Conventional loans are mortgage loans that aren’t insured or guaranteed by the federal government. These are a great choice for homeowners, since they offer lower costs than many other loans. These loans come in all shapes and sizes, and while they don’t provide the benefits as FHA, VA and USDA loans, conventional loans remain the most common type of mortgage loan. According to the National Association of Home Builders, conventional loans accounted for 78.5% of new home sales in the first quarter of 2022.
Conforming loans have maximum loan limits set by the FHFA. It meets the underwriting requirements set by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, two of the government-sponsored enterprises that buy mortgages. However, these two agencies can only buy mortgages that conform to their guidelines, hence the advent of the term ‘conforming.’ It is equal to or lower than the conforming loan limits set for each county by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) each year. Since conforming loans do not have strict qualification requirements, it is pretty easy for borrowers to qualify for them. Conforming loans often have a low-down payment and credit score requirements when compared to non-conforming loans, and they have standardized guidelines meant to protect the borrower and lender from poor lending practices.
Conforming Loans Requirements:
- Minimum credit score: 620
- Maximum loan limits: Your loan amount must be within the approved FHFA loan limit. In 2022, the conforming loan limit is $ 625,000 in most areas. But in some high-cost regions like Alaska, Hawaii, New York, the maximum conforming loan limit can go as high as $970,800. THIS CHANGES YEARLY.
- Maximum debt-to-income ratio: 43%
- Minimum down payment required: At least 3%, but you may have to pay for private mortgage insurance since you’re putting less than 20% down.
Non-conforming loans typically include jumbo loans (loans beyond the GSE loan limits) and loans like FHA, VA, and USDA loans. A loan is considered non-conformed if it allows for the following:
- Poor credit score requirement
- Lower minimum down payment requirement
- Higher debt-to-income (DTI) ratio
- High loan limits, especially for jumbo loans
- Use of the loan for unconventional purposes