Conventional mortgages aren’t part of a government program. They’re a contract between homebuyers and private lenders. These loans can be more difficult to qualify for because they don’t have a guarantee if you default. However, they don’t have any rules limiting who can apply.
Conventional mortgage lenders typically require a down payment from 5 to 20 percent, though some offer loans with a down payment as low as 3 percent (according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau). If you have a down payment of less than 20 percent, your lender will likely require you to buy private mortgage insurance, which pays the lender if you default.