Jumbo Mortgages: What They Are and Who Should Use Them

Key Takeaways About Jumbo Mortgages

Need quick answers in your journey to finding the perfect home loan. Here’s a quick breakdown of the key facts you need about jumbo (or non-conforming) mortgages.


  • Jumbo Loans are mortgages that exceed conforming loan amounts, set by the FHFA.
  • Jumbo loans generally require a lower debt-to-income ratio to qualify.
  • Jumbo loan rates are usually competitive with standard conventional rates.

What Is a Jumbo Loan?

Ever dreamt of owning a sprawling estate or a luxury condo in a high-end market? If so, you might need a jumbo loan to finance your dream home. But what exactly is a jumbo loan, and how does it differ from a conventional mortgage?

Simply put, a jumbo loan is a mortgage that exceeds the conforming loan limit set by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) each year. These limits vary by location, but in most areas, they fall around $766,550 (as of 2024). Since jumbo loans surpass this threshold, they aren’t eligible to be purchased by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-sponsored enterprises that back a large portion of the mortgage market in the US.

This means that jumbo loans are offered by private lenders and may come with slightly different terms and requirements compared to conventional mortgages. But don’t let that deter you! For borrowers who qualify, jumbo loans can be a powerful tool for financing their dream homes.

The team at Abo Capital specializes in jumbo financing. With decades of experience in higher-priced markets, especially in California, Colorado, and Texas, we’ve helped hundreds of buyers choose the right program to finance their jumbo home purchase.


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Steve Abo and his team of mortgage strategists will help you find the right program for your ideal home, market, and goals.

Jumbo Loan Requirements

Jumbo loans open doors to luxury properties that might otherwise be out of reach. But to qualify for this financing option, lenders naturally have stricter requirements than conventional mortgages. Here’s a breakdown of the key hurdles you’ll need to clear:

  • Down Payment: Jumbo loans typically require a higher down payment than conventional loans. The exact percentage can vary depending on the lender but expect a minimum down payment of 10% to 20%, and some lenders might require even more for very high loan amounts.
  • Credit Score: Lenders want to see a proven track record of responsible borrowing. Expect to have a credit score in the high 700s or even exceeding 800 to qualify for the most favorable jumbo loan rates.
  • Debt-to-Income Ratio (DTI): This ratio measures your monthly debt obligations (including housing costs) compared to your gross monthly income. A lower DTI indicates a stronger financial position, and lenders typically prefer borrowers with a DTI ratio below 45%.
  • Cash Reserves: Jumbo lenders often want to see evidence that you have sufficient savings to cover unexpected expenses on top of your mortgage payment. This demonstrates financial stability and helps mitigate risk for the lender. The amount of cash reserves required can vary, but it’s not uncommon for lenders to ask for 3-6 months of living expenses.
  • Documentation: Be prepared to provide various documents to verify your income, employment, assets, and liabilities. This could include pay stubs, tax returns, bank statements, and investment account statements.
  • Appraisals: Since jumbo loans exceed conforming loan limits, lenders may require more than one appraisal to determine the true value of the property you’re purchasing. This helps ensure the loan amount doesn’t exceed the home’s actual value.

While these requirements might seem daunting, don’t be discouraged! If you’re a financially responsible borrower with a solid down payment and a good credit history, a jumbo loan could be the key to unlocking your dream home. The next step is to explore the advantages and disadvantages of jumbo loans to see if they align with your financial goals.

Pros and Cons of Using a Jumbo Loan

Jumbo loans offer the key to financing luxury properties that might be out of reach with conventional mortgages. But before you dive into the world of jumbo loans, it’s important to weigh the advantages and disadvantages to see if they align with your financial goals.

Pros of using a Jumbo Loan

  • Access to Luxury Homes: This is the most obvious perk. Jumbo loans allow you to purchase high-value properties in desirable locations that wouldn’t be possible with conforming loan limits.
  • Potentially Lower Interest Rates: Jumbo loans can sometimes come with lower interest rates compared to conventional loans. This is because jumbo borrowers typically have strong credit scores and lower risk profiles, making them more attractive to lenders.
  • Greater Loan Flexibility: Some jumbo lenders offer more flexible loan terms compared to conventional loans. This might include longer loan terms or the ability to borrow a higher percentage of the property value.
  • Faster Processing Times: Since jumbo loans are dealt with by private lenders, the approval process can sometimes be faster compared to conventional loans which may go through government-backed channels.

