Mortgages backed by the Federal Housing Administration — known as FHA loans — have more generous eligibility minimums than conventional loans, but they still require a down payment and ongoing monthly payments.
If you’re trying to get an FHA loan but you don’t quite meet the requirements, then you still have options. There also are programs available to help you keep up with your FHA loan.
FHA Loan Assistance and Relief
It can be difficult to save for a down payment when you’re trying to keep up with your other bills and pay down any existing debt. Also, if your employment situation changes after you get an FHA loan, you may have trouble affording your payments.
Luckily, there are resources that can help qualified borrowers get an FHA loan, and pay it back on time.
Down payment assistance
Down payment assistance and grants are available to help first-time homebuyers come up with the 3.5% down payment required for an FHA loan. Many of these programs are operated by state or local governments, as well as nonprofit organizations.
Down payment assistance programs tend to be geared toward helping low- and moderate-income borrowers become homeowners. Some programs are specifically for homebuyers who work in public service, such as teachers or firefighters.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau offers an online tool to help you explore down payment assistance programs that are offered in your area.
If you have a family member or friend helping you make a down payment, their cash gift needs to meet government rules to use it with an FHA loan.
Gifts are defined as having no expectation of repayment, and must come from an acceptable source, such as:
- A relative.
- An employer or union.
- A friend with a defined and documented interest in the borrower.
- A government agency.
- A charity.
The gift cannot come from any party with an interest in the sale, such as the seller, a builder, or a real estate agent.
Help with payments
The FHA offers programs for homeowners facing financial hardship. One option is a forbearance plan that temporarily pauses or reduces your monthly payment if you have recently lost your job. There also are loan modification programs that allow you to extend your loan term to lower your monthly payment.
For more information on getting help with your FHA mortgage payments, visit the Department of Housing and Urban Development.