Mortgage Loan Programs in 2017
A conventional loan is any mortgage that isn’t directly guaranteed by the federal government. These days, conventional loans specifically refer to mortgages that follow guidelines established by Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae.
A conventional conforming loan is a conventional loan that’s for an amount less than the maximum allowable conventional mortgage limits established by Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae and the Federal Home Finance Agency (FHFA), which is their regulator.
An FHA loan is a mortgage that’s insured and guaranteed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). FHA loans have advantages over other mortgages because they offer a competitive interest rate with a down payment as little as 3.5% percent. Yes, FHA loans carry mortgage insurance for mortgages above 80% loan-to value, but they still typically carry rates lower than other low down payment loans.
The U.S. government established VA loans in 1944 as a special reward program for veterans and active members of the armed forces. VA home loans provide zero down mortgage loans and reduced closing costs that veterans and qualified spouses can’t find anywhere else.
A USDA home loan is a mortgage offered by the United States Department of Agriculture for ‘rural’ home purchases. USDA loans are unique in that they’re the only no down payment mortgage available for non-veterans of the military.