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Utilizing FHA Financing in Hawaii

If you want to own a home in Hawaii but are worried that you are limited by your credit score, an FHA loan may be right for you. FHA loans were created in 1934 by the Federal Housing Administration. They are a valuable resource designed to help borrowers with less-than-perfect credit purchase a home. Since 1934, FHA loans have helped over 40 million people become homeowners.

The FHA is governed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). This means FHA loans are guaranteed by the United States government. This makes FHA loans attractive to mortgage lenders because there is less risk of the lender losing its money. The FHA insures the loan and does not lend money directly to the borrower.

FHA loans are one of the best options available for first-time homebuyers. They are more accessible than Conventional loans. This makes them popular with a wide range of borrowers.

With lower down payments, lower credit requirements, and the option for financial assistance, homebuyers from all financial backgrounds may be able to qualify.

Get answers to your questions about Conventional loans vs FHA loans here.

The Benefits of an FHA Loan in Hawaii

FHA loans are popular because of their many benefits. They are designed to help people who have no credit history and less than perfect credit get a mortgage. FHA loans can also help people who have experienced foreclosure or bankruptcy.

Here are some of the benefits of FHA loans.

  • Low Down Payments: Having a low down payment option is one of the main reasons FHA loans appeal to first-time homebuyers. In some cases, borrowers can qualify for a down payment as low as 3.5%.
  • Down Payment Assistance Programs: Certain counties in Hawaii may offer some down payment assistance programs to homebuyers. These programs often have income and location limitations, so you’ll need to research them individually to see which ones align with your needs.
  • Gift funds can be used for down payment: You can use financial gifts from friends and family to pay for the down payment on your home.
  • Higher Debt-To-Income Ratio: FHA loans can have a DTI of as much as 57%. This makes FHA loans easier to qualify for than Conventional loans where the DTI can only be up to 45%.
  • No Monthly Minimum Income Requirement: Income must be verifiable and consistent for the last two years. However, there is no minimum amount a borrower must make to qualify for an FHA loan.
  • A Variety of Loan Types to Choose From: There are several FHA loan options for homebuyers. Streamline Refinance and the FHA 203(k) are two of the more popular FHA loans available.
  • Some or All Closing Costs Can be Covered by the Seller: FHA loans allow the seller to contribute up to 6% of the sales price to cover the buyer’s closing costs. Closing costs are usually somewhere between 2% and 5% of the purchase price. They can include appraisal and inspection fees, a loan origination fee, and service fees.
  • A Variety of Eligible Properties: They are available for single-family detached homes, 2-4 unit homes, condos, townhomes, and manufactured homes.

FHA Loan Requirements in Hawaii

There are many different types of FHA loans available in Hawaii. Requirements are different for each loan. Some of them can be stricter than those of Conventional loans. Contact your lender to discuss loan specific requirements. Here are some general FHA loan requirements for Hawaii.

  • A credit score of 580 or higher: A lender may accept credit scores of 500-579 under certain conditions. A credit score lower than 580 will require a larger down payment.
  • The ability to pay a 3.5%-10% down payment: The percentage you will pay will be calculated according to your credit score. The borrower’s credit score must be 580 or higher to have a down payment of 3.5%
  • Minimum of two years employment: Must have verifiable, steady, and consistent income. You will need documentation. It can include tax returns, pay stubs, or W-2s. This requirement is the same for borrowers who are employees and those who are self-employed.
  • Mortgage insurance: The ability to pay the mortgage insurance premium (MIP) is required. The dollar amount of MIP will be calculated based on the amount of the loan. However, all FHA loans will require borrowers to pay an upfront MIP of 1.75%. This is in addition to monthly mortgage insurance, which is required for the life of the loan. 
  • Higher home inspection standards: Property must pass an FHA-specific appraisal.
  • Loan must be for a principal residential property: FHA loans cannot be used for rentals, investing in properties, or vacation homes. They are also not available for business properties.
  • A debt-to-income ratio of less than 57%: A person’s debt-to-income (DTI) ratio is the percentage of their gross monthly income they spend to cover debts. Debts can include student loans, credit cards, and any type of federal debt.

To qualify for an FHA loan, you cannot spend more than half of your gross income on debt. There are some exceptions. In general, however, many lenders in Hawaii will want to see your debt-to-income ratio be no greater than 43%.

