If you’re a home buyer in Wisconsin, or if you’re intending to become one, it’s important to be aware of the different mortgage loan options available to you. One option that may be worth considering is an FHA loan. FHA loans are backed by the Federal Housing Administration, so they come with some attractive benefits.
But before you decide whether an FHA loan is right for you, it’s important to understand how they work and what their requirements are. This article will give you a basic overview of the FHA loan in Wisconsin and what you need to know about them.
What Are FHA Loans?
An FHA loan is a mortgage insured by the Federal Housing Administration, a government agency offering home buyers with poor credit scores an opportunity to buy a home they may not have been able to obtain otherwise.
Here are some key things you need to know about FHA loans in Wisconsin.
- An FHA loan is a government-insured mortgage that can offer borrowers with poor credit scores an opportunity to buy a home.
- To qualify for an FHA loan in Wisconsin, you must meet certain eligibility requirements, including having a minimum credit score of 580.
- An FHA loan typically offers lower interest rates and fees than other types of mortgages, making it an attractive option for many home buyers.
- You may be able to use an FHA loan to purchase a multi-unit property or even purchase a home without putting any money down.
- There are certain restrictions on what you can use your FHA loan for, so make sure you consult with your lender before applying.
- If you’re thinking of buying a home in Wisconsin using an FHA loan, make sure you do your research and compare various Wisconsin FHA lenders to find the best deal for you.
Who Should Consider FHA Loans?
Generally, FHA loans are readily available to Americans with low to moderate incomes who cannot obtain conventional financing or can’t make the down payment needed for other loans.
These loans, however, don’t have declared income minimums or maximum levels.
An FHA loan may be especially beneficial for the following people:
- First-time homebuyers that are unable to make a sizable down payment
- Individuals reestablishing their credit
- Aging adults that want money from their home equity
These government-insured loans offer numerous benefits to participants, including:
- High loan-to-value maximum
- Numerous loan programs
- FHA lenders occasionally cover closing fees
- Lower credit scores are accepted
- Reduced required down payment
- Lower interest rates than with conventional loans
- Gift funds are accepted
- Sellers may contribute to closing costs
- Assumable FHA loans
- Co-signatures accepted
- Higher debt-to-income ratios are allowed
Several cons also accompany an FHA loan, namely:
- Mortgage insurance is a required additional expense
- only acceptable for primary residences
- must provide evidence of income
- Debt to income must not exceed 43%
Why Consider Wisconsin FHA Loans?
Wisconsin’s cost of living and crime rates are lower than the national average, making it an excellent spot to buy a property. An FHA loan, Wi may be your best choice if you’re looking to buy a home in Milwaukee, Madison, Green Bay, or any other Wisconsin neighborhood.
FHA loans are a popular choice among Wisconsin residents, and as of April 2019, these loans in the state totaled over $86 million!
Wisconsin FHA Loan Limits
Although an FHA loan in Wisconsin has a maximum loan amount, the program’s objective is to ensure that most individuals qualify for the loan and purchase a house.
The cap, however, varies annually and is determined by the county you choose to live in. Most counties in Wisconsin use the $420,680 standard FHA loan maximum, but in regions like Pierce County, where real estate costs are high, the cap is a little higher at $448,500.
So, before applying for an FHA loan, it’s crucial to know the Wisconsin FHA loan limits by county.
How Are FHA Loan Limits Determined?
The loan amount that the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) will guarantee is subject to annual caps set by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for each county in the country.
These restrictions intertwine with the conforming loan limits established for traditional mortgages.
The FHA bases lending limitations on two crucial factors: the region you live in and the number of units you’re purchasing. If you reside in a low-cost zone, the “floor” will be lower, but the “ceiling” will be higher.
The FHA identifies high-cost locations based on the average income level, the average cost of purchasing property, and market demand. Houses in densely populated places, such as Los Angeles, will thus have taller ceilings than those in rural or suburban areas.
Purchasing a specific number of units may also impact the loan restrictions. For example, a two, three, or four-unit property will have a greater loan limit than a one-unit home.
How to Qualify for Wisconsin FHA Loans
Eligibility for an FHA loan is often easier to attain than with a conventional mortgage, especially if you have credit or down payment issues. You’ll nonetheless need to fulfill several FHA loan conditions.
As a first-time homeowner in Wisconsin, you can capitalize on numerous programs offered by the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA), which can provide loan assistance to help settle down payments or closing fees.
Besides borrowing under the FHA loan limit, it’s paramount you also meet several other conditions, including:
You Must Meet the Required Minimum Down Payment
If your credit score meets the minimum requirement of 580 or above, you qualify for an FHA loan with a 3.5% down payment requirement.
You Must Meet the Required Credit Score
You can still apply for an FHA loan with a low credit score; however, you must put down at least 10% if your credit score ranges between 500 and 579.
