Things Every First-Time Home Buyer Should Know About Conventional Loans

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By David

When it comes to buying a home, there are a few different types of loans that you can choose from. One of the most popular options is a conventional loan. In this blog post, we’ll explore what conventional loans are and what makes them a great choice for many homebuyers.

What is a conventional loan?

A conventional loan is a type of mortgage that is not backed by the government. Instead, conventional loans are offered by private lenders like banks and credit unions. Because they are not backed by the government, conventional loans typically have stricter eligibility requirements than government-backed loans like FHA loans.

Conventional loans come in two different types: conforming and non-conforming. Conforming loans meet the guidelines set by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, two government-sponsored entities that purchase mortgages from lenders. Non-conforming loans do not meet these guidelines and are typically harder to get approved for.

What are the requirements for a conventional loan?

To qualify for a conventional loan, you’ll need to meet certain requirements. These requirements may vary depending on the lender, but generally include:

  • A credit score of at least 620
  • A debt-to-income ratio of no more than 43%
  • A down payment of at least 3%
  • A stable employment history
  • Proof of income and assets
  • A low debt-to-income ratio

If you meet these requirements, you may be eligible for a conventional loan. Keep in mind that lenders may have additional requirements beyond these, so it’s important to do your research and shop around for the best loan terms.

What are the benefits of a conventional loan?

Picking a regular loan has its advantages compared to other mortgage options. Let me tell you why.

  • No mortgage insurance: If you put down at least 20% of the purchase price of your home, you will not be required to pay for private mortgage insurance (PMI). This can save you thousands of dollars over the life of your loan.
  • Lower interest rates: Conventional loans typically have lower interest rates than government-backed loans like FHA loans. This can save you money over the life of your loan.
  • More flexibility: Because conventional loans are not backed by the government, they may offer more flexibility in terms of loan amounts and repayment terms.
  • No upfront funding fee: VA loans and FHA loans both require an upfront funding fee, which can be a significant expense. Conventional loans do not have this requirement.

What are the drawbacks of a conventional loan?

Although conventional loans have their advantages, there are also some downsides that should be taken into account. Check these out:

  • Stricter eligibility requirements: Because conventional loans are not backed by the government, they typically have stricter eligibility requirements than government-backed loans like FHA loans. This can make it harder to qualify for a conventional loan.
  • Higher credit score requirements: In order to qualify for a conventional loan, you’ll typically need a higher credit score than you would for a government-backed loan.
  • Larger down payment: While it’s possible to put down as little as 3% with a conventional loan, this may not be an option for everyone. Government-backed loans like FHA loans may allow for smaller down payments.

How do you apply for a conventional loan?

If you’re interested in applying for a conventional loan, the first step is to shop around for lenders and compare loan terms. Once you’ve found a lender that you’re interested in working with, you’ll need to submit an application and provide documentation of your income, assets, and employment history.

The lender will then review your application and determine whether you meet their eligibility requirements. If you’re approved for a loan, you’ll receive a loan estimate that outlines the terms of the loan, including the interest rate, loan amount, and repayment terms.


Ultimately, conventional loans are an excellent choice for numerous individuals seeking to purchase a home. Despite their more rigorous qualification criteria compared to government-supported loans, they provide greater adaptability and could lead to cost savings in the long run. To ensure that you get optimal loan terms when applying for a conventional loan, it is crucial that you conduct extensive research and collaborate with a lender in whom you have faith in.

Additionally, it’s important to have a solid understanding of your own financial situation and how much you can afford to borrow before beginning the application process. By weighing the pros and cons of conventional loans and properly preparing yourself for the application process, you can confidently take the next step towards achieving your dream of homeownership.