Chicago FHA Loans in 2024 – A Ultimate Guide to Homeownership in the Windy City

Chicago FHA Loans in 2024 – A Ultimate Guide to Homeownership in the Windy City

Mortgage Broker
Alex MacLagan
Published on January 10, 2024
Chicago FHA Loans

Chicago FHA Loans in 2024 – A Ultimate Guide to Homeownership in the Windy City

Getting an FHA loan in Chicago can be a great way to finance your home purchase, especially if you’re a first-time homebuyer. This comprehensive guide tells you everything you need to know about FHA loans in Chicago.

FHA Loan Qualifier (Jun 25th, 2024)

What is an FHA Loan?

An FHA loan is a mortgage insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). Because these Chicago FHA loans are government insured loans, lenders are more willing to approve borrowers with lower credit scores and smaller down payments.

Key features of FHA loans include:

FHA Loan Qualifier (Jun 25th, 2024)
  • Down payments as low as 3.5%
  • Lenient credit score requirements – usually 580+
  • Low interest rates
  • Allows gifts for down payment

Chicago FHA loans make home buying more accessible for first-time home buyers and those with lower incomes.

FHA Loan Requirements

To qualify for an FHA loan in Chicago, you'll need to meet a few key requirements:

Credit Score: A minimum credit score of 580 is required. Scores between 500-579 may also qualify but require a higher down payment.

FHA Loan Qualifier (Jun 25th, 2024)

Debt-to-Income Ratio: Your total debt payments should not exceed 56.9% of your gross monthly income. This includes your new mortgage payment.

Down Payment: Down payments can be as low as 3.5% of the purchase price if your credit score is 580+. Lower credit scores require 10% down. Gifts and grants can fund your entire down payment.

Homebuyer Education: First-time homebuyers are not required to complete a homebuyer education course.

FHA Loan Qualifier (Jun 25th, 2024)

As long as you meet all eligibility criteria, Chicago FHA loans can be easier to qualify for than conventional mortgages.

FHA Loan Limits in Chicago

The FHA sets limits on the maximum loan amount they will insure based on averages home prices in the area. Here are the current FHA loan limits for Chicago and surrounding counties:

Area 1-Unit Limit 2-Unit Limit 3-Unit Limit 4-Unit Limit
Chicago $498,257 $637,950 $771,125 $958,350
Suburban Cook County $498,257 $637,950 $771,125 $958,350
DuPage County $498,257 $637,950 $771,125 $958,350
Kane County $498,257 $637,950 $771,125 $958,350
Will County $498,257 $637,950 $771,125 $958,350

So if you're buying a single family home or condo in the Chicago metro area, your FHA loan cannot exceed $498,257. Additional limits apply for 2-4 unit properties.

FHA Loan Qualifier (Jun 25th, 2024)

Interest Rates for Chicago FHA Loans

Current interest rates on 30-year fixed FHA loans in Chicago are averaging around 6.5% as of January 2024. Rates can vary significantly by lender, so by working with a mortgage broker like MacLagan Home Loans, we will shop around to get you the best interest rate possible. 

In addition to shopping lenders, having a good credit score, lower debt-to-income ratio and making a larger down payment can help you qualify for a lower FHA interest rate.

Qualifying for an FHA Loan

As an FHA-approved lender, MacLagan Home Loans can help determine if you may qualify for an FHA loan and match you with a customized rate quote.

FHA Loan Qualifier (Jun 25th, 2024)

Our online prequalification form takes just 5 minutes to complete. We'll review factors like your:

  • Income
  • Assets
  • Credit history
  • Existing debts
  • Intended down payment amount

From there, we can issue a preapproval letter to certify you for a maximum FHA loan amount and interest rate. Preapprovals make your offer stand out when bidding on homes!

Applying for a Chicago FHA Loan

Once you are ready, it’s time to complete a FHA mortgage application and supply all required documentation to complete your pre-approval. Then, we will issue you a pre-approval letter so you can start submitting offers on any houses you want to buy.. 

FHA Loan Qualifier (Jun 25th, 2024)

Documents commonly needed include:

  • Pay stubs: Last 30 Days
  • W2s: Last 2 years
  • Tax returns: Last 2 Years 
  • Bank statements: Last 2 Months
  • Debt information

Once you have your house under contract, we will send out initial mortgage disclosures, order an appraisal, finalize your approval, schedule closing and handle every mortgage detail for you from start to finish!

Pros and Cons of Chicago FHA Loans


FHA Loan Qualifier (Jun 25th, 2024)
  • Low down payments (3.5%)
  • Lenient credit score requirements
  • Gift funds can pay your down payment
  • Lower monthly mortgage insurance


  • Upfront and annual mortgage insurance premiums
  • Strict underwriting and appraisal guidelines
  • Limited maximum loan amounts in pricier markets
  • Refinancing into a conventional loan can be difficult

While they have some drawbacks, Chicago FHA loans open homeownership to borrowers who may not qualify through conventional lending channels.

Types of FHA Loans

There are many different types of Chicago FHA Loans for home buyers and homeowners in for any situation.

