Claire Rainville's Blog
If you’re hoping to buy your first home in the near future, you’re likely wondering about the different types of mortgages that you may qualify for. Since the 1930s, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) has been insuring home loans for first-time homeowners across America.
This program helps people achieve homeownership who typically wouldn’t be able to afford the down payment or pass the credit score requirements to secure a traditional mortgage.
In today’s post, we’re going to answer some frequently asked questions about FHA loans to help you decide if this is the best option for your first home.
Does the FHA issue loans?
Although they’re called “FHA loans,” mortgages are not actually issued by the FHA. Rather, they’re issued by mortgage lenders across the country and insured by the FHA.
Will I have to make a down payment?
With an FHA loan, your down payment can be as low as 3.5%, significantly lower than traditional loans at 20% down payment. However, you will be required to pay private mortgage insurance (PMI) in addition to your monthly mortgage payments until you have paid off 20% of the home. So, the best case scenario would be to save as much as possible for a down payment to reduce the amount of mortgage insurance you have to pay.
What are the benefits of an FHA loan?
The three main reasons to secure an FHA loan are:
You can qualify with a low credit score
You can make a smaller down payment than traditional mortgages
Your closer costs will be less expensive
Where do I apply for an FHA loan?
You can apply for an FHA loan through a mortgage lender. You can also work with a mortgage broker to help choose a lender.
Is an FHA loan the only loan option for low down payments?
There are multiple loan programs offered at the state and federal level to help individuals secure a mortgage with a lower down payment. They can be provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs, the USDA, or state-sponsored programs. Lenders also often sponsor their own programs to attract potential borrowers. However, always make sure you compare these programs to make sure you’re making the best long-term financial decision.
Do all FHA loans offer the same interest rates and costs?
No. Since the loans are only insured by the FHA, it’s up to the lender to determine your interest rate and fees. So, it’s a good idea to shop around for the best lender.
How high does my credit score have to be to qualify for an FHA loan?
You can secure a mortgage with a down payment as low as 3.5% with a credit score of 580 or higher. However, if you can afford to make a larger down payment, you can secure an FHA loan with a credit score as low as 500.
If your score is in the 500-600 range, it’s typically a better idea to spend a few months building credit before applying for a home loan.
What information will I need to apply?
You’ll need to gather all of the same information that you would for a typical mortgage. This includes W2s from your employer(s), two years of submitted tax forms, your current and former addresses from the past two years, and your gross monthly salary.
I’ve owned a house before, can I still qualify for FHA loans?
Even if you’re not a first-time homebuyer you can still qualify for an FHA loan. However, you cannot qualify if you’ve had a foreclosure within the last three years or have filed for bankruptcy within the last two years.
Let's face it – homebuyers often face intense pressure. In many instances, dozens of homebuyers may compete for the same residence. And if you don't act quickly, you risk missing out on your dream house to a rival homebuyer.
Believe it or not, it sometimes can be beneficial to take a wait and see approach to buying a house. Some of the key reasons for homebuyers to consider deploying a wait and see approach include:
1. You can determine exactly what you want in your dream house.
Differentiating between must-haves and wants can be tough, particularly for homebuyers who are shopping for residences for the first time. Fortunately, if you take a slow, gradual approach to homebuying, you can view a variety of residences and narrow your search accordingly.
Oftentimes, homebuyers can benefit from attending open houses and getting a firsthand look at myriad residences. Each open house provides an opportunity to analyze a home, review its pros and cons and determine whether a residence is right for you. As such, homebuyers can attend many open houses to better understand what they want from a dream residence.
2. You can get your finances in order.
Although you know you want to buy a house, getting your finances in order may prove to be hassle. Luckily, homebuyers who implement a wait and see approach can find a mortgage that matches their finances perfectly.
Ideally, a homebuyer should meet with several banks and credit unions and explore all of the mortgage options at his or her disposal. During each meeting with a mortgage lender, a homebuyer can receive expert insights into many mortgage options.
A homebuyer may want to get pre-approved for a mortgage as well. If a homebuyer embarks on a search for the right mortgage today, this individual can move closer to entering the housing market with a budget in hand and simplifying his or her home search.
3. You can find the perfect real estate agent.
Ultimately, the real estate agent that you select may dictate the success of your quest to find your dream residence. If you allocate the necessary time and resources to hire a hardworking and experienced real estate agent, you should have no trouble streamlining your home search. On the other hand, if you rush to hire the first real estate agent that you meet, you risk making the wrong choice.
When it comes to finding the perfect real estate agent, it pays to be patient. By spending some time learning about various real estate agents in your area, you can select a top-notch housing market professional to guide you along the homebuying journey.
Lastly, don't forget to select a real estate agent who is available to respond to any homebuying concerns and questions, at any time. With this housing market professional at your side, you can boost your chances of discovering your ideal residence.
There is no need to rush to find your dream home. Instead, take a wait and see approach to buying a house, and you may reap the benefits of your decision for years to come.
Buying or selling a house is one of the most significant financial transactions because in most cases, it involves spending a considerable amount of money. Getting the best possible deal is important to make sure that you are getting value for your money and not overspending unnecessarily.
To negotiate a better arrangement when purchasing a house, you need a good strategy, and you must know how to motivate and negotiate with all the parties involved in the transaction. Here are some tips that will place you in the right position to negotiate favorable terms:
Research the market
It is impossible to know the worth of property without carrying out appropriate market research. It is essential that you inspect similar properties in that vicinity and compare them. Also, you should be familiar with the selling price of similar properties in the past few months and know the trends of the property market in your area.
