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FHA Refinance Options

FHA mortgages have always been very good loans for the homebuyer. In today's market the FHA refinance programs offer maximum benefits to the homeowner that wants to lower payments or get out of an adjustable rate mortgage. FHA offers three types of refinance mortgage loans: Cash-Out, No Cash-Out, and Streamline Refinance.

Streamline refinances were designed to lower monthly payments on FHA mortgages only. They can be done with or without an appraisal, and with or without credit qualification. The streamline refinance does not allow for any cash back to the borrower.

Loan Type Conversion Allowed:

1. 30 yr fixed to 30 yr fixed: The new payment must be lower than the old payment.
2. 30 yr fixed to 15 yr fixed: New payment cannot be more than $50 higher. Note: 15 yr fixed to 30 yr fixed is not allowed.
3. Fixed Rate to ARM: Owner occupied homes only
4. ARM to Fixed Rate
5. ARM to ARM: Rate must be lower than current loan
6. 203K to 203B

Streamline Refinance "Without" An Appraisal:

The new loan amount cannot be more than the original loan amount, OR more than the current principle balance plus closing cost. ... Which ever is less. This only applies to owner occupied as non-owner occupied borrowers can only refinance the existing balance do not have the option of rolling in the closing costs.

The only credit verification required is a verification of mortgage payments. This can be done with 12 copies of cancelled checks, front and back. IF cancelled checks are available, no in-file report is required unless the underwriter prefers that method to verify mortgage payments.

Streamline Refinance "With" An Appraisal:

An FHA streamline refinance with an appraisal allows the borrower to finance in the closing costs, discount points, and prepaids provided it all fits within the loan to value limits. The new loan amount may be the current principle plus closing costs, discount points and prepaids, OR, the appraised value x 97.75% (97.65%, or 97.15%, high or low cost state). Which ever is less!

IF the smallest of these two values is greater than the original mortgage balance credit verification is required.

Streamline Refinance - "Credit Qualifying":

The loan amount is calculated based on the previous formulas and qualifying requires full employment verification, credit report, and debt to income ratio compliance. Typically these loans are used when the new mortgage payment will be higher, deletion of a borrower on new mortgage, or in assumptions involving due-on-sale clauses.

FHA "No Cash Out" Refinance:

This regular no-cash-out loan may be used to refinance an FHA mortgage, VA mortgage, or a conventional mortgage and requires the borrower to fully qualify. Second mortgages may be included in the new loan if they are older than one year or you can prove that the funds were used solely to repair or rehabilitate the home. If not, paying off or including these loans would be considered a cash-out refinance.

This loan can be used to buy out the equity of an ex-spouse provided it is documented in the divorce papers. It is still considered a no-cash-out because this equity is considered indebtedness.

IF the property was purchased less than a year ago and is not currently an FHA loan, the loan amount will be the appraised value plus closing cost, OR the original sales price plus closing cost. Which ever is less!

If the purchase was more than a year ago and not currently FHA, the loan amount would be calculated the same as a "streamline refinance with an appraisal".

FHA "Cash Out" Refinance:

This loan can be used to refinance an FHA loan, VA loan, or Conventional loan. This loan has many advantages: Max loan to value is 75% for conventional loans but FHA loans allow 85% plus a portion of the closing costs.

The property must be owner occupied and the borrower must fully qualify.

About the Author:

Connie Sanders is available to answer any mortgage questions you have and can be reached from her web sites at www.fha-mortgageunderwriters.com or www.fsbobasics.com

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