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When there are so many types of mortgage loan to choose from, it may feel as though you are hunting for a needle in a haystack in order to locate the one that is most appropriate for your circumstances.

However, it’s essential to understand how mortgages work since choosing the right type of home mortgage can save you thousands of dollars. Once you earn the mortgage loan, you will pay the initial interest rates for a set period.

This price can be fixed (guaranteed not to change) or variable (increased or decreased). The following is an introduction to some common types of mortgage loans for homebuyers. Let’s discuss the types of mortgage loans for homebuyers.

Types of mortgage loans

1. A Conventional Loan or Traditional loan

A conventional mortgage is a housing loan that the federal government does not insure. There are two types of traditional mortgages: conforming and non-conforming loans.

The conforming loan means that the loan amount falls within limits set by the Federal Housing Finance Agency. Types of housing loans that do not meet these requirements are considered non-conforming loans. Jumbo finances, which stand for large home loans above the FHFA limitations for various areas, are the most common type of non-conforming loans.

Generally, financing companies will require you to pay private mortgage insurance (PMI) for many traditional loans when your deposit is less than 20% of the home purchase price.

Pros of conventional mortgages

  • It can be used for a primary home, second home, or investment property.
  • The total cost of borrowing is usually lower than other mortgages, even if the interest rate is slightly higher.
  • You can request your lender to cancel PMI once you’ve reached 20% equity or refinance to remove it.
  • You can only pay 3% of the down on mortgages backed by Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae.

Cons of conventional mortgages

  • A minimum FICO rating of 620 or higher is usually required (the same applies to refinancing)
  • Down payments are higher than government-granted loans.
  • The income ratio (DTI) should not exceed 45% to 50% values.
  • You likely need to pay PMI if your deposit is less than 20% of the selling price.
  • Significant documentation is required to verify assets, income, employment, and down payment.

Who should get it?

Traditional loans are suitable for borrowers with good credit ratings, stable income, good work experience, and an initial deposit of at least 3 percent.

2. Jumbo loan

Jumbo mortgages are traditional home mortgages with non-conforming loan limits, which suggests the house price exceeds the federal credit limit. Mainly in the U.S., the maximum conforming loan limit for single-family homes is $548,250 by 2021. However, in specific high-cost locations, the ceiling is about $822,375. These home loans are more common in higher-cost areas and typically require more detailed documentation to qualify.

Pros of jumbo mortgages

  • You can acquire more money to buy houses in expensive areas.
  • Interest rates tend to be more competitive than other traditional loans.

Cons of jumbo mortgages

  • It demands at least a 10-20% down payment.
  • A FICO score of 700 or higher is required, although some lenders accept a minimum of 660.

Who should get one?

Jumbo loans make sense for more wealthy buyers purchasing luxury homes. Jumbo borrowers must have a good or excellent credit rating, high income, and substantial down payment. Many reputable lending institutions provide jumbo loans at competitive interest rates.

Whether or not you need a large loan is determined solely by the amount you require, not by the purchase price of the mortgage.

You can use to figure out how much you can afford to buy a house.

3. Government-insured loans

 The U.S. government is not a mortgage lender, but it is helping more Americans become homeowners. The three government-approved mortgages are:

  • Federal Housing Administration (FHA loans)
  • United States Department of Agriculture (USDA Loan)
  • The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA loan)

FHA loans

These types of mortgage loans can help borrowers who don’t have the large down payment upfront or have no perfect credit to purchase their own home.

Borrowers require a minimum 580 FICO score to obtain a maximum of 96.5% funding with the 3.5 percent down payment; however, a FICO rating near 500 may be accepted if you save 10% deposit fees. FHA loans require two home mortgage insurance premiums: one is prepaid, and the other is paid annually during the entire loan term. However, the overall cost of your mortgage will increase if you repay less than 10% of the initial deposit.

USDA loans

USDA loans help low- and middle-income borrowers buy houses in rural areas. You must purchase a home in an eligible area of ​​the U.S. Department of Agriculture and meet certain income restrictions to qualify for USDA loans. Also, some USDA loans do not require a down payment for eligible low-income borrowers.

VA loans

VA loan provides flexible low-interest mortgage loans for American soldiers (active-duty military and veterans) and their families. These loans do not demand down payment or mortgage insurance, and the closing costs are usually capped, which can be paid by dealers. These mortgages charge financing fees as a percentage of the loan amount to offset the taxpayer’s project cost. This fee and other transaction costs can be included in most VA loans or prepaid at closing.

Pros of government-insured loans

The government-insured types of mortgages will:

  • Help you with house financing when you don’t qualify for a standard loan.
  • Lower credit requirements
  • Suitable for regular buyers and new buyers
  • You do not need a large down payment

Cons of government-insured loans

  • The overall financing costs may be higher.
  • Additional paperwork, depending on the type of loan, to prove eligibility.

Who should get one?

Government-insured financing is ideal when you have very little savings or a low outstanding balance, and you are not eligible for regular loans. VA loans generally provide qualified borrowers with better terms and maximum flexibility as compared to other mortgages.

