Category Archive: FL FHA loan

Conventional vs. FHA Mortgage: Which Is Right for You?

Both conventional and FHA loans are very popular options for Florida residents who want to finance a home purchase. But which option is the best for you? That’s not an easy question to answer, and it depends heavily on your personal situation. Let’s look at both types:

  • FHA mortgages are insured by the Federal Housing Authority (FHA), and can be issued by any FHA-approved lender. FHA loans are designed to help lower-income borrowers qualify for mortgages. Since they’re backed by the federal government, lenders are protected from people who default on their loans, and that means the lenders can offer more competitive interest rates to prospective borrowers.
  • Conventional mortgages are simply any mortgages that are not insured or guaranteed by the federal government. Because they’re not protected by the government, they tend to require borrowers to have better credit scores and higher down payments.

At a Glance

The chart below highlights some of the key differences between the conventional and FHA loans.

FHA Loans Conventional Loans
Lower down payment requirements (3.5% minimum) Higher down payment requirements (usually between 5-20%)
Approved gift funds can cover all closing costs and down payments Many more loan program lenders and loan options
Lower credit score requirements Higher credit score requirements
Lower mortgage rates Generally higher mortgage rates
Mortgage insurance is usually required and increases your costs Mortgage insurance may not be required
Less flexible (typically offers only 15- or 30-year fixed or adjustable-rate mortgage) More flexible (many more loan types and terms)
Only available on owner-occupied properties Can be used for second homes and investment properties
Not all properties (for example, some condominiums) are approved for FHA financing Can be used on all types of property
Usually no reserve requirement Reserves may be required to qualify

What’s the Right Answer for You?

Speaking very broadly, FHA loans are a good solution for people who can’t make a large down payment (or who need help from family members or other donors to make the down payment), and who have low credit scores. People with high credit scores and who are able to make a large down payment may benefit from conventional loans, because they can be very flexible and offer a wide range of potential options. Again, though, mortgage terms and conditions can vary widely, based on your individual situation, so you’ll need to sit down with an experienced mortgage expert who can help guide you to the loan that’s right for you.

Crunch the Numbers

If you’re thinking about purchasing a home in Florida, or even refinancing an existing loan, an experienced Florida mortgage professional can help you review your financial situation and choose the best mortgage option for you. Call 407-733-6425 to learn more about the differences between FHA and conventional loans and which one is the best fit for you.


Stephen Thaggard, NMLS 356309,  Sr Loan Officer, licensed in Florida

Embrace Home Loans, NMLS 2184,, 485 N Keller Road, Suite 550, Maitland, FL 32751


Florida First Time Home Buyer down payment options

FL first time home buyers typically seek low fixed rate mortgage loans that require little to no down payment.  Some home buyers haven’t been able to accumulate enough in savings or cannot obtain a gift from a family member to meet the usual 3.5% to 5% down payment requirements.  Others want to explore their options with FL mortgage loan programs that allow them to keep more of their earned savings for other future uses.  Whichever is the case, first time home buyers should consider and ask about some of the following mortgage loan details when speaking with a FL mortgage professional.  Buying your first home may be easier than you thought.

  • VA Home Loan – The first question I ask any first time buyer is whether they are a US Veteran.  If eligible, a fixed rate FL VA home loan provides no down payment, no monthly mortgage insurance, and Sellers can contribute up to 4% of the contract price towards the Veterans closing costs.  
  •  FHA Mortgage Loan – If buyers are not Veterans then the next step is prequalifying for a FL FHA loan.  This allows a low down payment of 3.5% and Sellers can contribute up to 6% of the contract price to cover closing costs and escrows for the first time buyer. 
  •  FL Housing Finance Corp – Whether seeking a VA home loan or an FHA loan as mentioned above, or even a conventional mortgage, many qualified first time buyers can take advantage the FL State Bond down payment and closing costs assistance of up to $10,000.  Check your local FL County program too as it may include up to $2,000 federal tax credit per year.  If you are in Brevard County for example, then ask about qualifying for the Brevard HFA loan program with your Brevard County mortgage professional
  • FL USDA Loan – Also called Rural Housing loan, this program can allow buyers to finance the closing costs and escrows.  Sellers can still contribute up to 6% of the contract to buyers’ costs and escrows, and there is no monthly private mortgage insurance.  Qualified buyers and eligible FL homes are only a phone call away.

