Comparing Conventional vs FHA Loans: What You Need To Know

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  • Comparing Conventional vs FHA Loans: What You Need To Know
Author: Joseph Reinke, CFA

Buying a home can be an exciting and intimidating experience. The process of securing the right loan for your needs is often complex and overwhelming, especially when it comes to comparing conventional vs FHA loans.

Both types of mortgages offer advantages in certain situations, but they also have drawbacks that must be considered before making a decision. In this article we’ll compare conventional vs FHA loans so you can make an informed choice about which type of mortgage best suits your financial situation.

We’ll look at benefits such as lower down payments, more flexible credit requirements, and potential disadvantages such as higher interest rates. Finally, we’ll discuss cost considerations associated with each option so you know what expenses to expect if you decide to pursue either type of loan.

Conventional Loans

Conventional loans are mortgages that aren’t insured by the government and typically require a higher credit score than FHA loans.  They also require more of a down payment.

These loans can be used to purchase a primary residence, second home, or investment property. In addition, they may also be used for cash-out refinances or refinances without taking cash out.

Benefits Of Conventional Loans

One of the main benefits of conventional loans is that they often have lower interest rates than other loan types. Additionally, they tend to have fewer fees associated with them compared to FHA loans.

For example, you may not have to pay mortgage insurance with them.

Disadvantages Of Conventional Loans

The main disadvantage of conventional loans is that borrowers typically need a higher credit score and larger down payments in order to qualify compared to FHA Loans.

Down payments typically are either 10% or 20% for a conventional loan.

FHA Loans

FHA loans are mortgages that are insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and are often referred to as first time home buyer loans.

FHA Benefits

These loans have more lenient qualification requirements than conventional loans, making them an attractive option for first-time homebuyers or those with lower credit scores.

The down payment required is typically much lower than a traditional loan, and there may be other assistance available to help cover closing costs. However, these loans also come with higher fees and interest rates compared to conventional mortgages.

For example, borrowers can put as little as 3.5% down on an FHA loan if their credit score is 580 or higher.

Additionally, borrowers who don’t have enough money saved up for a large down payment may qualify for grants or other forms of assistance from state or local governments in order to cover closing costs associated with an FHA loan.

Disadvantages Of FHA Loans

While there are many advantages to taking out an FHA loan, it’s important to understand some of the drawbacks before committing yourself financially.

First off, these types of mortgages often come with higher fees and interest rates compared to conventional mortgages.  Therefore, you could end up paying a lot more over time.

Additionally, because these types of loans are backed by government insurance programs such as HUD/FHA 203(b) and HUD/FHA 203(k), lenders must follow strict guidelines when approving applicants which can make it difficult for some people who don’t meet all the criteria necessary for approval – even if they would otherwise qualify under different circumstances without government backing involved in their application process.

There also may be better options out there for first time home buyers. For example, professional mortgage loans have many of the same features as an FHA loan but are easier to qualify for.

Key Takeaway: FHA loans are a great option for first-time homebuyers or those with lower credit scores, as they require a smaller down payment and may offer assistance in covering closing costs. However, it’s important to consider the drawbacks of these types of mortgages before committing – such as higher fees and interest rates compared to conventional loans.

Cost Considerations for Conventional vs FHA Loans

When it comes to taking out a loan, there are many cost considerations that need to be taken into account.

For example, when comparing conventional and FHA loans, borrowers should consider the closing costs associated with each type of loan.

Conventional loans typically have higher closing costs than FHA loans because they require more paperwork and documentation. On average, borrowers can expect to pay between 2-5% of the total loan amount in closing costs for a conventional loan. You may also want to pay mortgage points on these loans to get a lower interest rate.

FHA loans also have their own set of fees that must be paid at closing. These include an upfront mortgage insurance premium (MIP) which is usually 1-2% of the total loan amount as well as an annual MIP fee which is 0.45%-1.05%.

In addition to these fees, FHA borrowers may also be required to pay additional points or origination fees depending on their credit score and other factors related to their financial situation.

FAQs in Relation to Conventional vs FHA Loan

Is it better to go conventional or FHA?

The decision between conventional and FHA mortgages depends on a variety of factors. Conventional loans typically require higher credit scores, larger down payments, and lower debt-to-income ratios than FHA loans.

On the other hand, FHA loans offer more flexible qualification requirements and may be easier to qualify for due to their lower down payment requirement and lenient credit score guidelines. Ultimately, it is important to consider your individual financial situation when deciding which loan type is best for you.

Why do sellers prefer conventional over FHA?

Conventional loans typically require a higher credit score and larger down payment than FHA loans, making them more attractive to sellers. Additionally, conventional loans don’t have the same restrictions as FHA loans regarding repairs or renovations that must be made before closing on the home.


In conclusion, it is important to consider the differences between conventional and FHA loans when deciding which loan option is best for you. Both types of loans have their own advantages and disadvantages that should be weighed carefully before making a decision.

It’s also essential to factor in the cost considerations associated with each type of loan so that you can make an informed choice about your home financing options. Ultimately, by researching both conventional vs FHA loan options thoroughly, you can find the right mortgage solution for your needs.

If you want to dive deeper and see the specific differences in your situation, we highly recommend reaching out to one of our mortgage partners listed below.  You can read more about them by clicking the links:

Movement Mortgage Review (Click here to speak with one of their reps)

Neo Home Loans Review  (Click Here to speak with Neo)

Celebrity Home Loans Review (Click here to visit Celebrity)

Apply for a mortgage with movement mortgage

Joseph Reinke, CFA

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About the Author

Joseph Reinke is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Charter Holder and founder of FitBUX which has helped over 14,000 young professionals on their journey to financial freedom. Joseph has been personally investing since he was 12 years old.

In addition, he has experience in student loans, mortgages, wealth management, investment banking, valuation, stock trading, and option trading. He has been on 100s of podcast and has been invited to 100s of universities to discuss financial planning with their soon to be graduates.

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