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FHA Cash-Out Refinance: A How-To Guide

May 6, 2024



Is your kitchen begging for a major renovation? Does your growing family need a second bathroom? Would you also like to lower your mortgage loan’s monthly interest rate?

A Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loan cash-out refinance could help, potentially giving you a lower interest rate and some extra cash for home renovations – or anything else you’d like to spend it on.

What Is A Cash-Out Refinance?

A cash-out refinance is a way for homeowners to both refinance their mortgage loan and pocket a lump sum payment of cash at the end of the process. Owners do this by refinancing into a loan that is larger than what they owe on their current mortgage.

How Does A Cash-Out Refinance Work?

Say you owe $150,000 on your existing mortgage and your home is worth about $250,000. You might refinance to a new mortgage loan at $200,000, paying $4,500 in closing costs to do so. You’d then take $45,500 in a lump sum payment, the difference between the $150,000 you owe and your new $200,000 mortgage minus your $4,500 in closing costs.

You can use that money for anything, whether you want to build a master bedroom suite, pay off high-interest rate credit card debt or pay for a child’s college tuition.

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FHA Cash-Out Refinance Vs. Traditional Cash-Out Refinance

The difference between a traditional cash-out refinance and an FHA cash-out refinance is that your new mortgage will be insured by the FHA. With FHA mortgages, homeowners with lower credit scores can be approved and the loans come with lower interest rates.

On the negative side, you will have to pay mortgage insurance premiums (MIP) for either 11 years or the life of the mortgage, depending on the amount borrowed and the terms of your mortgage. You’ll have to determine, then, if the positives of an FHA cash-out refinance outweigh the negatives, which we’ll get into more later.

Do You Need An Existing FHA Loan To Get An FHA Cash Out Refinance?

You don’t need to be currently paying off an FHA loan to apply for an FHA cash-out refinance. You can apply for an FHA cash-out refinance even if you are currently paying off a conventional mortgage loan, one not insured by any government agency, or even if you own your home free and clear of mortgages and want to take out some of your equity.

If you do have an FHA mortgage loan, you can refinance with an FHA Streamline refinance, which requires less paperwork, but the amount of cash you can take out is limited to $500.

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The FHA Cash-Out Refinance Process

The key steps to taking out an FHA cash-out refinance are similar to those required for a conventional mortgage refinance.

Ensure You Meet The Requirements

To qualify, you’ll need enough equity in your home, a high enough credit score and a steady enough monthly income stream to comfortably cover your debts, including your new monthly mortgage payment. We’ll dive deeper into the requirements needed for a cash-out refinance on an FHA loan soon.

Find An FHA Mortgage Lender

When you’re ready to refinance, you’ll first apply with a mortgage lender who offers FHA loans. Fortunately, nearly all mortgage lenders do this. The FHA only insures mortgages. The agency doesn’t originate them, which is why you’ll need the services of a private mortgage lender such as a bank, credit union or other financial institution.

Fill Out An Application

You’ll fill out a Uniform Residential Loan Application to start the process, providing personal information such as your full name, current address and Social Security number. You’ll also provide information on your monthly income and current debts.

Your lender will check your three credit reports – one each maintained by the national credit bureaus of Experian™, Equifax® and TransUnion® – and check your three-digit FICO® Score. They will request any required documentation to support your application, as needed for your specific scenario. Your lender will also order an appraisal, which will verify the value of your property.

Sign And Close

If you are approved, you’ll need to sign closing papers and pay any closing costs. Closing costs may even be able to be financed into your loan. Your existing mortgage loan would then be replaced with a new FHA loan.

You’ll also receive the lump sum payment, most often in the form of a check, from the cash-out portion of the refinance. You won’t receive this right away on closing day because you have 3 days to change your mind on a refinance for a primary residence.

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Requirements For An FHA Cash-Out Refinance

To qualify for an FHA cash-out refinance, you will need to meet certain requirements.

Credit Score

The FHA requires a minimum credit score of 500 for all mortgages it insures. However, most private lenders will have their own credit score requirements. Rocket Mortgage® requires a minimum median score of 580 for an FHA loan.

