FHA Loans With Collections and Charge Offs Mortgage Guidelines

FHA Loans With Collections and Charge Offs Mortgage Guidelines

Have you ever wondered about applying for an FHA home loan while having collections and charge-off accounts in your credit history? Are you unsure whether you can get approved for an FHA home loan with collections and charge-off accounts? Yes? Then read on as this post will provide detailed information about qualification requirements of FHA home loans with regards to collections and charge-off accounts.

FHA Home Loan

HA home loan is one of the most popular loan programs in the U.S. because of its leniency.
FHA home loan is one of the most popular loan programs in the U.S. because of its leniency.
FHA loans are insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). FHA’s role and mission is to promote the ownership of homes in the United States. FHA isn’t a lender and it does not originate loans.

FHA is a government agency that comes under the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development. It acts as mortgage insurer where it insures private lenders and banks who originate FHA loans. The lending institution is required to ensure that the borrower meets all the guidelines established by the FHA. If the lender issues a loan to a borrower who doesn’t meet the guidelines of FHA and the borrower defaults on the FHA loan, then the loan will not be insured by the FHA and the lender will suffer the loss.

FHA doesn’t require the borrower to satisfy outstanding charge offs and collections to qualify for an FHA home loan. Borrowers who want to get an FHA home loan don’t have to pay off older charge offs and collection accounts. However, sometimes borrowers are told by lenders that they cannot qualify for an FHA loan with outstanding collections and charge offs. Only lenders who don’t follow the guidelines of FHA say these kinds of things.

Understanding Charge Offs

When a debt is deemed uncollectible by a creditor and is written off by them on their books, it is called a charge off. However, just because the creditor has charged off the debt doesn’t mean that the consumer is relieved from paying it. Charged-off accounts are sold by many creditors to collection agencies who try to collect the debt from the consumer. Home buyers with outstanding collection accounts and charge offs can still qualify for an FHA home loan.

Delinquent debts are charged off by most creditors after six months. Creditors figure that when the debtor hasn’t made any attempt to pay off their debts in the period of six months, they won’t pay it anytime in the future. Thus, they charge-off the debt and remove it from their balance sheet. The debt that is charged off negatively affects a consumer’s credit as it appears on their credit report.

If charge offs are sold by the creditor to a collection agency in return for some dollars, the collection agency will try hard to collect the debt payment including fees and interest. The collection agency or creditor can sue consumer if he/she is unable to pay the charged-off debt. However, mostly creditors and collection agencies don’t sue consumers as it costs them more money in court and attorney’s cost.

Affect of Charged Offs on Credit and Loan Approval

Debts that are charged off recently will definitely affect the consumer’s credit score and it might affect them in getting loans and new credit. However, over time, the impact of charge-off debts on credit report reduces. Debts that were charged off more than two years ago won’t have any affect on a person’s credit score. But, charged-off accounts stay on a person’s credit report for seven years. After seven years, the credit report of the person becomes clean as charged-off accounts are deleted.

Home buyers with outstanding charged-off accounts can qualify for an FHA loan. In addition to FHA loan, home buyers can also qualify for Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, USDA and VA loan as these loans don’t require borrowers to pay off charged-off accounts.

FHA Guidelines for Collections and Charge offs

Borrowers with charge-offs and collection accounts can qualify for an FHA home loan with lenders who don’t have any lender overlays. Many borrowers are told by mortgage lender that they can’t qualify for an FHA home loan because of outstanding charge-offs and collections.

Under HUD guidelines, borrowers can qualify for an FHA home loan with outstanding charge-offs and collections, however, some lenders require borrower to pay off collection accounts and charge-offs. Borrowers often get confused as lenders tell them things that don’t align with HUD Guidelines on charge-offs and collection accounts. The reason is that lenders can have overlays (additional mortgage guidelines over those given by HUD).

