The minimum FHA mortgage down payment is 3.5% for those who qualify financially. However, that low down payment option is not available for everyone. You will need a FICO score of at least 580 to qualify for this low down payment option.

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FHA Down Payments for Homebuyers

Why Rent When You Can Own With an FHA Loan?

The down payment is the out-of-pocket investment you make when you buy your property. The required amount is generally calculated as a percentage of the purchase price, determined by the requirements of the loan. This upfront payment is essentially seen as your investment in the mortgage, since you stand to lose it if you're unable to meet your monthly payment obligations.

Credit score, friends and family contributions, and down payment assistance programs can each affect how much you'll need to come up with on your own.

FICO Scores and Down Payment Requirements

Credit Report for FHA Loans

First-time buyers want to know how much they're expected to save for their FHA loan down payments. For those who qualify financially as new borrowers or return borrowers, the minimum FHA mortgage down payment is 3.5%. However, that low down payment option is not available for everyone.

Those who have marginal FICO scores are required to make a 10% down payment. According to FHA home loan minimum standards, those with FICO scores between 500 and 579 are required to come up with this higher down payment. Those with FICO scores at 580 or higher technically qualify for the lowest down payment offered.

It's best to start saving early for your down payment and to anticipate how much that payment might be. You'll need to estimate the price range for the home you want to buy and calculate either the 3.5% (low) or 10% (high) down payment using that potential sales price as your guide.

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Down Payments Assistance Programs and Grants

Saving up for the down payment can be a major obstacle people face when trying to buy a house. It's why so many people are never able to transition from renters into owners. Borrowers with high credit scores and low debt-to-income ratios might seem like ideal candidates for an FHA loan, but might still not have enough money saved to put down on a new home.

Down Payment Assistance (DPA) programs, sometimes referred to as grants, can provide homebuyers with funds to cover up front and closing costs when buying a house. Borrowers will need to meet the eligibility requirements of the specific program they'd like to use. Credit scores, household income, family size, and homebuyer education requirements will likely be factors.

Find aDown Payment Assistance Program in your area.




"Yes" or "No" for Down Payment Sources?

Families can help with your FHA down payment

What if you can't come up with the entire down payment on your own? Lenders will require the full amount of money as the required down payment, but friends, family, and employers can make a down payment gift to you that reduces your financial burden. That money is required to be verified by the lender as having come from an approved source.

The FHA doesn't just list who may give such a gift--it also has rules discussing who MAY NOT provide gift funds for an FHA loan down payment. The gift donor may not be a person or entity with an interest in the sale of the property, such as the seller, real estate agent, or the builder.

FHA loan rules are specific and clear in these areas to insure fairness and to preserve the integrity of the home buying process with FHA loan funds.


More About FHA Loan Down Payments

Every FHA Loan Needs a Down Payment

1) Remember, the FHA does not offer down payment assistance. That doesn't mean the agency doesn't provide resources that can help you locate a DPA program in your area. These programs must meet adhere to federal regulations when providing down payment help to borrowers.

2) If you are concerned about your ability to credit qualify for an FHA mortgage, talk to a participating lender and ask some advice about your chances and what can help get you closer to loan approval. There's no substitute for good credit and you'll want to review your credit report long before you start filling out loan paperwork.

3) Your rental history can help boost your credit if you pay on time and have a pattern of doing so. But the catch is that your landlord must report this activity to the credit agencies. You'll need a minimum of 12 months of on-time rent and utility payments; anything less can seriously hurt your chances for loan approval.



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FHA Loan Articles and Mortgage News

Considerations for Renting vs. Owning a Home

April 12, 2024 - There are important choices to make when deciding whether to rent or own, but making the most informed choice is crucial. Some don’t think about the advantage of a fixed mortgage payment over rent that potentially increases year to year.

Working on Your Credit Before Applying for an FHA Mortgage

April 11, 2024 - FHA home loans offer borrowers more forgiving credit qualifying requirements than some conventional mortgages, but borrowers must still qualify for the loan with FICO scores and credit history information. What can you do to improve your credit scores before applying for a loan?

Will FHA Loan Requirements Change Following the NAR Case?

April 10, 2024 - When CBS News reported that the National Association of Realtors agreed to pay $418 million over roughly four years to resolve all claims against the group by home sellers related to broker commissions, the news sent shockwaves through the real estate industry.

What's the Right Kind of Home Loan for You?

April 9, 2024 - If you have never bought or built a home before, it would be easy to assume there is just one type of loan offered and that it’s just a matter of picking a condo, existing construction, new construction, or deciding to build on your own land.

What the Pros Say About Spring 2024 Mortgage Rates

April 8, 2024 - Do experts think mortgage rates will drop during the spring of 2024? Some say no, but that doesn’t mean house hunters should give up hope. Many hang their hopes on the potential that the Fed will cut interest rates in late spring or early summer.