A FHA loan is a loan that is backed by the US Federal Housing Administration against default, are generally more lenient than conventional loans and typically allows lower down payments.  While loan limits do vary from county to county, the current loan limit for Jefferson County is $271,050 for single family housing.

A conventional loan is a loan that is not insured by the FHA.  Conventional loans generally require a 5% minimum down payment but offer lower mortgage premiums with more program options. The maximum loan amount on a conventional loan is $417,000 and is usually more strict than a FHA loan guidelines.