Backed by the Federal Housing Administration, the requirements are less strict than Conventional Loans, typically making them easier to qualify for. Borrowers with FHA loans are required to pay for mortgage insurance, protecting the lender if the borrower defaults on the loan. FHA loans are very popular among first time homebuyers, as they require lower down payments and credit scores.
Conventional loans are offered by private lenders. Typically they have stricter requirements, including larger down payments and higher credit scores. These higher qualifications often result in lower monthly payments for the borrower. Conventional loans can be used to purchase or refinance primary residences, as well as investment or second homes.
VA loans are guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and are designed to offer long term financing to eligible veterans or their surviving spouses. VA loans do not require a down payment or private mortgage insurance, and can often offer lower interest rates. To be eligible, veterans, active duty service members, National Guard members and reservists must meet the service requirements set by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Spouses of military members who died while on active duty or as a result of a service-connected disability may also be eligible.
Intended to help low-to moderate income households buy, repair, or renovate homes in rural areas, USDA loans feature benefits such as zero down payments, and competitive rates. These homes are backed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Decent credit histories are required to qualify, and both prospective buyers and properties must meet USDA guidelines to be eligible.
FHA 203k Loans
203k loans are construction loans, backed by the FHA. They are intended for buyers who are looking to purchase a fixer upper and make renovations, or for current homeowners who would like to refinance and make improvements to their present home. Depending on the type of 203k loan, not all repairs may qualify under the program. Other loans may be a better fit, depending on the borrower’s specific renovations.