What is a Conventional Loan?
A conventional loan is a mortgage that is not backed by any Government agency such as the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) or Veterans Administration (VA). Conventional loans meet the lending requirements of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two largest buyers of mortgage loans in the US. Most conventional mortgages are issued by private lenders who then sell the loan to one of these Government Sponsored Entities (GSE’s).
Conventional Fixed Rate Mortgages (FRM)
The fixed-rate mortgage is the most popular mortgage program in use today. Fixed-rate loans offer the borrower a fixed interest rate for the life of the loan, typically 15 to 30 years. Borrowers have peace of mind knowing that their monthly payment will not change over time. Conventional fixed-rate mortgages have underwriting requirements established by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, and require certain down-payment and debt-to-equity ratios to qualify. Fixed-rate loans are especially attractive to buyers who plan to stay in their home for more than a few years.
Conventional Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARM)
With an Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM), the interest rate changes periodically, and payments go up or down accordingly. Rates are tied to an index that reflects the cost of money at any given point in time. Generally speaking, lenders charge a lower initial interest rate for the ARM than for the fixed rate mortgage. If you are expecting interest rates to decrease in the future, or if you are trying to maximize your purchase power today knowing your income will rise in the future, then this loan may be right for you. Adjustable rate loans are attractive for buyers who expect to be in the home for a short period of time.