Jun 17, 2024 by - AssumeList

FHA and VA Fee Updates: Navigating the Changes in Assumable Loans

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) have recently updated their policies regarding fees associated with assumable loans. These changes are designed to better align the allowable fees with current market conditions and facilitate more efficient processing of assumable mortgages by loan servicers. The updates come at a time when assumable loans are gaining popularity due to high interest rates, making it crucial for buyers, sellers, and servicers to understand the implications of these changes.

FHA Doubles Allowable Fees for Assumable Loans

The FHA has recently announced a substantial increase in the processing fee that lenders can charge borrowers assuming an existing FHA-insured mortgage. As of May 20, 2024, the maximum allowable fee has been doubled from $900 to $1,800, marking the first adjustment since 2016.

Compensating Servicers for Processing Costs

The fee increase is intended to more appropriately compensate servicers for the costs associated with processing assumptions in today’s market. By allowing servicers to charge higher fees, the FHA aims to ensure that they are adequately compensated for the time and effort required to facilitate these transactions.

Incentivizing Efficient Processing

The increased fees may also incentivize servicers to prioritize and expedite the processing of assumable loans. In the past, the relatively low allowable fees may have discouraged some servicers from dedicating the necessary resources to process assumptions in a timely manner. The higher fees should help to alleviate this issue and encourage more efficient processing.

Benefits for Homebuyers and Sellers

The increased allowable fees may benefit both homebuyers and sellers in the current high-interest rate environment. Assumable loans provide an opportunity for:

  • Sellers with FHA mortgages who are struggling to find buyers due to high interest rates. By offering an assumable loan with a lower interest rate, these sellers may be able to attract more potential buyers and sell their homes more quickly.
  • Homebuyers who are sidelined by high monthly payments on new mortgages. Assuming an existing FHA loan with a lower interest rate can significantly reduce monthly mortgage payments, making homeownership more affordable and accessible for these buyers.

VA Updates Assumption Processing Fees with Locality Variance

The VA has also made notable changes to the fees lenders can charge when processing VA loan assumptions. While the base assumption fee remains $250 for servicers without automatic underwriting authority and $300 for servicers with automatic authority, the VA has introduced a locality variance that can be added to the processing of all VA assumptions.

Locality Variance Amounts

The VA Assumption Locality Variance amounts vary depending on the geographic region:


Geographic Regions Defined

The VA has defined the geographic regions for the locality variance as follows:

  • Northeast: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island
  • Midwest: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin
  • South: Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia
  • West: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wyoming

Recognizing Regional Cost Differences

The introduction of the locality variance acknowledges that the costs associated with processing VA loan assumptions can vary significantly depending on the region. Factors such as local labor costs, real estate market conditions, and regulatory requirements can all impact the expenses incurred by servicers when processing assumptions. By providing a region-specific variance, the VA ensures that servicers are fairly compensated for their efforts, regardless of the property’s location.

Impact on the Assumable Loan Market

The changes implemented by both the FHA and the VA are expected to have a positive impact on the assumable loan market. By increasing the allowable fees for processing assumptions, these government agencies are acknowledging the time and effort required by servicers to facilitate these transactions. This recognition is likely to encourage more servicers to actively participate in the assumable loan market and dedicate the necessary resources to process assumptions efficiently.

Potential Benefits

The updated fee structures may lead to several potential benefits for the assumable loan market, including:

  • Faster processing times for assumable loans, as servicers are incentivized to prioritize these transactions and allocate sufficient resources to handle them promptly.
  • Increased willingness of servicers to take on assumption requests, as the higher fees make it more financially viable for them to do so.
  • More opportunities for homebuyers to access lower interest rates through assumptions, as the improved processing times and increased servicer participation make assumable loans a more attractive and accessible option.
  • Improved marketability of homes with existing FHA or VA loans, as sellers can highlight the potential for buyers to assume these loans and benefit from lower interest rates.

Industry Reaction

The industry has generally responded positively to the fee updates from the FHA and VA. The Community Home Lenders of America (CHLA) has welcomed the FHA’s decision to increase the allowable fees, stating that it is “crucial to allowing lenders to recoup their costs of a loan assumption, which can facilitate significant mortgage savings for homebuyers by using existing lower rate FHA mortgage loans.”

Similarly, industry experts have praised the VA’s locality variance, noting that it will provide a more accurate representation of the costs associated with processing assumptions in different regions of the country. By recognizing the regional differences in costs, the VA is ensuring that servicers are fairly compensated for their efforts, regardless of where the property is located.

The Role of Assumable Loan Platforms

As the demand for assumable loans continues to grow, platforms like AssumeList are playing an increasingly important role in connecting buyers, sellers, and servicers. These platforms help streamline the assumption process by:

  • Providing a centralized marketplace for assumable loans, making it easier for buyers and sellers to find each other and connect with servicers who are experienced in handling assumptions.
  • Matching buyers with sellers who have existing FHA, VA, or USDA loans, allowing buyers to easily identify properties with assumable loans that meet their needs.
  • Offering tools and resources to educate users about the benefits and process of assumable loans, helping buyers, sellers, and servicers navigate the complex world of assumable financing.

By leveraging the expertise and technology of assumable loan platforms, all parties involved can navigate the assumption process more efficiently and capitalize on the potential benefits of these unique financing options.

Looking Ahead

The recent fee updates from the FHA and VA are a positive development for the assumable loan market, providing much-needed support and incentives for servicers to prioritize and expedite these transactions. As interest rates remain high, assumable loans will continue to be a valuable option for buyers and sellers alike, offering a path to more affordable homeownership and faster sales.

Moving forward, staying informed about policy changes and utilizing the resources available through specialized platforms will be key to success in today’s evolving housing market. By understanding the implications of these fee updates and leveraging the expertise of assumable loan platforms, buyers, sellers, and servicers can make the most of the opportunities presented by assumable loans and navigate the changing landscape with confidence.

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