Conventional Mortgage

Any sort of home buyer's loan that is not provided by or secured by the government is referred to as a conventional mortgage or conventional loan. A conventional mortgage can be the best option for you if you fulfil the credit score standards and wish to put down as little as 3%. Conventional loans often have lower prices than other loan kinds. Learn what the term "conventional" means in the mortgage business and decide if a conventional loan is the best option for you.

What is a Conventional Loan ?

Conventional mortgage or conventional loan are any type of mortgage loan that is not insured or offered by a government entity as part of a specific program. An individual receiving a mortgage loan from a private, non-government lender is said to be receiving a conventional loan. However, some conventional loans can be guaranteed by two government sponsored enterprises, the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac) and the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae).

The loan conditions, such as eligibility requirements, interest rates, minimum down payments, payment schedules, and other factors, may be set by private lenders. The interest rate for conventional mortgages is frequently fixed, which indicates that it won't vary over the course of the loan. Since conventional mortgages and loans are not federally guaranteed, banks and creditors frequently have tougher lending requirements.

Key Facts of Conventional Loan

  • A home buyer's loan that is not provided or guaranteed by a government agency is known as a conventional mortgage.
  • Conventional loan  is available through or guaranteed by a private lender or the two government-sponsored enterprises, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.
  • A official mortgage application must be filled out, together with the necessary documentation, credit history, and credit score.
  • For conventional loans, interest rates may occasionally be fixed, adjustable, or convertible.
  • The sales price and the borrower's credentials, as well as other considerations, determine the minimal down payment for a conventional loan.
  • For a conventional mortgage, the down payment requirement might be as low as 3% of the sales price.
  • Borrowers should budget to put down at least 20% of the sales price if they wish to avoid paying private mortgage insurance.

How Does the Conventional Loan Work ?

A conventional mortgage is a “conforming” loan, which simply means that it meets the criteria for Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. Government-sponsored companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac buy mortgages from lenders and offer them to investors. As a result, lenders have more money to place more suitable purchasers in homes. There is no uniform set of standards for borrowers because "conventional loans" cover a variety of distinct sets of regulations. Contrary to government-backed loans like FHA loans, conventional loans have more stringent credit standards.

A credit score of at least 620 is often required to be eligible for a conventional loan, while a score above 740 will help you get the best rate. With a traditional loan, you could be able to put down as little as 3%, depending on your financial situation and the loan amount. You must submit an application to your bank, credit union, or mortgage broker in order to obtain a traditional mortgage loan.

If your down payment for a conventional loan is less than 20% of the sales price, PMI will often be necessary. Your monthly mortgage payment will now include a charge for private mortgage insurance. In the event that you fall behind on your mortgage payments or miss them, it gives the lender security. When your home's equity reaches 20% of the original purchase price, PMI might be cancelled. When you reach 22% equity in your loan, your lender must take it out.

Requirements for Conventional Loan

Conventional mortgages follow the underwriting standards established by the two largest providers of mortgage financing, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. In the mortgage industry, these Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) are quite important. Not everyone should apply for these kinds of loans. Here's a look at who is likely to qualify for a conventional loan and who is not.

Who is Eligible for Conventional Loan ?

Most people who are in good financial standing and have established credit are eligible for conventional mortgages. Specifically, the ideal candidate should have :

1) Credit Score :

An individual's credit score is a numerical indication of their capacity to repay a debt. Credit histories and the frequency of late payments are factors in credit scores. For acceptance, a credit score of at least 620 and ideally higher may be necessary. Additionally, the lower the interest rate on the loan, with the best terms reserved for people with a great score, the better the score.

2) Debt-to-Income :

Your debt-to-income ratio (DTI), which is expressed as a percentage, shows how much of your gross monthly income is used to settle debts. In relation to your monthly income, this is the total of your monthly debt payments, including credit card and loan instalments. The debt-to-income ratio should ideally be between 36% and 43%. In other words, you should pay off your debt with no more than 36% of your monthly income. Lenders can detect that you can comfortably pay your mortgage in the event of an emergency if you have a low DTI.

3) Down Payment :

First-time homebuyers may be able to obtain a conventional mortgage with a down payment of as little as 3%. However, depending on your individual circumstances, the sort of loan or property you're buying, and other factors, the down payment need may change :
  • The required down payment is 5% if you are not a first-time home buyer and your income is less than 80% of the local median income in your area.
  • You may need to put down 15% if the property you're buying has more than one unit and isn't a single-family residence.
  • The down payment for a second house must be at least 10%.
  • The minimal down payment necessary for an adjustable-rate mortgage is 5%.

