The Types of Conventional Loans: A Beginner’s Guide

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January 11, 2023

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Author’s Bio:

G. Brian Davis is a real estate investor and writer who, along with his wife and daughter, spends most of the year overseas. He loves hiking, exotic wine, travel, and food, not necessarily in that order. He plans to reach financial independence by age 42.

The Types of Conventional loans: A Beginner’s Guide

To understand the meaning of a conventional mortgage, it summons the simple concept of a mortgage to take loans at a fixed interest. It means that the interest rate stays the same throughout the loan period. However, having no guarantee through the government makes the loan a little risky and strict. The bank and creditors typically follow up with a rigorous mode of action.

Therefore, few loan agencies by the government manage to help the debtor to have a low down payment and no closing charges. Since this is a loan maintained by the government, the eligibility requirements are high.

What is a conventional loan?

Conventional loans are the most common type of loan. It is generally offered by banks. It is different than those traditional loans from the government. Conventional loans are where the banks present a better deal than classical orthodox loans. However, it is hard for one individual to qualify for a loan.

A conditional loan is where the home buyer takes up a loan from private lenders without the security of the government entity. Instead, it is available through lenders like credit unions, banks, mortgage companies, and many more. However, these two conventional mortgages are available through government-sponsored enterprises. The name of these two government enterprises is (Freddie Mac) “Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation” and (Fannie mac) “Federal National Mortgage Association.” There are two more government loan agencies that do not require to pay any down payment. The name of these two agencies is (VA) the “U.S Department of Veterans Affairs” and “The USDA Rural Housing Service.”

Types of Conventional loan

If you are looking for the most cost-effective mortgage for your home, you may have encountered a conventional loan. However, it is better to learn about the types of conventional loans before committing to a lender. It is one of the most crucial steps, and an individual shall not ignore it. Every borrower shall check these options out.

Portfolio Loans

These loans are mortgages held by the lender instead of being sold out in the market. They do not have any strict requirements associated with government entities. Therefore, it means that the lender can make their terms to increase the flexibility of the qualifications.

This loan is for borrowers who are looking for more flexibility in their mortgage terms can opt for this loan. The benefits are generally in the form of lower down payments with waived PMI.


With the name only, you might have already guessed that these loans are for folks that do not qualify for a traditional loan. As you know, loans have many qualification criteria, like credit score, DTI, salary studs, and many more. This loan is better for self-employed people who want to loan a property with unusual favors. People with low or bad credit scores can take this loan to buy a house. However, one of the downsides is that folks may need to pay a high borrowing rate.

Conforming Loans

Conforming loans are a set that plays around with conventional loan guidelines adhered to it by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. The creation of these rules entitled the two government entities to run the mortgage market smoothly. People with minimum credit scores and DTI or other requirements is eligible for this loan. 


Jumbo loans or non-conforming is a conventional loan that does not follow the guidelines made by government entities. They generally don’t stick around the rules adhered to by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. These loans are riskier to the borrower by the lender because it makes the qualifications high at the bar and hard to loan. People who need an amount higher than the conventional loan often opt for this mortgage.

Fixed-Rate Loan

A fixed-rate loan is nothing but a loan type, fixed for the life of the loan. Having a fixed rate clears out the shock of the borrower. It also clears the expectations of the borrower on the payment they need to pay throughout the loan period. And who can take this loan? Those people who like to maintain stability and predictability in their payment amount.

Adjustable-rate mortgages

Unlike a fixed-rate mortgage, they have an adjustable term on the loan that changes over time. Although firstly, the adjustable-rate mortgage has a lower interest rate at the beginning. However, as soon as the period ends, the borrower may expect an increment in the loan payment. This rate may start to increase after a precision of ⅘ loan period, every six months. Borrowers who can sell their house before the end of the loan period can opt for this mortgage.

Low-down-payment and zero-down conventional loans

Homebuyers with a strong credit history and score can opt for this loan option. In this mortgage option, the borrower is eligible for a low down payment or 100% conventional loan. Homebuyers looking for this loan are eligible to see several options that are slightly different in income limit and requirement. The borrower will need to pay 3% of the down payment while paying the rest during the loan period. Read more about how to buy your first rental property with no money down.

Everything you need to know about if a conventional loan is good for you.

If you plan to live in your own home for many years, then a convention loan is the right choice for you to discover. However, you need to be confident about the eligibility criteria and if you can meet the loan requirements. You need to know that you can pay the monthly payment of your debt. Moreover, this is in the case of a fixed-rate loan. But on the other side of the coin, you can find adjustable rates loans, to adjust loan payments lower at first and higher after some time.

