The¬†Conventional 97 is a low down payment mortgage program which allows first-time home buyers and repeat buyers to make down payments of just 3% against a home's purchase price. The¬†Conventional 97 can be used for primary residences where the mortgage¬†loan size does not exceed the national conforming loan limit of $417,000.
HomeReady‚ĄĘ is limited to certain low-income census tracts; and areas with high minority concentrations. By contrast, Conventional 97 is available for use everywhere.
The Conventional 97¬†program is meant to help home buyers who might other qualify for a loan but lack the resources -- or the desire -- to make a five percent downpayment or more.
The 97% LTV program launched in December 2014. It's in high demand among today's home buyers.Click to see today's rates (Dec 10th, 2016)
With the introduction of the Conventional 97 home loan, the U.S. government is making it easier for potential buyers to become homeowners.
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac¬†join the FHA, VA, and USDA in offering low-downpayment loans to buyers nationwide.
The Conventional 97's¬†aggressive terms have helped it to grab marketshare from the FHA loan, which is another low-downpayment option available in today's market.
The FHA loan has its place, though.
FHA loans require downpayments of 3.5% and home buyers with less-than-perfect credit may find FHA loans to be more cost-effective than the¬†Conventional 97. Especially because¬†FHA mortgage rates are typically 25 basis points (0.25%) below rates for a comparable conventional loan.
Borrowers with better-than-average credit scores, though, typically save by using the¬†Conventional 97.
VA loans are another popular comparison product for the Conventional 97.
Available to veterans and active members of the military, VA loans allow for 100% financing and never require borrowers to pay mortgage insurance.
VA mortgage rates are typically 25¬†basis points (0.25%) below rates for a comparable conventional loan and VA loans are backed by the Department of Veterans Affairs.
USDA loans are a third comparison option.
USDA loans are guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and, although they're sometimes called "Rural Housing Loans", USDA loans can be used in many suburban locations, too.
USDA loans offer very low rates and allow for 100% financing. They also require just a small mortgage insurance premium as compared to other low- and no-downpayment loans.
Today's home buyer has plenty of financing options.Click to see today's rates (Dec 10th, 2016)
No, the¬†Conventional 97 is available to everyone. HomeReady‚ĄĘ is only available in low-income census tracts, to low-income borrowers, in areas of high minority concentration, and in regions declared a disaster area.
Yes. The 97 percent program can be used by first-time buyers. It can also be used by repeat buyers.
A first-time home buyer is defined as a person who has not owned a home in the last three years. If you previously owned a home, but have not owned a home since three years ago, you are considered to be a "first-time home buyer".
No, MyCommunityMortgage¬ģ is a different program. That program is aimed at certain members of the community including teachers and firefighters; and which may offer more flexible underwriting standards than a traditional mortgage program.
Yes, there is no limit to the size of your downpayment with the Conventional 97. With a downpayment of five percent or more, though,¬†you will no longer be using the Conventional 97.
There is no "best" low-downpayment mortgage program. What's best for one home buyer may not be what's best for another. Each program has its benefits.
The Conventional 97¬†mortgage program allows mortgage applicants to use the 30-year fixed rate mortgage only. 15-year and 20-year fixed rate mortgages are not available; nor are fixed-rate loans of other terms and ARMs.
No, the Conventional 97¬†allows mortgage applicants to use 30-year fixed rate mortgages only.
The 3% downpayment program is limited to loan sizes of $417,000 or less. Loans in high-cost areas are permitted, but loan sizes remain capped at local conforming loan limits.
The¬†3 percent down-payment program is for single-unit homes only. This includes single-family detached homes and single-family attached homes such as condominiums and town homes. 2-unit homes, 3-unit homes, and 4-unit homes cannot be financed via the program.
No, the 3% downpayment program is for primary residences only. Vacation and second homes are not allowed.
No, the 3 percent down-payment program is for primary homes only. Investment properties are not allowed.
No, there is no home-buyer counseling requirement with the Conventional 97¬†mortgage program.
Yes, mortgage applicants are required to pay private mortgage insurance (PMI) as part of the Conventional 97. Your mortgage lender will arrange for your mortgage insurance policy at the time of application.
No, Fannie Mae requires loans refinanced under the 97% program to be Fannie Mae-backed.
To determine whether your loan is backed by Fannie Mae, you can ask your lender or use Fannie Mae's loan lookup tool.
No, the 97% mortgage program does not allow cash-out refinances. Borrowers may do a cash-in refinance or a¬†"limited cash-out" refinance only.
The Conventional 97 is another low-downpayment option for today's home buyer; and a simplified way for existing homeowners to get a refinance.
Get today's live mortgage rates now. Your social security number is not required to get started, and all quotes come with access to your live mortgage credit scores.Click to see today's rates (Dec 10th, 2016)
The information contained on The Mortgage Reports website is for informational purposes only and is not an advertisement for products offered by Full Beaker. The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not reflect the policy or position of Full Beaker, its officers, parent, or affiliates.
Elaine A. Marketing
The Mortgage Reports is fantastic. I read it thoroughly and learn so much.
Katrina B. Lab Technician
I look forward to reading The Mortgage Reports. Its information and updates helped me to buy my first home. Thank you!
Marie M. Real Estate Agent
I have been a Realtor for more than 30 years and enjoy The Mortgage Reports. It's terrific to learn something new almost every day.
2016 Conforming, FHA, & VA Loan Limits
Mortgage loan limits for every U.S. county, as published by Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)