The median FICO® Score needed to qualify for an FHA cash-out refinance depends on its intended purpose and whether you're an existing client of ours. If you're using the funds to pay off debt at closing, you can do a debt consolidation with a qualifying credit score of as low as 580. All other purposes for a cash-out refinance require a median FICO® Score of 620 or better.

The higher your credit score, the lower your interest rate will be, and you’ll want a low rate to enjoy monthly savings with an FHA cash-out refinance. You can expect the lowest interest rates with a credit score of 760 or higher.

The other advantage with a credit score of 620 or better is that you can qualify with a slightly higher debt-to-income ratio (DTI).

Loan-To-Value (LTV)

Your loan-to-value ratio, better known as your LTV, is also a key factor. This ratio measures the amount of equity you have in your home, which is the difference between what you owe on your mortgage and what your home is currently worth. If your home is worth $200,000 and you owe $120,000 on your mortgage, you have $80,000 in equity and an LTV of 60%.

Currently, to qualify for an FHA cash-out refinance, you can borrow against up to 80% of your home’s LTV if you’ve owned it for over a year and you’re borrowing $417,000 or less. In the example above, you’d be able to take out an FHA cash-out mortgage in the amount of $160,000.

If you owed $190,000 on your mortgage and your home is worth $200,000, you wouldn’t be able to qualify for an FHA cash-out refinance due to your LTV.

Length Of Residence

You must have lived in your home – the one with the mortgage you are refinancing – for at least 12 months to qualify for an FHA cash-out refinance. There are limited exceptions to this, such as for inherited properties.

Payment History

The FHA also requires that you have no late mortgage payments during the last 12 months, when taking cash out. If you’ve paid your mortgage on time for at least a year straight, you’re eligible to apply for one of these refinances.

If you’ve been on the title for the past year, but you’ve had your mortgage for a short period of time, you may still be eligible to take cash out if you’ve paid your mortgage for at least 6 months with no late payments.

How Much Cash Can You Get From An FHA Cash-Out Refinance?

The amount of cash you can take out from a cash-out refinance depends on the equity you have in your home. Also, as previously mentioned, you’re only able to borrow up to 80% of your home’s LTV.

If you want an estimate of how much cash you can get from one of these refinances, follow these steps.

Determine The Current Appraised Value Of Your Home

Unless you pay for a professional appraiser, you won’t be able to determine your home’s exact current value, but you can estimate what your home is worth by checking sites such as Rocket Homes℠. When you talk to a lender, you’ll want to ask them how they’ll appraise your home’s value.

Estimate The Available Equity In Your Home

Once you know the value of your home, subtract 20% from it, representing the home equity you need to maintain. This will give you a rough estimate of how much cash you can get from an FHA cash-out refinance.

Deduct The Amount You Still Owe

Assuming you still have a mortgage on your home, take your current balance and deduct it from the available equity. Whatever’s left over is the amount you can borrow with an FHA cash-out refinance.


You estimate that your home is worth $200,000 and the available equity would be 95% of that or $190,000. If you owe $150,000 on your current mortgage loan, you’d be able to cash out up to $40,000.

Again, this isn’t an exact figure, but rather an estimate on your part. You’d need to speak with a mortgage lender and hire an appraiser to determine the exact value of your home and the actual closing costs involved in your refinance.

Consider Additional Costs

Like all mortgages, you’ll need to pay closing costs to your lender. These can range from a few hundred dollars to 3% of the loan’s value. Also, if you take out an FHA loan, you’ll be responsible for mortgage insurance premiums (MIP). These come in two forms:

  • Upfront MIP: You'll pay 1.5% of the new loan amount in upfront MIP when you take out your loan. If your new loan is $160,000, your upfront mortgage insurance payment will be $2,400. You can pay that out of pocket or roll it into your monthly mortgage payment.
  • Annual MIP: You'll also pay an annual mortgage insurance payment of 0.5% of your loan amount. If you borrow $160,000, you'd pay an additional $800 a year or $66.67 a month. Depending on the terms of your new mortgage, you’ll need to maintain these payments for either 11 years or the life of your mortgage.

