What Is an FHA Loan?

An FHA loan is a mortgage insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), a division of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). These loans are designed to facilitate homeownership for individuals who might have difficulty securing a conventional mortgage. 

Key features of this mortgage program include: 

  • Lower down payments: FHA loans often allow borrowers to provide a down payment as low as 3.5% of the home’s purchase price. This contrasts with many conventional loans that typically require larger down payments. 
  • Flexible credit requirements: Unlike more stringent conventional mortgage criteria, FHA loans tend to have more lenient credit score requirements, opening the door for individuals with varied credit histories. 
  • Loan limits: The FHA limits how much you can borrow, which can vary based on the region or county where you buy. Often, these limits are adjusted annually to reflect changes in average home prices.
  • Loan types: The FHA offers various loans, including fixed-rate and adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs). There are also loans tailored for home improvements or energy-efficient upgrades.

Benefits of Florida FHA Loans

Florida FHA loans offer flexibility, accessibility, and protection and have become a go-to choice for many aspiring homeowners. The benefits of these loans include the following: 

  • Lower down payment: FHA loans typically require a down payment as low as 3.5% (in some cases), making homeownership more attainable for those without a large amount of savings. 
  • Accessibility: Due to more lenient credit score requirements, FHA loans can be a lifeline for those with imperfect credit histories or those who haven’t had the chance to build a more substantial credit profile. 
  • Competitive interest rates: FHA loans often come with competitive interest rates, which can result in lower monthly payments and significant savings over the life of the loan. 
  • Protection for borrowers: As these loans are government-backed, the FHA has guidelines to prevent predatory lending practices, ensuring borrowers receive fair and transparent treatment.
  • Streamline refinance: If you are currently in an FHA loan and mortgage rates drop, you can streamline refinance to a lower rate FHA loan without an appraisal and with minimum paperwork. FHA also has a cash-out refinance program available to those who qualify.

FHA Loan Requirements in Florida

While Florida FHA loans are tailored to improve housing affordability, they come with specific requirements set by the Federal Housing Administration to protect borrowers and lenders. Here are some of the key FHA loan requirements in Florida that prospective borrowers should be aware of: 

  • Credit score: While FHA loans are known for their leniency, a minimum credit score is still required. In many cases, prospective home buyers with a credit score of 580 or higher qualify for the 3.5% down payment. Those with lower scores might still be eligible but may require a larger down payment. At Griffin Funding, we accept credit scores as low as 550 for FHA loans. 
  • Down payment: Typically, a down payment of 3.5% is required for those with a credit score of 580 or above. Those with lower scores may need to put down 10%. 
  • Steady employment history: Lenders generally like to see a consistent employment history, often for the last two years, as it suggests the borrower has a reliable source of income. 
  • Debt-to-income (DTI) ratio: While FHA loans in Florida are more forgiving in this area, there are still guidelines. The borrower’s total debt typically should not exceed 43% of their total income, though there are exceptions. Learn more about your DTI and other financial metrics using the Griffin Gold app
  • Property approval: The property being purchased must meet specific safety, structural, and efficiency standards and be appraised by an FHA-approved appraiser to ensure the property’s value matches the loan amount 
  • Residency: Similar to VA loan requirements, the borrower must be a legal U.S. resident and have a valid Social Security number. Additionally, the FHA loan must be for a primary residence. 
  • Insurance: FHA mortgage insurance is mandatory for borrowers taking out an FHA loan, regardless of their down payment. It typically consists of an upfront mortgage insurance premium (MIP) paid at closing and an annual premium paid in monthly installments. 

FHA Loan Limits in Florida

FHA loan limits in Florida are the maximum amounts set by the FHA that dictate how much a borrower can take out in Florida and throughout the U.S. These limits are determined annually based on median home prices in each county, so they can vary within the same state. These limits aim to ensure that the program serves its primary goal — helping individuals and families secure affordable housing. 

For most of Florida, qualifying buyers can take advantage of an FHA loan limit of $498,257 for a single-family home. This limit caters to various housing markets across the state, ensuring prospective home buyers can find properties that meet their needs. 

However, some areas in Florida known for their higher property values have exceptions to these standard limits. For instance, in Monroe County, where property prices are significantly higher, the FHA has set the 2024 high-cost loan limit at a whopping $929,200. 

See If You Qualify for an FHA Loan in Florida

Embracing the dream of homeownership is more accessible with a Florida FHA loan. Whether you’re considering a cozy home in the heartland or a serene spot in Monroe County, an FHA loan in Florida is tailored to your unique needs. 

Explore your options and apply today with Griffin Funding to begin your homeownership journey.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply for an FHA loan in Florida?

The easiest way to apply for an FHA loan in Florida is to use Griffin Funding’s online application or reach out to our dedicated team, who can guide you through the streamlined application process. Our expertise ensures that every step, from document submission to final approval, is efficiently handled. We aim to close in 30 days or less!

What’s the difference between an FHA loan and a conventional loan?

An FHA loan is known for its more lenient credit requirements and smaller down payments, making it particularly attractive for first-time home buyers. Additionally, this loan offers protection to lenders with its government guarantee, resulting in more favorable loan terms for borrowers. 

On the other hand, a conventional loan is not backed by a government agency and often comes with stricter credit and income requirements. However, it may offer more flexibility in terms of loan amounts and can be less costly over time, especially if the borrower can make a larger down payment. 

The choice between FHA loans and conventional mortgages will largely depend on the individual’s financial situation, long-term goals, and the specifics of the property in question. If you’re a new buyer, check out this first-time home buyer checklist to ensure you’re well-prepared for the home buying process.  

Are there different types of FHA loans available in Florida?

There are several different types of FHA loans in Florida. Beyond the standard FHA loan for buying single-family homes, there are FHA 203(k) loans tailored for home buyers seeking to finance both the purchase and renovation of a home. 

For seniors over 62, the FHA reverse mortgage allows homeowners to convert part of their home equity into cash, enhancing their financial flexibility. Additionally, there’s the FHA Energy Efficient Mortgage, designed for those looking to finance energy-saving upgrades alongside their home purchase.