A conventional loan is a type of mortgage that is not insured or guaranteed by the government, unlike FHA, VA, or USDA loans. These loans are backed by private lenders and investors. They typically have stricter eligibility requirements, including higher credit scores and lower debt-to-income ratios.
Conventional loans often require larger down payments, typically ranging from 5% to 20% of the home’s purchase price. However, they may offer lower interest rates and more flexible terms than government-backed loans.
Classifications of Conventional Loans
- Conforming loan
- Nonconforming loan
A conforming loan meets the standards for sale to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, the government-backed mortgage leagues that purchase mortgages from lending institutions and sell them to investors. Conforming loans cannot exceed the loan limits established by the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
A nonconforming loan does not meet the requirements for purchase by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. A jumbo loan, for example, is nonconforming since it exceeds the FHFA’s loan limits.
If you want to get a personal loan, you can read our guide to learn how to apply for a personal loan and get approval right away.
Types of conventional loans
Conventional loans are good options for borrowers with strong credit and financial stability. The following are the various types of conventional loans that you will find;
- Conforming conventional loans
- Nonconforming conventional loans
- Fixed-rate conventional loans
- Adjustable-rate conventional loans
- Low-down-payment conventional loans
- Conventional renovation loans
Conforming conventional loans
A conforming loan is one that is less than the maximum loan amount set by the Federal Housing Finance Agency and meets additional loan standards set by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. Because Fannie and Freddie are government-sponsored enterprises, conforming loans are sometimes referred to as “GSE loans.”
Nonconforming conventional loans
A nonconforming loan is one that surpasses FHFA loan limits or employs underwriting standards that differ from those established by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. A jumbo loan is a type of nonconforming conventional loan that is very common. Most counties in the United States may require a jumbo loan to finance more than $484,350.
Fixed-rate conventional loans
All mortgages, conforming or nonconforming, require you to pay interest. The interest rate on a fixed-rate conventional loan remains constant for the duration of the loan. Many buyers opt for a 30-year fixed-rate conventional loan because it typically results in a low monthly payment, but shorter terms are also available.
Adjustable-rate conventional loans
An adjustable-rate mortgage, or ARM, is an alternative to a fixed-rate mortgage. Conventional loans with adjustable rates, also known as hybrid ARMs, have interest rates that fluctuate over time. After a fixed-rate period of three, five, seven, or ten years, ARM rates typically adjust annually.
Low-down-payment conventional loans
Getting a conventional loan used to require a 20% down payment. Because borrowers who meet this requirement only need to finance 80% of the home’s value, this type of loan is commonly referred to as an “80/20 conventional loan.” However, conventional loan down payment requirements has become more flexible in recent years.
Conventional renovation loans
It can be difficult to find the ideal home within your price range. When prices are high and move-in-ready inventory is scarce, purchasing a fixer-upper is one option for achieving home ownership.
Conventional loan requirements
Lenders have different requirements for conventional loans. However, most conventional loans must adhere to basic guidelines established by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Here are some conventional loan requirements examples:
- Minimum of 260 credit score
- A debt-to-income ratio that is less than 43% (can be higher, depending on qualifying factors)
- A 3% down payment is required
- W-2 forms
- Recent tax returns
- Business tax returns
- Filling out Fannie Mae’s Cash Flow Analysis form
- Your employer’s verbal confirmation of employment
It is critical to plan ahead of time when determining how to qualify for a conventional home loan. A home is a large investment, and these steps can help you increase your chances of meeting conventional loan qualifications.
- Examine Your Credit History
- Enhance Your Credit Score
- Save for a Down Payment
- Keep Track of Your Assets
- Demonstrate Your Earnings
- Think about avoiding PMI.
Examine Your Credit History
Begin by reviewing your credit history. Because your credit score is determined by the information in your credit report, it is critical that the information is correct. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau receives complaints about inaccuracies on a regular basis, and according to a Federal Trade Commission report, 26% of consumers have errors on their credit reports that could negatively impact their financial outcomes.
Enhance Your Credit Score
When a lender considers you for a home loan, one of the first things they look at is your credit score. A higher credit score can increase your chances of being approved for a mortgage.
