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FHA Loan in Gadsden County, Florida: Learn About the Low Down Payment Options

Are you thinking about owning your dream home but having insufficient cash to pay for your down payment? There’s some good news; you can get down payment assistance if you opt for a government-backed loan. Many prospective homeowners prefer the FHA home loan, thanks to its massive benefits.

Besides down payment assistance, it allows lenient credit score requirements, flexible repayment terms, and favorable income requirements.

Discover the different types of an FHA loan and the eligibility criteria to get the loan. Plus, you’ll understand standard down payment assistance programs available for prospective home buyers.

Understanding FHA Loans

An FHA Home Loan is a government-insured mortgage program under the Federal Housing Administration (FHA).

Although the government backs the program, mortgage financing doesn’t originate from the FHA but from approved lending institutions such as banks and credit unions.

Many first-time buyers prefer FHA Home Loans, thanks to the lucrative down payment assistance programs.

An FHA Loan aims to empower low or middle-income earners to attain home ownership and hence has lenient loan terms for the borrower.

In addition, the government backing cushions the lender against financial losses if the borrower defaults on the loan.

What Are the Types of FHA Home Loans?

The FHA allows qualified home buyers to apply for different loans under the government-backed program. You can opt for a suitable loan type depending on your housing preferences and loan qualifications.

Generally, FHA Home Loans are available under the following classifications:

Traditional Home Loan

The traditional home loan is the preference of most prospective buyers looking forward to owning their first home. Typically, the loan finances a primary residence of your choice if it meets the FHA’s property requirements.

FHA 203(k) Home Improvement Loan

Are you looking for a home loan that helps you buy a house with extra cash for home improvements? The 203(k) home improvement loan is all you need. The package is ideal for those wishing to buy a fixer-upper property while saving up some cash in home equity.

As a requirement, the minimum amount you can borrow is $5,000, and the repairs you wish to undertake must be completed within six months.

You can use an FHA 203(k) loan for many purposes, including;

  • Floor replacement.
  • Home modernization.
  • Roof replacement.
  • Plumbing works.
  • Structural repairs.

Home Equity Conversion Mortgage

Are you a senior aged 62 years or more? Do you want some cash to meet household expenses in your retirement?

You can now convert your home equity into cash and still retain the title to your property through an equity conversion mortgage. You can also withdraw your funds in a fixed monthly account or an equity line of credit.

FHA Energy Efficient Loan

The FHA supports a robust mortgage program for homeowners to upgrade their energy efficiency. You can install home insulation or eco-friendly energy systems through this mortgage to reduce your energy utility bills.

FHA Section 245(a) Loan

The FHA advances loans to low and middle-income households who have a projected positive growth in their income levels. The program starts with a low initial payout and a guaranteed annual increase for the borrower.

Eligibility Criteria for FHA Home Loans

Like other mortgages, FHA Loans have specific requirements that you should meet to qualify. Generally, your lender will verify your qualifications, starting with your social security number and age. It would help if you were a lawful US resident to qualify for the loan.

Some more stringent requirements include the following;

FHA Down Payment

The down payment is a fraction of the total home value you pay upfront before acquiring the loan. Generally, an FHA Loan requires a minimum down payment of 3.5% of the home value. However, if your credit score exceeds 580, lenders may require a minimum down payment of 10% of the home value.

Lenders accept cash down payments, including personal savings and cash gifts. In the case of cash gifts, some lenders may require formal evidence showing the origin of the gift.

On the other hand, if you’re using personal savings for a down payment, an effortless way is to deposit the cash in a savings account for at least 60 days. Afterward, you can withdraw the money when you find a suitable house to buy.

Credit Score

The FHA doesn’t have a credit score limit for prospective borrowers. However, many lenders follow an agreed credit score limit to qualify for the loan.

Generally, a minimum credit score of 500 is ideal if you wish to get a loan. By comparison, FHA loans allow lenient credit scores, unlike conventional mortgages that require at least 620.

History of Debt Payment

Your history of honoring debt payments is critical when applying for the FHA loan. As a result, lenders will examine your history of paying essential utility bills such as rent, electricity, water, and many more.

Moreover, some lenders may reject your application if you fall behind on paying loans or income tax or have a record of foreclosure on previous loans. Following a foreclosure or bankruptcy, you should demonstrate you have re-established a good credit standing with the last lender before applying for the FHA mortgage.

