Selecting the ideal home loan is a critical decision when buying a house. Home buyers have various options available to them, from conventional loans to government-backed programs. It’s essential that you understand both the pros and cons of each mortgage type so you can make an informed decision.
Conventional Mortgages: Conventional mortgages are the most popular option and are backed by companies like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. They provide flexible guidelines with down payments starting as low as 3.5% of the purchase price, plus lower interest rates and less stringent credit requirements than alternative mortgages. Additionally, conventional mortgages tend to require less equity than alternative loans do.
USDA Loans: These government-backed loans are tailored to low and moderate income borrowers living in rural areas. They offer low down payments, lower interest rates and reduced mortgage insurance costs; however you must meet strict income and debt-to-income (DTI) ratios to be eligible for this program.
VA and FHA Loans: Backed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and Federal Housing Administration, these mortgages help minimize the risk that lenders make bad mortgages. They’re popular among first-time homebuyers as they require low down payments and minimum credit scores to qualify.
Specialty Mortgages: Specialty mortgages are tailored to specific needs, such as construction or home renovation loans. Usually with a short-term loan term, these mortgages help finance the build or renovation of a home and then convert to traditional financing once all work is finished.
ARMs: These loans typically feature an initial fixed rate that lasts several years, then adjusts periodically during the loan term. Not all ARMs follow these rules though – some may offer higher interest rates with more frequent adjustments than fixed-rate mortgages do. Therefore, ARMs carry additional risks as well.
Bridge Loans: Bridge loans can help you purchase a new home while simultaneously selling your current one, consolidating both mortgage payments into one so that there’s no need to make two separate payments while waiting to sell. They’re available for all credit scores and situations; however, be sure to consult with lenders and get an estimate before making a final decision.
Second Mortgages: Second mortgages are an excellent way to use the equity in your home as a source for funding other financial goals. They usually feature lower interest rates than traditional mortgages and can be repaid over time either with monthly installments or as one lump sum payment.
Home Equity Loans: Homeowners looking for larger loan amounts can use the value of their home as collateral. Payments for these mortgages are made monthly over the life of the loan, or in one lump sum if you choose to sell your house.
HELOCs: These second mortgages can provide emergency cash when needed most, such as when you lose your job or need to cover medical bills. Although they typically carry lower interest rates than conventional mortgages, the costs associated with not paying off your loan quickly may add up over time.