Pros And Cons Of The FHA Cash-Out Refinance

As with all mortgage products, there are both pros and cons with an FHA cash-out refinance:


  • Flexibility: You can spend the money from an FHA cash-out refinance on anything you want. Want to renovate your home? You can. Want to pay off that credit card debt? You can.
  • Lower credit requirements: The FHA’s credit score requirements are lower than what you’d find with a conventional loan not insured by the federal government. Remember that if your credit score is too low, you might still struggle to find a lender willing to lend you money, even if your score technically falls within the FHA’s range.
  • Lower interest rates: Like most mortgages, FHA loans usually have lower interest rates than credit cards or personal loans. This makes borrowing money through a cash-out refinance an effective way to borrow for less or pay off higher-interest debt at a more favorable rate.


  • Increased debt: When you take out an FHA cash-out refinance, you are borrowing more than what you owe. If you owe $150,000 and take out a cash-out refinance for $180,000, you’ve boosted your debt by $30,000.
  • Mortgage insurance: All FHA loans require two forms of mortgage You'll pay for upfront mortgage insurance when you take out your loan, which comes out to 1.75% of the new loan amount. You'll also pay an annual mortgage insurance payment of 0.80% of your loan amount.
  • Higher monthly payments: Depending on the new interest rate, the amount you borrow and the terms of your cash-out refinance, this may raise your monthly mortgage payments. Just keep that in mind when you’re figuring out your monthly budget.

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Alternatives To An FHA Cash-Out Refinance

If you’re not sure an FHA cash-out refinance is right for you, there are other ways you can change your loan terms or access your equity. Below are a few alternatives to consider.

  • Conventional cash-out refinance: If you have a credit score that’s high enough to opt for a conventional cash-out refinance, you might want to do that instead. With this type of refinance, you’ll be able to tap into your home equity and change the terms of your loan while avoiding the mortgage insurance that comes along with FHA loan payments.
  • FHA Streamline refinance: If you’re only trying to change the terms of your loan and don’t need the extra cash, an FHA Streamline refinance might be a good option for you. This type of refinance allows you to replace your loan without an appraisal.
  • Home equity loan: If you’re trying to access your home equity but don’t need to make changes to your current loan’s term or rate, a home equity loan could be a great alternative for you. This type of loan offers borrowers a lump sum with a fixed interest rate.
  • HELOC: Similar to a home equity loan, a home equity line of credit (HELOC) lets you tap into your home’s equity without changing the terms of your loan. A HELOC functions as a revolving line of credit that you can access on an as-needed basis.

FAQ About Cash-Out Refinance On An FHA Loan

Below we’ll take a look at the answers to some frequently asked questions about refinancing an FHA loan.

Can I still do an FHA cash-out refinance if my current mortgage isn’t an FHA loan?

Yes, you can apply for an FHA cash-out refinance even if you are currently paying off a different type of mortgage loan, such as a conventional loan. You can even apply if you own your home with a paid-off mortgage and want to take out some of your equity.

What credit score do I need for an FHA cash-out refinance?

The FHA requires a minimum credit score of 500 for any mortgage it insures, but it’s important to note that credit score requirements for an FHA cash-out refinance will vary by lender. For example, Rocket Mortgage requires a minimum credit score of 580 for an FHA loan.

Is the mortgage interest paid on a cash-out refinance tax-deductible?

Yes, you can deduct the mortgage interest paid on your cash-out refinance if the funds were used to improve your home.

How am I allowed to use the cash-out funds?

You can use the money from a cash-out refinance for anything, whether you want to pay off credit card debt, pay for a child’s college tuition or add an addition to your home.

The Bottom Line: Is An FHA Cash-Out Refinance Right For You?

If you have a specific need for a large chunk of money, borrowing through an FHA cash-out refinance could be affordable. This is especially true when current interest rates are low. Whether you should apply for an FHA cash-out refinance depends on what you need the money for, how much you owe on your current mortgage and what your home is worth.

Ready to refinance? Apply online for an FHA cash-out refinance today or give us a call at (833) 326-6018.


Victoria Araj

Victoria Araj is a Section Editor for Rocket Mortgage and held roles in mortgage banking, public relations and more in her 15+ years with the company. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism with an emphasis in political science from Michigan State University, and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Michigan.