Tough Changes To The FHA Refinancing Guidelines

Beginning November 17, 2009, the FHA will make it harder to qualify for its popular Streamline Refinance program.

Available exclusively to homeowners with existing FHA home loans, the streamline program is meant to help homeowners reduce mortgage payments as simply as possible.

As such, the program carries minimum eligibility requirements.

In fact, the FHA Streamline Refinance is more notable for what it doesn’t require from applicants.

  • There’s no income verification
  • There’s no asset verification
  • There’s no employment verification
  • There’s no appraisal required

The two biggest qualifiers, really, are that the homeowner meets a minimum credit score and that the new loan doesn’t exceed the original balance of the old loan.

The new program guidelines, however, are much stricter.

Effective next month, among other requirements, applicants must show evidence of employment and income, plus proof of cash required at closing.

Furthermore, homeowners can’t finance closing costs into the mortgage without a complete home appraisal.  In areas of declining value, this may render refinancing with the FHA impossible.

Therefore, if you’re a homeowner with an FHA mortgage, consider contacting your loan officer before the November 17 deadline to explore your Streamline Refinance options.  Mortgage rates are low and you never know for what you’ll qualify.

The worst thing you can do is to wait too long to find out.  Once the deadline passes, the old guidelines will be history.

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