Cons of using a Jumbo Loan:

  • Stricter Qualification Requirements: As discussed earlier, jumbo loans come with higher hurdles to jump through. You’ll need a substantial down payment, a stellar credit score, and a healthy financial profile to qualify.
  • Larger Down Payment: The minimum down payment for a jumbo loan is typically 10% to 20%, significantly higher than the 3% minimum allowed for some conventional loans. This requires a larger upfront investment.
  • Potentially Higher Closing Costs: Jumbo loans often involve higher closing costs compared to conventional loans due to the additional appraisals and other fees associated with these larger loan amounts.
  • Less Lender Availability: Jumbo loans aren’t offered by all lenders. You may need to shop around to find a lender that specializes in jumbo mortgages and offers competitive rates and terms.

Jumbo loans can be a powerful tool for financing luxury homes, but they’re not for everyone. Carefully consider your financial situation and weigh the pros and cons before deciding if a jumbo loan is the right choice for you. If you have a strong financial foundation and are set on acquiring a high-end property, a jumbo loan could be the key to unlocking your dream home. However, if the stricter requirements or larger down payment pose a challenge, a conventional loan might be a better fit.

Jumbo Loans and Conforming Loan Limits

So, how do you know if you need a jumbo loan? It all boils down to a concept called the conforming loan limit. The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) sets this limit each year, and it represents the maximum loan amount that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, government-sponsored enterprises, will buy from lenders. These loans are called “conforming” because they conform to the established limit.

In most areas of the US, the conforming loan limit for 2024 sits at $766,550 for single-family homes. If the property you’re interested in exceeds this amount, you’ll likely need a jumbo loan to finance it. There are exceptions, though. In high-cost areas with inflated housing prices, the conforming loan limit can be significantly higher. For instance, in certain California counties, the limit can jump to over $1 million.

Here’s a quick rule of thumb:

  • Loan amount below conforming loan limit: You’ll likely qualify for a conventional loan with potentially easier requirements.
  • Loan amount exceeding conforming loan limit: A jumbo loan becomes the financing option, with stricter requirements but potentially better interest rates (due to your strong financial profile needed to qualify).

By understanding conforming loan limits, you can determine if a jumbo loan is necessary for your dream home. Remember, jumbo loans cater to a specific market segment, so they might not be the right fit for everyone. However, if you’re eyeing a luxury property and have the financial wherewithal, a jumbo loan could be the key to unlocking your dream home purchase.


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Jumbo Home Loan Rates

While securing a good interest rate is important, it shouldn’t be the sole deciding factor. Jumbo loans often come with stricter qualification requirements compared to conventional loans. Carefully consider your financial picture and weigh the pros and cons of jumbo loans before making a decision. These are a few key factors to consider when it comes to jumbo mortgage rates:

They Are Generally Competitive

Jumbo loans can sometimes offer interest rates that are comparable or even slightly lower than conventional loans. This is because jumbo borrowers typically boast strong credit histories and lower risk profiles, making them more attractive to lenders.

They Are Market Dependent

Just like conventional loans, jumbo loan rates fluctuate based on various market factors like the overall economy and prevailing interest rates.

They Are Generally Competitive

Jumbo loans can sometimes offer interest rates that are comparable or even slightly lower than conventional loans. This is because jumbo borrowers typically boast strong credit histories and lower risk profiles, making them more attractive to lenders.

How To Apply For A Jumbo Loan

Getting that dream home with a jumbo mortgage starts with a loan application. You’ll need to prepare your credit and down payment reserves, as well as gather several types of documentation to help the loan application process along. This generally includes income statements, tax documents, and any other details regarding your financial status. We can guide you through the steps you’ll need to take before, during, and after you fill out a loan application to get you the best shot at qualifying for your jumbo loan.

FAQs About Jumbo Mortgages

Is a jumbo loan harder to qualify for?

While jumbo loans require more rigorous financial scrutiny, they are accessible with the right credit profile and financial history. Ensure you have a robust credit score and solid financial documentation to improve your chances of approval.

What loan size counts as a jumbo?

The purchase price of a home will determine if it’s a conventional or jumbo loan. The threshold where a convetional loan becomes a jumbo loan changes county by county, so you or your loan officer will need to find the limits for the county you’ll be purchasing in.

What down payment is required for a jumbo loan?

Down payment requirements on a jumbo loan usually start at 10%. But these can change based on the program used, and your personal qualification details.