However, the interest rates are lower for the first 3-7 years of duration, but after that, the payment may increase. So don’t get shocked when you have to pay more interest. 

Moreover, if you opt for a Conventional loan, you should be aware of the down payment. In many cases, the borrower has to pay 20% of the loan amount as a down payment. However, if the borrower pays for Private Mortgage Insurance and pays the premium monthly, the lender takes money less than 20%.

Eligibility criteria and requirements

The lenders have tightened the qualification for taking mortgages and loans in all the years since the “Subprime Mortgage Meltdown.” Before that, there were mortgages with “No Verification” and “No down payment” blown away with the wind.

However, most rules didn’t change with time, and the potential borrowers are needed to fulfill the required details. The debtors shall fill in the details in the application form. The necessary documents are handed down in extensive background research. Further, to look for information such as credit history, current credit score, and many more.

Required Documents for the loan

When you take a loan before or enquire about it, you may have crossed the term that no property or loan is 100% sanctioned by a lender or banker. Therefore, when a debtor checks your liabilities and advantages. They not only check for your income to pay for the loan. But also make sure that they can afford the down payment on the mortgage. The loan mortgage payment shall not exceed 28% of the gross income. The lender also checks whether you can handle the payment upfront and settle down the loan settlement payment, broker fees, underwriting fees, and many more.

a. Income Proof

If you opt for a conventional mortgage, this is the most important document you may need to fill out the application. You may be aware of these types of documents.

  1. Federal tax returns statements for two years.
  2. They would need sixty days or a quarterly statement of all the assets. It includes a declaration of checking, saving, and investment accounts (If you have any).
  3. You would need to submit 24 months of W-2 statements to the lender.
  4. The lender may require you to submit 30 days of pay stubs that show year-to-date and monthly income.

However, the borrower may need to provide additional income proof, such as bonuses or alimony. So, the recommendation is to prepare for it beforehand.

b. Employment Verification

The borrower may need to provide details for employment verifications. The lender would want to loan out a person with a stable employment history. If the borrower does not have a stable work history, it can cause issues for them to take the mortgage. Your lender may call your employer to verify and check your pay stubs. They may also look for details of your salary and check the reason for your job change. The lender may also verify details with your previous employer for extra verification.

However, self-employed people may need to show details and additional documents regarding their business and income. They may need to show significant extra paperwork for their business.

c. Assets

As we already know, taking a conventional loan is not easy, and you may need to provide many different documents for the extra mile. They may want you to submit bank statements. They also may need to show details of investment account details. It may need to prove that you can pay a down payment, cash reserves, and closing costs. However, if you take help to pay the down payment from your friend or family, submit a gift letter. These gift letters certify that the money is not a loan, and you are not required to have obligatory payment.

d. Other different Documents

To take a conventional loan is not a piece of cake, and you may need to provide numerous documents. The lender may want you to give your social security card, passport, driver’s license, and other documents.


How to qualify for this loan

You may already know that you borrow conventional loans from private lenders only. However, after thinking more conditionally, you may realize that these loans aren’t easy to borrow. Having no backup from the government, bankers and private lenders tend to be strict with their qualifications. So, if you want to take a loan, follow and maintain these steps.

Down payment

The borrower needs to pay at least 20% of the down payment on the loan money. However, if the borrower accepts, they can take less interest money from the borrower. But they would need to buy premium mortgage insurance. And pay the private premium monthly unless the borrower receives 20% of the equity amount. Moreover, borrowing a conventional loan is the best option for the borrower.


If you opt to take a loan, make sure to have a considerable ratio of DTI statements in your account. This DTI statement is a sum of debt payments that are paid monthly, such as loan repayments, credit cards, and many more. The comparison is made ideally to your income ratio and should be 36%. However, the suggestions are to keep it lower than 43%.

Credits score

You don’t have to be a banking nerd to know that to borrow money credit score is vital. The credit score is the representation of your ability to pay out the money. Credit scores are the history and number of late payments of the borrower. To gain approval from the lender, you need to have a credit score of 620 or more.

Who does not qualify

In general terms, people who are just starting their lives do not qualify for loans. And Debtors who have little debt than general while holding a simple credit rating. Moreover, getting a conventional loan is hard for people who have suffered bankruptcy in the past seven years or less. People with a higher DTI than 43% and credit scores lower than 650 are also not eligible.



Having a place one can call home is the dream of every person at some point in life. However, the increasing price of land is making it hard for the middle class to save all their lives and buy a house. At this point, you can opt for a conventional loan, but before that make sure to check the type of conventional loan that suits you the most.


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