Loan Types

Which loan is right for me?

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How rates are structured

When it’s time to choose your loan, one of the most important choices you’ll make is how your mortgage rate is structured. Your rate tells you how much you’ll pay in interest each year on your mortgage. While the differences may feel small, even a tenth of a point can amount to thousands of dollars over the life of your loan.

Rates are typically structured as "fixed or "adjustable." Most – but not all – loan options offer this choice, so it’s important to be aware of your options.

Fixed-rate mortgages

A mortgage with a set interest rate that never changes throughout the life of your loan. Most fixed-rate mortgages have 30-year and 15-year repayment terms. These loans offer buyers a level of consistency that many others do not.

Best for homebuyers who...
want a predictable, lower monthly payment amount that remains for the life of the loan.

Adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs)

ARMs can be a good option to get a lower upfront rate than a fixed-rate mortgage. After the fixed period, the interest rate on an ARM becomes variable and changes at regular intervals to reflect the most current market conditions.

Best for homebuyers who...
don’t intend to own the property longer than the fixed period, and/or who expect interest rates to decline in the future.

More: The ABCs of ARMs →

Conventional Loans

A conventional loan includes any mortgage type that’s not part of a specific government program such as the FHA, VA or USDA (more on these government-backed loans below). While more cost-effective than other loan options for those who qualify, a conventional loan typically requires that borrowers have a credit score of at least 620, along with a minimum down payment amount.

Low and no-down payment loan options

You don’t necessarily need a large (or even any) down payment in order to buy a home. These low- and no-down payment programs are available through government entities like the FHA, USDA or VA and as a conventional loan option for those who qualify.

These mortgages are typically exclusive to groups who fit certain criteria, such as veterans or buyers with lower credit scores. Our team, along with our network of partners, can service these types of loans for anyone who is eligible.

More: How much down payment to buy a house? →

  • Credit scores as low as 500
  • Down payments as low as 3.5%
  • Requires mortgage insurance for the life of the loan

Best for homebuyers who...
have lower credit scores or are not able to make a 20% down payment.

More: Everything you need to know about FHA loans →

  • Restricted to rural locations
  • Income and property value caps
  • Require no down payment
  • Available for home improvement loans as well

Best for homebuyers who...
live in qualifying rural areas seeking a loan without a down payment.

More: Who qualifies for a USDA loan? →

  • Available to military service members and veterans
  • Requires no down payment and no mortgage insurance
  • Requires a VA funding fee based on the value of the property

Best for homebuyers who...
are qualified military service members looking for lower interest rates or mortgage loans with no down payment.

More: Eligibility requirements for a VA loan →

  • Down payments as low as 3%
  • Minimum FICO score of 620
  • More favorable mortgage insurance requirements than FHA

Best for homebuyers who...
have better credit and want to purchase a more expensive home than is allowed by FHA limits.

More: Eligibility for HomeReady® Loans →

Conventional 97% LTV
  • Available to first-time homebuyers purchasing a single-family or condo unit as their primary residence
  • Cancellable PMI at 20% equity
  • No income limits

Best for homebuyers who...
have good credit and a higher income than is allowed by HomeReady.

More: What you need to know about PMI →

Non-conforming loan options and investment properties

If you’re considering a pricier home or purchasing a property for the purposes of generating income, a jumbo loan or investment property mortgage may be what you’re looking for.

Mortgage amounts higher than $647,200 (in most areas) are considered "non-conforming, per guidelines laid out by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and will require a jumbo loan. With an investment home, you’ll likely need to put up a larger down payment since mortgage insurance isn’t an option here.

  • Loan limits set annually by the Federal Housing Financing Agency (FHFA).
  • The conforming loan limit is $647,200 in most areas for 2022.
  • The limit is higher in certain parts of the country; check your location using the FHFA loan limit map.

Best for homebuyers who...
are looking to purchase a more expensive property that doesn’t conform to the FHFA’s loan limit.

More: What is a jumbo loan? →

Investment properties
  • An investment property can be a home you plan to improve and sell.
  • It could also be a property you intend to rent out, or a home in an area where you expect values will rise.
  • Financing requirements are typically more stringent than those of a primary residence

Best for homebuyers who...
are purchasing a property for the purposes of generating income, rather than a primary residence home purchase.

More: Vacation homes and investment properties →

Short-term and other loan options

When you can’t find an existing home that fits all your criteria, you can consider building a new home or purchasing a fixer-upper that needs renovations – both of which may have different financing requirements with a shorter repayment schedule. Temporary and “in-between” loan options like a bridge loan may be a good option for buyers who secure a new home before selling their existing one.

Construction loan
  • Construction-only: finances the material cost of building a new home over one year, separate from your mortgage
  • Construction-to-permanent: converts to a traditional mortgage upon move-in so you only pay closing costs once
  • Typical requirements include a down payment, good credit score and low DTI

Best for homebuyers who...
are building a completely new home from the ground up.

More: Getting a mortgage for new construction →

Renovation loan
  • Financed at the time of the home purchase, so buyers only have a single monthly payment
  • Typically based on post-construction appraisal value vs. other types of home improvement loans
  • Can be a more convenient and economical way to factor in renovation costs at the time of purchase

Best for homebuyers who...
intend to make major improvements to a fixer-upper upon purchase.

Bridge loan
  • Short-term financing most commonly used when a buyer needs to make a sudden, unexpected move
  • Good option for borrowers who want to avoid making a sale-contingent offer
  • Flexibility to borrow for up to a year

Best for homebuyers who...
want to purchase their new home before selling their current one.

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