Conventional Versus FHA Mortgage Lending Guidelines

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This BLOG On Conventional Versus FHA Mortgage Lending Guidelines Was UPDATED And PUBLISHED On March 31st, 2020

What are the guidelines for conventional and FHA mortgages?

Difference Between Conventional Loans Versus FHA Loans Explained

There have been major changes with Conventional Versus FHA Mortgage:

  • On this article, we will explain the advantages and disadvantages of the difference between Conventional Versus FHA Mortgage

There are positive changes with Fannie Mae such as the following:

  • when a consumer has a mortgage part of bankruptcy where the waiting period on foreclosure will start from the discharged date of the Chapter 7 Bankruptcy discharged date
  • and not the actual recorded date of the foreclosure with Conventional Loans
  • Conventional Loans allow Income-Based Repayment (IBR)
  • FHA does not allow IBR Payments
  • 3% down payment on conventional loans versus 3.5% for FHA

In this article, we will discuss and cover Conventional Versus FHA Mortgage Lending Guidelines.

Qualifying For Conventional Versus FHA Mortgage On Home Purchase

With case situations like having a prior mortgage included in bankruptcy, a home buyer will qualify for a Conventional Loan but will not qualify for a FHA Loan:

  • This holds true because with FHA, the waiting period starts from the recorded date of the foreclosure or the sheriff’s sale after the Chapter 7 Bankruptcy discharged date
  • The minimum credit scores to qualify for a 3.5% down payment home purchase FHA Loan is 580 credit scores
  • 3% down payment for first time home buyers and 5% for seasoned home buyers on conforming loans

Conventional Loans, the minimum credit scores required to qualify for a Conventional Loan is 620 credit scores.

Down Payment Requirements On Conventional Versus FHA Mortgage

As mentioned earlier, the minimum credit score to qualify for a 3.5% down payment FHA home loan is 580:

  • Borrowers can qualify for a FHA Loan with credit scores of under 580 FICO credit scores
  • However, borrower with credit scores between 500 credit scores and 579 credit scores, a 10% down payment is required under HUD Guidelines

To qualify for a Conventional Loan, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac both require borrowers to have at least a 620 credit score.

Conventional Versus FHA Mortgage On Credit Scores

Credit Scores do have an impact on mortgage rates.

  • However, credit scores have more of an impact with Conventional Loans than they do with FHA Loans
  • FHA Loans are insured by FHA
  • HUD, or the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, is the parent of FHA
  • FHA is not a mortgage lender

FHA is a governmental entity that insures FHA Loans that are originated and funded by approved lenders in the event the borrower defaults on their FHA Loan.

Loan To Value And How It Affects Mortgage Rates

What is the value of the loan and its impact on mortgage rates

Loan to value is calculated by taking the mortgage balance dividing it by the value of the home.

  • That number derived is called the loan to value
  • The more down payment the home buyer puts down on their home purchase, the lower the loan to value
  • Loan to value affects mortgage rates on Conventional Loans but not on FHA Loans
  • This is because the government insures lenders against the borrower defaulting on their FHA Loan
  • Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two mortgage giants who set up the mortgage lending guidelines on Conventional Loans
  • There is no government guarantee on Conventional loans against borrower default

So the more down payment borrowers put down on their home purchase, the less risky it is for lenders.

Mortgage Rates On Conventional Versus FHA

To get the best conventional mortgage rates, borrowers need to have credit scores of higher than 740 credit scores and a down payment of 25% down payment on their home purchase.

  • Higher credit scores and larger down payment means less risk for lenders and with less risk
  • That translates to lower mortgage rates
  • With FHA Loans, credit scores do play an impact on mortgage rates but not as much
  • As long as the borrower has a 680 FICO credit score, the borrower will get the best mortgage rates
  • Down payment has no impact on mortgage rates with FHA Loans

This holds true since the loan is guaranteed by HUD, unlike Conventional Loans where they do not have a government guarantee.

PMI On Conventional Versus FHA Loans

Conventional lenders do require private mortgage insurance from third-party mortgage insurance companies for all borrowers who have less than 20% down payment.

  • HUD requires FHA annual mortgage insurance premium from all borrowers throughout the term of the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage loan
  • With FHA Loans, there is a one time upfront mortgage insurance premium of 1.75% which is charged on all borrowers

This upfront FHA MIP can be rolled into the loan balance.

Debt To Income Ratio Guidelines On Conventional Versus FHA Mortgage

Debt to income ratios is one of the most important factors when it comes to qualifying for a mortgage loan.

  • Debt to income ratios also referred to as DTI, is the total amount of the minimum monthly payments a borrower has divided by the borrower’s monthly gross income
  • That number is the debt to income ratio
  • The maximum debt to income ratio allowed per Fannie Mae is 50% DTI to qualify for a Conventional Loan
  • FHA allows a maximum debt to income ratio of up to 46.9% front end 56.9% DTI back end for borrowers with credit scores of 620 and higher

Borrowers with under 620 credit scores, HUD reduces the debt to income ratio requirements to 43% DTI.

Non-Occupant Guidelines On Conventional Versus FHA Loans

What are the non-working guidelines on conventional loans and FHA

HUD allows non-occupant co-borrowers to be added on the mortgage loan of the main borrower.

  • This holds true as long as the non-occupant co-borrower is related to the borrower by marriage, blood, or marriage
  • Fannie Mae does allow non-occupant co-borrowers to be added on a Conventional Loan
  • With Conventional Loans, non-occupant co-borrowers does not have to be related to main borrowers
  • Freddie Mac also allow non-occupant co-borrowers to be added and they do not have to be related to main borrowers
  • HUD allows non-occupant co-borrowers to be added who are not related to main borrowers by blood, law, marriage

However, a 15% down payment versus a 3.5% down payment is required.

Sellers Concessions Guidelines

HUD requires a 3.5% down payment on a home purchase for borrowers with at least a 580 FICO credit score.

  • Homebuyers with under 580 FICO credit scores can qualify for an FHA Loan
  • But any borrowers with credit scores between 500 and 579 FICO, 10% down payment is required on a home purchase
  • FHA allows up to a 6% sellers concession from the home seller to contribute towards the home buyer’s closing costs
  • Sellers concessions can only be used for closing costs and not for the down payment on a home purchase
  • Any overages with sellers concessions needs to go back to the home seller
  • The home seller cannot give a cash kickback to the home buyer with sellers concessions overages
  • Fannie Mae and/or Freddie Mac allows up to 3% sellers concessions by seller to contribute to home buyers closing costs on primary residence purchases

Investment homes can have up to 2% sellers concessions.

Cash To Close On Conventional Versus FHA Mortgage

Fannie Mae will allow 3% down payment on a home purchase for borrowers:

  • However, the home buyer needs to be a first time home buyer
  • Regular home buyers require 5% down payment on home purchase
  • Freddie Mac allows homebuyers who have not owned a home for the past 3 years a 3% down payment home purchase
  • If the home buyers are seasoned home buyers, then a 5% down payment is required
  • Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will allow up to a 3% sellers concessions by the home seller to contribute for a home buyers closing costs for primary owner occupant home purchases and second home purchases

Sellers concessions will be limited to 2% sellers concessions for investment properties. Any overages with sellers concessions need to go back to the home seller and the home seller is not allowed to give any kickbacks to the home buyer with seller concession overages. Sellers concessions can only be used for closing costs and not for the down payment on a home purchase.

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