Official HUD Guidelines for the FHA Program

Update: Portions of the new FHA Handbook (officially called the Single-Family Housing Policy Handbook, 4000.1) took effect on September 14, 2015. You'll find a PDF version of the new handbook below, along with other HUD guidelines that apply to the FHA program.

The FHA loan program is managed by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). They HUD website offers dozens of handbooks relating to the FHA mortgage-insurance program, adding up to more than 10,000 pages. That's a lot of reading material. Additionally, most of the official HUD guidelines for the FHA program are written for mortgage lenders -- not consumers. This creates an unnecessary obstacle to education, as far as home buyers are concerned.

Our solution: Below, we have compiled some of the HUD guidelines that are most relevant and useful to home buyers and mortgage shoppers. We've also written our own consumer-friendly handbook to serve as a "jumping-off" point for additional research. The materials listed below are the official HUD guidelines for the FHA program. Our handbook offers a reader-friendly overview of the program.

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.

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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. [865 pages]

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HUD Handbook 4155.1 (FHA credit analysis guidelines)
If you have general questions about the FHA loan program, from a borrower's perspective, this handbook is a good place to start. It includes HUD guidelines for FHA eligibility, down payments, debt ratios and more. [413 pages]

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HUD Handbook 4150.2, Chapter 3 (FHA appraisal guidelines)
This document outlines the appraisal and inspection guidelines used by HUD-approved home appraisers. It explains most of the "health and safety" requirements and other HUD guidelines relating to property condition. [21 pages]

Recent Mortgagee Letters

Any time HUD issues new rules or guidelines for FHA loans, they issue a "mortgagee letter" for lenders. Here are some of the most recent letters that may be useful for home buyers and mortgage shoppers.

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Mortgagee Letter 2013-26 (Back to Work, Extenuating Circumstances)
This is an important letter for any home buyer who has been through a foreclosure, deed-in-lieu of foreclosure, short sale or bankruptcy in the past. It explains HUD's new (and relaxed) guidelines for FHA approval after such an event.

General disclaimers: The HUD guidelines above have been gathered for purposes of convenience. These are by no means the only guidelines relating to the FHA loan program. These are just a few of the documents we feel are most relevant to home buyers and mortgage shoppers. 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.