When looking for a house loan, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the jargon and variety of available mortgage programs. Learn about the most popular mortgages and see if you qualify for any specialty mortgages mentioned below bad credit emergency lender.


  • Conventional mortgages provide the best rates and fees and the broadest range of terms.
  • FHA loans may assist less eligible applicants in purchasing a house, albeit at a high cost.
  • USDA and VA loans provide excellent value to individuals who qualify.
  • Jumbo mortgages are provided for high-priced real estate.
  • Interest-only mortgages are often only an intelligent choice in minimal circumstances.

Conditions & Fees

The term and rate structure of each form of mortgage might vary.

Mortgage Terminology

The most common mortgage terms are 30-year and 15-year. Local credit unions provide maturities of two years. The duration of your mortgage is the length of time it will take you to pay it off if you make minimum monthly payments. A 15-year mortgage amortizes the principal and interest on the loan into 180 equal installments. A 30-year loan equates to 360 monthly payments.

Regardless of the loan term you choose, as long as your mortgage does not contain a prepayment penalty, you may opt to make extra principal payments to accelerate your mortgage repayment without refinancing.

Mortgages with Fixed Rates vs. Adjustable Rate Mortgages

A fixed-rate mortgage is one in which the interest rate remains constant throughout the period of the loan. If you close on a 30-year mortgage on January 1, 2022, at a rate of 2.99 percent and do not move, refinance, or make extra payments, your interest rate will remain 2.99 percent until you make your last payment January 1, 2052. A mortgage calculator may help you determine the effect that varying interest rates will have on your monthly income.

In contrast, an Adjustable-Rate Mortgage (ARM) has a rate that fluctuates over time. Although 7/1 and 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgages are the most frequent, any ARM length is theoretically conceivable. A 7/1 ARM has a fixed rate for the first seven years and then adjusts annually afterward.

Adjustable-rate mortgages were popular before the subprime mortgage crisis because they provided cheaper beginning payments. Still, they quickly became untenable for many Americans when interest rates soared and made mortgage payments unaffordable.

1 ARMs are dangerous for most borrowers and are typically not a good option unless the borrower intends to pay off or renegotiate their mortgage before the rate adjustment.

Mortgages Conventional

Conventional mortgages are the most prevalent form of a mortgage. They often have more stringent restrictions than government-backed mortgages and are available from most lenders.

Who Are the Best Candidates for Conventional Mortgages?

Conventional mortgages are the most excellent option for well-qualified purchasers who do not qualify for special government-backed financing.


  • 620+ credit score
  • A down payment of at the very least three percent (PMI will be required if putting less than 20 percent down)
  • Income that can be verified for at least two years
  • A debt-to-income ratio of no more than 45%

Mortgage Programs Backed by the Government

The government has established specific house purchase schemes throughout the years to promote rural development, revive low-income districts, and assist veterans in becoming homeowners.

USDA Guaranteed Loans

USDA loans were first established to assist in providing mortgages in rural regions that lacked development. They are a unique and incredibly tempting choice for qualified borrowers since they demand no down payment and do not require private mortgage insurance (PMI). 2

USDA Loans are Ideal for Whom?

USDA loans are the most excellent option for everybody who qualifies.


  • The property must be located in a USDA-designated rural region.
  • The borrower’s family income must fall within the qualifying guidelines.
  • With rare instances, debt-to-income ratios are as high as 41%.
  • With few exclusions, a credit score of 640+ is required.

Loans from the Federal Housing Administration

FHA loans are backed by the federal government and may be obtained from an FHA-approved lender. FHA loans are distinct from HUD loans, available only in exceptional situations, such as Section 184 loans for Native Americans. FHA loans, in general, are designed to assist low-income borrowers in purchasing houses by requiring less stringent income, credit score, and down payment criteria. FHA loans often offer higher interest rates and expenses than conventional mortgages and demand an upfront mortgage insurance charge equivalent to 1.75 percent of the loan amount in addition to an annual mortgage insurance premium beginning in 2021.

Who are the Best Candidates for FHA Loans?

FHA loans are ideal for persons who cannot qualify for other types of house loans since choices are often far more affordable both upfront and over the life of the loan.


Credit scores as low as 500 with a 10% down payment or as low as 580 with a 3.5 percent down payment are possible.

  • Minimum down payments of 3.5 percent
  • Income that can be verified for at least two years
  • A debt-to-income ratio of no more than 43%
  • Loans from the Veterans Administration

Similar to FHA loans, US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) loans are guaranteed by the VA and offered by VA-approved lenders. They feature lower interest rates and fewer restrictions than traditional mortgages. Borrowers must be veterans who served at a specific time or condition.

Who are the Best Candidates for VA Loans?

VA loans are the most excellent option for anybody who qualifies.


  • Borrowers must have a Certificate of Eligibility from the Veterans Administration, which may be obtained here.
  • There is no minimum credit score requirement. The lender must assess the borrower’s creditworthiness.
  • A debt-to-income ratio of no more than 41%
  • As little as 0% down payment
  • Verifiable income for at least two years, with specific exclusions.

Additional Unusual Mortgage Products

Jumbo Loans

Jumbo mortgages are loans above the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s (FHFA) normal loan restrictions and are frequently offered on luxury homes or in locations with very high housing expenses.

Who Are the Best Candidates for Jumbo Mortgages?

Jumbo Mortgages are ideal for well-qualified purchasers purchasing high-priced homes who do not qualify for traditional mortgages and lack the cash or assets necessary to buy the property outright. These borrowers are collectively referred to as HENRYs (High Earners, Not Rich Yet).


  • A credit score of at least 700
  • At least a 20% down payment
  • A minimum of two years of documented income history
  • A debt-to-income ratio of less than 43%

Mortgages With No Principal

For a certain amount of time, interest-only mortgages require borrowers to pay just the interest component of their loan. The borrower builds no equity in the house during these installments and will be required to repay the mortgage in full or with drastically higher payments in the future, depending on the loan conditions.

Who Are the Best Candidates for Interest-Only Mortgages?

Interest-only mortgages are ideal for persons who now have assets that will become accessible soon, who get significant periodic incentives to apply toward debt repayment, or who can anticipate a substantial rise in income before principal payments become due (such as a medical student about to graduate and who has a signed employment contract).


Interest-only mortgages are a specialized product with no pre-established conditions. Expect to be required to demonstrate significant assets or documents demonstrating your future capacity to make the increased payments.

Should I Apply for an FHA or Conventional Loan?

A conventional loan is more affordable upfront and over time than an FHA loan, as long as you qualify for a traditional loan.

Should I Obtain a Veterans Administration Loan or a Conventional Loan?

If you qualify for a VA loan, you may expect to pay lower interest rates, fewer fees, and less money down, making it a better option for most applicants than a conventional loan.

How Much Money Should I Make a Down Payment?

If you have a significant sum of cash on hand, putting down 20% will save you money on mortgage insurance and qualify you as a better-qualified buyer, resulting in the best rates. With mortgage rates at historic lows, any cash above 20% down would undoubtedly perform better in a retirement savings vehicle such as an IRA, 401(k), or HSA, providing immediate tax savings.

The Verdict

Conventional, fixed-rate mortgages are the most popular form of house loan because they provide the lowest rates and fees and are readily available. FHA, VA, and USDA loans may assist low-income purchasers with fair or higher credit in becoming homes. VA and USDA loans provide attractive rates and benefits to individuals who qualify. Whichever loan type you choose, be careful to include it in your entire budget and assess if purchasing a house is the best.