Our Loan Product Guides

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Conventional Loan (Fannie and Freddie)

Conventional loans are the go-to choice for many home buyers today. They offer great rates, many down payment options, and flexible terms.

Many conventional loans are often known as "conforming loans" because they conform to standards set by Fannie/Freddie. All that means for you, though, is that most lenders across the country offer these loans. Banks, credit unions, and mortgage companies in nearly every U.S. city are able to offer these loans, which offer the following advantages:

  • Down payments as low as 3%
  • No upfront or monthly mortgage insurance with a down payment of 20% or more
  • Available for the home you'll live in, a second home, or investment property
  • Fixed and adjustable rates available with many loan lengths typically between 10 and 30 years
  • Unlike FHA, mortgage insurance can be cancelled with 20% home equity
  • Loan amounts up to $424,100 and more in high-cost counties

Get the full story. Read the Conventional Mortgage Home Buying Guide here.

FHA Home Loans

FHA loans are the favorite loan for about 40 percent of today's younger home buyers. Their popularity is understandable.

Their popularity is understandable. With small down payment requirements, ultra-lenient credit score standards, and flexible income guidelines, the FHA mortgage is making home ownership available to a wide swath of renters. Benefits include:

  • 3.5% down payment requirement
  • Credit scores as low as 580 for the minimum down payment
  • Down payment gifts can cover 100% of the down payment and closing costs
  • Lenient income qualification

Read the full FHA Home Buying Guide here.

VA Loans

Home buyers with eligible military service history can qualify for a 100% (zero-down) loan backed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

This option offers lower rates than"standard" loans, and there is never any monthly mortgage insurance required. Buyers with any type of U.S. military service in their backgrounds should consider this loan first. Advantages include:

  • Very low mortgage rates
  • 15- and 30-year fixed loans available
  • Absolutely no down payment is required
  • No mortgage insurance
  • Very lenient about credit scores

Find out more about this loan type in our VA Home Buying Guide here.

USDA Loans

The USDA mortgage goes by many names: the Rural Development (RD) loan, Single Family Housing Guaranteed program, or most commonly, the USDA loan.

This product targets home buyers who plan to live in rural and suburban areas. It joins forces with banks and mortgage companies to offer zero down payment loans to moderate-income applicants. Some highlights:

  • Low mortgage insurance fees
  • Lenient credit score and income requirements
  • Applicants must meet income limits
  • Buyers must purchase a home within USDA-eligible areas (about 97% of U.S. land mass)

Get the whole story on the USDA home loan program here.

203(k) Construction / Rehab Loan

The 203(k) loan is a type of FHA loan that allows you to buy a "fixer-upper" and borrow to make repairs at the same time.

Many homes today - foreclosures, short sales, or homes on the open market - are in disrepair. Often, they don't qualify for financing without significant work. Normally, you can't fix up a house before you own it. It's a catch 22.

Enter the 203(k) loan. This product allows you to buy the home as-is and borrow enough for rehab. Buyers often gain significant equity in the process.

Borrow an additional $35,000 on top of purchase price for repairs.

Buy a home without repairing a thing.

Finance needed repairs as well as "nice to have" upgrades (new appliances, granite counter tops, new bathroom, and more).

Learn everything about this loan with our FHA 203(k) Rehab Loan Guide.

Reverse Mortgages

Plan to live in your home less than 10 years? An adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) might be right for you.

These loans come with lower rates than the 30-year fixed option. Yet, the rate is still fixed for a certain amount of time - usually 5, 7, or even up to ten years. It saves the buyer considerable amounts over that time. Plus, it comes with built-in safeguards - called "capps" - that limit the amount the rate can rise after the initial period.

  • Get an ultra-low rate for up to 10 years
  • The loan starts off with a fixed rate, then adjusts
  • Saves thousands in interest over the first few years of the loan
  • Allows enough time to sell the home or refinance before the first adjustment
  • See our Reverse Mortgage Primer here.

NonQM Mortgages (Non Qualified Mortgages)

A Non Qualified Mortgage are mortgage loans that don't comply with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's (CFPB) present rules on Qualified Mortgage. A Qualified Mortgage (QM) is a home mortgage loan that meets the standards set forth by the Federal government.

A good example of Non-QM loan is an Interest-Only loan still being offered by some lenders. These types of loans are primarily provided to wealthy borrowers. The CFPB rule that requires lenders to document a borrower's ability to repay a loan is excluded from being considered a QM because borrowers often face payment shock once they have an obligation to start paying the principal, often, after about 5 to 7 years of only paying interest on the loan.

Portfolio Mortgages

Portfolio loans are a step beyond unique. Portfolio loans are designed to get folks approved when they are not eligible for any "normal" type of financing. These types of mortgages are commonly funded by small banks or credit unions, and are kept in their "portfolio".

Fannie Mae Homestyle® Renovation Loan

The HomeStyle® Renovation mortgage provides a convenient and economical way for borrowers considering moderate home improvements to make repairs and renovations with a single-close first mortgage, rather than a second mortgage, home equity line of credit, or other, more costly methods of financing.

The HomeStyle® Renovation is a single-close loan that enables borrowers to purchase a home that needs repairs, or refinance the mortgage on their existing home and include the necessary funds for renovation in the loan balance. The loan amount is based on the "as-completed" value of the home not the present value.

WHEDA Mortgages

Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority

Read more about WHEDA mortgages here.