You'll need more than 3% equity to refinance a traditional loan. You will always require at least 5% equity. You must leave at least 20% equity in your house if you're refinancing with cash out.

Who is Not Qualify for Conventional Loan ?

In general, people who are just starting out in life, those who have a bit more debt than usual, and those who have a fair credit rating sometimes have difficulty being approved for conventional loans. These mortgages would be challenging for persons who have :
  • Had a foreclosure or bankruptcy within the last 7 years
  • Credit ratings under 650
  • Over 43% DTI
  • Less than 20% or even 10% of the home's buying price for a down payment

Conventional Loan Limits for 2023

Your loan must be within the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loan restrictions in order to be considered a conventional loan. The loan limit changes annually.

Starting January 1, 2023, the single-family house conforming loan maximum will be $726,200. The maximum loan amount in Alaska, Hawaii, and other high-cost areas of the country is $1,089,300. County governments may set the conforming loan limits. On the FHFA website, you may obtain an interactive version of the loan limitations map.


Standard Limit

High-Cost Area

1 Unit



2 Units



3 Units



4 Units



Required Documents for Conventional Loan

Never is a property financed in full. Lenders look at your assets and liabilities to determine more than just whether you can make your monthly mortgage payments. The necessary paperwork is :

1) Proof of Income :

These papers might contain, but are not necessarily limited to :
  • 30 days' worth of pay stubs with income and year-to-date income.
  • 2 years of federal tax returns.
  • Statement of all asset accounts, including your checking, savings, and any investment accounts, within 60 days or once every 3 months.
  • 2 years of W-2 statements.
Additionally, borrowers must be ready with documentation of any additional income, such as alimony or bonuses.

2) Assets :

To demonstrate that you have financial reserves in addition to the funds for the down payment and closing fees on the home, you will need to provide bank statements and investment account statements. You will need gift letters, which attest that the funds are not loans and do not have to be repaid, if you get money from a friend or relative to help with the down payment. Frequently, notarization of these letters is required.

3) Employment Verification :

Today's lenders want to ensure that they are only giving loans to applicants with a solid job history. In addition to requesting to view your pay stubs, your lender may also contact your employer to confirm that you are still working there and to inquire about your wages. In the event that you recently changed jobs, a lender could wish to get in touch with your old company. Borrowers who are self-employed will need to submit a lot more documentation about their business and income.

4) Other Documentation :

To access your credit report, your lender will need a copy of your driver's license or state identification card, your Social Security number, and your signature.

Interest Rates of Conventional Loan

Interest rates on conventional loans are often higher than those on government-backed mortgages, such FHA loans. A conventional mortgage's interest rate is determined by a number of variables, such as the loan's terms, length, size, and whether the interest rate is fixed or adjustable, as well as the state of the economy and financial markets at the time.

The individual borrower's financial profile, personal assets, creditworthiness, and the amount of the down payment they are able to make on the house to be financed are the last factors that affect the interest rate. Interest rates are established by mortgage lenders based on their projections of future inflation, as well as the supply and demand for mortgage-backed securities.

Types of Conventional Loans

If you're looking for a property, you might encounter one of numerous conventional loan options.

1) Conforming Conventional Loans :

A conventional loan is referred to as a conforming loan if it meets additional loan requirements established by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac and is less than the maximum loan amount specified by the Federal Housing Finance Agency. You could also hear conforming loans referred to as "GSE loans" because Fannie and Freddie are government-sponsored businesses.

2) Nonconforming Conventional Loans :

A conventional loan is referred to as nonconforming if it exceeds FHFA loan restrictions or employs underwriting guidelines that are different from those established by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. A typical sort of nonconforming conventional credit is a jumbo loan. In most U.S. counties, you might require a jumbo loan to finance an amount greater than $484,350.

3) Fixed-rate Conventional Loans :

You must pay interest on every mortgage, whether it is conforming or not. The interest rate on a fixed-rate conventional loan remains constant throughout the duration of the loan. Shorter durations are also available, but 30-year fixed-rate conventional loans are frequently chosen by buyers because they typically produce manageable monthly payments.

4) Adjustable-rate Conventional Loans :

An adjustable-rate mortgage, or ARM, is an alternative to a fixed-rate loan. Hybrid ARMs, also known as conventional loans with adjustable rates, feature rates that can change over time. After an initial fixed-rate period of three, five, seven, or ten years, ARM rates typically adjust annually.

