What are Conventional Loans: A Guide for Beginners

Buying a house is hard no matter how often you’ve done it. The list of things you must do and things you must get done is long. It makes buying a home a risky investment that takes time. But proper research can make things easier for you. Read dallas roof repair

You need a lot of money for a big purchase like a house. It is usually easier and better to get a loan that fits your budget. Here are some tips for people who want to buy their own homes.

What Does Conventional Financing Mean?

A conventional loan, or conventional financing as some people call it, is a mortgage not backed by a government agency such as the Department of Veterans Affairs. It often meets the down payment and income requirements of mortgage companies supported by the government. It fits the limits that the Federal Housing Finance Administration, or FHFA, has set for loans.

Conventional lending is backed by private institutions like banks, credit unions, or mortgage lenders. They give homebuyers more freedom, but they have stricter credit requirements than loans backed by the government. The loan is not part of a specific government program if it is called “conventional.”

How Conventional Loan Works

When you apply for a conventional loan, your bank or lender will tell you the interest rate and types of mortgages you can get. If you want to buy a home with the help of a conventional loan, you’ll need to make a down payment. 

When you apply for a mortgage, the process begins. You’ll work with a loan officer to fill out your application and provide the needed financial documents. When your loan is approved, you close, which means you get your loan.

When you get a mortgage, the lender who gives you the loan puts a mortgage lien on your home. This gives the lender a secured interest in the house or the property. Meaning you can’t sell it or take out a loan against it. If you do not pay your mortgage, the lender can sell the house to get back the money you owe.

Conforming vs. Non-Conforming Loans

What are conventional loans, and how do you classify them? A conforming loan is a loan type of conventional loan with limits on how much you can borrow set by the government. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are companies that support conforming loans and also set other rules for these loans.

On the other hand, there are lesser rules for non-conforming loans. Different lenders have different requirements for who can get a loan, how much it will cost, and what features it will have. Find out more about conventional loans to choose which category to go with.

What are the Requirements

Any borrower can meet conventional loan requirements with good credit and money for a down payment. Conventional loans, however, are not insured or backed by the government. Most of the time, the requirements for getting one are harder than for government-backed mortgages.

Here are some things you will need to get a conventional loan for a house:

Down payment

For a conventional mortgage, the minimum down payment is 3%, but people with lower credit scores or higher debt-to-income ratios may have to put down extra. The amount of your down payment can change depending on your situation and the type of loan or the property you plan to get.

Private Mortgage Insurance

Regarding the down payment, your lender will need private mortgage insurance if you put less than 20% down on a conventional loan (PMI). This coverage helps the lender stay safe if you don’t repay the loan.

PMI does make mortgage payments more expensive each month. But that’s fine as long as you are able to get a regular loan with a down payment you could also avail.

Loan Credit Score

Most of the time, you need to have a credit score of at least 620 to get a conventional loan. Others with credit scores of 740 or above can put down less money and usually get the best rates on conventional loans.


For conventional loans, mortgage lenders usually want a debt-to-income ratio (DTI) of less than 36%. However, sometimes a lender will accept a higher DTI. Your DTI is the sum of your monthly debts divided by the monthly income before taxes.

When you take out a mortgage, you should show proof of income. Keeping a job shows lenders that you will be able to pay back the loan amount.

Loan Limit

How much you can loan with a conventional loan depends on whether you get a conforming or non-conforming conventional mortgage. The FHFA decides how much you can borrow for a conforming conventional loan. The current limit is $647,200 throughout many U.S. counties and $970,800 in areas.

Lenders can set their own limits for non-conforming conventional loans, like jumbo loans. Most of the time, the most a person can borrow with a jumbo loan is between $1 million and $2 million, based on their financial situation.

Property Requirements

A lender won’t give a mortgage for more than the home’s value. Before closing on the loan, the lender might appraise how much the property is worth on the open market.

Closing Costs

It includes fees like the lender’s origination fee and fees for the appraisal, property insurance, and credit report. The lender might pay some or all of these costs. Which depends on the value of the market and how quickly the deal should finish. 

Check to see if the lender you want to work with plans to offer lender credits, and help ensure that any seller contributions follow the rules set by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Advantages of Conventional Loans

There are many ways to get money for a franchise, including traditional loans. What are conventional loans, and why do you need to learn more about them? Well, looking at the positives and negatives of such loan products before deciding how to pay for a franchise is important.

Some investors have tighter time limits and deadlines for their purchases. Conventional loans usually take less time and require less paperwork than government-backed loans. The buyer won’t have to deal with a thorough FHA inspection that could take a lot of time to fix.

You can get a conventional loan if you need different ways to pay back your loan. There are 10 up to 30-year terms for conventional loans. Some lenders will also let you choose the duration of your loan, which could be anywhere from 8 to 30 years.

Remember that your interest rate should be lower the quicker your loan term is. But your monthly mortgage repayments will be higher because you’re paying off the same loan amount in less time.

Also, with a conventional loan, the buyer doesn’t have to pay a mortgage insurance fee, even when they only put down less than 20%. FHA, USDA, and even VA loans need an insurance fee upfront, which is approximately 1% and 4% of the loan balance. If you have a credit history and a good down payment, the insurance on a conventional mortgage may be less than the insurance on a government loan.

Most conventional mortgages have fixed interest rates. Meaning, that once the interest rate is set, the lender will keep making the same payment for the loan. Even if interest rates go up or home prices go down. This is as they’ve already met the stricter requirements to avail of the mortgage.

Disadvantages of Conventional Loan

Buyers might think that conventional loans are a good idea, but they have a few challenges. Most of the time, buyers pay closing costs for a conventional loan. Fees like those for getting a loan may be higher. Lenders may also charge application fees that don’t apply to loans that the government backs.

Many people have a hard time getting a traditional loan. To qualify, they need a credit score of at least 640, the highest minimum score of any mortgage product. To avoid mortgage insurance, buyers need a debt-to-income ratio of 36 % or less and enough money for a 20 percent down payment.

Acquiring a conventional loan would be harder for people who just went through bankruptcy or foreclosure. And the homebuyer’s loan might not even be approved in some cases. The requirements to get a mortgage backed by the government are less strict.

Also, remember that traditional lenders are allowed to have stricter rules than those set by FHFA, Fannie, and Freddie.


When people avail of conventional loans for real estate, they make hard choices. This is why it’s okay to ask questions like “What are conventional loans?” and “Why is it better than other government-funded loans?”. So that you can make sure that you are getting into the right transaction. Also, it would help if you did good research to determine which kind of loans will work best for you.

Conventional loans are usually best for people with a steady, consistent, and reliable source of income. Check your finances first before making a decision. You might want to look into an FHA or USDA loan only when your credit score is less than 640 or you can’t put a 20% downpayment.

You don’t need to be scared of the process. Find out how much money you have. You can search for an online mortgage calculator if it makes you feel better. It will show you how your monthly mortgage payment is affected by interest rates, home prices, and down payments.