This will be specifically about FHA loans, but when it comes to mortgages in general, you really need to speak to a qualified loan officer. This is not to throw realtors or anyone else under the bus, but you should be very careful in where you get your answers. Even if that realtor or someone other than a loan officer says, “well, this is what I heard from my loan officer.” Still, speak to that loan officer directly. Things can still get twisted or confused when passing along information. And yes, there can be an argument that some loan officers don’t even know what they are doing, hence why you need to be selective.
Just recently I read a question from a borrower on Trulia that asked : “My wife and I are buying a home together. It will be her second time buying a home and my first time. Can I qualify as a first time home buyer.”
This was an answer from a realtor on the Trulia Q & A section. FHA loans have no restrictions when it comes to a borrower previously owning a home with a FHA mortgage. FHA loans don’t have a penalty or give breaks to those that are first time home buyers or those that bought previously while using a FHA loan.
One thing to keep in mind, there are different state bond programs that will have stipulations on whether or not you can use their programs. And it’s usually stated that one is not eligible unless they are a first time home buyer and this is usually defined as someone who has not owned a primary residence in the last three years.
Conclusion : As mentioned, you just need to be very careful where you get your information from. It doesn’t matter if you got it from someone online that says they are an expert, or if your realtor referred you to their best loan officer, etc, etc. I have a story for each example out there. I even once had a realtor tell my borrowers that FHA loans were better than USDA loans, and because their loan officer told them this.
Reminder : Each borrower is different. Not one is the same and lenders also have lender overlays. You need to speak to someone that will ask the right questions and understand your goals.
For more FHA Rumors & FHA Myths : Squashing FHA Rumors & FHA Myths