5) Low-down-payment Conventional Loans :

There was a time when a 20% down payment was necessary to obtain a conventional loan. It's known as a "80/20 conventional loan" since borrowers that match the criteria only need to finance 80% of the home's worth. But the criteria for conventional loan down payments have since gotten more lenient.

6) Amortized Conventional Loans :

A bank, a savings and loan, a credit union, or a mortgage broker that funds its loans or brokers them are all options for homebuyers to obtain an amortized conventional loan from. The loan term and the loan-to-value ratio are two crucial variables. The loan-to-value ratio shows how much of the property's worth is covered by the loan. The amount of principal and interest paid each month varies over the course of a fully amortized conventional loan, with more interest initially being paid than principal.

Advantages of Conventional Loan

1) More property types :
Conventional loans can be used for a second home or an investment property in addition to jumbo loans for more expensive residences.

2) No program-specific fees :
Conventional loans don't have the additional program-specific costs that come with government-backed loans, though you'll probably still have to pay the lender's fees. For instance, the upfront mortgage insurance premium for an FHA loan is 1.75%, while the financing cost for a VA loan ranges from 1.4 to 2.3%, depending on the amount of your down payment.

3) Additional control over mortgage insurance :
You must obtain private mortgage insurance if the down payment on a traditional loan is less than 20%. However, you can apply to have your PMI cancelled after your main loan balance reaches 78% of the value of your property. Mortgage insurance premiums for FHA loans, however, may continue for the duration of the loan.

4) Additional options in loan structure :
Although 30-year fixed-rate conventional mortgages are the most popular, various lengths (such as 15 or 20 year loans) and adjustable-rate mortgages are also available. Lenders are free to provide more solutions because they are not required to adhere to government-mandated plans.

Conventional Loan Down Payment Calculator

The three methods provide various approaches for calculating an expected down payment. Use conventional loan calculator.

How to Apply for Conventional Loan ?

Conventional loans are available through private lenders, such as banks, mortgage companies and credit unions. Speak with a home loan expert to learn what types of financing you are eligible for so, you can determine which one is best for you.

A complete credit check and any other conditions imposed by the specific lender, such as mortgage insurance and cosigner information, will also be part of the application process. If your loan is granted, the conditions of the down payment and all subsequent instalments, including the interest rate and period, will be determined. It is possible to obtain a home loan for a sum bigger than the cost of a property, but the terms of the conventional loan will ultimately depend on your agreement with the lender.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much of a down payment is required for a conventional loan without PMI?
If you want a traditional loan without private mortgage insurance, you'll need to put down at least 20% of the purchase price. Although it's not necessary, it does help you avoid paying the additional PMI cost and qualify for a traditional loan.

What credit score is required to be approved for a conventional loan?
For most lenders, you'll need a credit score of at least 620 to be eligible for a conventional loan. If you don't meet the minimal credit score requirements, you might want to choose a USDA loan, which has no credit score requirement, or an FHA loan, which allows you to borrow with a credit score of at least 500.

Which house can I buy using conventional financing?
You can buy single-family homes, condos, investment properties, townhomes, lofts, and second homes for vacations with conventional loans. Basically anything that is a common style of housing in your area.

How is my conventional loan interest rate determined?
The risk you pose determines the interest rate you are eligible for. The following variables have a major role in determining that risk level, credit scores, down payments, loan types, mortgage insurance (or lack thereof), and the state of the bond market. The loan rate you are eligible for depends on the totality of these factors.

Does a conventional loan require a pest inspection?
A pest inspection for the house you're buying won't often be necessary, according to your lender. Your appraiser or home inspector might suggest hiring a pest expert to do an examination if there is proof of an infestation or termite damage.

Why is a conventional loan better?
Government-insured loans may take longer to process than conventional loans, but they may also be available sooner. Conventional loans can be approved by mortgage lenders without the usual delays associated with FHA or government-backed loans.

Can I get down payment assistance with a conventional loan?
Yes, you might be eligible for a conventional home loan with down payment help. Regardless of the form of finance they are utilizing, government organizations and local programs provide aid to buyers who are coping with challenging financial situations.

How many conventional loans am I allowed to have at once?
The simple response to this is as many as you can afford, but legally, you are allowed to have up to ten conventional mortgages in your name. If you're interested in investing in real estate, you might be able to buy many homes using alternative financing strategies rather than submitting multiple conventional loan applications.