Lender Overlays

Many lenders in the U.S. have lender overlays that contradict the guidelines established by the HUD. Requirements on FHA loan are of two types: Lender overlays and FHA guidelines. All lenders are required to meet the minimum FHA loan guidelines and requirements, but they are free to set more stringent lending requirements. Those higher lending requirements are called lender overlays.

Borrowers can although qualify for FHA home loan with outstanding charge-offs and collection accounts, but some lenders require borrowers to pay off all the outstanding charge-offs and collections. This is known as a lender overlay on charge offs and collections. The same case applies to credit scores.

The minimum credit score required by the FHA is 580 and any borrower can qualify for a FHA home loan with this credit score with a 3.5 percent down payment. However, some lenders set overlays on credit scores. Some lenders require a borrower to have a credit score of 620 to qualify for an FHA home loan.

Qualifying for FHA Loan with Non-Medical Collection Accounts

Collection accounts which are not medical related like outstanding accounts on auto repossession, credit card debts, utilities and other credits are called non-medical collection accounts. Borrowers can qualify for an FHA loan without paying off non-medical collection accounts. However, according to HUD Guidelines, if the aggregate balance on non-medical collection accounts is $2,000 or more, then the lender must include this balance in calculating debt-to-income ratio of the borrower.

5 percent of non-medical collection accounts’ outstanding balance is figured in as a portion of monthly debt of the borrower. For instance, if the total outstanding balance of collection accounts is $15,000, then 5 percent of $15,000 or 750 will used as part of the borrower’s monthly debt payment. This applies even through the borrower doesn’t have to pay any money.
The large balance on outstanding collection accounts thus creates a problem for borrowers because it increases their debt-to-income ratio. If the debt-to-income ratio of the borrower is very high, they won’t be able to qualify for FHA home loan.

How to Fix High Debt-to-Income Ratio

How to Fix High Debt-to-Income Ratio

Homebuyers with a large balance on collection accounts can get into an agreement with the creditor or collection agency to pay off the collection accounts. Then, the agreement to pay off the outstanding collections can be used by the lender to calculate the debt-to-income ratio of the borrower. In this case, the lender will not use the 5 percent of the balance on outstanding collections.

On the example given before, if a consumer entered into an agreement to pay $150 per month on the $15,000 balance on outstanding collections, then the lender will use the $150 to calculate the debt-to-income ratio of the borrower and not the 5 percent of the $15,000 or $750.

Qualifying for FHA Loans with Medical Collection Accounts

Medical charge-offs and collection accounts are not included in the calculation of debt-to-income ratios. No matter how high the balance on outstanding medical collection accounts is, it will not be included in the calculation of debt-to-income ratios for FHA loan.

Qualifying for FHA Loans with Mortgage Charge Off Accounts

Mortgage charge off account is unpaid debt that is written off by a lender for tax purposes. These charge-offs appear as an owed balance on the credit report of the consumer. Although FHA ignores outstanding charge-offs, but it has specific requirements for mortgage charge-off accounts.
The consumer who has mortgage charge offs on their credit report must wait for a period of three years before then can qualify for an FHA home loan.

Qualify for FHA Loans with Credit Disputes

As discussed earlier, borrowers can qualify for an FHA home loan with outstanding charge-offs and collection accounts. However, those consumers who have an outstanding balance of $1000 or more in non-medical collection accounts with credit disputes must retract those disputes. The credit score of the consumer may drop when the credit dispute is retracted by them. If the consumer’s credit score drops below the minimum credit score requirements of the FHA i.e. 580, then they won’t be able to qualify for an FHA home loan.

HUD does allow lenders to completely ignore unpaid charge-offs and collection accounts. However, borrowers who have a credit dispute on their charge-offs cannot be given a loan. The borrower must get the credit dispute removed; otherwise, the FHA loan approval process will not proceed. Borrowers can have credit disputes on non-medical collect accounts if the total outstanding balance on the accounts is below $1000.