FHA Loan Qualifier (Jun 25th, 2024)

FHA loans, backed by the Federal Housing Administration, offer flexibility and affordability for homebuyers with varied needs. Here’s a breakdown of different types available:

  1. FHA Loans (203(b)): Most common type of  FHA loan used for purchasing or refinancing primary residences. Requires at least 3.5% down payment for credit scores above 580, 10% for lower scores.
  1. FHA 203(k) Rehabilitation Loan: Combines financing for buying/refinancing and essential home repairs/improvements. Two categories: Standard (larger projects, potential temporary displacement) and Limited ($35,000 project cap, must remain habitable).
  1. FHA Energy Efficient Mortgage (EM): Lower interest rates for energy-efficient home purchases or energy-saving renovations. Requires energy-saving features and Energy Star certification.
  1. FHA Good Neighbor Next Door Program: Discounts for teachers, police officers, firefighters, and emergency medical technicians buying homes in revitalization areas. Requires minimum occupancy period and property location criteria.
  1. FHA Manufactured Home Loan (Title I): Financing for purchasing or refinancing manufactured homes and/or their lots. Specific property requirements and loan-to-value limits apply.
  1. FHA Reverse Mortgage (HECM): Allows homeowners 62+ to access a portion of their home’s equity as monthly payments or a line of credit. No repayment required while living in the home, but interest accrues and reduces equity over time.
  1. FHA Section 203(h) Disaster Victims Mortgage: Offers special terms and flexibility for rebuilding or buying homes in federally declared disaster areas. Lower down payment requirements and reduced documentation needed.
  1. FHA Streamline Refinance: Simplifies refinancing for existing FHA loans with reduced documentation and faster processing times. Requires being current on mortgage payments and meeting specific eligibility criteria and no appraisal is needed.

Alternatives to Chicago FHA Loans

If you don't qualify for an FHA loan, here are a couple alternatives worth considering:

Conventional Mortgage: Similar to an FHA loan but with slightly higher credit score requirements (620+) and MI rates. Down payments as low as 3% for first time home buyers.

FHA Loan Qualifier (Jun 25th, 2024)

USDA Loan: For low-income buyers purchasing in designated rural/suburban areas. 100% financing available.

Down payment assistance: State and local programs provide grants (forgivable loans and second mortgages) to cover your down payment and closing costs. Eligibility varies.

VA Loan: For qualifying military service members and veterans. Requires no down payment or PMI.

FHA Loan Qualifier (Jun 25th, 2024)

Don't assume homeownership is out of reach! With multiple options available, connecting with a lending professional is key to navigating the loans and down payment programs available to you.

Ready to Explore Your Chicago FHA Loan Options?

Now that you know the basics of FHA lending, MacLagan Home Loans Is here to simplify the mortgage process and find the right financing solution for your situation, whether that's an FHA loan or an alternative option.

If you are in the market to purchase a new home or refinance your existing mortgage in Arlington Heights, Aurora, Berwyn, Bolingbrook, Cicero, Des Plaines, Elgin, Evanston, Hoffman Estates, Joliet, McHenry, Mount Prospect, Naperville, Oak Lawn, Oak Park, Orland Park, Palatine, Schaumburg, Skokie, Tinley Park, Waukegan, Wheaton or anywhere else in the Chicagoland area, call Alex MacLagan and his team of experts below, or take our FHA Loan Qualifier by clicking the button below to get started.

FHA Loan Qualifier (Jun 25th, 2024)

Alex MacLagan

MacLagan Home Loans

1015 Deerfield Rd, Unit 235

FHA Loan Qualifier (Jun 25th, 2024)

Deerfield, IL 60015

Phone: 847-899-6882

What is the FHA Loan Limit in Chicago?

FHA loan limits varies by county and change every year. As of 2024, here are the FHA loan limits for Chicago
1-Unit: $498,257
2-Unit: $637,950
3-Unit: $771,125
4-Unit: $958,350

FHA Loan Qualifier (Jun 25th, 2024)

Is it hard to get approved for a FHA loan?

FHA loans are typically easier to get approved for than conventional mortgages. They have a lower minimum credit score to qualify a 580 (You can get approved with a 500 credit score but the FHA loan guidelines tighten up. The maximum debt-to-income ration is also higher at 56.9%.

What credit score do you need to buy a house in Chicago?

All you need is a 580 credit score to qualify for a FHA loan with a 3.5% down payment.

How fast are FHA loans approved?

At MacLagan Home Loans, we can close your FHA loans within 14 days. On average it takes most lenders 45 days to close out a FHA loan. As a home buyer when your mortgage is approved with conditions, the quicker you can get your conditions sent in, the quicker we can close on your mortgage.

FHA Loan Qualifier (Jun 25th, 2024)

What is the downside to a FHA loan?

Here are some of the negatives of a FHA loan:

Upfront Mortgage Insurance: Upfront mortgage insurance is 1.75% of the loan amount. This can be paid at closing or financed.

Monthly Mortgage Insurance: Mortgage insurance on a FHA loan is 0.55%.

FHA Loan Qualifier (Jun 25th, 2024)

Passing the FHA Inspection: During your appraisal, the home you are purchasing must met the FHA handbook for health and safety. If it does not your appraisal comes back subject to repairs. These repairs need to be completed before your FHA loan can be closed.

Are FHA loans only for first time home buyers?

-A Minimum FICO® score at least 580 is required with a 3.5% down payment.
-If your FICO® score is between 500 to 579 then a down 10% down payment is required.
-MIP (Mortgage Insurance Premium ) is required.
-Debt-to-Income Ratio can not exceed 56.9%.
-The home must be the borrower’s primary residence.
-Borrower must have steady income and proof of employment for years.

FHA Loan Home Buyer Survey (Jun 25th, 2024)
Mortgage Broker
Alex MacLagan Mortgage Broker
Click to Call or Text:
(847) 899-6882

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