James Wood | Fort Lauderdale FL Real Estate, Pembroke Pines FL Real Estate, Hollywood FL Real Estate


If you’re hoping to buy your first home in the near future, you’re likely wondering about the different types of mortgages that you may qualify for. Since the 1930s, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) has been insuring home loans for first-time homeowners across America.

This program helps people achieve homeownership who typically wouldn’t be able to afford the down payment or pass the credit score requirements to secure a traditional mortgage.

In today’s post, we’re going to answer some frequently asked questions about FHA loans to help you decide if this is the best option for your first home.

Does the FHA issue loans?

Although they’re called “FHA loans,” mortgages are not actually issued by the FHA. Rather, they’re issued by mortgage lenders across the country and insured by the FHA.

Will I have to make a down payment?

With an FHA loan, your down payment can be as low as 3.5%, significantly lower than traditional loans at 20% down payment. However, you will be required to pay private mortgage insurance (PMI) in addition to your monthly mortgage payments until you have paid off 20% of the home. So, the best case scenario would be to save as much as possible for a down payment to reduce the amount of mortgage insurance you have to pay.

What are the benefits of an FHA loan?

The three main reasons to secure an FHA loan are:

  • You can qualify with a low credit score

  • You can make a smaller down payment than traditional mortgages

  • Your closer costs will be less expensive

Where do I apply for an FHA loan?

You can apply for an FHA loan through a mortgage lender. You can also work with a mortgage broker to help choose a lender.

Is an FHA loan the only loan option for low down payments?

There are multiple loan programs offered at the state and federal level to help individuals secure a mortgage with a lower down payment. They can be provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs, the USDA, or state-sponsored programs. Lenders also often sponsor their own programs to attract potential borrowers. However, always make sure you compare these programs to make sure you’re making the best long-term financial decision.

Do all FHA loans offer the same interest rates and costs?

No. Since the loans are only insured by the FHA, it’s up to the lender to determine your interest rate and fees. So, it’s a good idea to shop around for the best lender.

How high does my credit score have to be to qualify for an FHA loan?

You can secure a mortgage with a down payment as low as 3.5% with a credit score of 580 or higher. However, if you can afford to make a larger down payment, you can secure an FHA loan with a credit score as low as 500.

If your score is in the 500-600 range, it’s typically a better idea to spend a few months building credit before applying for a home loan.

What information will I need to apply?

You’ll need to gather all of the same information that you would for a typical mortgage. This includes W2s from your employer(s), two years of submitted tax forms, your current and former addresses from the past two years, and your gross monthly salary.

I’ve owned a house before, can I still qualify for FHA loans?

Even if you’re not a first-time homebuyer you can still qualify for an FHA loan. However, you cannot qualify if you’ve had a foreclosure within the last three years or have filed for bankruptcy within the last two years.


The gym. It’s a place few people enjoy despite the flocks of people lining up to sign up each passing New Year. Exercise is seen as an embarrassing activity to many as most of us aren’t taught how to properly use gym equipment. Equipment that looks more like torture devices than a machine that will help you become stronger and healthier. Enter the home gym. Not only is no one around to watch you attempt your first shaky round of pushups  but also it’s a place we already feel naturally at ease. Keep reading to find out how you can skip gym fees and create a gym in the comfort of your own home. Make space. A space that allows you enough privacy from the rest of your family to focus on yourself for a while. When choosing your space, consider a room that has a door you can close, contains lots of light, room to hang a full-length mirror to watch your form from, and room to roll out a mat to work on. If you have a room you can dedicate solely to your home gym paint it a color that inspires you. This could be anything from a calming blue to an energizing orange. A good music speaker to blast some tunes is another great feature to add to your home gym to help to inspire. Know your budget and goals. Don’t be afraid to start with small investments if you are just jumping back into an exercise routine. If your goal is to create a more healthy, active lifestyle you won’t need fancy, expensive equipment to get there. A set of dumbbells and some resistance bands paired with exercises that rely on body weight are enough to get you started and at a low cost to boot. Extras for experts. As your strength builds and your routine evolves you may start to look to add more variety to your weekly workouts. Some further investments to consider for your home gym could be a stability ball, kettle bell, suspension system, jump rope and /or foam roller. All of these items can add more interest to your routine without costing you an arm and a leg. Make a plan. This tip doesn’t quite relate to setting up a home gym but, bear with me. Creating a plan for which days you will exercise and what exercises you will be doing will set you and your home gym up for success. Don’t go through all the effort of setting up space for your home gym to have it go unused. Instead, schedule times into your week that you will use your home gym. Think of these time slots as mandatory appointments just like a doctor’s visit or business meeting. Don’t let the intimidation of the gym prevent you from developing a regular workout routine. By setting up a home gym you can get fit and healthy in the privacy of your own home and at a cheaper cost than the average gym membership. Just don’t forget to schedule time slots throughout your week where you make the most of your new home gym!

