Two types of conventional loans exist, and they are conforming and non-conforming.
All conforming loans have conditions and terms that follow the guidelines set forth by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac purchase loans complying with the guidelines from mortgage lending institutions, then they package the mortgages into securities and sell the securities to investors.
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, like Ginnie Mae, provide a continuous stream of affordable funds for home financing resulting in the availability of mortgage credit for Americans.
Guidelines set by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mae consist of maximum loan amount, credit and income requirements, down payment, and suitable properties. The guidelines / limits are announced and adjust each year. Below are the historical limits for first mortgages
Limits for Alaska, Guam, Hawaii, U.S. Virgin Islands are 50% higher.
Prior to 1984, second mortgage limits were the same as first mortgage limits. Subsequent legislation reduced the limits to 50% of first mortgage limits. No second mortgage program existed before 1982.
With passage of the economic stimulus package, Fannie Mae may temporarily purchase loans beyond the company's prevailing conventional loan limit in designated high-cost areas. The company may purchase loans with a maximum original principal obligation of up to 125 percent of the area median home price in high cost areas, not to exceed $729,750 except in Alaska, Guam, Hawaii, U.S. Virgin Islands where higher limits may apply.