Medical outstanding collection accounts with credit disputes won’t have any effect on the FHA loan approval. Borrowers who have unsettled credit disputes on medical outstanding collection accounts can qualify for an FHA loan without retracting the dispute. It won’t have any effect on the mortgage approval process and loan application. A borrower may be told by the lender that they must retract the credit dispute on the medical collection accounts. This is a lender overlay and not a requirement of the FHA.

Borrowers Find it Hard to Qualify for FHA Loans Due to Lender Overlays

Many borrowers are told by local banks and other lenders that they don’t qualify for an FHA home loan because of outstanding collections and charge-offs. As discussed earlier, FHA’s guidelines stipulate that borrowers with outstanding collections and charge-offs qualify for an FHA loan, but lenders are free to establish their own guidelines. It is legal for a lender to establish additional guidelines on FHA loans which makes it hard for borrowers with outstanding charge-offs and collection to qualify for an FHA home loan.

Borrowers with outstanding charge-offs and collections should shop around for FHA loans. They should search for mortgage lenders who strictly adhere to the guidelines established by the FHA. If a mortgage lender tells them that they don’t qualify for FHA loan because of outstanding charge-offs and collections, they shouldn’t work with that lender. Instead, they should find a lender that says, “outstanding collections and charge-offs don’t stop you from qualifying for an FHA loan”.

If you have outstanding charge-offs and collection accounts and you are thinking about getting an FHA loan to buy a new home, then don’t hesitate to approach a lender. A mortgage lender who follows the FHA guidelines will approve you for an FHA loan with outstanding collections and charge offs if you meet the other requirements of the FHA such as the minimum credit score of 580.  So, when you search for an FHA loan find a lender who adheres to the FHA guidelines and doesn’t work with lenders who tell you that you can’t qualify for an FHA home loan with outstanding collections and charge offs.

FHA loans are one of three so-called “government-backed” mortgage loan programs. They’re sometimes referred to as government-backed not because the government approves the loan or is directly involved in any way but carries a guarantee to the lender should the loan ever go into default. This guarantee is financed by two separate forms of mortgage insurance, an upfront fee that is rolled into the loan amount and an annual premium paid in monthly installments and included with the monthly mortgage payment. This guarantee can allow lenders to approve FHA loans with a bit more leniency as it relates to credit and other factors. As long as the lender approved the FHA application using standard FHA guidelines, the guarantee stands.

Yet while FHA loans can be a bit more lenient that doesn’t automatically mean someone with damaged credit is guaranteed a loan approval. Lenders must still make the determination the mortgage will be paid back over time under the terms of the note. But bad things do happen over time and what was once a good credit history can be marred by bad marks, typically due to the result of circumstances beyond the borrower’s control.  Such marks will cause credit scores to fall.

When a payment is made more than 30 days past the due date, scores will falter. If the same payment is made more than 60 days past the due date, scores will fall even further and will continue to do so if a payment is made more than 90 days past the original due date. Depending upon the policies of the creditor, the creditor at some point can freeze the account and send the account to its collections department. When a file goes into collections, this is an official designation credit reporting companies acknowledge and will continue to drive scores lower. Over time, if collection efforts are not successful and the lender decides the loan will never be paid back, the credit can simply “charge off” the account as uncollectable. This status will also appear on the credit report. And, you guessed it, scores will continue to drop. But that’s not necessarily the end of the mortgage world for FHA applicants. There are options. Here is how FHA guidelines treat collections and charged off accounts.

Collection Accounts

First, note that FHA guidelines do not require unpaid collection accounts to be paid off. Note, the lender might require some attention to unpaid collection accounts and supersede FHA guidelines. When a lender places its own internal requirements on an existing FHA guideline, the new requirement is referred to as an “overlay.”
There are three classifications FHA guidelines apply as it relates to the status of collection accounts. They are Medical accounts, Non-Medical accounts and collection accounts that have been charged off. Let’s take a closer look. For Medical collection accounts, the account is essentially ignored and considered inconsequential to a mortgage approval.