Buying a home represents a dream come true for many individuals. However, to transform this dream into a reality, you'll likely need to qualify for a mortgage.

Finding the right mortgage may seem difficult, particularly for a first-time homebuyer. Fortunately, we're here to help you make sense of all of the mortgage options at your disposal so you can select the right option based on your budget and lifestyle.

Here's a closer look at three of the most common mortgage options for homebuyers.

1. Fixed-Rate

With a fixed-rate mortgage, there are no cost fluctuations. This means that you'll pay the same amount each month for the duration of your mortgage, regardless of economic conditions.

For example, if you sign up for a 15- or 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, you'll wind up paying the same amount each month until your mortgage is paid in full. In some instances, you may even be able to pay off your mortgage early without penalties.

A fixed-rate mortgage often serves as a great option for those who don't want to worry about mortgage bills that may fluctuate over the years. Instead, this type of mortgage guarantees that you'll be able to pay a consistent monthly amount for the life of your loan.

2. Adjustable-Rate

An adjustable-rate mortgage represents the exact opposite of its fixed-rate counterpart. The costs associated with this type of mortgage will change over time, which means you may wind up paying a fixed interest rate for the first few years of your loan and watch this rate go up a few years later.

For instance, a 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgage means that your interest rate is locked in for the first five years of your loan. After this period, the interest rate will adjust annually. Therefore, a rising interest rate may force you to allocate additional funds to cover your mortgage costs in the future.

An adjustable-rate mortgage may prove to be a viable option if you plan to live in a home for only a short amount of time. Or, if you're a college student or young professional, an adjustable-rate mortgage may help you pay less for a home now, secure your dream job and become financially stable by the time your initial interest rate period ends.

3. VA Loans

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides loans to military service members and their families. These loans are backed by the government and enable individuals to receive complete financing for a house. Thus, with a VA loan, an individual is not required to make a down payment on a house.

If you ever have concerns or questions about mortgage loans, banks and credit unions are available to help. Also, your real estate agent may be able to offer mortgage insights and tips to ensure you can secure a mortgage quickly and effortlessly.

Learn about all of the mortgage options that are available, and by doing so, you can move one step closer to buying a home that matches your budget and lifestyle.


