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What Are the Different Types of Mortgage Loans?

Securing a mortgage is a significant step towards achieving the dream of homeownership. However, navigating the world of mortgage loans can be overwhelming, given how many options are available. If you want to make an informed decision that aligns with your financial situation and long-term goals, understanding the different types of mortgage loans is essential.


Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or looking to refinance an existing mortgage, we’ll help you explore and understand the different types of mortgage loans available in today’s market. Let’s get started.

Exploring the Different Types of Mortgage Loans

Mortgage loan products offer different types of features, benefits, and eligibility criteria, allowing borrowers a variety of financing options that suit their unique financial needs and homeownership goals.

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Conventional Mortgages

A conventional mortgage is a popular and widely-used type of home loan that is not backed or insured by the government. Unlike government-backed loans, such as Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans, conventional mortgages are offered by private lenders, including banks, credit unions, and mortgage companies. Conventional loans may be sold to the secondary market (i.e. Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae) or held in the financial institutions’ portfolio.

One of the key advantages of conventional mortgages is the flexibility they offer, with various term options, fixed or adjustable interest rates, and a range of down payment options. Conventional mortgages also allow borrowers to finance primary residences, second homes, and investment properties. 

Conventional loans typically require a higher down payment, ranging from 3% to 20% of the home’s purchase price, depending on factors such as a borrower’s creditworthiness and loan-to-value ratio. Private mortgage insurance (PMI) may be required for down payments below 20%. Overall, conventional mortgages offer flexibility and accessibility for borrowers with solid credit and financial profiles. 

Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARM)

Adjustable Rate Mortgages are most commonly referred to as ARMs.  ARMs typically have a set fixed interest rate for a certain period of time (usually several years), then converts to a variable interest rate that can fluctuate periodically.  The interest rate is based on a pricing index plus an additional spread and has caps that limit how high the rate can go during the mortgage term.

Typically, the initial interest rate of an ARM is lower than that of a traditional fixed rate mortgage. An ARM could be a good option for borrowers that may plan to own their home for a shorter time period or for those borrowers that anticipate higher future income.

Jumbo Mortgages

Jumbo mortgages are a specialized type of home loan designed for financing high-value properties that exceed the conforming loan limits—the maximum loan amount set by government-sponsored Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that they will purchase or guarantee. Jumbo mortgages allow borrowers to finance larger loan amounts. Click here for the latest information about Jumbo Mortgages

Due to the larger loan amounts, jumbo mortgages may have stricter qualification criteria, including higher credit score requirements, lower debt-to-income ratios, and more substantial down payments. 

Interest rates on jumbo loans may also be slightly higher compared to conventional mortgages. Despite the potential stricter guidelines, jumbo mortgages provide an avenue for borrowers who need financing for larger real estate purchases. 

Construction Loans

Construction loans are specialized loans designed to finance the construction of a new home or major renovations on an existing property. 

Construction loans can be offered as single closing (construction to permanent financing) or a double closing. In a single closing, both the construction interest rate and the permanent financing rate are pre-determined, and the loan is only underwritten once. In addition, only one set of closing costs are charged. With a two-time or double closing, once the construction phase is complete, the construction loan must be paid off, often requiring re-underwriting and additional closing costs.

Unlike traditional mortgages, construction loans provide funds in stages as the construction progresses. The funds are released based on predetermined milestones, such as completing the foundation, framing, or reaching a certain stage of construction. 

Once the construction is complete, the borrower can either pay off the construction loan in full or convert it into a traditional mortgage. Construction loans may have higher interest rates and may require a larger down payment compared to traditional mortgages due to the higher risk involved. 

Lenders carefully assess the borrower’s creditworthiness, construction plans, and the value of the property before approving a construction loan. It’s crucial for borrowers to work closely with their builders, architects, and lenders to ensure a smooth construction process and proper management of the funds throughout the project.

Manufactured/Mobile Home Mortgage

Manufactured or mobile home loans are specifically designed to finance the purchase or refinancing of factory-built homes that are transported to a specific location. These types of loans cater to individuals who are seeking homeownership in manufactured housing communities or on private land. 

Unlike traditional mortgages, manufactured home loans may have different eligibility requirements and financing options. Manufactured home loans typically have specific guidelines regarding the property’s age, size, and location, as well as requirements for the foundation and tie-down systems. It’s important for borrowers to work with lenders experienced in manufactured home loans to ensure they receive accurate information and suitable financing options for their specific needs.

