Sellers and Agents: Don't Rule Out FHA Buyers

I was just working on a finance flyer for a listing agent…something I haven’t done in years!   Anyhow, the home is priced at $442,000 and she requested a 30 year and 5/1 ARM both with 20% down for scenarios…I added FHA at 3% down.  The property is in King County and would qualify under the FHA Jumbo program.   Until the end of the year (I suspect the “economic stimulus” loan limits will be extended beyond) Sellers have an opportunity to expose their homes to buyers beyond the normal “jumbo” or conforming market.  

Here’s a comparison:

30 Year Fixed with 20% down at 5.75% (APR 5.902%).   Principal and interest payment = $2,064.  Cash needed to close = $88,400 plus closing costs of approx. $6,000 (the rate is priced with 1 origintation/discount point) plus prepaids.    This rate requires a mid credit score of 720 or higher. 

5/1 ARM-LIBOR with 20% down at 5.25% (APR 6.810%).  Principal and interest payment = $1,953.   Cash needed to close = $88,400 plus closing cost of approx. $2,350 (the rate is priced with zero discount/origination points) plus prepaids.   This rate also requires a mid credit score of 720 or better.

FHA-JUMBO 30 Year Fixed with 3% down at 6.25% (APR 7.030%).   Principal, interest and mortgage insurance = $2,850.64.   Amount needed to close factoring down payment and closing costs is $20,350 plus prepaids.   FHA is not credit score sensitive (yet) and buyers who are truly FHA approved have done so via a “fully documented” loan.   They’re pretty darn serious!

When you compare 20% down conforming to the 3% minimum down required for FHA; it’s the difference of having approx. $100k for your down payment and closing costs to having a quarter of that.   Some folks have the income (they still have to qualify with FHA) but they’re shy on that kind of savings.   Maybe it’s their first house or perhaps their savings is tied into their retirement or children’s college fund.   These are buyers you don’t want to rule out.

FHA Jumbos allow buyers to have a loan amount of $567,500 in King, Pierce and Snohomish Counties with as little as 3% down payment (some lenders require 5% down).    With second mortgage’s evaporating and fewer “piggy back” options available, buyers who have less than 20% down where their loan amount will be over $417,000 will be considering FHA as an option.    For example, sales price of $625,000 with 10% down (loan amount $562,500) would be an excellent FHA JUMBO candidate…only offering cash or conforming products will pretty much limit your buyers to those with 20% down.   FHA buyers do not have to be minimum down…they can be less than 20% down or have a credit score or perhaps one of the borrowers has a mid score of 679.

I’ve written before about why Sellers should consider FHA…however with the temporary expanded loan amounts…now it’s even more compelling.