You've decided to purchase your first house - congratulations! You’ve hired a real estate agent and a few weeks later you find your dream home. Now you need to get the loan process started, so you research and choose a lender and before you know it you are in their office filling out papers and talking numbers.
This is the part where you will likely have numerous choices on which loan program works for you. Some programs have mortgage insurance, while others do not. Some programs require greater down payments, while others require less money down. How do you decide which program fits your needs as a first time homebuyer? Read below to sort through three of the most popular home loans.
A conventional loan is what is sometimes known as a “traditional” loan. It is not guaranteed or insured by any government agency. Conventional loans do require a down payment, typically 5 percent or more. These home loans are often insured by private mortgage insurance if the down payment is less than 20 percent of the value of the property being financed. However, PMI (private mortgage insurance) can “drop off” when the loan balance is scheduled to reach 78 percent of the original value of the home. So PMI won’t have to be with the borrower forever with a conventional loan.
An FHA 203(b) home loan is a very popular first time home buyer loan option. This type of loan is insured by the Federal Government, and lenders are able to provide a borrower with competitive interest rates as a result. Credit score and credit requirements are generally more lenient than they are for a conventional loan. An FHA loan only requires a 3.5 percent down payment, which is the smallest amount down of any loan program, except a VA loan. However, FHA loans also require mortgage insurance, which will never drop off unless you refinance out of an FHA loan.
In 1944, the U.S. government created a military loan guaranty program to initially help returning service members purchase homes. Since then, the program has helped more than 20 million veterans and their families with an affordable home financing situation. The VA loan has distinct advantages over traditional mortgages, such as requiring no down payment, competitive interest rates, and no mortgage insurance. However, you must meet eligibility requirements to qualify for a VA home loan. If you are active military or veteran, a VA home loan may be the right solution for your first time home buying needs.
As you can see, there are a variety of loan choices to consider when purchasing your first home. It is important to speak with your loan specialist about all of your potential options and find a loan program that fits your particular situation the best.