Why? Medical collection accounts are notoriously incorrect and confusing. When someone has to make a visit to the hospital for instance and return home a few days later, they’ll soon discover a mountain of bills from more sources than just the hospital. Doctors, pharmacies and other assistance can be listed on a statement. Insurance companies also receive these bills and typically will issue a payment within 30 days. Later, another round of monthly statements are sent showing a balance and what the insurance company paid. There are also deductibles to be considered and it can be months before a final settlement amount is arrived at.

Consumers often dispute various charges during this same period. You can easily see why lenders pay little attention to medical collection accounts. Non-medical issues however do warrant some attention. If the collection account is greater than $2,000, the FHA does require the lender to take 5.0% of the outstanding balance and apply it to the borrower’s debt ratio calculations. This can often be too much for the borrower to handle. In this instance, the borrowers can make payment arrangements with the creditor and once an agreement has been reached, by forwarding a copy of the payment arrangement to the lender, the lender can then use the monthly payment when qualifying the borrower.

Charged Off Accounts

Okay, now what happens when collection efforts fail and the lender simply gives up and charges off the account altogether, ending all collection efforts from that creditor? Using established FHA guidelines, the charged off account may be ignored completely with no monthly payments calculated in any method. No 5.0% rule and no minimum payment calculations at all. If a lender reviews a credit report with a charged off account the lender may still decline the application due to internal overlays. Finally, if a charged off account also lists a dispute, the loan cannot be approved.

Finally, let’s look at the bigger picture here. Both collections and charged off accounts will damage credit scores. If scores have drifted below minimum requirements, the loan may not be approved regardless of FHA guidelines. In many cases, if the negative activity is relatively recent scores will be impacted more compared to a collection account that is in the rearview mirror for two or three years.

FHA Guidelines for Collections & Charge Offs On FHA Home Loans

FHA Guidelines for Collections & Charge Offs On FHA Home Loans

All lenders and banks have exactly the same FHA guidelines for charge-offs to qualify for FHA loans. This is a common misunderstanding many people have about FHA loans. When it comes to FHA loans, the requirements of all lenders are not the same. When you apply for a mortgage, one lender might require you to pay outstanding charge-offs and collections while another might not ask for this.

  • According to the FHA Guidelines for Collections and Charge Offs, a borrower is not required to settle or pay off a charge off in order to qualify for an FHA loan
  • The FHA guidelines for collections and charge offs stipulate that there aren’t any limits on how much the charge off is for borrowers to qualify for an FHA loan
  • These guidelines are set by the United States Housing and Urban Development or most commonly known as HUD
  • Most people are unaware of what HUD does. HUD is an organization of the United States government that sets out all the guidelines of FHA including the lending guidelines for mortgage
  • HUD aims to promote ownership of homes in the United States of America

Understanding FHA’s Role Versus FHA Guidelines for Collections & Charge Offs

Do you know what Federal Housing Administration (FHA) is and what its role is?

  • The FHA is a government agency that runs under the U.S. HUD
  • Some people commonly misunderstand the role of the FHA
  • The FHA isn’t a lender and FHA Loans are not funded or serviced by the FHA
  • The FHA is an agency of the United States government that plays the role of an insurer for mortgage lenders or/and banks that are responsible for funding FHA loans
  • The lender is insured by the FHA for events where a borrower defaults on his/her FHA loans

FHA Guidelines for Collections & Charge Offs And Other Requirements

FHA loans are funded by lenders and banks and offer loose credit requirements and low down payment.

  • Due to the promotion of home ownership by the HUD and the guarantee that is offered to lenders by the FHA, lenders able to offer home loans to borrowers at a low down payment and low interest rate
  • The FHA understands that many of the hardworking American people go through financial hardship sometime in their life and believes that they deserve a second chance

Can I Qualify for FHA Loans After Bankruptcy?

Many home buyers think that if they faced bankruptcy, they cannot qualify for a mortgage to buy a new home.

