Mortgages are either government-backed or conventional. About half of all conventional loans are called “conforming” mortgages because they conform to guidelines established by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. These government-sponsored enterprises buy mortgages from lenders and sell them to investors to make mortgages more widely available.
Loans that do not conform to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac guidelines are referred to as “non-conforming” home loans. Non-conforming loans that are larger than loan limits set by the GSEs are often referred to as “jumbo” mortgages.
Conventional home loans marketed to borrowers with low credit scores are called sub-prime mortgages. They typically come with high-interest rates and fees.