When does an FHA Streamline Refinance Make Sense?The FHA streamline refinance is not right for everyone, but if rates significantly dropped or you can afford a fixed-rate loan and want out of an ARM, it can make sense. If you’ll stay in the home for the foreseeable future, you can either save money on interest or have a more predictable payment.

Before you jump on board, ask yourself:

  • Am I saving enough money to make the cost of refinancing worth it?
  • Would I feel more at ease with a fixed-rate loan versus an ARM?

When Doesn’t an FHA Streamline Refinance Make Sense?

Like we said, sometimes it doesn’t make sense to refinance.

First, make sure you can afford the closing costs. Unlike most other loan programs, you cannot roll your closing costs into the loan. Make sure you have the money to cover the closing costs plus the FHA upfront mortgage insurance fee equal to 1.75% of the loan amount. You may get a credit for some of the insurance you paid already.

Next, make sure the interest changes are enough to refinance. Just because you get a lower rate, doesn’t mean it automatically makes sense. Look at the big picture. Is the payment lower? Are the over loan costs lower? Look at the loan’s total cost over the entire term to decide.

Pros and Cons of the FHA Streamline Refinance


  • Simple to qualify for and use
  • You may be eligible for an FHA MIP refund
  • No appraisal necessary
  • No credit check or income verification needed
  • A simple way to lower your payment or change your loan’s term


  • You owe closing costs upfront
  • You’ll pay the upfront MIP again
  • You’ll start your loan term over again

FAQ – FHA Streamline Refinance

Do you have to pay closing costs on the FHA streamline refinance?

Yes, you always have to pay the closing costs upfront on the FHA streamline refinance. Some lenders may offer a no-closing cost loan, but the interest rate will be higher. This may negate the net tangible benefits of refinancing.

Do you need an appraisal for the FHA streamline refinance?

No, the FHA doesn’t require an FHA appraisal. This also means you don’t have to worry about making specific repairs to meet the FHA minimum property requirements.

Is there a minimum credit score required for the FHA streamline refinance?

The FHA doesn’t require lenders to pull credit for the FHA streamline refinance. If your lender pulls credit, they’ll typically require between a 580 – 640 to qualify, though.

Final Thoughts

If you have an FHA loan and know rates dropped lower than what you pay now, look into your options. You don’t have to use the same lender, so shop around and get at least 3 quotes.

Look at your options, comparing the rate, closing costs, and overall loan term. To qualify, you must have an on-time mortgage payment history plus prove you benefit from the refinance. It can be a great way to save money on your loan if you look for the best loan possible. 

What is an FHA Streamline Refinance?FHA borrowers have an exceptional program available to them called the FHA streamline refinance. It’s a simple way to get a lower mortgage payment and/or lower rate, but it’s not for everyone.

Read this guide to learn all about FHA streamline refinance and how it works.

What is an FHA Streamline Refinance?

The FHA streamline refinance allows FHA borrowers to skip most underwriting tasks including income and credit verification. It’s a simplified way to get a lower rate or change your loan’s term to get a more predictable payment.

Who is Eligible?

To be eligible for the FHA streamline refinance, you must be a current FHA borrower with a current loan. To qualify, you must meet these requirements:

  • Have an on-time payment history of at least 12 months
  • You must have owned the home for at least 210 days (6 mortgage payments)
  • Show you benefit from the refinance

The on-time payment history shows lenders you can afford a higher mortgage payment with a higher rate and/or riskier terms. Since the streamline refinance should lower your payment or improve your term, it should be even easier to afford the loan.

You must prove there is a net tangible benefit to refinancing. This could mean a lower payment, lower interest rate, or refinancing from an ARM to a fixed-rate term. It must make sense for you to refinance to qualify.

How Does it Work?

If you use the non-credit qualifying version of the FHA streamline refinance, you may not have to verify your credit score or credit history. Some lenders may check it though, so always make sure your credit is in good standing.

If you aren’t sure, pull your credit reports and see if there is any negative credit history you should fix before applying. Look specifically for any late mortgage payments, late consumer payments (credit cards, personal loans, etc.), or overextended credit (using up over 30% of your credit lines).

Most lenders don’t verify your income or employment and you won’t need a new appraisal. Lenders use the value from your original appraisal to determine your LTV and eligibility for the loan.

Most FHA streamline refinance loans close much faster than a traditional refinance because of the smaller documentation and verification requirements.

FHA Mortgage Insurance Refunds

Another great aspect of the FHA streamline refinance is the FHA upfront MIP refund. You’re eligible for the refund from 6 months after taking out your FHA loan up until 36 months. You’ll earn a prorated refund each month.

For example:

  • Month 6 – 70% refund
  • Month 12 – 58% refund
  • Month 18 – 46% refund
  • Month 24 – 34% refund
  • Month 36 – 10% refund

This refund directly lowers the amount of upfront MIP you owe at the closing, lowering your closing costs.

