Types of Mortgage Loans

Key Takeaway
This guide cuts through the complexity, offering a straightforward comparison of mortgage types and navigating you towards a loan that aligns with your budget and goals.

A mortgage loan is a secured loan used to purchase real estate. The property serves as collateral, meaning the lender can seize and sell it if you fail to repay the loan. Let's dive into the main types of mortgage loans:

Fixed-Rate Mortgages (FRMs)

Offer stability with interest rates and monthly payments that remain the same throughout the loan term. FRMs are ideal for long-term homeowners who want predictable housing expenses.

Adjustable-Rate Mortgages (ARMs)

Interest rates fluctuate based on market conditions. ARMs often start with lower initial rates, making them attractive for those who plan to move soon or expect future income increases.

Government-Backed Loans

Designed to make homeownership more accessible, these include:

  • FHA loans: Cater to borrowers with lower credit scores and allow for low down payments.
  • VA loans: Available to veterans and active military, offering no down payment and competitive rates.
  • USDA loans: Assist those buying in rural/suburban areas, featuring low interest rates and no down payment.

Conventional Loans

These "standard" mortgages are not government-backed and are issued by banks and private lenders. They come in two types:

  • Conforming loans: Adhere to limits set by government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs).
  • Jumbo loans: Used for properties exceeding conforming loan limits, often for luxury homes.

Choosing the Right Mortgage

Selecting the best mortgage depends on your financial situation and goals. Consider:

  • Loan Term: Shorter terms may mean lower interest rates but higher monthly payments. Longer terms offer lower monthly payments but higher overall interest costs.
  • Down Payment: A larger down payment can reduce loan costs and may allow you to avoid mortgage insurance.
  • Homebuyer Profile: Different loan types cater to various needs, such as first-time buyers, investors, etc.

The Application Process

  • Pre-Approval: A lender assesses your finances to determine how much you could borrow.
  • Qualification: Lenders delve deeper, verifying your income, assets, and creditworthiness to finalize your loan eligibility.

Key Takeaways

Understanding mortgage types is crucial for navigating the homebuying process. Carefully consider your budget, long-term plans, and the different loan options available to find the mortgage that's the perfect fit for you.


What's the most popular mortgage? Conventional loans, particularly conforming loans.

What is the difference between a home loan and a mortgage loan? They are often used interchangeably, but a mortgage is a specific type of home loan.

What credit score is needed for a mortgage? Generally, around 620, though some programs may accept lower scores.

Trust Guard Security Scanned