Types Of Home Loans
All types of mortgages are considered either conforming or non-conforming loans. Conforming versus non-conforming loans are determined by whether your lender keeps the loan and collects payments and interest on it or sells it to one of two real estate investment companies – Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.
A conforming loan refers to a conventional mortgage that can be purchased by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. For one of these institutions to purchase the mortgage from your lender, the loan must meet basic qualifications set by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA). These loan requirements include the following:
- Below the maximum dollar limit : The maximum dollar limit in most parts of the contiguous United States is $647,200 in 2022. In Alaska, Hawaii and certain high-cost areas, the limit is $970,800. Higher limits also apply if you buy a multifamily unit. Your lender can’t sell your loan to Fannie or Freddie and you can’t get a conforming mortgage if your loan is more than the maximum amount, unless you qualify for a super conforming loan.
- Not a federally backed loan : The loan can’t already have backing from a federal government entity. Some government bodies (including the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Federal Housing Administration) offer insurance on home loans. If you have a government-backed loan, Fannie and Freddie may not buy your mortgage.
- Meets lender-specific criteria : Your loan must meet the lender’s specific criteria to qualify for a conforming mortgage. For example, you must have a credit score of at least 620 to qualify for a conforming loan. You may also need to take property guidelines and income limits into account when you apply for a conforming loan. A Home Loan Expert can help determine if you qualify based on your unique financial situation.
Conforming loans have well-defined guidelines and there’s less variation in who qualifies for a loan. Because the lender can sell the loan to Fannie or Freddie, conforming loans are also less risky. This means that you may be able to get a lower interest rate when you choose a conforming loan.
If your loan doesn’t meet conforming standards, it’s considered a non-conforming loan. Non-conforming loans have less strict guidelines than conforming loans. These loans can allow you to borrow with a lower credit score, take out a larger loan or get a loan with no money down.
You may even be able to get a non-conforming loan if you have a negative item on your credit report, like a bankruptcy. Most non-conforming loans will be government-backed loans or jumbo mortgages.
Common Types Of Mortgages
Conventional mortgages are the most common type of mortgage. That said, conventional loans do have stricter regulations on your credit score and your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio.
You can buy a home with as little as 3% down on a conventional mortgage. You’ll also need a minimum credit score of at least 620 to qualify for a conventional loan. You can skip buying private mortgage insurance (PMI) if you have a down payment of at least 20%.
However, a down payment of less than 20% means you’ll need to pay for PMI. Mortgage insurance rates are usually lower for conventional loans than other types of loans (like FHA loans).
Conventional loans are a good choice for most borrowers who want to take advantage of lower interest rates with a larger down payment. If you can’t provide at least 3% down and you’re eligible, you could consider a USDA loan or a VA loan.
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A fixed-rate best mortgage lenders in NJ has the same interest rate and principal/interest payment throughout the duration of the loan. The amount you pay per month may fluctuate due to changes in property tax and insurance rates, but for the most part, fixed-rate mortgages offer you a very predictable monthly payment.
A fixed-rate mortgage might be a better choice for you if you’re currently living in your “forever home.” A fixed interest rate gives you a better idea of how much you’ll pay each month for your mortgage payment, which can help you budget and plan for the long term.
You may want to avoid fixed-rate mortgages if interest rates in your area are high. Once you lock in, you’re stuck with your interest rate for the duration of your mortgage unless you refinance. If rates are high and you lock in, you could overpay thousands of dollars in interest. Speak to a local real estate agent or Home Loan Expert to learn more about how market interest rates are trending.
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The opposite of a fixed-rate mortgage is an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM). ARMs are 30-year loans with interest rates that change depending on how market rates move.
You first agree to an introductory period of fixed interest when you sign onto an ARM. Your introductory period is typically 5, 7 or 10 years. If you sign on for a 5/1 ARM loan, for example, you’ll have a fixed interest rate for the first 5 years. During this introductory period, you pay a fixed interest rate that’s usually lower than 30-year fixed rates.
After your introductory period ends, your interest rate changes depending on market interest rates. Your lender will look at a predetermined index to calculate how rates are changing. Your rate will go up if the index’s market rates go up. If they go down, your rate goes down.
ARMs include rate caps that dictate how much your interest rate can change in a given period and over the lifetime of your loan. Rate caps protect you from rapidly rising interest rates. For instance, interest rates might keep rising year after year, but when your loan hits its rate cap, your rate won’t continue to climb. These rate caps also go in the opposite direction and limit the amount that your interest rate can go down as well.
Adjustable-rate loans can be a good choice if you plan to buy a starter home before moving to your forever home. You can easily take advantage and save money if you don’t plan to live in your home throughout the loan’s full term.
These can also be especially beneficial if you plan on paying extra toward your loan early on. ARMs can give you some extra cash to put toward your principal. Paying extra on your loan early can save you thousands of dollars later on.
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Government-backed loans are insured by government agencies. When lenders talk about government-backed loans, they’re referring to three types of loans: FHA, VA and USDA loans. These loans are less risky for lenders because the insuring body foots the bill if you default on your mortgage. You may qualify for a government-backed loan if you can’t get a conventional loan.
Each government-backed loan has specific criteria you need to meet in order to qualify along with unique benefits, but you may be able to save on interest or down payment requirements, depending on your eligibility.
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A jumbo loan is one that’s worth more than conforming loan standards in your area. You usually need a jumbo loan if you want to buy a high-value property. For example, you can get up to $2.5 million in a jumbo loan if you choose Rocket Mortgage. The conforming loan limit in most parts of the country is $647,200.
Jumbo loan interest rates are usually similar to conforming interest rates, but they’re more difficult to qualify for than other types of loans. You’ll need to have a higher credit score and a lower DTI to qualify for a jumbo loan.