fha Cash out refinance guidelines


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FHA Cash-Out Refinance: Access Your Home Equity
FHA Cash-Out Refinance: Access Your Home Equity

There are two primary FHA refinance loan programs: the FHA cash-out refinance and the streamline refinance. The FHA cash-out loan provides cash-in-hand for the borrower. You open a loan with a bigger balance than what you currently owe, and the excess proceeds go to you.

 An FHA streamline refinance loan allows you to refinance to a lower rate with little documentation, but it doesn’t allow any cash to the borrower.

Check today’s FHA cash out rates here.

In this article:
Benefits of an FHA cash-out refinance

As the name implies, the greatest benefit of an FHA cash-out refinance is to put extra cash in the borrower’s pocket. 

These funds can be used for any purpose such as:

For example, if you owe $100,000 on your home you could open an FHA cash-out loan for $150,000, assuming your home has adequate equity and you qualify for the loan. If closing costs were $5,000, you could end up with an extra $45,000 in your pocket.

Click here for today’s FHA cash out rates.

These loans may also be used to simultaneously lower the interest rate and/or change the loan term (30-year fixed to a 15-year fixed). 

Loans may even change from an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) to a steady fixed-rate loan.

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FHA cash-out refinance credit scores & LTV

Compared to conventional cash-out loans, FHA cash-out loans have relaxed guidelines that allow borrowers with lower credit scores and higher debt-to-income ratios to qualify.

The minimum credit score for FHA loans is 500, assuming a 10% down payment. FHA cash-out refinances require 15% equity (the same as a 15% down payment). So, in theory, you need a 500 credit score to qualify.

However, most lenders require a much higher credit score since cash-out financing is riskier than even a home purchase. You’ll probably need a minimum score between 600 and 660 to qualify for FHA cash out.

FHA cash-out maximum loan-to-value (LTV) is 80 percent of the home’s current value (a new appraisal is required) compared to the maximum conventional cash-out LTV of 80 percent. The higher limit is why many homeowners choose an FHA refinance instead of conventional.

For example:

After paying off the existing loan plus closing costs, homeowners would receive about $10,000 cash for a conventional cash out versus $21,000 for FHA cash out. That extra $11,000 may be enough for many homeowners to choose the FHA cash-out option.

Conventional cash-out refinance vs. FHA cash-out refinance
FHA cash-out loans also have their disadvantages. All FHA loans require both an upfront mortgage insurance premium and a monthly insurance premium. The upfront mortgage insurance premium is 1.75% of the loan amount. For a $200,000 loan, that’s $3,500 in additional principal added to your loan amount. Additionally, FHA requires monthly mortgage insurance which would be 0.80% of the loan amount per year on a loan with an 85 percent loan-to-value ratio. That’s $67 per month for every $100,000 borrowed. Because of these extra costs, you should consider a conventional cash-out refinance if your home has significant equity. Conventional loans at or below 80 percent loan-to-value do not require upfront or monthly mortgage insurance. Click here for today’s FHA cash out rates.
FHA cash-out refinance guidelines

The FHA cash-out refinance requires sufficient income to qualify for the new loan. Borrowers must verify their income with at least two most recent paycheck stubs from their employer showing current and year-to-date earnings, W-2 forms from the last two years, and in many instances, the two most recently filed federal income tax returns.


Asset verification in the form of bank and investment statements are typically not a requirement for an FHA cash-out refinance loan as no funds are needed in order to close the transaction. However, this does not mean the FHA lender cannot request bank statements as part of their internal underwriting guidelines.


The FHA lender evaluating an FHA cash-out loan application will require an appraisal report on the subject property. The value on the appraisal is used to determine the maximum allowable loan amount for an FHA cash-out loan. Currently, the maximum loan amount for an FHA cash-out refinance is 80 percent of the value of the property as long as the home was purchased more than one year ago and does not exceed FHA’s county-by-county loan limits.


The minimum credit score for all FHA loans is 500. While there is no minimum credit score established by the FHA for cash-out loans specifically, lenders will typically have their own internal requirements that are much higher than the minimum. The minimum credit score requirement for an FHA cash-out refinance is usually between 620 and 680. Check with a lender to see if your FICO score is high enough.

Click here to request a free FHA cash out rate quote.


FHA cash-out refinance requirements

Occupancy. FHA cash-out refinance loans are for owner-occupied properties only and cannot be used for rental properties.

