About Conventional Home Loans
A Conventional Loan is a mortgage loan that is not backed by a government agency. These loans come in all shapes and sizes, and remain the most common type of mortgage loan, and remain by far the most common type of mortgage. According to the National Association of Home Builders, conventional loans accounted for 78.5% of new home sales in the first quarter of 2022.
If you’re thinking about buying a home, here’s what you should know about conventional loans to get an idea of whether it’s the right fit for you.
How a Conventional Mortgage Works
Conventional loans are originated, backed, and serviced by private mortgage lenders like banks, credit unions and other financial institutions.
Conventional loans are broken down into conforming and nonconforming loans, depending on whether or not they conform to guidelines set by the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac), the two government-backed mortgage companies that own many mortgages in the U.S.
Here are some general characteristics to know
Credit score requirement
It’s possible to get approved for a conforming conventional loan with a credit score as low as 620, although some lenders may look for a score of 660 or better.
Down payment requirements
You can find conventional mortgage loans with a down payment requirement as low as 3%, and some lenders have special programs that offer up to 100% financing. However, if you don’t put down 20% or more, the lender typically requires you to pay private mortgage insurance.
Conforming conventional loans go as high as $647,200 for single-family homes in 2022 ($970,800 if you live in a designated high-cost area). If you want a bigger loan than that, you’ll need a jumbo loan.
Conventional loans are typically repaid over a 30-year term, but it’s possible to qualify for a 15- or 20-year conventional mortgage loan.
You can get a fixed-rate loan or an adjustable-rate loan. Your interest rate will largely depend on your credit score and overall credit history. The better your credit is, the less you’ll pay in interest over the life of the loan.