Must Not Fall Short of the Required DTI
You can determine your debt-to-income ratio by dividing your entire monthly debt payments by your total monthly income. Furthermore, most FHA loans require a DTI ratio of less than 43%. In rare cases, however, few mortgage lenders approve a higher DTI ratio.
FHA Home Inspection and Appraisal
If you intend to buy a house in the future, keep in mind that the property will require an FHA home inspection and appraisal to validate its worth and ensure it fulfills minimum property standards (MPRs) for an FHA loan.
In addition to the 0.45% to 1.05% annual mortgage insurance premium, FHA loans have a 1.75% prepaid mortgage insurance premium that can be rolled into the loan. You will most likely pay these fees along with your monthly payments.
When considering FHA loans, it’s vital to remember that these fees may increase.
Other eligibility criteria include:
- Two years of stable work experience, ideally with the same employer
- Have had two years of stable (or growing) income
- Have less than two months late payments on your credit record
- Have kept a clean credit record since filing for bankruptcy at least two years prior
- Have had solid credit for the past three years without experiencing a foreclosure
- Your monthly mortgage payment can’t be more than 30 percent of your gross income
Wisconsin FHA Down Payment Assistance
Every state offers several down payment assistance options. Wisconsin isn’t left out, either, with several programs meant to aid homebuyers.
Interested parties must individually contact and make arrangements for these programs.
While lenders will accept the money from these assistance programs as a down payment, they won’t make arrangements for down payment aid.
These programs include:
- WHEDA capital access DPA
- WHEDA Easy Close DPA
- Home-buy the American dream
- Section 32 homeownership program
Requirements for Applying for an FHA Loan in Wisconsin
The following data and documentation must be available for buyers to supply when lenders request them:
- Addresses of places you’ve lived for the past two years
- Employers’ names within the past two years
- W2s from two years prior and most recent pay stubs
- The current gross monthly income
- Your Social Security Number
- Addresses, names, and account numbers for all checking and savings accounts, including balances
- Loan information and addresses for any further properties you owned
- Self-employed individuals must provide their most recent two years’ personal tax returns, including an up-to-date income statement and balance sheet for their businesses
- Enrollment documentation for students, including any documentation to prove any student loans you may have
FHA Loan Pre-approval
To get pre-approved, you must present an FHA lender in your county with the required documents mentioned above, including tax returns, bank statements, W2s, and pay stubs.
A Wisconsin FHA-approved lender will ascertain the terms of a loan you’re eligible for after observing these documents and running a credit check.
Once you receive a letter confirming your mortgage pre-approval from your FHA-approved lender, you can confidently submit an offer on a home. Being pre-approved demonstrates to a seller your seriousness and ability to purchase their property. A pre-approved buyer will have the upper hand if two individuals submit the same offer on a home.
Pre-approval stage is often the most challenging stage for most home buyers. Click on the respective links to learn how to get pre-approval as a first-time home buyer in Indiana and Ohio.
Considerations Before Taking FHA Loans
The low down payment associated with an FHA loan Wisconsin is an advantage, but alternative lending packages offer the same features.
Ask your home mortgage advisor or real estate agent to assist you in comparing the total costs of all products, including the short-and long-term expenses, and the necessary mortgage insurance terms.
Typically, you can only have one FHA loan at a time.
When comparing all available product alternatives that satisfy your credit requirements and financial demands, you may discover that an FHA loan is sometimes the more costly financing option because of high monthly insurance premiums.
Also, these loans can’t cover the purchase of homes above the median home market price. So, consider these loans only after carefully reviewing all other financing possibilities.
If you’re looking for a down payment assistance program to help you buy your first home, the Wisconsin FHA program is worth considering. Lots of FHA home loan programs are available, so be sure to do your research and find the one that best suits your needs.
No matter which Wisconsin first-time buyer loan you choose for your purchase, it’s crucial to look around for the best mortgage rates. FHA loans are appealing, but to ensure you’re getting the best deal for your particular circumstance, compare other loan offers and account for the annual percentage rate (APR) and costs.
After starting the mortgage application process, another hurdle you might face is finding your dream home in the best Wisconsin neighborhood.
You don’t have to worry, Homes by Ardor has got you covered. With our numerous home listings in states all over the US, you’ll find a wide array of beautiful homes in desirable locations.
Contact us today, and let’s make your dream house a reality.
Kris Reid is the CEO of Ardor SEO, a company that helps real estate professionals get more leads and customers to predictably grow their business.
Over the years, Kris acquired extensive knowledge of SEO and its practical applications in various industries, with the main focus on real estate.
In 2021 Ardor launched the Icons of Real Estate Podcast to share proven strategies from the top producing icon agents with the real estate community.
After obtaining the real estate license in 2022, Kris joined eXp Realty and launched Homes by Ardor, the platform that was built to be the fastest way to buy or sell a house. Homes by Ardor also provides leads for its partner companies and realtors.