1. The FHA loan has became popular once again over the past 6 months mainly due to it being one of the only 100% financing loans able to use to buy a home. With all of the major mortgage companies going bankrupt around the country they all lost their ability to use their own loans. What I mean by using their own loans is that many companies, let’s say Quicken Loans for example worked with larger banks and investment firms and they wrote their own guidelines. This means that they made their own rules and as long as a bunch of underwriting guidelines were met than the loan could be written and sold on the secondary market for a profit.
2. Realtors loved this during the days of the refi/purchase boom. Since the mortgage companies had their own guidelines a person looking to buy a home could buy just about anything they wanted as long as it had four walls and a roof. It was up to the person buying the home to make sure that the house was up to par with a home inspection.
3. The mortgage companies did have some standards (have to give them some credit). They would not allow you to buy a home that did not have any type of flooring covering the sub floor. This means that the whole house had to be carpeted, tiled, or wood floors down to cover the sub floor. The kitchen had to be complete. You could be missing a dishwasher or a fridge but the sink had to be in. The mortgage companies would find out when the appraisal got back because in the report it would state what is missing and there would be pictures on it too.
4. Now when the FHA is the only option out there for people to get approved on a loan some new standards have been imposed. The FHA’s main guideline is that a home inspection must be done on top of an appraisal. An appraisal and a home inspection are two different things. An appraisal looks at the features of the homes compared to the other homes like it in the neighborhood and determines a value (even if it is missing flooring). A home inspection looks for things like leaky pipes, bad foundation, broken windows, bad roof, mold, and others.
5. If the home that the buyers put an offer on fails the home inspection than the loan cannot be closed until all of those things that made it fail the inspection are cleared up. At that time the loan can close. In reality though, how many people are going to go and dig into whatever space they might have on their home equity line of credit just to fix up the house to be able to sell it to you in a couple months after all of the repairs are fixed. What they are going to do is wait until somebody else comes around that is approved on a conventional 30 year fixed rate mortgage that does not need to pass a home inspection to sell the home. More than likely the people trying to sell the home are probably upside down on their home anywyas and can’t afford to put any money into it because then they will need to bring money to closing. If somebody does not come to them with a normal conventional loan they will probably have to foreclose on the house.
6. With the home not passing the inspection you already know what the look on your realtors face is going to look like. Its going to be one of disbelief and anger at the same time. Since realtors get paid on commision they just waisted a bunch of time on a deal that has a 95% chance of not closing now. The realtor can either keep looking with you for new homes or just bail on you completely. In this real estate market you might get lucky and find somebody who will stick with you because the realtor is not closing a lot of deals right now because not that many people are getting approved on mortgages at all.
7. The FHA requires all borrowers to escrow their property taxes and home owners insurance with their mortgage payment. This means that they now have to bring more money to the closing table to suffice what they need. In total they need money for escrow, down payment, and closing costs. More than likely the person looking to buy the home do not have this kind of money in a bank account any where so this becomes a lost cause.
8. FHA loans require twice as much paperwork as a normal loan. With all of this paperwork mandated by the FHA there always seems to be some thing that pops up and deters the loan from closing. This alone can drive a realtor crazy because all they want to do is show you a house that you like and close the deal so they can move on to the next client.
9. If you are in the market to buy a home right now and are using a pre-approval from a mortgage company using a FHA loan you better get a move on. On October 1, 2008 the FHA is implementing new guidelines that gets rid of all down payment assistance programs and requires borrowers to come to the table with 3.5% downpayment now. I hope you have told your realtor that you are using a FHA loan because imagine how mad they will be if they find out in the middle of September that you have one and the offer you put on a house gets accepted and then the loan cannot close. If you want to get into a house and can only get approved on FHA you better start hustling because it takes most mortgage companies 3 weeks to close a loan and about 4 weeks to close an FHA loan due to its lengthy paperwork.
10. If you want to see your realtor make a funny face just say the words “FHA” to them. You will probably be asked if this was your only loan that you could get approved on. Do not be insulted because of it, the realtor is just trying to cover their butt and not waste a lot of time showing you houses that you will never be able to close on. With so many quirky guidelines you can see why the FHA does this. To really see why they are so stringent you need to step into their shoes. Why would I want to lend you money on something that is not even up to code? If I lent you the money and you defaulted on the home than all I (the FHA) would own is home that is broken down, beat up, and probably needs thousands of dollars to bring it up to code to hopefully sell it. I guess we can thank the U.S Government for doing at least one thing right and making sure we are not buying run down houses.