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How Do I Qualify for An FHA Loan in Hawaii?

To qualify for an FHA loan in Hawaii, you must meet the above requirements. You must have a credit score of at least 500. Your DTI must be less than 57%. You must be able to put down a 3.5%-10% down payment.

There is no minimum income requirement, but you must be able to prove consistent income. You will be asked to provide paperwork like your personal ID and tax returns for approval.

The property must be your primary residence. The loan amount you want must adhere to the FHA loan limits for your county.

Mortgage lenders will have their own individual qualification standards and requirements.

How to Apply for FHA loan in Hawaii

Each individual loan is different. To apply for an FHA loan in Hawaii, contact New American Funding. The company’s Loan Officers will be happy to answer your questions and help you through the process of applying for an FHA loan.

You should already have a budget in mind when you contact your mortgage lender. Once you’ve found a lender, you can begin to collect the documents you need to apply for an FHA loan. You will need to provide your specific mortgage lender with certain information for approval.

This includes personal identifying information and proof of income. Examples include signed tax returns from the last two years, W-2’s or 1099’s also from the last two years, and a copy of your social security card. You will also want to gather any information regarding your current debts as well as any extra income you receive.

You can use New American Funding's Mortgage Calculator to estimate your mortgage costs.

Hawaii FHA Loan Limits

The maximum loan amount for FHA loans varies by county. They also change year-to-year based on the rise and fall of property values. There are only five counties in Hawaii, and each one has a loan limit above the national minimum. They are:

Kauai: $1,029,250

Maui: $1,000,500

Kalawao: $1,000,500

Honolulu: $779,700

Hawaii: $517,500

FHA Streamline Refinance in Hawaii

Refinancing your FHA loan can be a great idea if you can use it to get a lower interest rate. FHA Streamline Refinance is designed to help you lower your monthly mortgage payments. It switches your original interest rate to a new one calculated using current market rates.

Refinancing your FHA loan is simple.

  • Requires less documentation
  • No appraisal required
  • No need to document income
  • No employment requirement
  • No credit check

They can also be used to change an FHA Adjustable-Rate Mortgage to a fixed-rate mortgage.

FHA 203(k) Loans

FHA 203(k) loans help borrowers who want to purchase a house that needs repairs. Investing in upgrades and renovations can be costly. FHA 203(k) loans, also known as a rehab loan, are designed to finance the costs of house renovations and repairs. They are not limited to the purchase of a new home. They can also be used by a homeowner to upgrade their current property.

FHA 203(k) Limited Loan

  • Good for homes that need renovations (not major structural repairs)
  • Can finance mortgage payments during home repairs
  • Accepts lower credit scores
  • Can be used for energy-efficient upgrades

FHA 203(k) Standard Loan

  • Can cover more costly renovations like structural repairs
  • Can be used by a homeowner to increase accessibility for persons with disabilities
  • Can also cover mortgage payments during home repairs
  • Can be used to add value to your existing home


What credit score do you need for an FHA loan in Hawaii?

To qualify for an FHA loan in Hawaii, borrowers need to have a minimum mortgage-specific credit score of 580. A credit score of 580 may be able to qualify you for a 3.5% down payment.

Some lenders may accept a credit score of 500-579 with a 10% down payment.

What is the max FHA loan in Hawaii?

The maximum loan amount for FHA loans varies by county. They also change year-to-year based on the rise and fall in property values. There are only five counties in Hawaii, and each one has a loan limit above the standard limit for a single-family home. They are:

Kauai: $1,029,250

Maui: $1,000,500

Kalawao: $1,000,500

Honolulu: $779,700

Hawaii: $517,500

How much do first-time homebuyers have to put down in Hawaii?

First-time homebuyers must put down anywhere between 3.5% to 10% for a down payment depending on their credit score. There are options for buyers who need help putting down a down payment. There are several homebuyer assistance programs offered specifically for first-time buyers.

Does Hawaii have a first-time homebuyer program?

Certain counties in Hawaii do have programs available for first-time homebuyers. These can include educational programs, resources, and financial assistance programs. It is important to research these programs individually, as they will have requirements and qualifications that are separate from your lender.

How low will your payment be?