Mortgage Insurance

An FHA loan requires two forms of mortgage insurance premiums (MIP); upfront and annual payment. The upfront MIP is 1.75% of the total loan amount, payable when closing the loan. It covers your mortgage payments if you default on the loan. For this reason, most lenders will require you to deposit the upfront MIP in an escrow account overseen by the US Treasury Department.

Similarly, you’ll pay an annual MIP to the lender, deductible every month. Although the cost depends on the loan amount and duration, most lenders will charge an annual MIP of 0.45%-1.05% of the loan amount.

Proof of Income

FHA loans have less stringent income requirements for borrowers. Generally, lenders will require an assurance that you can pay the loan entirely, as evidenced by your income. Thus, an accurate tax return statement, up-to-date balance sheet, or annual profit and loss statement is sufficient to prove your income.

Lenders also prefer a debt-to-income (DTI) ratio not exceeding 43% of their gross income before issuing the loan.

What Type of Property Qualifies for an FHA Loan?

The FHA mortgage doesn’t support buying a commercial investment or rental property. Thus, the property you wish to acquire must be your primary residence. When choosing a suitable property, you can opt for a detached, semi-detached, condominium, or suburban house, depending on your needs.

Other property requirements to consider are as follows;

  • Pass home appraisal by an FHA-approved appraiser.

  • Occupy the property within 60 days after acquisition.

  • Have the home inspected to ensure it meets property standards.

  • Have the home repaired in case of fundamental flaws in design or damages.

FHA Loan Limits for Gadsden County, Florida

The FHA limits the maximum amounts you can borrow to buy your dream home. The annual loan limits determine the amount the FHA will insure on the property you buy. It all depends on the local property values within your county.

Generally, high-cost areas like Miami, the Virgin Islands, Hawaii, Guam, and Alaska have higher loan limits than low-end residences.

In Gadsden County, the loan limits depend on the number of living units found on your dream property. Limits range from $420,680 for a single-unit home to $809,150 for a four-unit home. However, the maximum limit for a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage is $970,800, regardless of the property size.

Below is a summary of the FHA Loan limits in Gadsden County:

  • Single living unit - $420,680
  • Two living units (Duplex) - $538,650
  • Three living units (Triplex) - $651,050
  • Four living units: (Quadplex) - $809,150

Paper with FHA loan on a table with pen and magnifier

Down Payment Assistance Programs

One of the outstanding features of the government-insured loan is the down payment assistance. It is a robust program for first-time buyers to obtain financing from charity programs and mortgage financiers. Generally, you can obtain up to $10,000 in down payment assistance when applying for an FHA home loan.

How Does the Program Work?

The funding is available to qualified applicants through grants and affordable loans. Depending on the assistance program, some financiers will award you a percentage of the property’s resale value or a fixed dollar amount. Eligibility depends on your credit history, household income, and state jurisdiction.

Some lenders will also require you to receive home buyer training before giving down payment assistance. The bottom line is understanding the financier’s requirements when applying for down payment assistance.

Down payment assistance programs are available in the following forms;


Most prospective buyers prefer grants since they don’t have to repay later. The downside, however, is that some grants may restrict the home occupancy and the type of home to buy.

For instance, some financiers may only fund homes in designated locations, while others may require you to occupy the home for 3-10 years after obtaining the grant.

Zero Interest Loans

Home buyers can take advantage of zero-interest loans to offset down payments. Usually, zero-interest loans are second mortgages, payable within an agreed period.

For instance, the lender may give you a loan and exempt you from repaying until you occupy the home for an agreed duration. If you move out or sell the property before the period elapsed, you’ll settle a portion or whole of the loan.

Differed Loans

Like forgivable loans, these loans attract zero interest and have a deferred repayment system. Usually, the lender doesn’t expect payment unless you move out of the property, sell it, refinance your first mortgage, or settle your outstanding loan balance. Most homeowners use the proceeds from selling the property to offset the loan.

Low-Interest Loans

A low-interest loan is another suitable way to obtain down payment financing. Under this program, an approved lender will allow you to take a second mortgage on top of your FHA mortgage and use the funds to clear your down payment.

