Getting approved for mortgages has become more difficult than ever; the days of "no doc" loans are mostly over. Nowadays, good credit, verifiable income, and a generous down payment are usually required to obtain the optimum interest rates and loan approvals. For those who fear they'll never measure up to the high standards required by traditional mortgage lenders, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) could have the perfect opportunity for you to become the homeowner you've always wanted to be. If you think you'll never be approved for a loan, you may change your mind after reading about these three FHA loan secrets.
1. Less than a perfect credit score is okay. If your credit score is less than 750, you may have a difficult time convincing a lender that you are worth taking a chance on. The good news is that the FHA provides a path to a mortgage approval for those with scores of only 580, and you only need to come up with a down payment of 3.5%. Even if your score is less than 580, if you can provide a down payment of least 10%, you could still be approved if your score is at least 500.
2. Bankruptcy is no bar to a mortgage approval. Bankruptcies result in a black mark on your credit that lasts for years, but you can get an FHA loan with a bankruptcy on your credit history as long as at least two years have passed from your discharge date. You must also show that you have learned from your financial mistakes and made a concerted effort to improve by demonstrating your careful use of new credit. For example, you should be able to show that you have been able to get a credit card or a car loan, are making your payments on-time, and have not gone overboard on attaining more debt.
3. Even if you have a foreclosure in your history, the FHA wants to give you a second chance. You might think that most lenders would frown upon a foreclosure. After all, that is exactly what the loan underwriters make every effort to avoid, since foreclosure always costs the lender money and reflects very poorly on the applicant. The FHA, however, understands that no one is perfect, and some bumps along the road toward financial security and being a homeowner are to be expected. As long as at least three years have elapsed from your home foreclosure, the FHA will consider you for a new loan. Just as with the bankruptcy ding, you must show better financial savvy since the foreclosure.
Even if you never dreamed you could become a homeowner, speak with a real-estate agent about the opportunity that government-backed FHA loans could provide for you and your family.