Payment history. To qualify for an FHA cash out, you may not have more than one mortgage payment that was more than 30 days late in the last 12 months. The existing mortgage must be at least six months old and have a verified payment history, usually determined by the borrower’s credit report.

Length of ownership. If you’ve lived in the home less than a year, the FHA lender will use the lower of the appraised value or the original purchase price of the home to determine your maximum loan amount. For example, if you purchased the home less than a year ago for $250,000 and it now appraises for $270,000, your maximum loan amount will be $200,000 (80 percent of $250,000).

Debt-to-income ratio. FHA cash-out loans require the borrower to meet existing debt-to-income ratio guidelines. The maximum FHA debt ratio guidelines are 29 and 41, but may be higher in certain instances. The first ratio, 29, is the housing ratio calculated by dividing the total housing payment with gross monthly income. The housing payment includes principal and interest, taxes, insurance, monthly mortgage insurance premium and any condo or homeowner association fees. For example, if the housing payment is $2,000 and monthly income is $7,000, the housing debt ratio is 28.5%.

The total debt ratio limit is 41 and includes the housing payment plus additional monthly credit obligations. Additional credit obligations include credit card payments, automobile or student loans, and installment debts. Other qualifying debt includes spousal or child support payments. This number does not include utilities, car insurance, or other non-debt payment types.

A borrower with $7,000 per month income may have a house payment up to $2,030 per month and monthly credit obligations of up to $840 per month.

Co-borrowers. Non-occupant co-borrowers are allowed on an FHA cash-out refinance loan as long as the non-occupant co-borrowers are on the original note. Non-occupant co-borrowers may not be added to the loan application to help the primary borrower qualify.

Click here to see today’s FHA cash out refinance rates.

FHA cash-out refinance FAQ
How much lower does my new rate have to be in order to qualify for an FHA cash-out loan?

There is no requirement that your new rate be lower by a specific amount, but the lender may require that there be a tangible benefit to you by refinancing. This benefit may be the cash itself, a lower payment, reducing your loan term, or changing from an adjustable rate or hybrid loan into a fixed-rate mortgage.

Is there any way to eliminate the mortgage insurance premium on an FHA loan?

The upfront FHA mortgage insurance is always required and cannot be changed. However, your lender may be able to adjust your interest rate upward and give you a credit from the excess profit from the loan, to help pay the 1.75% upfront mortgage insurance premium.

Can I refinance my conventional mortgage into an FHA cash-out loan?
Yes, you may. However, the FHA cash-out limit is 80 percent of the value of the home and requires a mortgage insurance premium to be paid. Consider the additional closing costs with an FHA cash-out loan and compare the FHA option with a conventional loan. Check today’s FHA cash out rates here.
I’m not sure how much cash out I need. How do I determine that?

Your FHA loan will be limited both by the 80 percent loan-to-value ratio as well as your local loan limits established by FHA. With that limitation in mind, figure out how much cash you need for your specific goal. Tell your loan officer that number, and he or she will work backward, figuring in closing costs, to come to a sufficient loan amount (assuming all loan qualification factors make the desired loan amount possible).

If you only want to pull cash out of your property, but want to avoid the extra costs of a full refinance, consider obtaining a home equity loan instead. Many local and national banks are now offering second mortgages, which are a cheaper option than refinancing.

How late can a payment be in the past 12 months and still qualify?

Mortgage payments are typically due on the first of the month and considered past due after the 15th of the month. Only payments that are more than 30 days past the original due date are considered “late.” Any payments made before 30 days past the due date are not counted against you, as long as your lender received the payment on time and did not report your payment late to the major credit bureaus.

How late can a payment be in the past 12 months and still qualify?

Properties owned less than six months are not eligible for a FHA cash out refinance. You must wait at least six months. However, if your property has appreciated significantly in six months, the FHA lender will use the original sales price of the property or a new appraisal, whichever is lower. If you put the minimum 3.5 percent as a down payment six months ago, a lender will question why the property value has increased in such a short period of time.

Ready to apply for an FHA cash-out mortgage?
An FHA cash-out refinance can be a great idea when you’re in need of cash for any purpose. With today’s low rates, this loan type is a very inexpensive way to borrow money to achieve your goals. Apply for the FHA cash out refinance here.
fha Cash out refinance guidelines