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Providing accurate and complete documentation with your FHA loan application can save time and enhance your chances of approval.

FHA Loans: Getting your Documentation in Order

FHA loans offer flexible requirements that can help buyers and homeowners who have credit problems or little home equity. If you're considering a mortgage refinance, an FHA loan can help you reduce your mortgage rate, switch from an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) to a fixed rate mortgage (FRM). Here's what you'll need to start your FHA loan application.

FHA Loans and your Paper Trail

Through insuring mortgage lenders against losses on home loans, the FHA assists with providing loans to borrowers who may not qualify for conventional mortgages. Here's what mortgage lenders need to approve your FHA mortgage loan:

Income and Employment: Demonstrate steady employment for past two years, preferably with the same employer. Your income should increase or remain stable during this time. Required documents include:

  • Two years of complete tax returns including all schedules and corresponding W-2s and or 1099 forms.
  • Most recent month's itemized pay stubs or direct deposit receipts.
  • If self-employed: Most recent three years tax returns and year to date profit and loss statement.

Your Credit: FHA is more flexible in its credit requirements than conventional mortgage lenders. If you've had credit problems,or have little traditional credit, an FHA loan may work for you.

  • Credit cards and loans: Copies of most recent bills including names, account numbers, amounts owed, and minimum payments.
  • Co-signor: If you've co-signed for any loans, you need copies of cancelled checks for the past year to show that you are not making payments on the co-signed loan.
  • Housing payment: Copies of past 12 months cancelled rent checks, or landlord's contact information including name, address, and phone number.
  • Bankruptcy: If you've filed bankruptcy, you need to provide copies of your bankruptcy documents and discharge papers.
  • Alternative credit: If you have no credit, copies of utility bills may be submitted.

Personal information: Each applicant must provide copies of these documents:

  • Driver's license or state identification card
  • Social security card
  • "Green card" or work permit
  • divorce papers and family support obligations including alimony, child support, etc.

Mortgage lenders may require additional information depending on individual circumstances, but having these documents ready provides a good start to getting an FHA loan.


Karen Lawson
Karen Lawson is a freelance writer with extensive experience in mortgage banking and home loan loss mitigation programs. She holds BA and MA degrees in English from the University of Nevada, Reno.