FHA Loans vs Conventional Loans : Which Mortgage is Better for You?

FHA Loans vs Conventional Loans : Which Mortgage is Better for You?

Mortgage Broker
Alex MacLagan
Published on March 1, 2023
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FHA Loans vs Conventional Loans : Which Mortgage is Better for You?

Which is the best mortgage option for you? When it comes to buying a home, most people require a mortgage. Two popular options are FHA loans and conventional mortgages. Both types of loans offer different benefits and drawbacks, and it’s important to understand them before making a decision. In this article, we’ll explore the differences between FHA mortgages and conventional mortgages.

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What is an FHA loan?

An FHA loan is a mortgage that is insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). This type of loan is designed to help people with lower credit scores or smaller down payments to qualify for a mortgage. The FHA guarantees the loan, which means that the lender is protected in case the borrower defaults on the loan. This allows lenders to offer more favorable terms and interest rates to borrowers who may not qualify for a conventional mortgage.

 

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Hand Holding a House

Pros of FHA loans:

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  1. Lower credit score requirements – FHA loans are available to borrowers with credit scores as low as 500, whereas conventional mortgages typically require a credit score of at least 582.
  2. Smaller down payment requirements – FHA loans require a minimum down payment of just 3.5%, while conventional mortgages usually require a down payment of at least 5%, unless you are a first time home buyer. Then you can have a down payment as little as 3%.
  3. More flexible debt-to-income ratio – FHA loans may allow for a higher debt-to-income ratio, which means borrowers with higher levels of debt may still be able to qualify.
  4. Lower interest rates – FHA loans often have lower interest rates than conventional mortgages, which can save borrowers money over the life of the loan.

Cons of FHA loans

  1. Mortgage insurance premiums – FHA loans require borrowers to pay twp types of  mortgage insurance premiums (MIP). Upfront mortgage insurance of 1.75% of the loan amount and a annual mortgage insurance of 0.55%. This can increase the overall cost of the loan and make it more expensive than a conventional mortgage.
  2. Loan limits – FHA loans have limits on how much you can borrow, which can be lower than what you need for a more expensive home or in a high-cost area.
  3. Property requirements – FHA loans have stricter property requirements than conventional mortgages, which can limit the types of homes that qualify. Such as stricter appraisal requirements such as coming back subject to repairs. The house you are purchasing needs to mee the   

What is a Conventional Mortgage?

A conventional mortgage is a home loan that is not guaranteed or insured by the government. This type of mortgage is backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Conventional mortgages are available to borrowers with credit scores from 620 or higher  and a down payment as low as 3% for first time home buyers or 5% for non first time home buyers. A first time home is someone who has not owned a home in the last 3 years.

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Pros of Conventional Mortgages:

  1. No mortgage insurance – Conventional mortgages don’t require borrowers to pay mortgage insurance if they have a down payment of at least 20%.
  2. Higher loan limits – Conventional mortgages have higher loan limits than FHA loans, which means borrowers can borrow more money for a more expensive home or in a high-cost area.
  3. More flexibility – Conventional mortgages offer more flexibility in terms of property requirements and eligibility criteria.

Cons of Conventional Mortgages:

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  1. Higher credit score requirements – Conventional mortgages typically require a credit score of at least 620, which can be a barrier for some borrowers.
  2. Larger down payment requirements – Conventional mortgages usually require a larger down payment than FHA loans, which can make it more difficult for some borrowers to afford a home.
  3. Higher interest rates – Conventional mortgages may have higher interest rates than FHA loans, which can increase the overall cost of the loan.

 

House with a Question Mark

 

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FHA Mortgages vs Conventional Mortgages: Which one is right for you?

Deciding between an FHA loan and a conventional mortgage depends on your personal financial situation and homeownership goals. At MacLagan Home Loans, Alex MacLagan and his team will take the time to figure out your unique situation. If you have a lower credit score or smaller down payment, an FHA loan may be the better option. However, if you have a higher credit score and a larger down payment, a conventional mortgage may offer more favorable terms and interest rates. It’s important to research both options and compare their costs and benefits before making a decision. 

Take our quick 30 second homebuyer survey and a member of our team will be in contact with you to make the decision easier.

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