    If you or someone you know is looking to purchase their first home here in Florida and neeeds the best in sound mortgage options or solutions; ask them to call us today at 800.333.3004 X3560.  Ask for me, Stephen Thaggard or email me directly.  You’ll be surprised at the options available.

Stephen Thaggard, NMLS 356309,  Sr Loan Officer, licensed in Florida

Embrace Home Loans, NMLS 2184,,  485 N Keller Road, Suite 550, Maitland, FL 32751

Save more money on your first FL home mortgage

A popular request for FL first time home buyers is approval for an FHA home loan.  FHA offers a low down payment of 3.5%, is more flexible with credit and Sellers can contribute up to 6% towards the buyers closing costs and prepaids (property tax and homeowners insurance escrows). But with the soon to be increasing mortgage insurance premiums associated with FHA, first time home buyers may also want to consider the advantages with a conventional Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac home mortgage loan.

Starting April 1st, 2013 , FHA will increase the annual mortgage insurance premium, which is paid in monthly payments as part of the overall mortgage payment.  Currently, with a 3.5% down payment, the mortgage insurance is 1.25% of the base loan amount.  It will increase to 1.35% on April 1st, 2013.  Also remember, FHA still requires an upfront mortgage insurance premium which is typically rolled into the loan amount.  That would be another 1.75%! Is there a better option?  Maybe…

In contrast, with good credit scores, credit history and a little more towards down payment, 5%, a FL first time home buyer could enjoy a lower monthly payment with a conventional Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac mortgage. In fact, the mortgage insurance could be dramatically lower for qualified buyers and there is no upfront mortgage insurance required, which lowers the amount borrowed.

Remember the basic three considerations for most FL mortgage loan approvals; credit, employment and savings.  The stronger your credit history and scores; the more stability in your employment; and the more money you have saved towards your first home purchase – the better.  With these basics, you may have more mortgage options to choose from; may enjoy a lower interest rate; and increase your opportunity for your FL mortgage loan approval.

If you have questions on qualifying for your FL first mortgage loan; please feel free to email or call 800.333.3004 extension 3560.

Stephen Thaggard, NMLS 356309,  Sr Loan Officer, licensed in Florida,

Embrace Home Loans, NMLS 2184,  5500 Murrell Road Suite 201, Viera, FL 32940


FL mortgage choices can save home buyers more money

With over 17 years of Florida mortgage loan origination’s under my belt, I sometimes get too caught up with work, and forget the fun.  I truly love sharing my professional experience to assist any home buyer whether for the seasoned investor, a qualified 2nd home or vacation home buyer, or the inexperienced first time home buyer.  Recently a previous client called asking me is there any fun left in what I do as a FL  mortgage professional.  The fun is simple.  I am responsible for making sure buyers know their mortgage options upfront before securing their new home.  Sharing my mortgage loan experience with others is fun and rewarding.

A great example would be when a first time home buyer believes an FHA home loan is the only mortgage option available.  This may not be true, especially if the buyer is a Veteran and can use his or her VA Entitlement.  That can save them the 3.5% required down payment and the monthly payment is much lower as there is no mortgage insurance with a VA home loan.

Discussing all mortgage options and product guidelines with home buyers is essential when purchasing a new home here in Florida.  Empowering home buying decisions by sharing my fresh upfront  mortgage perspective, continues to save buyers money and time.  And it’s truly simply fun.  Buying a new home?  Call 407.733.6425 or contact me, Stephen Thaggard and I’ll show my perspective in FL mortgage loans.  Buying a home and getting a mortgage should be fun, I’ll show you how.

Stephen Thaggard, NMLS 356309,  Sr Loan Officer, licensed in Florida,

Embrace Home Loans, NMLS 2184,  485 N Keller Road, Suite 550, Maitland, FL 32751

The right FL mortgage loan come first when shopping for next home

After over 17 years in the FL mortgage arena as a Sr. Loan Officer, I have recognized that most first time as well as seasoned homeowners are solely focused only on the mortgage interest rate.  However, to me personally, the rate is the easy part of the equation – provide the lowest rate available.  But what about choosing the right FL mortgage loan?  Is your loan officer experienced enough to know the options?

Whether purchasing your first or second, vacation home, choosing the right mortgage program is very important.  Here a just a few.

