The U.S. Department of Housing (HUD) provides several programs that help more Americans afford homes. One of the most popular is provided by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) which accounts for about 20% of U.S. mortgages.
It enables people who have lower credit scores and income to get approved for a mortgage with a down payment as low as 3.5%. If you are interested in qualifying for an FHA loan in Florida, here’s what you need to know.
FHA Loans Florida: How do I qualify for an FHA loan in Florida?
“FHA loans allow buyers with down payments as little as 3.5% to buy a home, and with many state-sponsored down payment assistance programs, they can get the loan with zero money down,” says Mark Ferguson, real estate agent, and investor.
“Further, FHA loans allow up to a 52% debt to income ratio, which is much higher than most loans. That means buyers can qualify for a more expensive house (not always a good thing in my opinion).”
Do I qualify for an FHA loan in Florida?
There are many requirements, which can be confusing. Here is an overview to help simplify it:
- Pay the application fee
- Buy a property you will use as your primary residence for one year and within 60 days of purchase (some exceptions exist)
- Your credit score must meet the minimum requirements of the FHA and the lender (FHA requires a minimum of 500 for 10% down and 580 for 3.5% down; however, lenders often require higher minimums)
- The property you want to buy has to meet the FHA criteria and get approved
- Must meet debt-to-income requirements
- Must have a social security number
- Have to be of legal age to have a mortgage
- No debt with the federal government
- You can’t have outstanding collections or delinquent accounts without explanations, or bankruptcies or liens in the past seven years
- Must have two established credit accounts
- Must purchase mortgage insurance
Ferguson says, “The costs on an FHA loan are little higher than other loans. FHA has mortgage insurance which cannot be removed. That mortgage insurance can add hundreds of dollars to the monthly payment and thousands to the upfront cost of a home (the upfront costs can be rolled into the loan).”
FHA loans allow buyers with down payments as little as 3.5% to buy a home, and with many state-sponsored down payment assistance programs, they can get the loan with zero money down”
FHA Loans Florida: What is the maximum FHA loan amount in Florida?
Before looking specifically at the limits for Florida, here are the FHA mortgage limit standards as a whole for 2018.
What is the maximum loan amount for FHA loans?
The 2018 basic standard mortgage limits are as follows:
- One-family: $294,515
- Two-family: $377,075
- Three-family: $455,800
- Four-family: $566,425
Some areas are considered “high cost” so have higher limits. The 2018 maximum limits for high costs areas are:
- One-family: $679,650
- Two-family: $870,225
- Three-family: $1,051,875
- Four-family: $1,307,175
What is the maximum FHA loan amount in Florida?
The maximum FHA loan limits vary between the 67 counties within Florida.
The following 51 counties have the basic standard mortgage limits for 2018 listed above: Alachua, Bay, Bradford, Brevard, Calhoun, Charlotte, Citrus, Columbia, Desoto, Dixie, Escambia, Flagler, Franklin, Gadsden, Gilchrist, Glades, Gulf, Hamilton, Hardee, Hendry, Hernando, Highlands, Hillsborough, Holmes, Indian River, Jackson, Jefferson, Lafayette, Lake, Lee, Leon, Levy, Liberty, Madison, Marion, Okeechobee, Orange, Osceola, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Putnam, Santa Rosa, Seminole, Sumter, Suwannee, Taylor, Union, Volusia, Wakulla, and Washington.
The remaining counties are deemed “higher cost areas” and have the following varying maximum limits:
To use HUD’s FHA mortgage limit tool and look up a specific area, click here.
FHA Loans Florida: FAQs about FHA loans in Florida
Here are answers to several frequently asked questions about FHA loans in Florida.
Is there a Florida FHA loan calculator?
What are the loan limits in Hillsborough County, Florida for 2018?
Hillsborough County is in an area where the basic standard mortgage limits apply. See limits above.
Are FHA loans available in Florida if you have bad credit?
FHA loans are designed to help borrowers with lower income levels and credit scores. Being so, you can have “bad credit” and still get approved. While most lenders will want to see a good credit record for the past seven years, you can still apply if you have made a few mistakes. Be ready to explain your report to your lender, and they may be able to work with you.
How much is the down payment for an FHA loan in Florida?
If your credit score is between 500 and 579, the down payment will be 10% of the purchase price. If your score is 580 or higher, HUD allows for the 3.5% down payment.
FHA Loans Florida: How do you apply for an FHA home loan in Florida?
To apply for an FHA home loan in Florida, you’ll need to find an FHA-approved lender who is licensed to lend in your state. Quickly find a list of lenders with HUD’s Lender List Search tool. Here’s how:
Visit this page, select the state of Florida, apply any other filters that apply to you, and click “search.”
Next, you will get a list of lenders in your area along with their contact information.
This search result list searched solely in the state of Florida and provided 1,795 lenders. You will likely get an extensive list too, so how do you know which one to choose?
Find the best FHA lender in Florida for your needs
While HUD and the FHA put the basic guidelines in place for FHA loans, not every loan will be the same. Why? Because third-party lenders are providing the loans.
Each lender can add its own requirements, offer different rates, and provide the customer service it sees fit. As the borrower, you will need to do some research.
When comparing lenders, check their eligibility requirements to ensure they match up with your needs. Next, check their rates and fees. Can you get pre-qualified? It can be helpful to find out your total costs with a few different lenders.
Then, read real-user reviews from past borrowers to find out how the overall experience is with the lender. After gathering all of this information, you can compare your options to find the best FHA lender in Florida for your specific needs.
To start, head over to our Mortgage Purchase Review Page to find details on a wide selection of lenders, including full reviews and real-user ratings.