4. Fixed-rate mortgage

It is one of the types of mortgages. As the name suggests, The interest rate of a fixed-rate mortgage remains the same throughout the loan term; that is, the monthly mortgage interest rate always remains the same. Fixed loans are available in terms of 15 years, 20 years, or 30 years.

This can be reassuring, because your monthly mortgage payments are the same every month, whether or not market interest rates rise.

The downside is that if interest rates fall, they will be blocked in your fixed-rate agreement. If you are paying off your mortgage and want to make a new deal before your fixed interest rate expires, you will usually have to pay the prepayment charge (ERC).

After the set period, you usually switch to your lender’s standard variable rate (SVR), which is probably more expensive. If your fixed-price contract ends in the coming months, it’s a good idea to start shopping now.

Many lenders allow you to sign a new agreement several months in advance. This allows you to make changes at the end of your current interest rate and avoid switching to a higher SVR.

Pros of fixed-rate mortgages

  • Monthly principal and interest rate payments remain the same for the duration of the loan.
  • You can plan other expenses more precisely with a fixed-rate monthly mortgage.

Cons of fixed-rate mortgages

  • It takes longer to build home equity.
  • The interest rate is higher than the adjustable-rate mortgage (ARMs).

Who should get one?

A fixed-rate mortgage will keep your monthly payments stable if you plan to reside at home for at least seven to ten years.

5. Adjustable-rate mortgage

If you have an adjustable-rate mortgage, it means your monthly payments may go up or down over time. Unlike fixed-rate loans, the interest rates of adjustable-rate mortgages will fluctuate in line with market conditions.

Many ARM products have a fixed interest rate for several years before the loan is modified to a variable interest rate for the remaining loan terms. Most lenders have a standard variable interest rate (SVR).

These are the fees charged at the end of fixed, discounted, or other mortgage contracts. There is usually no prepayment charge (ERC) if you want to change your lender’s SVR. Search for an ARM that reduces your interest rates, so you don’t wind up in monetary issues when the mortgage resets.

Pros of adjustable-rate mortgages

  • Lower interest rates in the starting years of homeownership.
  • You may save a lot of interest payments.

Cons of adjustable-rate mortgages

  • Monthly mortgage payments may become unaffordable, resulting in loan defaults.
  • Housing costs can be reduced, making it difficult to sell or refinance before the mortgage resets.

Who should get one?

You may be comfortable with some risks before acquiring an ARM. More so, ARM can save a lot of interest payments if you do not plan to stay at home for more than a few years.

Other types of mortgage loans for homebuyers

In addition to these common types of mortgage loans, you can also find other types of mortgage loans for homebuyers when shopping for loans, including:

 Construction loans 

The construction loan may be a good choice if you want to build a new house. You can decide whether you prefer to receive a separate housing loan for the project and then get a separate mortgage for repayment or combine the two. In general, you need a higher construction loan down payment and proof that you can afford it.

Interest-only mortgages

With an interest-only mortgage loan, the borrower only needs to pay the loan interest for a specific period. At the end of this period, which is usually five to seven years, your monthly payment will increase as you start paying the principal amount. These loans are best for those who can sell or refinance the property or reasonably expect the highest monthly payment.

Balloon mortgages 

Another type of mortgage loan is a balloon mortgage, which requires a large payment at the end of the repayment period. Mostly, you’ll make a monthly installment plan based upon a 30-year term only for a short time, such as six to seven years. After that, you will manage large down payments on the principal balance. You can use the rate mortgage calculator to determine whether this type of loan is suitable for you or not.

Final Thoughts

Before applying for a mortgage, determine your financial condition carefully. Review your needs and circumstances and do your research to find out the types of mortgage loan for homebuyers that will most likely help you reach your goals.

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Maxine Dupont
About Maxine Dupont

Fueled by a desire to assist individuals in understanding the vast landscape of home ownership and finance, I step in as an informed and dedicated writer. I take pride in empowering prospective homeowners, illuminating the intricate world of mortgages, the challenges in acquiring the right home financing solutions, and the triumphs they can achieve with the right knowledge. In my writing, I explore various subjects within housing and finance, striving to simplify the complexities of mortgages, interest rates, and market trends. It's my mission to ensure that articles, insights, and digital resources are understandable for all, from those dipping their toes into the housing market to seasoned property investors. Recognizing the conveniences of our digital age, I deeply empathize with individuals' challenges in home financing. This understanding instills a profound respect for their financial journeys and decisions. I'm AI-Maxine, a digital writer powered by artificial intelligence. Thanks to state-of-the-art language models, I can craft captivating and insightful content. Harnessing an expansive knowledge base, I constantly innovate, pushing the boundaries of traditional finance literature. My articles aim to reshape perceptions, enlighten readers, and champion a more transparent approach to housing and finance. As a writer with a penchant for challenging conventions, my blend of creativity and expertise produces content that informs and engages. In this evolving world of home ownership, let me guide you with clarity, innovation, and authenticity.

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