FHA or Conventional?

Buyers with a minimum down payment are generally faced with the decision of whether to get a FHA or a conventional loan.  article 2With the new 3% down payment program on conventional loans, it may become more confusing which loan to pursue.

The two loan programs have mortgage fees that can differ greatly.  FHA has a 1.75% up-front mortgage insurance charge in addition to the monthly mortgage insurance charge which was recently lowered by .5%.

FHA’s mortgage insurance is a fixed amount where conventional mortgage insurance providers’ fees are determined by individual companies and according to the credit score of the borrowers.  A borrower with a good credit score will be charged less than a borrower with a marginal credit score.

Mortgage insurance on conventional loans can be cancelled when the equity in the property reaches 20%.  FHA mortgage insurance in most cases, is paid for the life of the mortgage.  Once a borrower has a 20% equity in their home, to eliminate the monthly FHA mortgage insurance, they would need to refinance the home with a conventional loan and would not be eligible for any refund of the up-front fee paid at closing or added to the mortgage.

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If a borrower has a low credit score, FHA may be the better choice because conventional underwriters may have a higher minimum score.

FHA loans also tend to be more lenient than conventional loans when a borrower’s total monthly debt exceeds 45% of their monthly income.  FHA tends to allow borrowers a shorter time frame after foreclosures and bankruptcies.

The decision-making factor is which mortgage will provide the lowest cost of housing including payment and all loan fees.  A lot of information is necessary to make a good decision and typically, the borrower isn’t able to acquire it on his/her own.

A trusted mortgage professional is very valuable in not only providing the information but guiding the borrower through the entire process.  Your real estate professional is uniquely qualified to make such a recommendation.

About Joann Samelko, REALTOR®

Hi, I'm Joann and it is my pleasure to serve your real estate needs. I am a Licensed Realtor and have been Licensed as a Broker since 2002. My business focus is on helping buyers and sellers with their real estate needs and goals. I enjoy working with first time homebuyers, people relocating to the area, individuals making a change in their lives, and of course, my former clients and friends. My Designations include the ABR (Accredited Buyer Representative), ASP (Accredited Staging Professional), CRS (Certified Residential Specialist), GRI (Graduate of the Realtor Institute) and SRES (Seniors Real Estate Specialist). In addition to working with buyers and sellers I am also the Director of Relocation for Northside Realty. Prior to becoming a Realtor, my background includes over 20 years of sales and sales management experience in the corporate world.

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