  • This is not the case and even after bankruptcy, home buyers can still qualify for an FHA home loan
  • There are different requirements of FHA for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy and Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Requirements For FHA Loan With Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

In Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, the petitioner pays all of his or her debt or a part of it over the period of three to five years.

  • Chapter 13 Bankruptcy is different from Chapter 7 Bankruptcy where all the debts are eliminated and assets get liquidated to pay off debts
  • Since the petitioner attempts to pay his or her debts under Chapter 13 Bankruptcy and makes an effort, the requirements for FHA Loans for those who file Chapter 13 Bankruptcy are lenient

Borrowers who file Chapter 13 Bankruptcy can qualify for an FHA Loan after one year has elapsed into the repayment plan.

  • However, borrowers are required to make 12 timely payments before they can qualify for an FHA Loan
  • In addition, approval is required from the Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Trustee
  • After the petitioner has been discharged from the Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, there isn’t any waiting period to qualify for the FHA Loans
  • However, some lenders require a waiting period of two years after the discharge date which is neither an FHA guidelines nor is such condition stated by the HUD

Requirements for FHA Loan With Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Requirements for FHA Loan With Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

In Chapter 7 bankruptcy, since the petitioner doesn’t make an effort to pay off his or her debts, the requirements of FHA loans for those who file Chapter 7 Bankruptcy are stringent.

  • After the date of discharge from Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, borrowers must wait for two years before they can qualify for an FHA Loan

Can I Qualify For FHA Loan After Housing Event?

You can qualify for an FHA home loan after housing event, but there are certain waiting period requirements.

  • In case of foreclosure, you must wait for three years after the date of foreclosure in order to become eligible for an FHA loan
  • In case of deed in lieu of foreclosure, you must wait for three years after the date of deed in lieu of foreclosure before you can qualify for an FHA loan
  • The same requirement applies for short sale and you must wait for three years after the date of short sale of your property before you can qualify for an FHA loan

Can I Qualify For FHA Home Loan With Bad Credit Per FHA Guidelines for Collections & Charge Offs

You can qualify for an FHA home loan with bad credit.

  • However, in most cases, timely payments in the last 12 months are required for approval by Automated Underwriting System (AUS)
  • You might get approved for an FHA Loan by Automated Underwriting System if there are only one or two late payments made in the last 12 months
  • However, if there are more late payments, you will not get approved
  • The FHA understands that borrowers can have periods of derogatory or bad credit
  • But FHA requires borrowers to re-establish their credit and history of timely payments for last 12 months in order to qualify for an FHA home loan

Borrowers are not required by the FHA to pay unpaid collection accounts in order to qualify for an FHA home loan. Moreover, FHA Guidelines for Collections & Charge Offs allow borrowers to qualify for an FHA home loan without paying any charge off accounts.

Can I Qualify for an FHA Home Loan with Tax Liens and Judgment?

United States Housing and Urban Development allow borrowers to qualify for an FHA home loan with outstanding tax liens and judgment.

FHA Requirements For Judgment Per FHA Guidelines for Collections & Charge Offs

You can qualify for an FHA loan with any outstanding judgment without paying it in full.

  • However, written payment agreements made with the creditor of judgment is required
  • Canceled checks of three months are also required
  • Once the borrowers have executed a written payment agreement with the creditor, they cannot pre-pay the payment of three months upfront. Seasoning of three months is required

FHA Requirements For Tax Liens

Borrowers can qualify for FHA home loans without paying off tax liens.

  • However, similar to FHA’s requirements for judgment, you must provide a written payment agreement and three months of canceled payments and checks
  • Once the borrowers have executed a written payment agreement, they cannot pre-pay the payment of three months upfront. Payments of three months must be seasoned for 3 months

Other Issues Borrowers Must Be Aware Of

Other Issues Borrowers Must Be Aware Of

When it comes to mortgage, the policies of FHA are quite lenient and it tries to make it easy for home buyers to acquire a loan.

