Fannie Mae mortgage loans are appealing for home buyers purchasing a house with a conventional loan because of the reasonable down payment requirements, competitive mortgage rates and stellar reputation. Below is more information about Fannie Mae guidelines that explain what the minimum down-payment rules will be for most borrowers qualifying for a Fannie Mae home loan this year. U.S. home buyers have benefited from Fannie Mae mortgage programs for decades because of the attractive interest rates and reasonable down-payment requirements.

Check Out the 3% Down Home Loan from Fannie Mae

A conventional home loan is not insured or guaranteed by the US government. Conventional loans are different than VA and FHA-loans, which are backed by the government. A conventional home loan is made by a private mortgage company. When they do require mortgage insurance – when your down payment is less than 20% – that insurance is issued from a private company and not from the government.

The clear majority of conventional loans stick to the Fannie Mae guidelines. These are two government sponsored companies that buy loans from private lenders. Most mortgage lenders like to sell their loans to Fannie or Freddie. It lowers their long-term risk and increases their ability to make new Fannie Mae loans. But Fannie and Freddie do have certain standards for the loans they will buy. Down payment is one of the critical criteria.

Fannie Mae purchases loans with LTVs as high as 97%, which means a 3% down payment. This is where the bar is set for 2024. So, many conventional mortgage lenders will offer loans with 3% down payments, but not all of them. You may have to shop around to find a mortgage company that offers a 3% down payment for someone with your credit score and debt to income ratio.

Fannie Mae guidelines states that it currently purchases loans from private lenders with 3% down payments because it wants to increase access to credit for people who have acceptable credit scores. Allowing people to make 3% down payments to buy a home expands the opportunity of home-ownership to millions of people.

There are some exceptions to the 3% down payment rule for Fannie Mae mortgage loans. Some lenders want to keep the mortgages they issue in house rather than selling them. This may allow these lenders to have more flexibility on down payments. Some might want higher down payments and some less. But most conventional lenders sell their loans to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, so a 3% down payment is typical.

But this does not always mean you will qualify for the 3% down payment. Depending upon the loan, the conventional lender may require you to put down more money. For instance, if you want a jumbo loan, these exceed the conforming limits of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. This means a higher down payment is needed. Fannie Mae mortgage products require borrowers to conform to the FNMA guidelines.

fannie mae mortgage

How to Buy a Home with a Fannie Mae Mortgage Loan

Buying a home is an exciting endeavor, but it can also be a daunting task, particularly when it comes to financing. Fortunately, there are various mortgage options available to homebuyers, and one of the most popular choices is a Fannie Mae mortgage. Fannie Mae, short for the Federal National Mortgage Association, is a government-sponsored enterprise that provides accessible and affordable mortgage options to make homeownership more achievable. In this article, we’ll explore how to buy a home with a Fannie Mae loan.

Connect with a Fannie Mae Lender

Fannie Mae doesn’t directly lend to borrowers; instead, it works through approved lenders. You’ll need to connect with a lender who participates in Fannie Mae programs. The lender will evaluate your financial situation, discuss your homebuying goals, and help you choose the most suitable Fannie Mae loan for your needs.

Choose the Right Fannie Mae Loan Program

Fannie Mae supports various types of loans, including conventional, fixed-rate, adjustable-rate, and low down payment options.

Fannie Mae offers various loan programs, each tailored to specific situations. These Fannie mortgage programs include:

HomeReady Mortgage: Designed to make homeownership more accessible for low-to-moderate-income buyers, this program offers a low down payment requirement and flexible eligibility criteria. The HomeReady mortgage was created to assist individuals with low-to-moderate incomes. This program stipulates that the combined income of those on the mortgage should not exceed 80% of the area median income.

Conventional 97 Loan: With just a 3% down payment requirement, this program is an excellent choice for those with limited savings. Borrowers appreciate the 3% down-payment on Fannie Mae mortgages.

HomeStyle Renovation Mortgage: This program combines your home purchase and renovation costs into a single loan, making it ideal for those looking to purchase a fixer-upper.

Fannie Mae RefiNow: This  initiative provides solutions for homeowners who previously faced challenges in qualifying for mortgage refinancing, aiming to reduce their mortgage payments.1 This program features more lenient requirements regarding Debt-to-Income (DTI) ratio and home equity, particularly benefiting homeowners meeting specific low-income criteria. To be eligible for the RefiNow™ program, homeowners must experience a minimum 0.5% reduction in their interest rate, leading to a lower monthly mortgage payment mo. Additional advantages include a $500 credit toward a mandatory home appraisal for those who qualify. The RefiNow™ uses the lowest credit score and the credit score can’t be lower than 580.