Save for a Down Payment
The greater your conventional loan down payment, the lower your mortgage payment. You can also avoid PMI with a 20% down payment. You’re also more likely to get a lower mortgage interest rate.
A 20% down payment is not required, and while many lenders offer a 5% conventional loan, some are now offering conventional loans with down payments as low as 3%.
Keep Track of Your Assets
Depending on your circumstances, you may be required to demonstrate that you have sufficient financial reserve to cover mortgage payments. This is especially important if you’re selling a house. Furthermore, if you have a high DTI, you may be required to demonstrate that you have investments and other assets that can sustain you during difficult times.
Demonstrate Your Earnings
Collect the required documentation to demonstrate that you have a steady source of income. You must not only demonstrate that your income is sufficient to cover the monthly mortgage payment, but you must also demonstrate that your earnings are relatively stable. Prepare by gathering pay stubs and tax return information.
Think about avoiding PMI.
If you can afford a 20% down payment, this could be a good way to lower your monthly mortgage payment. Furthermore, a larger down payment may result in a lower interest rate.
Conventional loan credit score
A credit score of at least 620 is usually required to qualify for a conventional loan. Borrowers with credit scores of 740 or higher, on the other hand, can make lower down payments and typically receive the most favorable conventional loan rates.
Conventional loan calculator
If you use a fixed-rate conventional mortgage to buy a house, the conventional loan calculator estimates your monthly payment. For example, if you put 20% down on a $300,000 house and take out a 30-year conventional loan at 4% interest, your monthly principal and interest will be $1,509.41.
Calculate your monthly mortgage payments for a conforming conventional loan using this calculator.
A guide on how to use the conventional loan calculator
- Insert the asking price for the home you want to purchase or an approximate of how much you can afford.
- Enter the monetary amount of your down payment. Although a 20% down payment eliminates the need for mortgage insurance, the minimum down payment for a conventional conforming mortgage is 3%.
- Enter the length of your repayment term in years. Conventional loans typically have terms of 15, 20, or 30 years.
- Fill in your annual interest rate. For a more accurate estimate, use the default rate of 4% or check today’s conventional mortgage rates.
Conventional loan rate
Conventional loans have low-interest rates, making homeownership more affordable. According to our lender network, the current average rate for a conventional loan starts at 6% (6.084% APR) for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage. The average rate for a 15-year conventional loan is 5.625% (5.772% APR).
Conventional loan down payment
A conventional mortgage requires a 3% down payment, but borrowers with lower credit scores or higher debt-to-income ratios may be necessitated to put down extra. A larger down payment will also be required for a jumbo loan or a loan for a second home or investment property.
Conventional loan programs with low down payments are designed to assist prospective home buyers with good credit but limited savings. If you put less than 20% down on a conventional mortgage, you will almost certainly be required to pay private mortgage insurance or PMI.
Conventional loan limit
Conforming loan limits are determined by the value of the home. The FHFA updates its baseline loan limit every year based on the House Price Index report, which tracks the average increase in home values over the previous year.
Each year, the new loan limits are calculated using third-quarter data.
Consumers benefit from conforming loans because they typically have lower interest rates than non-conforming loan types.
If the sale price of a home exceeds the conforming loan limit for your location, increasing your down payment to stay within the limit can be one way to enjoy the benefits of a conforming loan without having to take out a jumbo loan.
Conventional loan for investment property
An investment property loan could be in your future if you want to generate extra income from a rental home or buy a fixer-upper to flip for a profit. However, investment property mortgage rates are usually higher than those for primary residences, and you must meet stricter qualification requirements.
A home loan for the purchase of an income-producing property is known as an investment property loan. This includes purchasing properties for rental income or renovating and reselling for a profit.
What is a conventional loan for a house?
A conventional loan is a kind of home loan that is not provided or secured by the government.
Who is a conventional loan good for?
If you have good credit and little debt, a conventional loan is a great option. By paying 20% of the loan upfront, you can avoid PMI and lower your mortgage payments.
What is the drawback of a conventional loan?
Conventional loans regularly necessitate a credit score of at least 620, excluding some homebuyers. Even if you meet the criteria, your interest rate will almost certainly be higher than if you had good credit.