Purchasing real estate can be one of the largest financial decisions one makes. Knowing the options and different types of mortgage loans can help a home buyer feel confident about purchasing. There are seven major mortgage types, all offering different interest rates, loan terms, and other variables. While mortgage programs regularly change, the major types of mortgages generally remain the same.
Seven Major Types of Mortgages
Here is a review of the seven major types of mortgages to help homeowners and homebuyers with their purchase.
The most common type of mortgage in the U.S. is a fixed-rate mortgage. This type of mortgage features a stable, consistent interest rate that does not change during the life of the loan. These mortgages are often long-term loans, commonly for 15, 20, and 30 years, with a monthly payment that does not change throughout the loan’s life.
Adjustable-Rate (Variable-Rate) Mortgage
Adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs), also called variable-rate mortgages, have a flexible mortgage loan interest rate that changes based on economic conditions and the loan’s specific conditions. Most ARMs begin with a low fixed rate before adjusting after a set time.
Though most borrowers do not choose an adjustable-rate mortgage, they are useful in some buying situations. For example, ARMs are typically more popular when interest rates are higher, such as in 2005-2008 before the market crash. However, even in peak times for ARMs, they are not as popular as fixed-rate mortgages.
Mortgages backed by the U.S. government come in many different forms. The main types of government-insured mortgages include:
FHA: Loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) are available to many homebuyers in the U.S. A large percentage of the loans go to first-time buyers, but anyone buying a primary residence may be able to qualify for an FHA loan if they meet the criteria.
USDA: For some residential properties in rural areas, borrowers can qualify for a USDA mortgage loan from the United States Department of Agriculture, managed by the Rural Housing Services. These loans are only available to people who meet the criteria and purchase a home in a qualifying location.
VA: Military members and families may have access to loans insured by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). These VA mortgage loans allow eligible borrowers to purchase a home without a down payment.
The government does not secure a conventional mortgage. Instead, conventional loans are agreements between the borrower and the lender that meet Fannie Mae’s underwriting guidelines. The buyer is responsible for the entire loan repayment. Mortgage insurance can be purchased for a conventional mortgage by the buyer.
Interest-only home loans feature a set amount of time when the buyer only pays interest. The initial monthly payments are a fraction of a traditional mortgage payment that includes both interest and principal with these loans. However, the buyer is not reducing the principal while only paying interest and possibly not gaining any equity in the property.
After a set period, the buyer typically begins to pay the loan’s interest and principal, increasing the monthly payment.
A conforming mortgage conforms to the standards put in place by government organizations like Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. Loans conform when they fall into the correct size limits and meet other loan criteria of the specific mortgage program chosen.
Loans that are larger than the standards set for a conforming loan are considered non-conforming or jumbo loans. These are higher-risk mortgages traditionally only given to borrowers with high credit scores and large down payments. Borrowers may face higher interest rates because of the higher risk of the loan.
Marimark Mortgage is based in Tampa, Florida, and serves the mortgage needs of homebuyers, homeowners, and investors in Florida, Virginia, and Pennsylvania.
We specialize in many types of mortgages, including conventional home mortgages, FHA, VA, USDA mortgage options, refinance loans, and reverse mortgages. We’ve worked extensively with cash-out refinancing and help clients to lower their monthly mortgage payments.
Updated on 11/22/2020