USDA Loans

A United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) mortgage, also known as a USDA Rural Development Loan, is a type of home loan designed to assist low to moderate-income borrowers in purchasing homes in eligible rural and suburban areas. These loans are backed by the USDA and offer attractive features for qualified borrowers, such as no down payment, competitive interest rates, and flexible credit scores.

Second Home Mortgages

Second home mortgages are loans specifically designed for purchasing or refinancing a second home or vacation property. 

Second home mortgages often have similar requirements to primary home mortgages in terms of creditworthiness, down payment, and debt-to-income ratio. However, lenders may impose stricter eligibility criteria, including higher credit score requirements and larger down payments. Interest rates on second home mortgages may also be slightly higher compared to primary home loans. 

Lenders typically require that the property is not rented out and that it is located a reasonable distance away from the borrower’s primary residence. Second home mortgages provide an opportunity for individuals to have a dedicated getaway spot. 

Investment Properties

A mortgage for an investment property is a financial arrangement that allows individuals or businesses to purchase a property with the intention of generating income or capital appreciation. Unlike a residential mortgage, which is used to buy a primary residence, an investment property mortgage is specifically tailored for properties that will be rented out or used for business purposes.

Investment property mortgages typically have different requirements and terms compared to residential mortgages. Lenders often consider the potential rental income from the property when evaluating the loan application. They may also require a larger down payment and slightly higher interest rates to mitigate the higher risks associated with investment properties.

Land Loans

Land loans are specialized financial products designed to provide individuals with the funds needed to purchase vacant land or undeveloped property. These loans are distinct from traditional home mortgages, as they focus solely on the land itself rather than a structure or dwelling. 

Land loans can be used for various purposes, including residential, commercial, or agricultural purposes. Lenders assess factors such as the location, zoning restrictions, accessibility, and potential for development when determining eligibility and loan terms. The intended use of the land will dictate the loan structure.

Interest rates on land loans may be higher than those for traditional mortgages, and down payment requirements are often more substantial. Repayment terms for land loans can vary, but they tend to be shorter than those for home mortgages. 

It’s important for borrowers to conduct thorough due diligence on the land, including surveys, soil tests, and an evaluation of local regulations and potential development costs. Additionally, borrowers should work closely with lenders experienced in land financing to ensure a smooth application process and obtain the most suitable loan for their land purchase goals.

Home Equity Lines and Loans

Home equity lines and loans are financial products that allow homeowners to tap into the equity they have built up in their homes.  The borrower’s home serves as collateral and equity is generally based on a percentage of the home’s appraised value less any outstanding mortgage balances.  Home equities provide borrowers with funds for a variety of uses – including home improvements, debt consolidation, or funding education costs.

A home equity line (HELOC) typically has a variable interest rate and provides the flexibility to draw on funds as needed.  As the borrower pays back the funds drawn, those funds become available for use again.  HELOCs typically have a set period of time, commonly known as the draw period, to use the funds and then convert to a predetermined principal and interest payback period.

A home equity loan typically has a fixed interest rate and borrowers receive the funds in a single disbursement. Repayment terms are structured in regular installments over a specified period. Unlike a HELOC, as funds are paid back, they are not available to use again. 

One potential advantage of home equity lines and loans is that the interest paid on the loan may be tax-deductible, making them a popular choice for homeowners seeking to leverage their home’s value.  Borrowers should always consult a professional tax advisor for tax advice.

To learn more about how much mortgage you can afford, read How Much Home Mortgage Can I Afford

Putting it all together

Understanding the different types of mortgage loans is especially important as you think about buying your first home or seek financing for your property. Whether you opt for a conventional loan, jumbo loan, or specialized loan product, each type offers unique features, benefits, and eligibility criteria. 

Carefully assess your financial situation, long-term goals, and preferences to determine which mortgage loan best aligns with your needs. Consulting with mortgage professionals, conducting thorough research, and comparing offers from multiple lenders can help you make an informed decision. Remember, choosing the right mortgage loan is not only about securing financing but also about finding a loan that allows you to comfortably manage your payments and achieve your homeownership dreams. 

Norway Savings Bank MortgageGO

At Norway Savings Bank, we understand every homeowner has unique needs and circumstances. With Norway Savings Bank MortgageGO, you can find a mortgage that’s just right for you. Not only will you get competitive rates, you’ll get a supportive dedicated local mortgage professional that will help you every step of the way and technology that makes applying on the go easy. So let us help you find the right mortgage for you! Check out MortgageGO or contact a mortgage loan officer.