Conventional loans are mortgage loans offered by non-government sponsored lenders. A conventional, or conforming, mortgage adheres to the guidelines set by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. It may have either a fixed or adjustable rate.
While many think that a 20% down payment is required for all conventional loans, many lenders now offer low down payment options. In come cases you can get into a home with as little as 3% down. On top of that, there are down payment assistance programs that can reduce the down payment even more.