Buying with a FHA Mortgage in Florida

The Federal Housing Administration loan program allows you to buy with as little as 3.5% down.

Buying with an FHA Mortgage in Florida

Buying a home with an FHA mortgage in Florida is a great way to become a homeowner! The government started the FHA mortgage program and the Federal Housing Administration with the intention of making home ownership a possibility for more Americans across the board. With FHA financing you get the opportunity to buy a home with a as little as 3.5% down. The best part is you don’t need a stellar credit score. However borrowers with great credit still utilize the program. They do so for the low down payment, the ability for the seller to contribute up to 6% of the sales price towards the borrowers closing costs, and the higher debt ratio limits.

Seasoning for more significant negative financial events are more forgiving as well. There’s a 3 year seasoning requirement for bankruptcies, foreclosures, and short sales. That’s more lenient than conventional financing. FHA financing also provides flexible terms including a 15, 20, 25 and 30 year fixed rate mortgage. Or you can go with an adjustable rate mortgages.

You can use FHA financing to purchase a single family home, a multi unit home (a duplex, tri-plex, or quadraplex), and you can utilize FHA financing for the purchase of a manufactured home or what people still call mobile homes. The requirements for FHA financing are less restrictive than conventional financing. The FHA loan loan amount limits are lower than conventional loan limits, for most counties like Alachua, Marion, Citrus county and others in Florida its about $472,030 for a single family home or manufactured home. Counties like Broward has a limit of $557.750. For a multi-unit home the loan limits are higher. Its also possible to use FHA financing to build a home.

Florida FHA Mortgage

FHA Credit Score Minimum

Our minimum credit score requirement is a 580 middle FICO score for FHA mortgage financing. Your middle score is the middle number between Experian, Equifax, and Transunion, not an average. This provides us the maximum flexibility to help borrowers across the credit spectrum. With a lower credit score its possible we will need other compensating factors for your loan approval. Compensating factors can include reserve assets, good job history, and rent history with little or no payment shock compared to your new proposed mortgage. Its possible your score is just stuck lower, but if you haven’t had any late payments in the last 12 months your likelihood of getting approved is much higher.

Mortgage Insurance

There is mortgage insurance required by the government for a Florida FHA mortgage. They have an upfront funding fee of 1.75% which is financed into your mortgage which is called the guarantee fee. This is not an out of pocket expense but rather built into your loan. There is also a monthly mortgage insurance factor of .55% with a down payment of 3.5%, with a 5% down payment it drops to .50%. On a $200,000 FHA loan the monthly mortgage insurance payment would be $91.66. The mortgage insurance is based off the principal owed, so as the principal owed drops so does the mortgage insurance amount. The fact that mortgage insurance is for the life of the loan is the biggest deterrent to some folks, but keep in mind you can always refinance into a conventional loan if your home appreciates and eliminate mortgage insurance. 

Closing Costs With FHA

Your closing costs are same as any other loan apart from the up front funding fee that’s financed into your loan. An advantage to FHA financing over conventional financing is that the seller can contribute up to 6% of the sales price towards your closing costs even with a 3.5% down payment. With a conventional mortgage at 3% down you can only get up to 3% seller concession for your closing costs. Gifts are allowed! A gift letter must be signed by the donor and recipent, and evidence of the donors ability to donate must be obtained. Gifts are now allowed to come not only from family but close long term friends.

FHA Debt Ratio Requirements

FHA financing can allow for your debt ratios to go as high as a 56% back end debt ratio. That means that your total monthly debt, including your new mortgage can be as high as 56% of your gross income if you are a w-2 employee. If you have student loans in forbearance with no payment FHA requires that we add a .5% payment of the total amount owed as a debt to include in your ratios. If your credit score is on the low side its possible your maximum debt ratio could be lower.

FHA Property Condition Requirements

Its often the conception that FHA loans are harder to acquire because FHA appraisers are more particular about the condition of properties. This conception is often held by sellers who are concerned about their property having issues that might hold up the purchase of their home. I have found that 90% of the time their concerns are unfounded. If a home is in working order FHA financing is a great option. The issues an appraiser might take note of are really common sense issues. If they see water damage that can be an issue. Safety issues are of concern, like exposed electrical wiring or decking without railing. If the appraiser does make note of damage or items that need to be repaired it can then be negotiated between the buyer and the seller who will correct the items before closing.

Important Guidelines to Note for FHA Financing

  • In order to eliminate joint debt from your ratios a loan must be joint and the co-borrower must show 12 months of history making the payment our their personal account.
  • If you are receiving child support or alimony, it must be court ordered and you must show 12 months of receipt of the payment via check or money order. Cash can not be sourced. We must be able to show that you will receive the payments for at least 3 years.
  • If you are paying child support or alimony we must include that payment in your debt ratios.
  • A 2 year job history is important to document, if you were in school prior to your work in a field that relates to your education then schooling can be included as job history. You can actually get financing as soon as your graduate at your new job.
  • If you are changing jobs we can use an offer letter to secure financing. The offer letter must have a start date and outline your income. You must close within 90 days of your start date.

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Keith Meredith is an accomplished mortgage originator, author, and content creator. He is credentialed in multiple loan programs and is a consistent top producer. With a background in finance he takes his expertise and product knowledge to help meet his clients goals. He enjoys creating both written and video content on program guidelines to help everyone understand their financing options. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and IG.

Keith Meredith

Feel free to call or text message me directly at +1 (352) 615-1613 with any questions on any loan programs, credit score requirements or interest rates.
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