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FHA (Federal Housing Authority -sometimes called HUD for Housing & Urban Development) loans encourage homeownership and have a bit more flexibility in their guidelines when compared to conventional loans. This additional flexibility may allow a borrower to qualify for a mortgage more easily or to buy a higher priced home. FHA mortgages do require a borrower to pay FHA mortgage insurance—similar to private mortgage insurance (PMI) that lenders require on conventional mortgages when borrowers put less than 20% down.

FHA mortgages offer fixed rates that don’t change over the life of the loan which allows a borrower to know how much their principal and interest payment will be each month. FHA also offers ARMs (Adjustable-Rate Mortgage) for qualifying borrowers. An ARM loan typically has a lower starting rate than a 30 year fixed mortgage, and may be a good option for someone who will be keeping their mortgage for a shorter period of time. The flexibility of an FHA loan may be a great option for either a purchase or a refinance.

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