Conventional mortgage loans on residential properties are loans that follow a strict set of guidelines set forth by Fannie Mae (also referred to as FNMA – Federal National Mortgage Association) or Freddie Mac (Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation). These guidelines are underwritten initially through an automated underwriting software specific to each bank. Fannie Mae’s automated underwriting engine is called Desktop Underwriter, or “DU,” while Freddie Mac’s automated underwriting engine is called Loan Product Advisor, or “LPA.” Most mortgage banks will accept automated underwriting approvals from either software, however some investors require one or the other. Both DU and LPA are written to be compliant to minimum standard credit scores, employment history, debt to income (DTI) ratios, asset requirements, loan to value ratios (LTV), and property conditions. Conventional lending guidelines allow for borrowers to apply for loans on primary residences, second homes, investment properties, multi-family residences up to 4 units and condo’s. The current maximum conventional loan size is $510,400, and the current minimum down payment for purchase of a primary residence is 3%.

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