Final Thoughts

The FHA streamline refinance is great for current FHA borrowers who want to take advantage of today’s low rates or better terms. It’s a simple program that most borrowers qualify for as long as they have an on-time payment history and can show they benefit from the refinance.

Borrowers With Student Loans Might Have An Easier Time Qualifying For An FHA LoanIn the past, a lot of potential borrowers were declined for FHA loans due to the presence of student loans. Now, the Biden Administration along with the FHA has eased a lot of their regulations surrounding student loans, making it easier for borrowers with student loans to qualify for a home loan. The FHA required that FHA mortgage companies calculated the monthly student loan payment as one percent of their outstanding loan balance if the loans were not fully amortized; however, this is now changing.

The One Percent Rule Is Not Always Accurate

Even though the one percent payment rule has been in place for a long time, it is not always the most accurate way of evaluating the size of a borrower’s potential loan payments. For example, a lot of students are on income-adjusted repayment plans, meaning they are not necessarily paying as much as one percent of the outstanding balance every month. This means that some borrowers were getting declined even though they may have had enough money to pay back the mortgage. With numerous borrowers owing more than $100,000 in loans, many applicants for homes were turned down. 

New Guidelines Are Being Put In Place

Under the new guidelines, lenders can use a buyer’s actual monthly payment in terms of debt calculations even if that payment is less than one percent of the total balance of the loan. If the income-adjusted repayment plan means the borrower is not currently paying anything, then the lender will apply 0.5 percent of the outstanding loan balance every month instead of one percent.

A Boost To Borrowers With Student Loans

This change is significant because it alters the way lenders are calculating the debt-to-income ratio. If student loans are no longer making up a large portion of a borrower’s monthly debt payments in the calculation, they might have an easier time qualifying for a first-time home loan. Anyone with student loans who is interested in taking out an FHA loan should talk to a loan officer who is familiar with the updated guidelines. Even applicants who were denied in the past might have a chance to qualify for a home loan under the new rules. 

FHA Cash-Out Refinance – are you Eligible?If you have equity in your home, you may wonder how you can access it. You don’t want to sell your home, but you know you’ve earned a profit from it.

We have many options to secure your home’s equity, one of which is the FHA cash-out refinance. Unlike the FHA streamline refinance, you don’t have to be a current FHA borrower. As long as you meet the requirements below, you can use an FHA loan to cash into your home’s equity.

Qualifying for the FHA Cash-Out Refinance

Like an FHA purchase loan, the FHA cash-out refinance has simple requirements:

  • Minimum 600 credit score
  • Maximum 43% debt-to-income ratio
  • Proof you’ll occupy the property as your primary residence
  • Stable income and employment for 2 years
  • Over 20% home equity
  • Make at least 12 months of timely payments on your current loan

How Much Can You Borrow?

The FHA cash-out refinance allows you to tap into your home’s equity, but you must leave 20% untouched.

Here’s an example: 

Your home is worth $300,000 and your current mortgage is $150,000. With a new FHA cash-out refinance, you can borrow up to $240,000, but first, you must deduct the amount of your outstanding mortgage.

This leaves you with $90,000 in equity.

$300,000 x.8 = $240,000
$240,000 – $150,000 = $90,000

If you can afford the payment without going over the 43% debt-to-income ratio requirement, you could take out $90,000 from your home’s equity, leaving $60,000 untouched.

How to Use an FHA Cash-Out Refinance

The nice thing about the FHA cash-out refinance is you don’t have to justify how you’re using the funds. You earned the equity and it’s your right to withdraw it, but here are a few common uses:

  • Home renovations, repairs, or additions
  • Debt consolidation
  • Pay for college or prepay for a college education
  • Consolidate a first and second mortgage
  • Save as an emergency fund

How to get an FHA Cash-Out Refinance

Securing an FHA cash-out refinance is simple using these steps:

  • Complete an application and get pre-approved by a lender, compare your options and see if you qualify for any other cash-out loan including a conventional cash-out refinance
  • Decide which loan you want, including if you want a fixed-rate or ARM
  • Provide the documentation required including paystubs, W-2s, tax returns, asset statements, and proof of employment
  • Arrange an appraisal time with the appraiser (you’ll need a new appraisal)
  • Work with the loan officer to clear your conditions
  • Close on the loan and receive your cash

Bottom Line

If you’re thinking about tapping into your home’s equity, an FHA cash-out refinance can be a great option, especially if you have less-than-perfect credit. FHA loans have flexible guidelines and allow borrowers to get the money they need to complete their life goals.

You’ve worked hard to earn your home’s equity. If you need it for other purposes, let us help you access it. We’ll discuss your options, go over the costs, and make sure it’s the right option for you!