When it comes to purchasing a home, one of the biggest decisions you’ll need to make is choosing between a conventional mortgage and loan. While both options have their advantages and disadvantages, understanding the differences between the two can help you make an informed decision.
What is a conventional mortgage?
A conventional mortgage is a type of home loan that is not insured or guaranteed by the government. Instead, it’s backed by private lenders, such as banks, credit unions, or mortgage companies. The terms and conditions of a conventional mortgage vary depending on the lender, but they typically require a higher credit score and a larger down payment than other types of mortgages.
Conventional vs. FHA mortgage
A conventional mortgage is a home loan that is not guaranteed or insured by the government. In contrast, an FHA (Federal Housing Administration) mortgage is backed by the government. Here are some pros and cons of each:
Pros of conventional mortgage
- Generally, lower interest rates compared to FHA mortgages.
- May have lower fees than loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) or Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
- More flexible with terms, allowing borrowers to customize the loan to their specific needs.
Cons of conventional mortgage
- May require a higher credit score than some other types of mortgages.
- May require a larger down payment.
Pros of FHA mortgage
- Lower credit score requirements.
- Lower down payment requirements.
Cons of fha mortgage
- Higher interest rates.
- Required mortgage insurance premiums.
Examples of when a conventional mortgage may be the best choice
A conventional mortgage may be the best choice for borrowers who:
- Have a good credit score and can make a sizable down payment
- Plan to live in the property for a long time and want to take advantage of the lower interest rates
Ultimately, the choice between a conventional and FHA mortgage depends on your specific financial situation, credit score, and down payment amount.
Conventional vs. conforming
Another factor to consider is whether you need a conforming or non-conforming loan. A conforming loan is a mortgage that meets the guidelines set by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Non-conforming loans, on the other hand, do not meet these guidelines.
Pros of conforming loan
- Lower interest rates.
- Easier to qualify for.
Cons of conforming loan
- Limits on the amount you can borrow.
- May not meet the specific needs of every borrower.
Pros of non-conforming loan
- Can be tailored to meet the specific needs of the borrower.
- No limits on the amount you can borrow.
Cons of non-conforming loan
- Higher interest rates.
- More difficult to qualify for.
Ultimately, the choice between a conforming and non-conforming loan depends on your specific financial situation and borrowing needs.
Types of conventional mortgages
There are several types of conventional mortgages to choose from, including fixed-rate and adjustable-rate mortgages. Here’s a breakdown of each:
A fixed-rate mortgage is a loan where the interest rate remains the same throughout the life of the loan. These mortgages are a popular choice because they provide borrowers with stability and predictability.
An adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) is a loan where the interest rate can change periodically throughout the life of the loan. These mortgages are popular with borrowers who want to take advantage of lower interest rates in the short term but are comfortable with the possibility of higher rates in the long term.
When applying for a conventional mortgage, you’ll need to provide certain documents to the lender. Here’s a list of the required documentation:
- Proof of income (pay stubs, tax returns, etc.)
- Proof of assets (bank statements, investment statements, etc.)
- Employment verification
- Credit report
- Debt-to-income ratio
Be sure to gather all of these documents before applying for a conventional mortgage to make the process as smooth as possible.
Interest rates for conventional mortgages are determined by several factors, including the borrower’s credit score, loan-to-value ratio, and the overall health of the economy. Here are some factors that can affect interest rates:
- Economic growth
- Federal Reserve policy
- Mortgage-backed security demand
To get the best interest rate, be sure to shop around and compare rates from multiple lenders
Factors to consider
When choosing between a conventional mortgage and a loan, there are several factors to consider, including:
Loan terms refer to the length of the loan and the repayment schedule. Conventional mortgages typically have a fixed term, while loans may have flexible terms.
Both conventional mortgages and loans can have fees associated with them, such as origination fees, appraisal fees, and closing costs. Make sure to understand all the fees associated with each type of loan before making a decision.
Down payment requirements
Conventional mortgages typically require a higher down payment than loans, which may make it more difficult for some borrowers to qualify. However, a higher down payment can also result in lower monthly payments and a lower overall cost of the loan.
Credit score requirements
Conventional mortgages typically require a higher credit score than loans. Borrowers with lower credit scores may have difficulty qualifying for a conventional mortgage, but may still be able to qualify for a loan.
Conventional mortgages typically do not require mortgage insurance if the down payment is more than 20%. Loans, on the other hand, usually require mortgage insurance for the life of the loan.
Purpose of the loan
Consider why you’re taking out the loan in the first place. If you plan to live in the property for a long time, a conventional mortgage may be the best choice. If you’re a first-time homebuyer or have limited funds for a down payment, a loan may be a better option.
How much of a down payment do I need for a conventional mortgage?
The minimum down payment requirement for a conventional mortgage is usually 5% to 20% of the home’s purchase price, depending on the lender’s guidelines and the borrower’s creditworthiness.
What is the minimum credit score required for a conventional mortgage?
The minimum credit score required for a conventional mortgage is typically around 620 to 680, depending on the lender’s guidelines and the borrower’s other qualifications.
Can I get a conventional mortgage with a low income?
It may be possible to qualify for a conventional mortgage with a low income if the borrower has good credit, a low debt-to-income ratio, and a sizable down payment. However, lenders may require additional documentation to verify the borrower’s income and financial stability.
- A conventional mortgage is a home loan that is not backed by the government.
- Conventional mortgages generally have lower interest rates and fees than government-backed loans but may require a higher credit score and a larger down payment.
- There are several types of conventional mortgages, including fixed-rate and adjustable-rate loans.
- To qualify for a conventional mortgage, borrowers typically need to provide documentation such as proof of income, employment history, and credit score.
- Borrowers should carefully consider all options and factors when choosing between a conventional mortgage and other types of loans.
View Article Sources
- What is a conventional loan? – Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
- Designing Loan Modifications to Address the Mortgage Crisis and the Making Home Affordable Program – Federal Reserve Board.
- Conventional Mortgage – Golden West Credit Union
- Conventional Loans – Penfed Credit Union