While it is possible to take out a Federal Housing Authority (FHA) loan to purchase a second home, it’s only allowed in a handful of specific scenarios. Many first-time homebuyers choose an Federal Housing Authority (FHA) loan because of its lower credit score and down payment requirements, so when they need to purchase a second home the natural instinct is to look at financing with a second FHA loan. Read on for more details on how FHA loans work and the few exceptions that allow borrowers to qualify for more than one at a time.
Table of Contents
What Is an FHA Loan?
An FHA loan is a type of mortgage that’s insured by the federal government and issued by a lender. FHA loans were created in 1934 at the height of the Great Depression to make homeownership more accessible. Since the FHA assumes the risk in case of default, lenders are able to offer more favorable loan terms to borrowers who might not otherwise qualify for conventional home mortgage loans.
With an FHA loan, borrowers with credit scores of 580 or more may qualify for a down payment of 3.5% of the home purchase price. (Borrowers with credit scores between 500 and 579 will be required to put 10% down.) These FHA loan requirements are helpful for first-time homebuyers who haven’t built up their credit or borrowers with less savings to put toward a down payment. FHA loans are one of several options for low-income home loans so consider all your options, whether you are thinking about taking out a first or second FHA loan.
Borrowers must also get mortgage insurance with an FHA loan. FHA mortgage insurance involves an upfront premium and an annual payment that’s added to monthly mortgage payments. The upfront premium is equivalent to 1.75% of the loan, while the annual payment is calculated based on the loan-to-value ratio and loan terms.
Besides the purchase of a home, FHA-insured loans are also available for home renovations and refinancing an existing FHA loan.
First-time homebuyers can
prequalify for a SoFi mortgage loan,
with as little as 3% down.
Recommended: How Do FHA 203k Loans Work?
How You Can Get an FHA Loan for a Second Home?
It’s possible to get an FHA loan more than once. For instance, if you’ve sold a prior home and haven’t owned a home for three or more years, you’d qualify as a first-time homebuyer and be eligible for an FHA loan. (And if you have a conventional mortgage on your first home, you may be able to get an FHA loan for a second home provided your credit score is adequate and your budget can handle the cost of a second mortgage; you would also have to occupy the second home as your primary residence.)
Meanwhile, qualifying for a second FHA loan is more complicated. For one, the purchased property must become the primary residence for at least one borrower. This includes a requirement to occupy the property within 60 days and have it be their primary residence for at least one year. These occupancy requirements mean that an FHA loan can’t be used to buy vacation homes or rental properties.
Here are details on the exceptions that permit borrowers to get an FHA loan on a second home:
• Relocation: If moving for employment-related reasons, borrowers who financed their current home with an FHA loan may qualify for a second FHA loan on a new home before or without selling their first property. However, to qualify, the job must be performed on-site and the new home must be located at least 100 miles away from the primary residence that was previously purchased with FHA-backed financing.
• Increase in Family Size: Borrowers may qualify for a second FHA loan to purchase a larger home to accommodate their growing family. This is evaluated on a case-by-case basis but typically requires proof of an increase in legal dependents and having at least 25% equity in the home.
• Vacating a Jointly Owned Property: Borrowers who are getting divorced or permanently vacating a home they inhabited with a co-borrower may qualify for a second FHA loan.
• Cosigning: A borrower who cosigned an FHA loan but didn’t live in the property could qualify for another FHA loan to buy their own home.
Recommended: FHA Loan Mortgage Calculator
FHA Second-Home Requirements
For borrowers who can satisfy one of the exceptions outlined above, the next step is meeting financial eligibility requirements for a second FHA loan. With any loan, and especially a second mortgage, lenders will consider the borrower’s ability to afford monthly payments when determining if they qualify. FHA loans can allow a debt-to-income (DTI) ratio of up to 50%, meaning that half of a borrower’s income is going to debt payments. Lenders, however, may look for a lower DTI of 43%, accounting for the cost of both mortgages, to approve a second FHA loan.
Borrowers will need to meet FHA loan credit score criteria to determine whether they’ll need to put 3.5% or 10% down. Besides the down payment, lenders also factor in savings for covering closing costs and monthly payments.
Pros and Cons of Multiple FHA Loans
There are advantages and drawbacks to having FHA loans for borrowers to keep in mind.
• A smaller down payment
• No income limits
• Lower credit score requirements
• Can be used to purchase duplexes, triplexes, quadplexes, or condominiums
• May have lower mortgage insurance premiums than private mortgage insurance
• Loan limits of $472,030 to $1,089,300 for a single-family home, depending on the cost of living by state
• May require an inspection and higher property standards
• Can only be used for buying a primary residence
• May require mortgage insurance for the life of the loan
Tips if You’re Considering Multiple FHA Loans
Consider these tips to be prepared to apply for a second FHA loan: To lower your DTI, you’ll either need to increase your income or lower your debt. Using your first home for rental income can demonstrate to lenders that you can afford having two mortgages. When evaluating debt, remember that established credit that’s in good standing is viewed more favorably than newer credit accounts.
Building more equity in the home you currently own is another option to help qualify for a second FHA loan. If possible, aim for at least 25% equity before applying for a second FHA loan, as this is the minimum required if you are citing an increase in family size as the exception.
Can you get an FHA loan if you already have an FHA loan? Yes, but there are specific exceptions you’ll need to meet in order to qualify, and the new property must be used as a primary residence for at least one year. Not able to take out two FHA loans at once? Don’t worry. There are other options for borrowing that may suit your needs.
Looking for an affordable option for a home mortgage loan? SoFi can help: We offer low down payments (as little as 3% - 5%*) with our competitive and flexible home mortgage loans. Plus, applying is extra convenient: It's online, with access to one-on-one help.
What will disqualify you from an FHA loan?
Borrowers could be disqualified from an FHA loan based on a high debt-to-income ratio, poor credit, or insufficient funds to cover the down payment, closing costs, and monthly mortgage payment.
Can you qualify for FHA twice?
Yes, you can get a second FHA loan if you are relocating for a new job, move at least 100 miles away, have an increase in family size, or vacate a jointly owned property. Borrowers who previously co-signed on someone else’s FHA loan may also qualify for FHA twice.
What is the 100 mile rule for FHA loans?
The 100-mile rule allows borrowers to get a second FHA loan without having to sell an existing property with a FHA-backed mortgage if they’re moving for employment-related reasons or buying a new primary residence that’s at least 100 miles away.
Photo credit: iStock/nazar_ab
*SoFi requires Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) for conforming home loans with a loan-to-value (LTV) ratio greater than 80%. As little as 3% down payments are for qualifying first-time homebuyers only. 5% minimum applies to other borrowers. Other loan types may require different fees or insurance (e.g., VA funding fee, FHA Mortgage Insurance Premiums, etc.). Loan requirements may vary depending on your down payment amount, and minimum down payment varies by loan type.
¹FHA loans are subject to unique terms and conditions established by FHA and SoFi. Ask your SoFi loan officer for details about eligibility, documentation, and other requirements. FHA loans require an Upfront Mortgage Insurance Premium (UFMIP), which may be financed or paid at closing, in addition to monthly Mortgage Insurance Premiums (MIP). Maximum loan amounts vary by county. The minimum FHA mortgage down payment is 3.5% for those who qualify financially for a primary purchase. SoFi is not affiliated with any government agency.
SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891 (Member FDIC). For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal. Equal Housing Lender.
Terms, conditions, and state restrictions apply. Not all products are available in all states. See SoFi.com/eligibility for more information.
Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.
Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.