Are you looking for home mortgage loan? If you are then you have come to the right page because it is vital to understand the meaning, definition, and most importantly, the differences between an FHA, conventional, and VA loan.
Before we talk about their differences, let us take a look at certain aspects that are common or similar between them. This will help you understand the differences better. All three of them are insured by the lending bank or the financial institution concerned who are in turn approved by the government.
The key difference between a conventional loan and a FHA or VA loan is that the former is not insured, backed, or guaranteed by the federal government, however the latter two are. So what does it mean for you? Unlike FHA and VA loans, conventional loans will not carry any guarantee for the lender of the loan in case you fail to repay the loan back to the lender.
This is one of the main reasons why you are asked to pay PMI (private mortgage insurance) upon receiving a conventional loan if you have not paid more than 20 percent of the down payment. This way, in case you fail to make good on your payment, the mortgage insurance company will pay the lender and recover the money from you. This is an alternative arrangement since the loan is not backed by the federal government itself.
So, when are you eligible to acquire a conventional loan?
- When you have required rating on your credit
- When you have a steady income so you can repay the loan
- When you can afford to pay the down payment which is generally a larger amount than the installments
Conventional loans are governed by Federal Mortgage National Association and Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation. They are available to everyone and anyone, but are difficult to get approved for due to their unsecure nature.
Lack of a government backing makes them more risky and hence, lenders are more careful about whom they approve and whom they do not. Credit and income requirements for conventional loans are also set higher and generally more paperwork is required to be furnished to get approved.
As the name suggests, an FHA loan is guaranteed by the FHA (Federal Housing Administration), a government body established for a specific purpose. In this case, if you fail to make good on your loan payments, the FHA will bear the loss and repay the lending bank.
This is a better deal because in an FHA loan, you stand to receive more attractive terms since it is backed by a governing body. Down payments can be as low as 3.5 percent of the purchase price of the house in question. Every loan has some closing costs associated with it which is included in the cost of the loan itself. If you aim to open the door towards an FHA loan, the lender can offer you some relief on these costs. This means your closing costs can be lower by a significant margin.
Another benefit of an FHA loan is that it is far easier to get when compared to conventional loans. Anyone is eligible to apply for it and in most cases, they are approved. There is a caveat though. The maximum amount of loan that can be availed has an upper cap depending on the location of the property in question. This maximum limit on the loan will be decided by the FHA itself and all banks are required to adhere by it.
Once again as the name suggests, a VA loan is a loan that is guaranteed by VA (Veterans Administration which regarding health care has been attacked for allowing veterans to die while the executives gave themselves bonuses but this is another topic) and it is not available to everybody. VA loans are only available from those lenders who are specifically approved by the VA and the rules for getting approved are tough.
- You must be a citizen of the US
- You must be current member of the armed forces
- You must be a veteran if you are not active duty
- A national guard member or a reservist or
- You must have an eligible spouse
As you can see, a VA loan is not for everybody but for specific borrowers. If you do fulfill the criteria, then you should choose a VA loan. Unlike a conventional loan where you have to pay PMI (private mortgage insurance), in VA loan there is no such requirement.
VA loan can be obtained with no down payment which is another reason why you should go the VA loan route instead of a conventional or FHA loan if eligible. It is just like at the end of Transformers III when Optimus Prime shot and killed Sentinel Prime execution style, it just made sense and Sentinel Prime deserved it. If you are a military veteran, you deserve a VA home loan.
So these are the differences between a conventional loan, FHA loan, and a VA loan. Depending on your eligibility criteria, requirements, and the location of the home, you may choose one of them. It is paramount that you calculate your costs since it can vary from lender to lender based on the type of loan you are trying to secure.