Types of Mortgage Loans in USA for Homebuyers

Types of mortgage

  1. A traditional or conventional loan

There are two types of conventional loans: conforming loans and non-conforming loans, both of which are not insured by the federal government.

Loans that “conform” to the rules established by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) in terms of credit, debt, and loan size are known as conforming loans. The conforming loan limitations for 2022 are $647,200 in the majority of locations and $970,800 in more pricey areas.

Loans that don’t comply – These loans do not adhere to FHFA requirements. Instead, they focus on borrowers with atypical credit histories or those trying to buy more expensive properties.

Advantages of traditional loans

  • Suitable for a principal residence, a second residence, or an investment property.
  • Even while interest rates are slightly higher than those for other forms of mortgages, overall borrowing expenses are typically cheaper.
  • Once you have 20 percent equity, you can ask your lender to remove private mortgage insurance (PMI) or refinance.
  • can put down as little as 3% on loans backed by Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae.
  • Sellers may pay a portion of the closing costs.


Disadvantages of conventional loans

  • Many times, a FICO score of 620 or greater is necessary.
  • Greater deposit required than for some government loans
  • Having a debt-to-income (DTI) ratio that is no more than 43% (50 percent in some instances)
  • If your down payment is less than 20% of the sales price, you’ll probably have to pay PMI.
  • Significant evidence of income, assets, down payment, and employment is required.

Who should apply for a traditional loan?

A conventional mortgage is probably your best option if you have good credit and the money to put down a sizeable amount of money. The most popular option for homebuyers is a conventional mortgage with a 30-year fixed rate.

  1. Jumbo loan

Home loan products known as jumbo mortgages are those that exceed FHFA borrowing limits. In high-cost areas like Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York City, and the state of Hawaii, where home prices are frequently on the higher end, jumbo loans are more prevalent.

Benefits of large/Jumbo loans

  • can take out more loans to buy a more expensive house.
  • Jumbo loan interest rates typically compete favorably with those of other conventional loans.
  • For some borrowers, this may be the only route to homeownership in areas with sky-high home values.

Cons of large-scale loans

  • In many cases, a down payment of at least 10% to 20% is necessary.
  • Typically, a FICO score of 700 or greater is necessary.
  • cannot have a DTI ratio greater than 45%
  • You must demonstrate that you have sizable cash or savings assets.
  • Typically, more thorough paperwork is needed to qualify

Who is eligible for a jumbo loan?

A jumbo loan is probably your best option if you want to finance a home whose selling price is more than the most recent conforming loan restrictions.

2. A loan with government insurance

Although it is not a mortgage lender, the United States government helps more people in the country become homeowners.

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA), the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) all provide mortgage backing (VA).

FHA loans: Backed by the FHA, these mortgages provide affordable interest rates and make homeownership accessible for individuals with less-than-perfect credit or small down payments.

To qualify for the maximum 96.5 percent FHA financing with a 3.5 percent down payment, you’ll need a FICO score of at least 580.

However, if you put at least 10% down, a score as low as 500 is acceptable. Two mortgage insurance premiums are necessary for FHA loans, which can raise the total cost of your mortgage. Last but not least, the home seller is permitted to pay closing expenses with an FHA loan.

Loans from the USDA — Borrowers with moderate to low incomes who fulfill specific income requirements can use USDA loans to purchase a home in a rural, USDA-eligible location.

For qualified applicants, some USDA loans don’t demand a down payment. However, there are additional costs, such as an annual fee and an upfront fee equal to 1% of the loan amount (which is often financed with the loan).

VA loans – For members of the U.S. military (including active duty and veterans) and their families, VA loans offer flexible, low-interest mortgages. There are no requirements for a minimum down payment, mortgage insurance, or credit score, and closing fees are often capped and can be covered by the seller.

The funding fee for VA loans is a percentage of the loan amount and can be paid at closing upfront or added to the loan’s cost along with other closing charges.

Advantages of government-backed loans

  • When you are unable to obtain a traditional loan, assist you in financing a home.
  • less restrictions on credit
  • not require a sizable down payment
  • available to both first-time and return customers
  • VA loans don’t require mortgage insurance or a down payment.

Drawbacks/Demerit of government-backed lending

  • FHA loans must pay mandatory mortgage insurance premiums, which cannot be waived absent a refinancing into a conventional loan.
  • FHA loan restrictions are typically lower than conventional mortgage loan limits, which reduces the possible pool of available options.
  • The borrower must occupy the home (although you may be able to finance a multi-unit building and rent out other units)
  • could result in increased borrowing fees overall.
  • Depending on the type of loan, prepare to present additional papers to demonstrate eligibility.

Who should be eligible for a government-backed loan?

Are you experiencing problems being approved for a traditional loan because you have poor credit or little money set up for a down payment?

Loans sponsored by the USDA and the FHA can be a good choice. Veterans Affairs-backed loans are frequently preferable to traditional loans for active-duty military personnel, veterans, and qualifying spouses.

3. A fixed-rate loan

The monthly mortgage payment for a fixed-rate mortgage remains constant throughout the term of the loan since the interest rate is maintained at the same level. Although some lenders allow borrowers to choose any term between eight and thirty years, fixed loans typically have maturities of 15 or 30 years.

Advantages of fixed-rate loans

  • The monthly principal and interest payments are fixed for the duration of the loan.
  • Housing costs are easier to plan for month to month.

The drawbacks/Demerit of fixed-rate mortgages

  • You’ll need to refinance if interest rates drop to take advantage of the reduced rate.
  • Interest rates on fixed-rate mortgages are often higher (ARMs)
  • For whom is a fixed-rate mortgage appropriate?
  • A fixed-rate mortgage is the best option for you if you want to prevent the possibility of changes to your monthly payments and you intend to live in your house for at least five to seven years. 

4. Loan with an adjustable rate (ARM)

Adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) have interest rates that change with the market, in contrast to the steadiness of fixed-rate loans. Before the loan switches to a variable interest rate for the remaining duration, many ARM products feature a fixed interest rate for a few years.

A 7-year/6-month ARM, for instance, specifies that your rate will be the same for the first seven years and then adjust every six months after that. Read the fine print carefully if you’re thinking about an ARM to learn how much your rate might go up and how much you might end up spending once the promotional term is up.

ARMs’ benefits

  • Lower fixed rate for the first few years of homeownership (although this isn’t a guarantee; recently, 30-year fixed rates have in fact been keeping up with 5/1 ARMs);
  • can significantly reduce the cost of interest payments

ARMs’ drawbacks/disadvantages 

  • Mortgage payments can become unaffordable, which would lead to a loan default.
  • In a few years, home values can decline, making it more difficult to refinance or sell before the loan resets.

Who ought to obtain an ARM?

An ARM could help you save on interest payments if you don’t intend to live in your house for more than a few years. But if you’re still living in the house, you need to be prepared to accept a certain amount of risk that your payments can go up.