FHA FAQ

Question: I believe that I may have experienced discrimination when I was looking for housing. How can I file a complaint?

Answer: You can file a complaint right on-line. Use HUD's Housing Discrimination web page. Or you can call the Housing Discrimination Hotline, toll free at (800) 669-9777.

Question: I read about a loan that enables you to both finance the purchase and rehabilitation of a home through a single mortgage. Does HUD offer such a loan and how can I get one?

Answer: FHA's 203(k) purchase and rehabilitation loan offers home buyers a single mortgage which provides money for home purchase, repairs and improvements. Information is available on HUD's Web site. You may also ask your approved FHA lender for information.

Question: What is RESPA?

Answer: RESPA stands for the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act. RESPA covers conventional mortgage loans on one-to-four family properties, as well as government insured and guaranteed loans. It requires lenders to provide borrowers certain settlement cost and loan information throughout the loan process (i.e., the Good Faith Estimate, Settlement Cost Booklet, HUD-1). RESPA also sets forth certain requirements for loan servicing and escrow accounts. The statute further protects borrowers by prohibiting kickbacks and referral fees which may increase costs in the settlement process. Further information can be found on HUD's web site. You may also call HUD's Customer Service Center for a copy of the helpful brochure "Buying Your Home." The number is (800) 767-7468.

Question: How can I find out about my credit history?

Answer: To find out about your credit standing you may wish to contact the three major credit reporting companies. Experian 1-800-682-7654 Equifax (800) 685-1111 Trans Union (800) 916-8800 A charge ranging from $5 to $20 dollars may be assessed for each copy of your report.

Question: What is an Energy Efficient Mortgage (EEM)?

Answer: FHA's Energy Efficient Mortgage program allows homebuyers to build the cost of energy efficient improvements into their FHA mortgage. The Energy Efficient Mortgage is a great way for homebuyers to save money on future utility bills.

Question: Why do I need a home inspection? Aren't the physical deficiencies noted in the appraisal?

Answer: Appraisals are prepared for lenders; home inspections are for you, the buyer. Home inspections give you detailed information on the physical condition of your new home. For more information and a helpful brochure on home inspection call (800) 569-4287, or check out HUD's Home Buyers information on the web.

Question: Can the mortgage insurance premium be discontinued on an FHA loan?

Answer: If you have an FHA-insured mortgage, your mortgage insurance is a legal agreement between FHA and your lender. As of January 2001, newly FHA-insured mortgages may have premium-discontinuance options that you will want to understand. Carefully read FHA Mortgagee Letters 00-38 and 00-46 so that you are aware of these options when you ask your lender to discontinue the mortgage insurance.

Question: What is a Title I loan? What is the difference between a Title I and a Title II loan?

Answer: A Title I loan is a FHA-insured home improvement loan which can be used for the alteration, repair, or improvement of an existing single family structure; preservation of an historic residential structure listed or eligible to be listed on the National Register of Historic places; or alteration, repair or improvement of an existing manufactured home and/or mobile home classified as personal property or real estate. A Title I loan can also be used to finance the purchase of a new or used manufactured home on an installment contract. Title I home improvement loans are typically offered as 2nd mortgage loans and are available up to $25,000. Loans for purchase of a manufactured home are available up to $69,679 for the home only and $92,904 for the home and lot combined.

A title II loan is a FHA-insured 1st mortgage loan that a borrower can use to help purchase a home as a primary residence. Title II loans are available under a number of programs, including the popular Section 203(b) program which many first-time buyers use to buy a new or existing one-to-four-family home; the Section 203(k) program which allows borrowers to purchase or refinance and rehabilitate their residence if the home is a least one year old; and the Section 234(c) program for borrowers interested in purchasing a condominium residence. For more information contact an FHA approved lender or call the Customer Service/Distribution Center at (800) 767-7468 for written materials such as "Guide to Single Family Home Mortgage Insurance."

Question: How do I register a complaint about the M & M contractor?

Answer: Contact the nearest Homeownership Center. Or call (888) 827-5605.

Question: What is a "SuperNOFA"?

Answer: The "SuperNOFA" is a new streamlined way HUD notifies the public and distributes funding available through its competitive grant programs. Instead of more than 40 disparate, hard to track Notices of Funding Availability (NOFAs), HUD has consolidated information on HUD's competitive programs into three "SuperNOFAs". For more information visit HUD's website or contact your local HUD office.

Question: How do I apply for public housing or Section 8 certificates?

Answer: To apply for public housing or Section 8 certificates or vouchers, you must go to your local housing authority. Each housing authority has a system for accepting applications. For more information on public housing and Section 8 certificates visit HUD's webpage or contact your local HUD office.

Question: What is the "Officer Next Door" program? Can you tell me about the "Teacher Next Door" or the "Firefighter/Emergency Medical Technician Next Door" initiative?

Answer: HUD wants to strengthen America's communities. The "Officer Next Door" program offers HUD-owned, single family homes to law enforcement officers at a discount. It helps to prevent crime and promotes neighborhood safety and security by encouraging law enforcement officers to become resident homeowners in economically-distressed communities. The "Teacher Next Door" (TND) initiative offers HUD-owned, single family homes to public and private school teachers at a 50% discount if certain requirements are met. The TND program recognizes teachers for the value they bring to community and family life, and provides them with increased homeownership opportunities so that they can serve our most needy communities outside the classroom. The most recent addition, "Firefighter/Emergency Medical Technician Next Door" program recognizes these professionals with a discount on a HUD home too.

Question: What is the telephone number for HUD handbooks and forms?

Answer: The telephone number for HUD handbooks and forms is (800) 767-7468. The information may also be located on the HUDclips website.

Question: I'm interested in renting and I don't have much money. Can HUD help me?

Answer: HUD doesn't operate and rent housing directly. But HUD does fund three kinds of local housing assistance that might help you:

  • Public housing, which is low-income housing operated by your local housing authority:
    Section 8 in which the housing authority gives the tenant a certificate or voucher that says the government will subsidize your rent payments. You must find your own housing; and
  • Privately owned subsidized housing, where the government provides subsidies directly to the owner who then applies those subsidies to the rents he/she charges low-income tenants.

Contact your local public housing agency for more information about public housing and Section 8 certificates and vouchers and how you to apply for these programs. If you're interested in privately-owned subsidized housing, you will need to check directly with the management office of rental agencies, which can be found in the classified section of your local newspaper.

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