Even in tough times, you may qualify for a Federal Housing Administration mortgage. The Federal Housing Administration, FHA, is a leading mortgage provider whose loan requirements are generally easier to meet than those of traditional loans. Its requirements include specific criteria that a loan officer will compare to your qualifications as a buyer. If your borrower qualifications match the following five FHA requirements, there’s a good chance that you will be approved for a mortgage loan.
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Are You a Legal Resident of the United States?
You must be a legal resident of the United States and have a valid social security number to qualify for an FHA loan, but you do not need to be a citizen.
Are You Creditworthy?
As of early 2010, a credit score of 620 is high enough to qualify you for an FHA loan. However, this guideline changes, so when you’re ready to shop for a house, check with your lender to be sure. Also, according to the FHA website, don’t assume you won’t qualify for an FHA loan if you’ve hit a bad spot here and there. FHA loans are more forgiving than conventional loans and allow loan officers to look at the big picture rather than requiring them to focus on a blemish here and there.
How Well Does Your Debt to Income Ratio Stack Up?
To qualify for an FHA loan, your new housing debt, including principal, interest, taxes and insurance—also known as PITI—must be less than 29 percent of your gross income. Your entire debt load, which includes all your monthly loan and credit-card payments, cannot be more than 41 percent of your gross income. The Federal Housing Administration sometimes adjusts these numbers; so again, when you are ready to shop for a house, check with a lender to be sure.
Do You Have Enough Cash?
FHA loan guidelines require you to have enough cash to cover 3.5 percent of the purchase price, money to pay an appraiser and enough money to cover closing costs—which may run up to 6 percent of the purchase price. But, seller concessions are one of the big advantages of an FHA loan. If the seller agrees, FHA will allow him to pay, or “concede”, a portion of the closing costs for you.
Are You Steadily Employed with a Steady Paycheck?
The Federal Housing Administration wants you to have been steadily employed for the past two years, and it prefers you to have been with the same employer for those two years. Related to this, they want to see that your income is either steady or rising. If you believe you meet all of the above requirements and you want to buy a house, congratulations—it’s time for you to visit a bank or mortgage broker. You have a very good chance of being approved.