Most people who think about a mortgage, have a conventional loan in mind. A conventional loan is any loan that’s not insured or guaranteed by a government agency. It can be fixed for 5 years or 30 years or anything in between. Most conventional loans require a down payment of at least 5 percent, but ideally buyers want to plan for a 20 percent percent down payment. Borrowers who make a down payment of less than 20 percent generally must pay private mortgage insurance (PMI) on conventional loans, which adds to the monthly payment. But that insurance will fall off once your home equity reaches 78 percent. Conventional loans are generally a good choice for borrowers with good to excellent credit, since they typically cost less than some government programs.