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FHA loans take about the same amount of time to be processed as a conventional or VA loan, approximately 45 days. That includes the entire process, from the loan application to the final approval and closing. Here’s a quick breakdown of the FHA loan approval timeline as outlined by the FHA handbook:

  • Underwriting: 10-20 days
  • Appraisal: less than a week
  • Closing (i.e. the rest): 3 weeks – 3 months

Keep in mind however that there are a dozen different variables that can affect the time your loan takes to close. What can often take an extended amount of time for FHA loans, however, is finding out if the property that meets FHA standards.

FHA Home Requirements

The FHA loan is designed to protect the buyer by setting certain standards that a home must meet for safety. If you use an FHA loan to buy a house, the property will have to be appraised and inspected by a HUD-approved home appraiser.

This individual will determine the current market value of the property, and will also inspect it to ensure it meets HUD’s minimum property standards. Here are some of the highlights they will be looking for during an appraisal inspection:

  • The home must be habitable and comfortable, without any potential hazards to the occupant.
  • The lot must be graded in a way that prevents moisture from entering the basement and/or foundation. In other words, the lot should be sloped to allow water to drain away from the house — not toward it.
  • All bedrooms should have access to the exterior, for reasons of fire safety. For example, no bars on the windows.
  • Lead paint. Many homes built before 1978 still contain lead-based paint, a potential health hazard. In these homes, the appraiser will check for damaged paint (peeling, chipping, etc.). Such conditions must be corrected before the loan will go through.
  • All steps and stairways must have a handrail for safety. This is a commonly cited discrepancy during FHA appraisals.
  • The heating system must be sufficient to create “healthful and comfortable living conditions” inside the home.
  • The roof should be in a good state of repair and must keep moisture from entering the home.
  • The foundation should be in good condition.

It’s a long a lengthy list and the best way to make sure you find a property that will meet the strict standards, is by specifically vetting a condo property before you decide to by. You can search here on the HUD website for FHA approved condos in your area.

FHA Loan Limits

The FHA has a maximum loan amount that it will insure, which is known as the FHA lending limit. This will also have a huge determining factor in your home choice if you decide to get an FHA loan.

These loan limits are calculated and updated annually, and are influenced by the conventional loan limits set by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The type of home, such as single-family or duplex, can also affect these numbers. 

Here are the FHA mortgage loan limits for the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim area, for 2017:

  • Single family: $636,150
  • Two-family: $814,500
  • Three-family: $984,525
  • Four-family: $1,223,475

FHA loan limits for San Diego County:

  • Single family: $612,950
  • Two-family: $784,700
  • Three-family: $984,500
  • Four-family: $1,178,750

The best way to ensure a speedy closing with an FHA loan is to work with an experienced real estate agent who knows the ins and outs of the HUD regulations. Reach out and we’ll connect you with a First Team Real Estate agent near you who can help.