As a homebuyer, you want to prepare as much as possible when you start looking at houses. By doing so, you'll be able to fully evaluate a residence based on your personal wants and needs and ensure you can find your dream house quickly and easily. However, there are many under-the-radar factors that homebuyers must consider when they check out a house, including: 1. Homeowners Association If you're evaluating condos, you should learn about the homeowners association (HOA) that manages the property. This will allow you to review HOA fees, how the HOA operates and other factors that may influence your decision to buy a home. Typically, it is simple to discover all you need to know about an HOA. To do so, you can work with a real estate agent who should be able to provide information about an HOA. Also, you can always contact an HOA directly and receive all the information you need without delay. 2. TV, Cable and Internet Service Providers Do you work from home and require a high-speed internet connection to complete your day-to-day tasks? Or, do you want to ensure you can get your favorite TV channels at all times? Regardless of your individual needs, you'll want to check out the TV, cable and internet service providers available in cities and towns where you'd like to live. This will enable you to find out if these local providers can meet your needs consistently. In addition, you should consider cell phone connectivity in an area, as this will allow you to determine if your cell service provider ensures you can enjoy clear calls in a particular city or town. 3. Attractions and Landmarks Do you enjoy spending a day at the park, checking out historic landmarks or going to concerts? No matter which activities you enjoy, it is essential to learn about the entertainment options near a home you may purchase. For instance, if a concert venue is close to a residence, it may affect nearby traffic patterns as concert-goers travel to and from this destination. Conversely, if you want a house that allows you to separate from the everyday hustle and bustle of the city, you may want to evaluate residences that are located many miles away from popular attractions and landmarks. 4. Walking Paths If you like to stay active, you'll surely want to find a house that features a wide range of safe walking paths that you can use every day. Whether it's going for a morning jog or simply enjoying a jaunt with your dog, you may be able to improve your chances of remaining active and healthy if you purchase a home with multiple walking paths nearby. Of course, a real estate agent can help you explore a vast array of homes in cities and towns nationwide. This professional will learn about your home preferences and allow you to streamline your search for the perfect house as well. Consider the aforementioned factors as you prepare to search for houses, and ultimately, you'll be better equipped to make a more informed home purchase.

The Florida luxury housing market can be tough to navigate, regardless of whether you want to buy a deluxe residence in Orlando, Tampa Bay or elsewhere in the Sunshine State. Lucky for you, we're here to teach you about the Florida luxury housing sector and ensure you can quickly and effortlessly discover your dream residence.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you analyze the Florida luxury housing market.

1. Collect Luxury Housing Market Data

Florida luxury housing market data is readily available, and if you know where to look for it, you should have no trouble locating your ideal house.

Oftentimes, a simple online search can help you find luxury residences in the Florida city or town of your choice. If you want to pursue a luxury house in Fort Lauderdale, St. Augustine or any other Sunshine State city or town, an online search may prove be a great starting point.

You also should evaluate the prices of available luxury houses in your preferred Florida cities and towns. This information will help you narrow your price range so you can speed up your home search.

2. Differentiate a Buyer's Market from a Seller's Market

Believe it or not, determining whether the Florida luxury housing market currently favors buyers or sellers can be easy. If you allocate time and resources to study the local housing sector, you can gain the insights you need to distinguish a buyer's market from a seller's one.

A buyer's market usually features a massive selection of high-quality luxury residences. In this market, a buyer may be better equipped than ever before to acquire a Florida luxury residence at or below its initial asking price.

Conversely, a seller's market is defined by a shortage of top-notch luxury houses. As a result, a buyer may need to submit a competitive offer to purchase to quickly acquire his or her ideal Florida luxury house.

Once you determine whether the Florida luxury housing market favors buyers or sellers, you can map out your homebuying strategy accordingly. Then, you can seamlessly navigate the luxury housing market in Jacksonville, Miami or other Sunshine State cities or towns and acquire your dream residence in no time at all.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

When it comes to analyzing the Florida luxury housing market, collaborating with a real estate agent typically is a good idea. In fact, a real estate agent who understands the ins and outs of buying a luxury house in Florida can offer expert insights that you may struggle to obtain elsewhere.

A real estate agent can teach you about all aspects of the Florida luxury housing market. Thus, if you want to acquire a luxury home in South Beach, a real estate agent can help you pursue deluxe houses in and around Miami. On the other hand, if you wish to buy a luxury house near Disney World, a real estate agent can help you make your homeownership dream come true.

Use the aforementioned tips, and you can perform a full analysis of the Sunshine State luxury housing market.




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