The FHA usually requires two lines of credit for qualifying applicants. An FHA loan might make the difference between owning your dream house comfortably and turning it into a financial nightmare.

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November 30, 2015
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Credit Requirements for FHA Loans

Good Credit History Makes it Easier to Qualify

FHA loans provide great assistance to many first time home buyers by offering mortgage loans with lower down payments. While this is a benefit for many people, recent changes in policy may have put the loans just out of reach for some would-be homeowners with questionable credit history.

Credit History and Score Requirements

For those interested in applying for an FHA loan, applicants are now required to have a minimum FICO score of 580 to qualify for the low down payment advantage, which is currently at around 3.5 percent.

If your credit score is below 580, however, you aren't necessarily excluded from FHA loan eligibility. Applicants with lower credit scores will have to put down a 10 percent down payment if they want to qualify for a loan.

So if you're planning to buy a house, and your credit score doesn't meet the minimum, you should weigh the advantages and disadvantages of putting down a larger down payment or using those funds to try and improve your credit score first.

Benefits of an FHA Loan

The reason why FHA loans are so popular is because borrowers that use them are able to take advantage of benefits and protections unavailable with most traditional mortgage loans. Loans through the FHA are insured by the agency, so lenders are more lenient. Here are a few benefits you can enjoy with an FHA loan:

  • Easier to Qualify
    While most loans exclude applicants with questionable credit history and low credit scores, the FHA makes loans available with lower requirements so its easier for you to qualify.
  • Competitive Interest Rates
    You've heard the horror stories of subprime borrowers who couldn't keep up with their mortgage interest rates. Well, FHA loans usually offer lower interest rates to help homeowners afford housing payments.
  • Lower Fees
    In addition to lower interest rates, you can also enjoy lower costs on other fees like closing costs, mortgage insurance and others.
  • Bankruptcy / Foreclosure
    Just because you've filed for bankruptcy or suffered a foreclosure in the past few years doesn't mean you're excluded from qualifying for an FHA loan. As long as you meet other requirements that satisfy the FHA, such as re-establishment of good credit, solid payment history, etc., you can still qualify.
  • No Credit
    The FHA usually requires two lines of credit for qualifying applicants. If you don't have a sufficient credit history, you can try to qualify through a substitute form.

For many home buyers, using an FHA loan can really make the difference between owning your dream house comfortably or turning it into a financial nightmare. The FHA provides a wealth of benefits for applicants that qualify, so make sure you're making full use of them.

Helpful Advice About Credit Scores and Loans:

FHA Loan Articles

Read About Mortgage News, FHA Updates, and Guidelines
HUD 4000.1, FHA Loan Applications, and Credit Reports

The new HUD 4000.1 handbook includes new rules about existing policy, revised language for some loan rules, and other changes. Has qualifying for an FHA mortgage under the new rulebook changed? 

The FHA Refinance Loan Maximum Mortgage Calculation

There are many myths people have about FHA home loans. One is the nature of the required FHA mortgage down payment or maximum financing available.  The borrower is required to make a minimum down payment on all new purchase FHA mortgage loans (3.5%).

Does Being a Co-Signer on Another Loan Hurt Your FHA Loan Application?

Some wonder: does being a co-signer on someone else’s financial obligation might affect an applicant’s chances for FHA loan approval? Does being a co-signer have any influence on how the lender views your credit or debt-to-income ratio?

FHA Streamline Refinancing: Appraisal Required?

It can be easy to get confused over the difference between lender requirements and FHA refinance loan standards--did you know that FHA loan rules for Streamline Refinancing permit the lender to require things the FHA rules don’t insist upon?

FHA Changes Loss Mitigation Policies

In April 2015, the FHA and HUD changed some of its policies in order to help FHA borrowers avoid foreclosure and keep their homes. No FHA loan applicant goes into the home loan or refinance loan process expecting to default on their mortgage payments sometime in the future.