Conventional

A conforming conventional loan is one that meets the underwriting guidelines of Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, particularly where size is concerned. Fannie and Freddie are the two government-controlled corporations that purchase and sell mortgage-backed securities (MBS). Simply put, they buy loans from the lenders who generate them, and then sell them to investors via Wall Street. A conforming loan falls within their maximum size limits, and otherwise “conforms” to pre-established criteria.

FHA

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) mortgage insurance program is managed by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which is a department of the federal government. FHA loans are available to all types of borrowers, not just first-time buyers. The government insures the lender against losses that might result from borrower default. Advantage: This program allows you to make a down payment as low as 3.5% of the purchase price. Disadvantage: You’ll have to pay for mortgage insurance, which will increase the size of your monthly payments.

VA

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers a loan program to military service members and their families. Similar to the FHA program, these types of mortgages are guaranteed by the federal government. This means the VA will reimburse the lender for any losses that may result from borrower default. The primary advantage of this program (and it’s a big one) is that borrowers can receive 100% financing for the purchase of a home. That means no down payment whatsoever.

Renovation

Fannie Mae and the Federal Housing Administration have home renovation mortgage programs that allow buyers to borrow based on what the house is expected to be worth after the home rehab is completed. Homeowners can also use both programs to refinance their existing mortgage plus the renovation costs into one loan.

Jumbo

A jumbo loan exceeds the conforming loan limits established by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. This type of mortgage represents a slightly higher risk for the lenders, mainly due to its size. As a result, jumbo borrowers typically must have excellent credit and larger down payments, when compared to conforming loans. Interest rates are generally higher with the jumbo products, as well.

Reverse

A reverse mortgage is a loan available to homeowners, 62 years or older, that allows them to convert part of the equity in their homes into cash.

The product was conceived as a means to help retirees with limited income use the accumulated wealth in their homes to cover basic monthly living expenses and pay for health care. However, there is no restriction how reverse mortgage proceeds can be used.

The loan is called a reverse mortgage because instead of making monthly payments to a lender, as with a traditional mortgage, the lender makes payments to the borrower.

The borrower is not required to pay back the loan until the home is sold or otherwise vacated.  As long as the borrower lives in the home he or she is not required to make any monthly payments towards the loan balance. The borrower must remain current on property taxes, homeowners insurance and homeowners association dues (if applicable).