  • Most first time home buyers qualify very well with a FL FHA home loan.  There is only a 3.5% minimum down payment requirement, and all funds needed to close can be in the form of a Gift from a family member.  Also, Sellers can contribute up to 6% towards the buyers closing costs and prepaids, property tax and homeowners insurance escrows.
  • For those that are purchasing a vacation home or 2nd home here in Florida; consider a Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac mortgage.  With as little as 10% down, you can buy a home close to Disney or near our beautiful beaches here in Brevard County, or anywhere else you choose in Florida.
  • If you are a Veteran, you can save more money than other buyers.  A FL VA home loan is available with no down payment, up to $417,000 with full entitlement; has no monthly private mortgage insurance, and Sellers can contribute up to 4% towards the buyers closing costs and prepaids.  I have closed FL VA loans where the buyer actually ends up bringing no additional funds to closing.
  • Please keep in mind, Veterans seeking to put 20% down may want to compare a Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac conventional loan and a VA home loan.  The conventional approach can actually save a bit with no VA Funding Fee.  And for those buyers with at least 5% saved for down payment; please consider the same conventional loan options vs. a FL FHA loan, as the mortgage insurance requirements may be much lower.


Remember that overall credit history as well as qualifying credit scores make a difference when comparing mortgage loan options.   Speaking with an experienced FL mortgage professional is the best when it comes to knowing your options for your next home purchase.  Once you know you path, then focus on that low interest rate.  To get prequalified now contact me on top right of this page see Get My Perspective or call now at  407.733.6425.

Stephen Thaggard, NMLS 356309,  Sr Loan Officer, licensed in Florida,

Embrace Home Loans, NMLS 2184,  485 N Keller Road, Suite 550, Maitland, FL 32751

Buying your FL dream home may be just around the corner

One of the first questions FL mortgage professionals are asking potential home buyers these days include whether the buyer has previously sold a home as a short sale.  Many believe that the waiting or seasoning requirement for a buyer with a prior short sale, is 4 years or 7 years.  Little do they know, owning their new FL dream home could be just around the corner.

  • The general guideline with respect to a Florida FHA mortgage is to wait at least 3 years after a short sale to be eligible. However, FHA allows financing for home buyers with qualified  credit,  to begin searching for their next dream home, immediately.  Call now and ask me how.
  • Were you aware that Fannie Mae conventional financing will allow a home buyer to be eligible for a new FL conventional mortgage in as little as 2 years?  Not the expected 4 years.  It’s true.  Call now and ask me how; 407.733.6425.

Purchasing a home here in Brevard County FL may be a little easier than many expect.  Please don’t let past decisions to short sale hold you or anyone you know back from the opportunity to purchase your dream home.  Whether seeking an FHA loan in West Melbourne, a VA home loan in Viera, or Conventional mortgage in Merritt Island; it pays to contact an experienced FL Mortgage Professional.

Stephen Thaggard, NMLS 356309,  Sr Loan Officer, licensed in Florida,

Embrace Home Loans, NMLS 2184,  485 N Keller Road, Suite 550, Maitland, FL 32751

Are you really prequalified for that FL mortgage?

With a large Builder base of clients here in Florida we have grown to realize that there are 2 types of first time home buyers building their dream homes.  The ones that truly believe they are qualified and ready to close once the home is completed.  And the ones that actually know they are qualified.  Are you really qualified?

Every week we speak with new home buyers who have been pre-qualified to start construction and months later cannot seem to get an OK to move forward with their, already pre-qualified FL mortgage.  It seems the loan officer never asked to review income tax returns, needed to evaluate any unreimbursed expense write offs.  These  must be deducted from the income used to qualify for their FHA, VA or conventional type mortgage.

We recently had a buyer (truck driver) who earns approximately $20,000 per year; yet consistently writes off about $13,000 in unreimbursed expenses.  He was seeking an FL FHA home loan and was turned down after 4 months with is previous mortgage lender.  Go figure!  It is unfortunate the lender waited 4 months to ask for documentation that would have been beneficial in the beginning, prior to making the decision to start construction and building hopes.

Everyone wins when buyers are working with experienced FL Mortgage Professionals.  Sometimes buyers do need a little coaching with respect to credit, or in this topic, unreimbursed expenses for future opportunities to purchase their dream home.  If you need a second set of eyes to review your true qualifications on a FL home mortgage; please contact us at today or call 407.733.6425.

