or years. But a homebuyer who employs an expert home inspector can learn about a house's strengths and weaknesses and ensure a property is a viable long-term investment.
A home inspector will conduct an assessment of a house after a property seller accepts a buyer's proposal. At this point, an inspector will examine a house's interior and exterior and identify any potential issues. Lastly, a home inspector will issue a report with his or her findings, and a homebuyer will have a final opportunity to modify or rescind an offer on a house.
For homebuyers, it is important to work with a trusted home inspector – you'll be glad you did. This home inspector will go above and beyond the call of duty to evaluate a house before you finalize a home purchase.
Working with an experienced real estate agent may benefit a homebuyer too. With a top-notch real estate agent at your side, you can get the support you need to acquire a first-rate home that will maintain its value both now and in the future.