FHA loans are a home buying program backed by the Federal Housing Administration.

This agency — which is an arm of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) — uses its FHA mortgage program to make homeownership more accessible to disadvantaged home buyers.

FHA does this by lowering the upfront barrier to home buying.

Reduced down payments and lower credit score requirements make homeownership more accessible to buyers who might not otherwise qualify for a mortgage.

Although FHA loans are backed by the federal government, they’re originated (‘made’) by private lenders. Most major lenders are FHA-approved, so it’s relatively easy to shop around and find your best deal on an FHA mortgage.

If you have a sub-par credit score, low savings, or high levels of debt, an FHA mortgage could help you get into a new home sooner rather than later.