When I was a little girl, there were three types of mortgages available to a home buyer. Buyers could get a fixed-rate conventional mortgage, an FHA loan or a VA loan. Times have definitely changed. Now there are a dizzying array of mortgage loan types available -- as the saying goes: more mortgage loan types than you can shake a stick at!
Popular Types of Mortgage Loan Programs
Fixed-Rate Mortgage Types
This is the granddaddy of them all. Now you can choose from 10-year, 15-year, 20-year-, 30-year, 40-year and even 50-year fixed-rate mortgages, all of which are completely amortized.
FHA mortgage loan types are insured by the government through mortgage insurance that is funded into the loan. First-time home buyers are ideal candidates for an FHA loan because the down payment requirements are minimal and FICO scores do not matter.
This type of government loan is available to veterans who have served in the U.S. Armed Services and, in certain cases, to spouses of deceased veterans. The requirements vary depending on the year of service and whether the discharge was honorable or dishonorable. The main benefit to a VA loan is the borrower does not need a down payment. The loan is guaranteed by the Department of Veteran Affairs, but funded by a conventional lender.
Interest-Only Mortgage Types
Calling a mortgage loan type an "interest-only mortgage" is a bit misleading because these loans are not really interest only, meaning the borrower pays only interest on the loan. Interest-only loans contain an option to make an interest-only payment. The option is available only for a certain period of time. However, some junior mortgages are indeed interest only and require a balloon payment, consisting of the original loan balance at maturity.