3 Things You Should Know About Conforming Loans

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3 Things You Should Know About Conforming Loans

A conforming loan is a mortgage with equivalent or less than the dollar amount established by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), which complies with Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae funding criteria. This kind of loan is especially advantageous for borrowers with excellent credit, due to their low interest rates.

I might have lost you at Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, so here’s a quick overview… 

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are home mortgage companies that are supported by the federal government and created by the United States Congress. Both financial agencies purchase and give a bond to mortgages provided through loan institutions. 

Basically, these two companies create a more fluid, but a solid and reasonably priced mortgage market. They facilitate this by offering liquid assets like cash guaranteed to financial institutions like banks and savings and loans companies as well as mortgage companies. These government institutions played a major role in helping homeowners and renters during the 2020 coronavirus crisis and the 2008 financial crisis.

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Now back to conforming loans.

Borrowers are more attracted to conforming loans as this type of loan offers more favorable rates for them. 

Now, how does this conforming loan work? 

Mortgage loan regulations have a maximum amount for credit score or debt to income ratio, this is a necessary condition for the loan to be approved. This nips in the bud lenders from loaning money to borrowers who can’t pay for their loan payments. They help keep a borrower safe from taking on more debt than they can handle and they also keep the lender from taking on too much unpredictability and riskiness. 

Most of the conventional loans are also called non-government backed loans, the guidelines and regulations are made by Government Sponsored Enterprises, which buy loans from lenders who pass their criteria, essentially serving as investors in the loan market. 

Do note, however, that the Government Sponsored Enterprises or the GSEs are careful not to purchase loans that do not meet their criteria. This allows the lenders a regular cash flow so they can continue lending. Conforming loans are the loans that are purchased by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. 

The word “conforming” is most frequently used when talking in specific terms about the loan or the mortgage amount. This is required to be within a specific limit, widely known as the conforming loan limit. This limit is set by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA.) 

According to Investopedia, “this baseline limit is $548,250 for most of the United States in 2021. That’s an increase from $510,400 in 2020. In some high-cost markets, such as San Francisco and New York City, the limit is higher. The new ceiling for these areas is $822,375, or 150% of $548,250. Special statutory provisions determine different loan limit calculations for Alaska, Hawaii, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. In these areas, the baseline loan limit is $822,375 for one-unit properties in 2021.” 

What are the values and benefits of getting a Conforming Loan? 

Conforming loans are more beneficial to borrowers because of their low-interest rates. Especially for first-time home buyers, the upfront payment can be lower than 4%, when they take out loans under the Federal Housing Administration. A portion of all the insurance costs is considered tax-deductible if the consumer’s AGI or adjusted gross income will not exceed $109,000. 

The lenders also find the conforming loans more preferable to work with because these loans can be packaged into investment rolls and can be sold in the secondary loan market. This procedure allows the agency’s capacity to shell out more loans and lend more to the buyers. 

There are some particular considerations for Conforming Loans. The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) sets the conforming loan limit every year. The agency has regulatory control to make sure that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac realize their objectives and aims of advancing homeownership for Americans belonging to the middle and lower-income classes. The FHFA adjusts the conforming loan boundaries for the ensuing year. 

What about the disadvantages of Conforming Loans? 

There are more stringent prerequisites in conforming loans compared to other loans. With mortgages supported by the government, you may get qualified for a loan even with a low credit score, higher DTI, and lower down payment compared to a conforming loan. Another disadvantage is the private mortgage insurance or PMI. Loans supported by the government do not require you to pay the private mortgage insurance or the PMI. This will likely save you more money in the long run. 

Check out the other types of mortgages vis-a-vis the conforming loans. The following are the main kinds of government-backed mortgages: 

  • The VA loans for military families, there is no need for a downpayment.

  • The USDA loans allow you to buy a home in the suburban area with no down payment if you have low to moderate-income

  • The FHA loans allow you to get a loan if your credit score is lower, however, you will need a 3.5% down payment 

Before getting into a conforming loan, look into these other types of loans. One of them could be a better fit for you even if you’re getting a loan that makes you eligible for a  conforming loan.

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