  • If you cannot get approved for an FHA loan per AUS, most lenders would downgrade the application for loan to a manual underwriting
  • For approval per manual underwriting, timely payments of 12 months are required
  • Verification of rent is also required by manual underwriting

As per the FHA guidelines for collections and charge offs, borrowers are not required to pay off any outstanding charge off accounts or collection accounts in order to qualify for an FHA home loan with a 3.5 percent down payment.

  • For borrowers who have a history of bad credit, FHA home loan is an ideal program and borrowers will find it easy to qualify for an FHA home loan in comparison to other conventional loan programs

FHA Guidelines for Collections & Charge Offs: Guidelines For Charge Off

When borrowers consult with mortgage lenders and loan officers at lending institutions about loan requirements, they are often told that they cannot qualify for an FHA home loan if they have outstanding collection accounts?

  • Why do lenders say that when the FHA guidelines allow borrowers to qualify for an FHA home with outstanding collection accounts or charge off accounts?

Some common things that borrowers with outstanding collection accounts hear from mortgage lenders and bank officers include:

  • If you have outstanding collection accounts, you can never qualify for an FHA home loan unless you pay them
  • After the collection account has been paid, you must wait until the payment reflects on your credit report
  • In order to qualify for an FHA home loan, the collection account must be paid in full and should be seasons for 12 months
  • The maximum amount of collection account balance you can have on your credit report should not exceed $5,000
  • If it does, you won’t be able to qualify for an FHA home loan

Lenders say these things from their own and they declare their own guidelines instead of following those set by the FHA. These requirements make it hard for home buyers with outstanding collection accounts to qualify for an FHA home loan.

  • Home buyers should know that as per the updated FHA guidelines for collections and charge offs they can qualify for an FHA home loan with outstanding collection accounts and charge off accounts
  • If a lender tells you that you cannot qualify for an FHA home loan with outstanding collection accounts and charge off accounts, don’t work with him/her and seek a mortgage lender that follows the guidelines set by HUD

Understanding Overlays Versus FHA Guidelines for Collections & Charge Offs

Some mortgage lenders won’t approve you for an FHA home loan even when you meet the guidelines set by FHA.

  • Higher loan requirements may be set by a lender that does not follow the FHA guidelines
  • The additional lending requirements that FHA lenders set themselves are known as lender overlays
  • These requirements make it hard for homebuyers to qualify for an FHA home loan and goes against the goal of HUD to promote ownership of homes in the United States of America

According to FHA guidelines for collections and charge offs, no matter how much the balance of charge off account is, borrowers are not required to pay any of it to qualify for an FHA home loan. They can qualify for a home loan without paying the charge off accounts and collection accounts and FHA lenders should offer FHA loan to these borrowers.
Some banks and lenders have caps on charge-offs. For example, many mortgage lenders and banks require borrowers to have collection accounts not exceeding $5000 to qualify for an FHA home loan.

  • If you wish to qualify for an FHA home loan with outstanding charge off accounts and collection accounts, then work with an FHA lender who follows the guidelines set by the FHA
  • Don’t work with mortgage lenders who tell you that you must pay outstanding collection accounts in order to qualify for an FHA home loan or the maximum amount of collection account balance should not exceed $5,000
  • These are all FHA lender overlays and are against the guidelines set by the FHA

Lenders who set additional guidelines for FHA home loans are making it hard for home buyers to qualify for an FHA home loan.

  • Borrowers believe that these strict requirements are set by the FHA, but you must understand that this isn’t the case
  • This information has been provided to you so that you seek mortgage lenders that are following the updated FHA guidelines for collections and charge offs
  • Just because you have outstanding collection accounts or charge off accounts doesn’t mean that you cannot qualify for an FHA loan

If you have been denied a home loan or have any questions about real estate or mortgage please contact Loan Consultants at 844-275-2007. Just give us a call or text and we will be happy to assist you.

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