Dealing with the seller's real estate agents
You should be apprised of the fact the seller's real agents work for a seller and not for you. An agent's job is to get the best deal for the seller; therefore, they might employ a tricky tactic to make you pay more. Do not be pressured to offer more than what you are comfortable with and don't disclose too much information as regards your emotional attachment to the property and your budget.
Make use of a buyer’s agent
A buyer's agent is in the best position to find you the right property. Not only that, they will represent you all through the negotiation deal. A buyer's agent will help you examine different properties and negotiate on your behalf. Another advantage of using a buyer's agent is that you will have access to locations that are not in the market. You can find these off-the-market properties through the agent's industry network.
Research the property
To evaluate the value and know how much to offer for a property, you must take a closer look at the features as well as the downsides of the property. Also, you must know why the property is on sale.
Do not exceed your budget
The initial thing you need to do before you start looking for a house to buy work hand in hand with an accountant and a financial to work out your budget. Speaking with a mortgage broker is also a good idea as it will help you know how much you can borrow. Try to adhere strictly to your budget irrespective of the pressure faced.
Filling out a mortgage application may prove to be a long, arduous process, particularly for those who are buying a house for the first time. Lucky for you, we're here to help you dot the I's and cross the T's on your mortgage application to ensure you can quickly and effortlessly acquire your dream house.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you prepare your mortgage application.
1. Be Diligent
A mortgage application may appear daunting at first. The application may include several pages of questions, and you may have only a limited amount of time to finalize your submission.
When it comes to completing a mortgage application, it generally pays to be diligent. If you answer each mortgage application question to the best of your ability, you likely will have no trouble moving forward with your home purchase.
2. Avoid Guessing
If you're uncertain about how to respond to certain mortgage application questions, there is no need to guess. Instead, search for the information that you need to provide a comprehensive response. This will help reduce the risk of encountering potential problems down the line that otherwise could slow down your home acquisition.
Remember, guessing on a mortgage application probably won't do you or your lender any favors. But if you allocate the necessary time and resources to understand mortgage application questions and provide thoughtful responses, you can minimize the risk of application errors.
3. Ask Questions
Completing a mortgage application sometimes can be tricky. Fortunately, a lender employs mortgage specialists who are happy to respond to your application concerns or questions at any time.
If you're unsure about information that is requested on a mortgage application, don't hesitate to reach out to a lender's mortgage specialists for help. These specialists possess extensive mortgage expertise and can help you complete a mortgage application.
Furthermore, mortgage specialists can offer insights into a wide array of mortgage options. These specialists can explain the differences between fixed- and adjustable-rate mortgages and enable you to select the right mortgage option based on your financial situation.
As you prepare to buy a house, you may want to consult with a real estate agent as well. In fact, with a real estate agent at your side, you can seamlessly navigate the homebuying process.
A real estate agent understands exactly what it takes to acquire a house, regardless of the finances at your disposal. This housing market professional can set up home showings, help you submit offers on houses and ensure you can purchase a residence that matches or exceeds your expectations. And if you need help getting a mortgage, a real estate agent may even be able to connect you with the top lenders in your city or town.
Ready to move forward in the homebuying journey? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can finalize a mortgage application and secure the financing that you need to acquire your ideal residence.
If you want to streamline your home search, there is no need to worry. In fact, there are several things you can do to quickly and effortlessly discover a great house at a budget-friendly price.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you streamline your search for your ideal house.
1. Create Homebuying Criteria
Homebuying criteria may help you save time as you embark on a quest to find your dream home. Because if you enter the housing market with homebuying criteria in hand, you'll know what you want to discover in your ideal residence.
To create homebuying criteria, think about your home must-haves and wants. Then, you can search for houses based on your homebuying criteria and move one step closer to finding a residence that you can enjoy for years to come.
Of course, it is important to remain flexible as you pursue your dream house too. And if necessary, you should be ready to adjust your homebuying criteria as your home search progresses.
2. Hone Your Home Search to Preferred Cities and Towns
You know you want to buy a house, but you still have no idea where you want to settle down. If you make a list of preferred cities and towns, however, you may be able to accelerate your home search.
Consider your short- and long-term aspirations as you prepare a list of preferred cities and towns. For instance, if your long-term goal is to work in the city, you may want to focus on houses in or near the city itself. On the other hand, if you want to own lots of land in a small town, you may want to consider small town residences.
3. Work with a Real Estate Agent
Searching for a home on your own may prove to be time-consuming. Fortunately, real estate agents are homebuying experts who are happy to help you simplify your house search.
By hiring a real estate agent, you can receive comprehensive assistance throughout the property buying journey. A real estate agent will teach you about the housing market and respond to your homebuying concerns and queries. Plus, he or she will offer recommendations and suggestions to help you make an informed home purchase.
In addition, a real estate agent is ready to assist you in a number of ways. He or she will set up home showings, keep you up to date about new houses that become available in your preferred cities and towns and help you submit a competitive offer to purchase your dream home. Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent will do whatever it takes to help you acquire a terrific residence at an affordable price.
As you get set to embark on a home search, it generally is a good idea to enter the housing market as a prepared property buyer. Thanks to the aforementioned tips, you can conduct an in-depth home search without delay. And as a result, you can use these tips to discover your dream house in no time at all.