The "4000.1" PDF document below contains most of the guidelines for the FHA loan program. In addition to the main handbook, you'll also find links to the most recent "Mortgagee Letters" issued by HUD in 2019. These PDF documents contain the official FHA guidelines for 2019.
HUD Handbooks Relating to the FHA Program
The handbooks below contain information that is useful for borrowers. They are listed here for your convenience, and can also be found on the HUD.gov website.
HUD Handbook 4000.1: Single-Family Housing Policy
Several hundred FHA Handbooks, Mortgagee Letters, Housing Notices, and other policy documents have been consolidated into this single, comprehensive guide. This eliminates the need for mortgage lenders and borrowers to sift through multiple stand-alone documents to find precise and current policy information. [994 pages]
An Overview of HUD FHA Guidelines for 2019
The official PDF handbook above contains nearly 1,000 pages of FHA guidelines, rules and requirements. Mortgage lenders participating in the program should be familiar with most of those guidelines.
But the HUD FHA guidelines can be a bit overwhelming for home buyers and borrowers. They are written in jargon-heavy, often technical language that can be a bit confusing for the average home buyer. So we've created a basic overview of those guidelines:
To qualify for an FHA loan in 2019, borrowers typically need:
- A down payment of at least 3.5% of the purchase price or appraised value, whichever is less.
- Sufficient funds to cover the closing costs.
- A credit score of 500 or higher for basic eligibility, and a score of 580 or higher to qualify for the 3.5% down-payment option.
- A debt-to-income ratio no higher than 43% in most cases, or up to 50% if "compensating factors" are present.
- The financial capacity to repay the loan, documented with pay stubs, tax returns, etc.
Those are the basic guidelines for an FHA loan in 2019. A down payment. Decent credit. A manageable level of debt. Sufficient income to repay the loan. Borrowers must also satisfy any requirements imposed by the mortgage lender, and these can vary from one lender to the next.
Where to Learn More
The Federal Housing Administration's mortgage insurance program is managed by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). So it is HUD that establishes the FHA loan guidelines and requirements for borrowers. Most of the guidelines relevant to home buyers can be found in the Single Family Housing Policy Handbook, or HUD Handbook 4000.1. You can access that handbook in PDF format above.
In addition to the official FHA guidelines outlined in the 4000.1 handbook, we have created a series of helpful articles geared toward home buyers and borrowers. The official guidelines for this program are written for lenders, using industry-specific language. As a result, home buyers might have trouble "wading" through those documents.
That's where we come in. We have created a series of helpful, consumer-friendly articles that are geared toward home buyers who are not familiar with the FHA program.
General disclaimers: The HUD guidelines above have been offered here as a convenience to our readers. We make every effort to keep these documents updated, but we do not guarantee their accuracy. For the most current HUD guidelines available, please visit www.HUD.gov or speak to an approved housing counselor. We are an independent publisher not associate with HUD or FHA. We are not mortgage lenders.