How to Qualify for an FHA Home Loan

qualifying for an FHA loan

FHA loans are popular because they are easier to qualify for than traditional home loans.

With just a 580 credit score and a 3.5% down payment, you may be eligible.

In this article, we will go over what you need to qualify for an FHA loan.

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1. Minimum 580 Credit Score

FHA requires at least a 580 credit score to qualify for an FHA loan. While some lenders can use as low as a 500 score with a 10% down payment, they are challenging to qualify for. Of course, the higher your fico score, the better chance you have of getting approved.

FHA loan credit requirements

2. Have a Clean Credit History

Lenders look at more than just your credit score when looking at your credit report. Your entire credit history is taken into consideration. Multiple late payments within the past year or excessive collection accounts can be a reason you’re not approved, even if your credit score is good enough.

3. Save 3.5% for the Down Payment

FHA mortgage loans are very popular, especially for first-time homebuyers because of their low down payment requirements. The 3.5% down payment is one of the lowest down payment requirements of all home loan types.

4. Be able to Verify Your Income

You not only need a steady employment history, usually about two years’ worth. You need to be able to verify your income with w2’s paycheck stubs and tax returns. If you are a commission-only employee, a lender will take your average income over the past two years.

5. DTI Ratio Below 43%

The debt-to-income ratio (DTI) is the amount of your income that goes towards debt payments, such as a mortgage, auto loans, credit cards, etc. The maximum DTI ratio allowed for FHA loans is 43%.

Home affordability calculator with PMI, taxes, and insurance

6. Have Extra Cash in the Bank

You can’t be left with no money in your savings account after closing on a mortgage. You need cash reserves, and lenders want to see borrowers with 3-6 months worth of mortgage payments left in savings after closing. Homeownership can be expensive. If anything comes up financially, you need to be able to stay afloat.

7. Budget for all FHA Loan Costs

An FHA mortgage comes with more than just a principle and interest payment. Property taxes will be the most expensive extra cost involved with homeownership. Property tax rates vary by state and county and can be as high as 2.5% in states like Texas.

Mortgage insurance will also be required for FHA loans with a rate between .80%-1.05%. Other costs are homeowners’ insurance and HOA fees. Everything except HOA fees will be included in your monthly mortgage payment and will go to an escrow account to be paid out annually.

8. Do Not Exceed the FHA Loan Limit

The FHA has loan limits that vary by country. The limit is based on the cost of living in a particular city. High-cost areas such as San Fransisco and Los Angeles have a $679,650 loan limit, whereas low-cost areas such as Dallas has a $296,515 loan limit. To find the limit in your area, visit the HUD website.

2021 FHA Loan Limits

Most lenders offer FHA loans from your local bank or credit union to online lenders.

Apply with an FHA Lender

The Lenders Network has a large network of FHA lenders that can help you through the mortgage process. Get loan quotes and check rates from up to 4 different lenders.

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