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FHA loans are loans issued by a bank, but backed by the federal government. They are intended for people can not qualify for a typical bank loan.
Note: Loans above $356,362 may not be eligible for an FHA loan, depending on location. You can check here.
The minimum down payment on an FHA loans is 3.5%. For a $550,000 house or condo, this would be $19,250.
To qualify for a 3.5% down payment, you must have a credit score of at least 580.
Buyers with a credit score of 500 or higher are eligible for an FHA loan with a down payment as low as 10%.
For a $550,000 house, this would be $55,000.
All FHA loans require 'mortgage insurance', which protects the FHA from people who default on their loan. This requires an upfront payment of 1.75% of the loan, as well as additional monthly payments.
Conventional loans are those offered by a bank which might have a variety of terms and rates depending on the amount down and factors such as credit score, debt, and income.
For conventional loans, it is standard to make a down payment of 20%. For a $550,000 house, this would be $110,000.
However, some loans offer down payments as low as 3% to buyers with excellent credit, high income, and large assets.
Buyers who can't put at least 20% down are often required to pay PMI. For a $550,000 loan, this could be as high as $688 a month. Over time, if the buyer builds up equity in the house, PMI will no longer be required.