Mortgages 101: Helpful Advice for Borrowers

In addition to publishing conforming loan limits for all counties across the U.S., we also publish mortgage-related articles and tips geared toward home buyers.

Mortgage Articles and Tips for Borrowers

Our website articles are 100% unbiased and objective. We do not represent any bank or mortgage company, nor do we get compensated by them.

Government-Insured Mortgages Explained
There are several different kinds of government-backed home loans, and they all have their unique pros and cons. This article explains how these programs work and who is eligible for them.

Conforming vs. Conventional Loans
These two terms are sometimes used interchangeably. But they’re actually two different things. A conventional loan is one that’s not insured by the government. It can either be “conforming” or “jumbo,” depending on the size.

What Is a Jumbo Loan?
We just introduced the term “jumbo” loan above. This is a conventional mortgage product that exceeds the conforming limits for the county in which the home is located. Jumbo loans cannot be sold to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, and the requirements are often more strict.

Do Jumbo Loans Have Higher Rates?
Given the fact that jumbo mortgages are so big, you might think they would always bring higher interest rates. The truth is, it can vary due to a number of factors. Investor demand has a lot to do with it. In this article, we’ll explore the reasons why jumbo loans sometimes have higher rates than conforming.

Do Jumbo Loans Require 20% Down?
A bigger mortgage product often requires a bigger upfront investment from the borrower. Such is the case with the oversized “jumbo” loans. While the requirements can vary due to a number of factors, most lenders require at least 10% down for a jumbo — and sometimes up to 20%. But those numbers aren’t necessarily written in stone.

How Much Can I Borrow?
When you apply for a home loan, the bank or lender will consider your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio to determine how much you can afford to borrow. Here’s how it all works.

Best Mortgage for First-Time Buyers
While it’s true there are some loan programs designed specifically for first-time home buyers, they’re not always the best option. The key is to explore all of your options and choose the one that support your goals.

How Much Are Discount Points?
This article explains the concept of using mortgage “discount” points to get a lower interest rate. It also shows you how to calculate your break-even point, to see if financing makes sense.

Can I Buy With 10% Down?
Not everyone can afford the “standard” 20% down payment when buying a house. And that’s okay, because it’s not really a standard after all. There are loans available that offer down payments below 10%, or even below 5%.