For most Americans, the purchase of a home is possible with a mortgage. However, saving the traditional 20% down payment is an unattainable goal for some would-be buyers.

Enter the Federal Housing Administration, or FHA, loan program, which has helped Americans buy homes since the Great Depression and remains a popular choice because of its affordability. FHA loans allow for smaller down payments while resolving some of the underwriting challenges borrowers face. The FHA insures these mortgages, which are issued by FHA-approved lenders. With a government guarantee, a lender can offer more flexibility with underwriting requirements, including credit guidelines and down payments.

This guide explains the FHA loan process and offers recommendations for lenders that can meet your home-buying needs.

Best FHA Loans of 2019

No single FHA lender is perfect for every borrower. U.S. News recommends these lenders for their overall performance in product offerings, eligibility requirements and customer satisfaction. These FHA lenders sell directly to the consumer and lend nationwide, and recommendations are meant to aid your research by showing companies that are most likely to meet your needs.

Best Lender for Customer Satisfaction

Fairway Independent logo

Fairway Independent

Fairway Independent Mortgage was established more than 20 years ago and has funded more than $50 billion in loans. The lender has excellent customer satisfaction ratings and offers most mortgage products, including USDA loans.

Highlights:

  • Mortgage types offered: Conventional, jumbo, ARM, VA FHA, USDA refinance
  • Minimum FICO credit score: 580 (FHA), other loans vary
  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: 43%
  • J.D. Power satisfaction rating: Five out of five