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Conventional Home Loans 101: Exploring The Best Options For Your Purchase

Conventional Home Loans 101: Exploring The Best Options For Your Purchase

Conventional Home Loans

When buying a home, one of the most important steps that you should take is to seek out financing for the purchase. Now, one common option that you can take out is the conventional home loan.

Basically, this is a type of mortgage that is not insured or guaranteed by the government. As such, it can be a great way to finance the purchase of your dream home, but you should always thoroughly research all aspects of this loan before applying for one.

In this article, we will explore the different types of conventional home loans so that you can determine the best option for your needs. We will also pore over the typical requirements when taking them out to help you prepare for the application process.

Types of Conventional Homes Loans

When it comes to conventional home loans, there are several different types available on the market today. Depending on your particular needs and circumstances, some of them may be better suited for you than others. Let us discuss each of them in detail.

1. Fixed-Rate Loan

As the name suggests, a fixed-rate loan locks in an interest rate for the entire duration of your loan, which is usually 15 or 30 years. This means that you do not have to worry about any sudden increase in payments due to fluctuating rates, as long as you keep up with your monthly mortgage payments.

The downside to this type of loan is that it does not allow you to enjoy lower rates when the market drops. This means that you should only opt for a fixed-rate loan if you are comfortable with paying the said amount of interest over the entire period of your loan and are looking for stability and predictability in your monthly expenses.

2. Adjustable-Rate Mortgage (ARM)

Unlike fixed-rate loans, an ARM has an interest rate that can change over time. This means that your monthly payments may increase if the market rate rises, but you may also benefit from lower payments if the market rates drop. The initial interest rate for this type of conventional mortgage is usually lower than fixed-rate loans, making it a great option if you are looking to save money at the beginning of your loan period.

However, ARMs may not be suitable for certain situations. For example, if you need to refinance the loan within the initial fixed-rate period, then you may face an increased rate when you refinance. Also, when the rate-lock period ends and the interest rates skyrocket, you might be paying more than what you can really afford.

3. Conforming Loan

Conforming loans are mortgages that meet the guidelines set by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. These two government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) set the lending standards for conventional home loans, which can be quite strict. Generally speaking, the loan amount must not exceed a certain limit (depending on the area you live in), your credit score should meet their requirements, and you will need to provide proof of income to demonstrate that you can make the payments.

For conforming loans, you are usually required to pay private mortgage insurance (PMI) if your down payment is less than 20%. This helps protect lenders from potential losses due to unpaid mortgages. This can be quite costly in the long run, so it is important for you to factor this into your budget.

4. Non-Conforming Loan

Non-conforming loans are mortgages that do not meet the guidelines set by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. They usually come with higher interest rates than other conventional home loans, as lenders perceive them to be risky.

One good example of this type of mortgage is the portfolio loan, which usually has high-interest rates as they are held on a lender’s balance sheet as an investment. They are typically used for borrowers who do not have a good credit score or might have difficulty providing proof of income.

These loans can be helpful options if you are unable to get a conforming loan, but you should consider all the costs associated with them before applying for one.

5. Jumbo Loan

If you are looking to buy more expensive properties, then you might need to opt for a jumbo loan. This type of mortgage usually allows higher loan amounts, even up to $5 million, depending on your conventional loan eligibility. However, the interest rates are usually higher than other types of mortgage on this list, as lenders also view them as riskier investments.

The best choice for you will depend on your financial situation and the type of property you are looking to buy. You can consult a financial advisor or mortgage broker to find out which option is best for you.

6. Low-Down-Payment Loan

Some mortgage lenders may offer low-down-payment loans, typically for conforming mortgages. These allow you to make a down payment of less than 20%, but you will be required to pay PMI until your loan balance is at or below 80% of the original purchase price.

Given the high cost of real estate, low-down-payment loans can be attractive to first-time homebuyers or those who do not have enough funds for a conventional down payment. However, remember that these loans often come with higher interest rates and other fees that can add up over time. So, make sure that you can afford the monthly payments and other costs before applying.

By exploring conventional home loans and doing some careful research, you can make an informed decision that will help you purchase your dream home. Be sure to consider all of your options and consult a professional if needed. This way, you can be certain that you are making the best choice for your situation.

Customary Conventional Home Loan Requirements

person sorting out conventional loan requirements

No matter which type of financing option you choose, you should remember that there are certain conventional loan requirements that you need to meet in order to be eligible for the lender’s approval.

Down Payment

For most conventional home loans, you will be required to put down 20% of the purchase price as a down payment. This amount will serve as your equity in the property, which represents one of the biggest factors lenders consider when approving loan applications.

However, you can always negotiate with your lender to see if they can offer you lower down payment requirements. Also, if you are applying for a government-backed loan, then the required down payment might be less than 20%.

But again, remember that higher down payments typically mean better interest rates, so make sure you can afford the amount before signing any paperwork.

Credit Score

Lenders will be more willing to lend money to those who have good borrowing history. This means that you will need to have a good credit score before applying for conventional home loans.

Generally, most lenders prefer you have a score of 620 or higher. So, if your score is not up to par, take some time to improve it by paying down debts and ensuring all your bills are paid on time.

Also, if you see some inaccuracies in your credit report, you should contact the credit reporting agencies to have them corrected. This will help you get a better deal from your lender when they review your loan application.

Debt-to-Income (DTI) Ratio

This is also one metric that lenders will take into consideration when assessing your application. Most lenders prefer that this ratio remains below 36%, but some with more lenient policies will allow those with 43% (the highest DTI ratio allowed for borrowers according to general guidelines) to qualify for their products.

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To calculate your DTI ratio, simply divide your total debt payments each month (such as credit cards, car loans, and student loan payments) by your gross monthly income.

Proof of Income

Most lenders will require you to provide proof of your income, such as pay stubs and Form W-2 statements. This is done in order for them to confirm that you are earning a steady source of income and that you are capable of re-paying the loan.

If you are self-employed or have irregular income, then you may need to provide more documents to prove your income. You may also need to provide tax returns from the past two years.

Employment History

Apart from proof of income, you would also be asked to provide documents that indicate your employment history. This is to show that you are in stable and secure employment and have been so for a certain period of time.

In addition, it will also be helpful if you can find some documentation to prove that your income is at least likely to remain the same in the near future. This could come in the form of bonus statements, promotion letters, or other documents that will reassure lenders of your financial stability.

Quick Tips for Comparing Current Conventional Loan Rates

Conventional loan rates will vary from one lender to another, so it is important to shop around and compare rates before making a decision.

Here are some tips that can help you find the best deal.

  • Focus on the type of loan you want to get and start comparing interest rates.
  • Avoid lenders that charge hidden fees such as origination or processing fees.
  • Read the loan agreement carefully and make sure you understand all the terms before signing anything.
  • Use a mortgage loan calculator to calculate your estimated monthly payments based on the interest rate, loan term, and other factors. This will help you get an idea of what kind of monthly expenses to expect.
  • Ask for quotes from at least three lenders and compare them before making a decision.

By following these steps, you can surely find a mortgage option that comes with the most favorable rates.

Final Thoughts

Conventional home loans are among the most cost-effective financing solution when buying a home. However, it is important to remember that they come with certain requirements that you must meet in order to qualify for the lender’s approval.

By doing your research and comparing rates from different lenders, you can find a loan option that best suits your needs. Just remember to read all the fine print before signing any paperwork and always make sure you can afford the monthly payments.

For more expert home-hunting tips, feel free to check out the rest of our articles. Good luck!

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