A conventional loan is a mortgage that is not guaranteed or insured by any government agency, including the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), the Farmers Home Administration (FmHA) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). It is typically fixed in its terms and rate.
About half of all conventional loans are called “conforming” mortgages, because they conform to guidelines established by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. These two government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) buy mortgages from lenders and sell them to investors. Their purpose is to make mortgages more widely available. All conforming mortgages are also conventional mortgages.
Loans that do not conform to GSE guidelines are referred to as “non-conforming” home loans. Non-conforming loans that are larger than loan limits set by the GSEs are often referred to as “jumbo” mortgages. All non-conforming mortgages are also conventional mortgages.
FHA Loans 3.5% Down of purchase price
An FHA loan is insured by the Federal Housing Administration, a federal agency within the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The FHA does not loan money to borrowers, rather, it provides lenders protection through mortgage insurance (MIP) in case the borrower defaults on his or her loan obligations. Available to all buyers, FHA loan programs are designed to help creditworthy low-income and moderate-income families who do not meet requirements for conventional loans.
FHA loan programs are particularly beneficial to those buyers with less available cash. The rates on FHA loans are generally market rates, while down payment requirements are lower than for conventional loans.
Some of the other benefits of FHA financing:
• Only a lower down payment is required than a conventional loan.
• Some closing costs can be financed.
• Lower monthly mortgage insurance premiums and, under certain conditions, automatic cancellation of the premium.
• More flexible underwriting criteria than conventional loans
• FHA limits the amount lenders can charge for some closing cost fees (e.g. the origination fee can be no more than 1% of mortgage).
• Loans are assumable to qualified buyers.
VA Loans 100% Financing
VA guaranteed loans are made by lenders and guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) to eligible veterans for the purchase of a home. The guaranty means the lender is protected against loss if you fail to repay the loan. In most cases, no down payment is required on a VA guaranteed loan and the borrower usually receives a lower interest rate than is ordinarily available with other loans.
Other benefits of a VA loan include:
• Negotiable interest rates.
• Closing costs are comparable and sometimes lower – than other financing types.
• No private mortgage insurance requirement.
• Right to prepay loan without penalties
• The Mortgage can be taken over (or assumed) by the buyer when a home is sold.
• Counselling and assistance available to veteran borrowers having financial difficulty or facing default on their loan.
Although mortgage insurance is not required, the VA charges a funding fee to issue a guarantee to a lender against borrower default on a mortgage. The fee may be paid in cash by the buyer or seller, or it may be financed in the loan amount.
A VA loan can be used to buy a home, build a home and even improve a home with energy-saving features such as solar or heating/cooling systems, water heaters, insulation, weather-stripping/caulking, storm windows/doors or other energy efficient improvements approved by the lender and VA.
Veterans can apply for a VA loan with any mortgage lender that participates in the VA home loan program. A Certificate of Eligibility from the VA must be presented to the lender to qualify for the loan.
USDA / Rural Development 100% Financing
USDA Rural Development (RD) is a mission area within the United States Department of Agriculture which runs programs intended to improve the economy and quality of life in rural America.
Rural Development has a loan portfolio over $224.5 billion, and administers nearly $16 billion in program loans, loan guarantees, and grants through their programs. Rural Development promotes economic development by supporting loans to businesses through banks, credit unions and community-managed lending pools. It offers technical assistance and information to help agricultural producers and cooperatives get started and improve the effectiveness of their operations. Rural Development also provides technical assistance to help communities undertake community empowerment programs and helps rural residents buy or rent safe, affordable housing and make health and safety repairs to their homes.