Compare the 4 Most Popular Low-Down-Payment Home Loans

Here are the 4 most popular low-down-payment home loan programs for people who have good credit and income documentation but don’t have enough savings for a bigger down payment.

FHA Loan Fannie Mae Loan
Freddie Mac Loan
VA Loan USDA Loan
Minimum Down Payment 3.5% 3% 0 0
Borrower Eligibility Must be active-duty military, reservist, national guard, veteran, current or surviving spouse Must not have enough assets to afford a 20%-down payment
Minimum FICO Score 580 640 640 640
Maximum Loan Limit for for single-family home in Tampa Bay $275,665 $424,100 $424,100 None
Is Loan Assumable? Assumable Typically not assumable Assumable Assumable
Annual Mortgage Insurance 0.85% Depends on down payment None 0.35%
Upfront mortgage insurance premium 1.75% of loan 1%
Is Mortgage Insurance Cancellable? Not Cancellable Cancellable Not Cancellable
Home Appraisal FHA Appraisal standards VA-licensed appraiser USDA appraisal guidelines
Lender FHA-accredited lender USDA-accredited lender
Closing Costs Seller may pay up to 6% Gift may be used to pay 100% Seller may pay 100%; May be financed; Gift is allowed
Homes Primary residence Primary, second, vacation, investment Primary residence Homes must be in eligible rural areas; Primary
Maximum Income in Tampa Bay None $75,650 for 1 to 4 members; $99,850 for 5-8 members

1. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Loans are also called Conventional Conforming Loans because they conform to the guidelines set by the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) and Federal Home Loan Morgage Corp. (Freddie Mac). These two are government-sponsored enterprises. They buy mortgages from lenders and sell them to investors.

2. For FHA’s FICO score, many lenders require higher than 580