NEW YORK -- For those who can qualify, low loan rates make it one of the best times to get a mortgage.

But which loan is right for you? The mortgage game has changed since the housing bust and more rules have been and are being added. One factor is for sure now: Your credit score should be at least 620 or you'll have a hard time finding a loan. What varies is how much you have for a down payment.

Buyer No. 1: You have a 20 percent down payment and expect to retire in the house.

Take out a 30-year fixed-rate loan, the most popular type of mortgage. The interest rate stays the same over the life of the loan and right now, that rate is at historical lows.

Buyer No. 2: You have a 20 percent down payment, but plan to move into another home down the road.

Consider a five-, seven- or 10-year adjustable-rate loan, which has a fixed rate for a set period and then adjusts higher after that time. These loans carry a lower initial interest rate than the 30-year fixedyou save money over the fixed-rate period. After the fixed-rate period ends, borrowers typically refinance into another loan to avoid the adjustable rate.

Buyer No. 3: You have more than a 20 percent down payment.

Depending on how much you're putting down, you might consider a 20-year fixed-rate mortgage. Rates are sometimes, but not always, lower than a 30-year fixed-rate by about a quarter-point. However, because the loan term is shorter on the 20-year loan, the monthly payment will be higher than a 30-year mortgage.

Buyer No. 4: You have less than a 20 percent down payment.

Consider a mortgage insured by the Federal Housing Administration, or FHA. A borrower needs to put down only 3.5 percent of the purchase price.

After the housing market slumped, the FHA became the major source of funding for first-time homebuyers. It insured about 24 percent of new loans in the first quarter, according to Inside Mortgage Finance, a trade publication.

Or, consider a mortgage loan that isn't backed by the FHnly requires 5 percent down. However, you will pay mortgage insurance each month, which can add an extra $25 to $50 to your monthly payment, depending on your credit score.

Buyer No. 5: You have a gift down payment.

While one in five first-time homebuyers used a gift from a relative or friend for a down payment last year, there are some rules to navigate.

Gift money can be used for a down payment on a conventional loan only after the borrowers use their own money to make the 5 percent minimum. Gift money can pay for closing costs or prepaid expenses such as property taxes and insurance that are put into an escrow account. Banks typically check two months' worth of bank statements for unusually odd deposits that could be considered gifts. However, if the gift was deposited six months before, a bank might not notice.

However, FHA mortgages allow borrowers to use a gift to make the 3.5 percent minimum down payment. The gift must be documented in writing and the lender may ask for proof of deposit.

6: You don't have a down payment.

Your options are limited.

If you are a veteran or the surviving spouse of one, consider a mortgage backed by the Department of Veteran Affairs. These loans offer 100 percent financing without private mortgage insurance at competitive mortgage rates.

If the home you're buying is in a rural area as defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, you may qualify for a USDA home loan, which offers 100 percent financing without adding on private mortgage insurance. The USDA aims to help lower-income households get home loans at reasonable rates.