Complete the Mortgage Application:
The mortgage application process involves providing your lender with detailed financial information, including your income, employment history, and debt obligations. Be prepared to submit documentation to support your application, such as pay stubs, bank statements, and tax returns.

Receive Pre-Approval:
Once your lender reviews your application and financial documents, you’ll receive a pre-approval letter. This letter demonstrates to sellers that you’re a serious buyer with the financial backing to secure the purchase. It’s an essential step when house-hunting.

Find Your Ideal Home:
Armed with your pre-approval letter and your budget in mind, you can start your home search. Work with a real estate agent to identify properties that align with your needs and preferences.

Submit an Offer:
When you find a home that you want to purchase, your agent will help you draft an offer to submit to the seller. Upon acceptance, your contract will include specific financing details related to your Fannie Mae loan.

Finalize the Mortgage:
Once your offer is accepted, you’ll work closely with your lender to complete the mortgage process. This involves more detailed financial assessments, home appraisals, and underwriting.

Closing and Ownership:
After your mortgage is approved and the closing process is completed, you become the proud owner of your new home. Your Fannie Mae loan has successfully financed your homeownership journey.

Do Fannie Mae Loans Offer Lower Down-Payment Requirements than FHA?

FHA loans are popular because they are easy to qualify for; people with credit scores as low as 500 may qualify, and people with a 580-credit score can qualify for a 3.5% down payment. But many people do not know that Fannie and Freddie conforming loans often offer an even lower down payment of 3%. Learn more about Fannie Mae Home Path loans.

Conventional loans are harder to qualify for, with a 640-credit score typically required. Conventional loans are typically the best option for people with a credit score at least that high. But if you have a lower score, and/or have past credit problems including a bankruptcy or foreclosure, you may want to go with an FHA loan. See 2024 FHA loan requirements to determine if this type of mortgage is a better fit for your credentials.

fannie mae requirements

2024 is forecasted to be a great year for mortgage financing as Fannie Mae requirements and rules may be eased once again.

Fannie Mae Allows Gift Money for Down Payments

If you want a Fannie Mae conforming loan in 2018 and do not have enough money for a 3% down payment, you may still have some good options. Many mortgage programs today will allow you to get down payment funds as a gift. This is true for conventional and FHA loans. By leveraging the Fannie Mae gift-fund rules, many home buyers are able to qualify for a $0-down mortgage. (Gift proceeds can cover the down-payment requirements if borrower is eligible.)

You typically can get the gift funds from a family member, employer or close friend. If you are going to use a gift for a down payment, you should talk to your loan officer about the requirements. Generally, the gift must be carefully documented with a letter from the party who is giving the funds. There must be a clear paper trail that shows how the money was given to you. Bank statements typically are required. Also, the money cannot be a loan; it must be a gift. If you have VA eligibility and you are looking for 100% financing without using gift funds, consider the VA program. (see VA loan requirements)

Fannie Mae Lending Background

Fannie Mae was stablished by Congress in 1938 as a Government-Sponsored Enterprise (GSE), aiming to facilitate affordable housing. Before its inception, securing a mortgage typically required a down payment of 50% or more, coupled with stringent terms that empowered lenders to reclaim homes for even a single missed payment.

Since 2008, Fannie Mae mortgage programs have been under the government conservatorship umbrella of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA). In addition, FNMA was removed from the New York and Chicago stock exchanges in 2010.

What You Need to Remember About Fannie Mae Down-Payment Requirements

It is easier than it has been for 10 years to get a Fannie Mae conventional loan. Credit standards and DTI standards are more flexible than any time since the financial crash of 2008 and 2009. With a 3% down payment for a Fannie Mae loan, it is easier to get into a home and to stop paying rent. With these low-down payments, there really is no reason that many people should continue to throw money away on rent. Buy a home now with a Fannie Mae loan and 3% down payment; it is likely mortgage interest rates will rise soon!

Buying a home with Fannie Mae can be a straightforward and attainable goal for many prospective homeowners. These loans offer flexible terms and accessibility, making homeownership dreams a reality for countless individuals and families. To start your journey, connect with a lender, and explore the Fannie Mae loan programs that best fit your needs. With the right support and a well-prepared application, you can soon be the proud owner of your new home.