Conforming Loans with Low Down Payment Options and Competitive Interest Rates Suitable with any Residential Property
A conventional mortgage loan is a “conforming” loan, which means it meets Fannie Mae’s or Freddie Mac’s requirements. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are government-sponsored enterprises that purchase mortgages from lenders and sell them to investors. This frees up lenders’ funds so they can get more qualified buyers into homes.
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More Information on Conventional Loans
Because several sets of guidelines fall under the umbrella of “conventional loans,” there are different requirements for borrowers depending on the product. However, conventional loans generally have stricter credit requirements than government-backed loans like FHA loans.
Conventional Loan Requirements
- First-time home buyers can get a conventional mortgage with a down payment as low as 3%. However, the down payment requirement can vary based on your situation and the type of loan or property you’re getting
- If you’re not a first-time home buyer or making no more than 80% of the median income in your area, the down payment requirement is 5%.
- If the house is not a single-family home (i.e., it has more than one unit), you may need to put down a 15%. deposit
- You’ll need to put at least 10% down if you’re buying a second home.
- The minimum down payment requirement is 5% if you’re getting an adjustable-rate mortgage.
Private Mortgage Insurance
If you put down less than 20% on a conventional loan, you’ll be required to pay for private mortgage insurance (PMI). PMI protects your mortgage investors in case you default on your loan. The cost for PMI varies based on your loan type, credit score, and the size of your down payment.
PMI is usually paid as part of your monthly mortgage payment, but there are other ways to cover the cost. Some buyers pay it as an upfront fee included in their closing costs. Others spend it in the form of a slightly higher interest rate. Choosing how to pay for PMI is a matter of running the numbers to figure out which option is the cheapest.
The nice thing about PMI is that it won’t be part of your loan forever; you won’t have to refinance to get rid of it. When you reach 20% equity in the home on your regular mortgage payment schedule, you can ask your lender to remove the PMI from your mortgage payments.
If you reach 20% equity due to your home’s increase in value, you can contact your lender for a new appraisal so they can use the new value to recalculate your PMI requirement. Once you reach 22% equity in the home, your lender will automatically remove PMI from your loan.
- Credit score: In most cases, you’ll need a credit score of at least 620 to qualify for a conventional loan. When you apply, your lender will check your credit history to determine if you have good credit. If you don’t, you might not get approved for the loan.
- Debt-to-income ratio: Your debt-to-income ratio (DTI) is a percentage that represents how much of your monthly income goes to pay off debts. You can calculate your DTI by adding up the minimum monthly payments on all your debts (like student loans, auto loans, and credit cards) and dividing it by your gross monthly income. For most conventional loans, your DTI must be 50% or lower.
- Loan size: For a conforming conventional loan, your loan must fall within the loan limits set by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The loan limit changes annually. For 2022, the conforming loan limit for a single-family home is $647,200. There are exceptions, however. Alaska, Hawaii, and other high-cost areas of the country have higher loan limits, ranging up to $970,800. To see loan limits for your area, visit the Federal Housing Finance Agency website.
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