Stephen Thaggard, NMLS 356309,  Sr Loan Officer, licensed in Florida,

Embrace Home Loans, NMLS 2184,  485 N Keller Road, Suite 550, Maitland, FL 32751

FHA costs increasing for home buyers…

First time home buyers seeking a FL FHA mortgage may want to buy now, as the cost for FHA loans will be increasing within a month!  HUD recently announced that it would be raising the required upfront mortgage insurance premium (UFMIP) for FHA home loans beginning April 1, 2012.   The UFMIP can either be paid at closing or, as many first time buyers prefer, financed into the loan amount. The current 1.00% charge would increase to 1.75%; raising the qualifying monthly payment.
This may not be the only change to FHA home loans as HUD is considering increasing the monthly mortgage insurance payments as well as possibly reducing the amount that sellers are allowed to contribute.  Keep in mind, this FHA cost increase can be avoided if your FHA Case Number assignment is prior to April 1st! So, get prequalified, find your dream home and lock in lower costs now.

Stephen Thaggard, NMLS 356309,  Sr Loan Officer, licensed in Florida,

Embrace Home Loans, NMLS 2184,  485 N Keller Road, Suite 550, Maitland, FL 32751

Why wait 3 years after a short-sale? You may qualify now!

When home buyers are seeking a new FL mortgage to build their new dream home or purchase  an existing one, many have questions that should be answered upfront.  The most popular question recently has been “how long does an FHA home buyer have to wait before purchasing a home after a short sale”?

Most professionals in the mortgage arena know that you must wait at least 3 years after a short sale to be eligible for an FHA home loan.  But if you look further into the guidelines, you’ll find that if the last 12 months of mortgage payments were made on time, as well as any installment debts (such as car loans, student loans), then the 3 years rule can be waived.  Unfortunately many lenders and banks add their own rules on top and force home buyers to wait the full 3 years.  The key is working with a FL lender with common sense underwriting and utilizing the advantages already available within FHA guidelines.

I work in Brevard County and have many FL Builder accounts who depend on our upfront communication with respect to prequalfying their prospective home buyers.   A few months ago I was referred a buyer who had a short sale within the past 12 months.  Every lender she called mentioned she would have to wait 3 full years before she could purchase a new home.  We got together and later she closed on her dream home because she never had late payments as described above.

When looking for your next FL mortgage, make sure you speak with an experienced FL  mortgage professionalwho will provide upfront and current mortgage related information.  Who knows, you may even qualify now for your new FL home loan.

For more information on these and many other mortgage programs, feel free to email Stephen Thaggard or call/text directly at 407.733.6425.   Stephen Thaggard, NMLS#356309

Stephen Thaggard, NMLS 356309,  Sr Loan Officer, licensed in Florida,

Embrace Home Loans, NMLS 2184,  485 N Keller Road, Suite 550, Maitland, FL 32751

Making mortgage sense for FL first time home buyers

Thinking about buying your first home in Florida ? Knowing the basics is the best first step towards homeownership. Consider the following three areas, as they could dramatically affect your FL mortgage program options and corresponding interest rate. These areas are credit history, stable income and savings.

  • When was the last time you reviewed your own credit report history? You should know already know where you stand by contacting all 3 credit bureaus, Experian, Transunion and Equifax. The Federal Trade Commission authorizes as the only source for your free annual credit report. A healthy credit history may improve your chances of obtaining favorable mortgage program options with lower interest rates.
  • Stability of income can make the difference when determining mortgage risk. Long term employment, or a history in the same line of work, may offset other issues regarding a mortgage approval. If you are self employed, a minimum 2 year history evidenced with 2 years of tax returns is a great start.
  • And finally, save your money. It is a pleasure to talk to many first time home buyers who took time to save while searching for their dream home. There are mortgage programs available with no down payment, but what about closing costs? Also, the more money you have saved, the better opportunity you have for a loan approval.

Be prepared for your exciting new home venture.  Home ownership can be wonderful. Just make sure you recognize that credit, stable income and savings play a big part of your overall FL mortgage financial success. When in doubt or have questions, feel free to call 407.733.6425 or email Stephen Thaggard.

Stephen Thaggard, NMLS 356309,  Sr Loan Officer, licensed in Florida,

Embrace Home Loans, NMLS 2184,  485 N Keller Road, Suite 550, Maitland, FL 32751