Most lenders require a monthly payment on low-interest loans; hence you’ll pay two mortgages each month, with one having an extremely low-interest rate. Sometimes, the lender could give you a second loan at a zero-interest rate.

Matched Savings

The matched savings program allows you to deposit an agreed amount in an account administered by a bank, government agency, or approved lender. Your financier then deposits an equivalent amount in the same account. Afterward, you can withdraw the whole amount to offset your down payment.

Top 5 Outdoor Activities to Explore in Gadsden County, Florida

Gadsden County is a small dwelling in the US state of Florida. The county is America’s only dwelling with a dominant African-American population. The county derived its name from James Gadsden, a former aide de camp to former governor Andrew Jackson.

A visit to Gadsden County will grant you new adventures and unlimited opportunities to explore many outdoor activities. You can visit the downtown museums, watch some shows at the theatre, or order a five-course meal in a Hispanic restaurant. You could also sip hot coffee in one of the cafes spread across the streets.

Here are the top five outdoor activities to explore in Gadsden County:

Learning Tobacco History at the Shade Tobacco Museum

Although tobacco farming is currently obsolete, Gadsden County was a popular tobacco hub. However, a monumental museum stands tall with a rich history of the once thriving tobacco sector.

At the tobacco museum, you’ll sample some of the finest cigars ever made and the tools used in tobacco production. You’ll also learn something about the cigar manufacturing process.

Viewing Nature at the Lake Talquin State Forest

Lake Talquin forest in Quincy is a 17,000-acre natural land with pristine vegetation and wildlife. The natural forest has classic trails and a perfect wilderness for outdoor activities. For instance, you can watch wild birds or walk the trails as you view sand hills, ravines, and other natural features.

If you wish to camp for more days, you won’t get disappointed either since the High Buff camping zone is an ideal campsite for picnics and camping. You could also try horseback riding and cycling around the nature trails.

Relaxing at the Natural Bridge Battlefield State Park

The present location of the Natural Bridge Battlefield State Park is where Florida’s second largest civil battle took place. From the onset, the park displays a memorial commemorating the soldiers who defended the natural bridge. As a result, the park is a rich hub, symbolic of the great war.

If you’re lucky to visit the park in March, you could watch a live show commemorating the famous Natural Bridge Battle. Besides the war memorial, the park is home to St. Mark’s River, a famous waterfront for angling.

The park also offers many outdoor hiking opportunities, wildlife viewing, kayaking, and bird watching. You can also opt for a guided tour or host a family picnic inside the park.

Viewing Artwork at the Gadsden Arts Center & Museum

The Gadsden Arts Center and Museum is a nationally accredited center for local art exhibitions and cultural and historical galleries. Primarily, it features contemporary artwork from the Southeastern US.

It is also an educational hub with rich programs for children of all ages; hence, you can take them to educational exhibitions at the museum annually. You could also buy artifacts at the Fletcher Museum Shop to promote local talent.

Dining at a Hispanic Restaurant

As of the 2020 census, Gadsden had a population of 43,826, with 11.2% of the total population being Hispanic or Latino. As a result, Hispanic dishes now form an essential part of many American homes. Also, Hispanic restaurants include a large portion of the restaurant industry in Gadsden County.

Some high-end restaurants serving Hispanic cuisines include El Tamaulipeco, Laredo Grill, Las Delicias, and The Iron Daisy. A county tour is not complete until you sample mouthwatering dishes like tortillas, chips, chili, salsa, tacos, and burritos.

FHA Home Loan - Is It Worth Anything?

The US National Congress enacted the law permitting the creation of the Federal Housing Administration. The aim was to enable low-income households to become homeowners despite the challenging economic times. As a result, home ownership has steadily risen, thanks to the government-backed mortgage.

The mortgage has lenient eligibility requirements, including lower down payment, lower credit score, negotiable history of debt payment, and little income requirement. So, an FHA Loan is the perfect match if you’re on the mortgage market for a loan with lenient credit terms.

An even better deal is that you can get financing for your down payment through financial assistance programs from charity organizations. Contact the Federal Housing Administration or an accredited lender to check if you qualify for FHA home financing.

With over 50 years of mortgage industry experience, we are here to help you achieve the American dream of owning a home. We strive to provide the best education before, during, and after you buy a home. Our advice is based on experience with Phil Ganz and Team closing over One billion dollars and helping countless families.

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