When you apply for a loan for a home or a refinance through the federal housing program, the application is given an FHA case number. You may not know what this number is – you may not even be aware that it exists – but it is there, a handy little number that helps the loan officers and underwriters keep track of all the details of the loan. Because this number is such an important piece to the loan puzzle, you’ll want to know what it is and what you can do with it.
Mortgage Requirements – Yours and Theirs
When you purchase a home there are certain requirements that must be met before any lender will be willing to give you a loan. With the federal program these requirements are pretty easy to meet. You don’t need perfect credit, a huge down payment, or thousands of dollars saved in the bank to make it happen. You do need a good work history and proof that you can be and have been responsible with your finances. While each federally backed lender has a slightly different set of requirements, they all basically center on this theme – are you responsible and will you be able to handle the loan?
Now, you are not the only one that has to meet specific mortgage requirements before approval on the loan. The lender has to meet a few criteria as well. One of these is the FHA case number. Before a loan can go through the approval process it is required for the lender to give it an FHA case number so it doesn’t get lost in the shuffle. This number makes it so all the pieces that need to come together in order for the loan to be approved can be attached to the proper file; you don’t want somebody else’s loan information somehow getting mixed up with yours.
When a case number is assigned it is assigned to a specific property and the loan that was applied for on that property. It cannot be reassigned for the buyer. Keep this in mind. If you apply for a loan for a specific property but change your mind on the property or the sell falls through, you will not be able to use the case number to try and purchase a different property. You will need a new case number. The lender, on the other hand, can reassign the case number to a new lender if the loan is transferred. Case numbers also have an expiration date that is six months from the date of assignment. If the loan is closed on, the case does not expire and the number becomes permanently attached to the loan.
It’s important to note that a number will be assigned for all new loan applications through the federal programs. This includes first time buyer loans as well as 203k loans and refinances. Any loan that goes through the process will be given a number unique to that loan.
Finding Your FHA Case Number
More often than not as a buyer you will never need to know the number you’ve been assigned. It is typically used by the lenders and loan officers and something you rarely need. However, there are some cases where knowing the number can be useful. Typically the only time a person would use this number is when they are refinancing an existing loan, or when they are looking to see if they are owed a refund for overpaying on the required mortgage insurance. Keep in mind that if you are refinancing your loan officer will be able to locate the number, which means you may not need it even then.
There are a couple of ways to find your case number. The first is through the appraisal or the mortgage note. Both of these documents have the case number recorded on their pages. You can also contact your previous lender. They keep records of all of the loans they’ve carried, so they should be able to search their database and locate your number. A third option is to do a search through FHA Connection, which is a federal housing program used by federally approved lenders and their associates. While you do not have access to this program, your mortgage broker does. It shouldn’t be difficult for him to help you locate it.
The case number isn’t a tool that was created for the buyer, but the more you know about your loan and the loan process, the better off you’ll be because an informed buyer is the best kind of buyer.
For more information on FHA refinance check out this page.