Mortgages can be either government-backed or conventional. Government agencies like the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) insure home loans, which are made by private lenders.
Conventional loans offer the best terms if the 20% down requirement is met.
Qualifying for a Conventional Loan
U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
A monthly payment - including taxes and insurance - that does not exceed 45% of your income. Other monthly debt cannot exceed 50% of your income.
Dependable income for a period of 24 months.
A credit score of at least 620.
A down payment of at least 3% (with income limits) or 5% (no income limit).