Conventional mortgages are a type of home loan that is not guaranteed or insured by a government agency such as the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), or the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Instead, conventional mortgages are offered and backed by private lenders such as banks, credit unions, or mortgage companies.

One of the defining characteristics of conventional mortgages is that they typically require a higher down payment compared to government-backed loans. In most cases, borrowers will need to put down at least 5% of the home's purchase price. However, some lenders may require a larger down payment depending on factors such as the borrower's credit score, debt-to-income ratio, and the loan amount.

Another key feature of conventional mortgages is that they have stricter qualification requirements compared to government-backed loans. Lenders will typically look at a borrower's credit score, income, employment history, and other factors to determine whether they are eligible for a conventional loan. Borrowers with higher credit scores and more stable financial histories are more likely to qualify for a conventional loan and may also be offered more favorable terms such as a lower interest rate.

Conventional mortgages are available in both fixed-rate and adjustable-rate options. A fixed-rate mortgage offers a stable interest rate that does not change throughout the life of the loan, while an adjustable-rate mortgage may have a lower initial interest rate that can adjust up or down over time depending on market conditions.