Finance

List of The 8 Best Mortgage Lenders

A mortgage is likely the biggest and longest financial commitment you’ll ever make — one you’ll be paying for years. Finding a reputable lender and a loan that fits your needs is essential.

Before settling on a lender, it’s important to shop around and compare loan terms such as mortgage rate, fees and closing time to find the best option. There are approximately 11,000 mortgage lenders in the United States. To help you narrow the field, Money has selected the eight best mortgage lenders in America right now.

Our picks not only offer competitive interest rates, but also feature a range of loan products that cater to different needs. They each have simple mortgage pre-qualification, pre-approval and application processes and a strong customer satisfaction record.

LendingTree

Why we chose this company: LendingTree’s (NMLS #1136) large network of lenders and straightforward quote comparison process make it our pick for the best marketplace.

LendingTree lets you compare mortgage products from over 1,500 lenders. You can compare offers online through a simple three-step process that consists of answering a series of questions, comparing offers side-by-side and discussing your options with a loan officer.

To start the process, you’ll need to provide your social security number and information about your income, assets, education, debts and work history. LendingTree then runs a soft credit check and uses your FICO score to match you with lenders. Finally, you’ll be contacted by up to five lenders with preliminary quotes.

LendingTree also offers plenty of educational resources regarding mortgages and loans, including a glossary of loan terminology, current rates for all types of home loans, several calculators and a national loan officer directory. It also features reviews so users can read about experiences other customers have had with each lender.

PROS

  • Competitive interest rates
  • No down payment or PMI required
  • Online credit counseling program available for borrowers with poor credit history

CONS

  • No home equity loans available
  • Only has physical branches in 18 states

Rocket Mortgage

Why we chose this company: Rocket Mortgage (NMLS: #3030), formerly known as Quicken Loans, stands out for quality of customer experience. Customers in all 50 states can fully process their loan online but are also able to speak with one of the company’s 3,000+ mortgage bankers 24/7.

Moreover, Rocket services 99% of the mortgages it originates instead of handing customers off to another company as is the industry norm. This means customers get consistent support from start to finish.

Don’t just take our word for it: Rocket ranked second in customer satisfaction in J.D. Power’s 2021 U.S. Primary Mortgage Origination Satisfaction Study.

Rocket is the largest retail lender in the country by loan volume, offering a variety of mortgage options, including conventional mortgages, FHA, VA and jumbo loans. In addition to the usual 15- and 30-year mortgage term lengths, the lender offers flexible terms between eight and 29 years through its unique YOURgage program.

Finally, if you’re looking for a low down payment, Rocket has options — some loans allow first-time homebuyers to put as little as 3% down.

PROS

  • Compare offers from over 1,500 lenders in minutes
  • Comprehensive learning resources available

CONS

  • You could receive multiple phone calls or emails from different lenders competing for your business

Veterans United

Why we chose this company: Veterans United’s (NMLS: #1907) robust online platform and online credit counseling program make it a solid choice for active-duty military members who may not have the ability to visit a physical branch.

Veterans United specializes in loans backed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and is a great option for service members and reservists, as well as veterans and their families.

Veterans United offers a free online credit counseling program called the Lighthouse Program. A credit specialist is assigned to each customer to help fix credit report errors and to map out a credit score improvement plan.

The lender’s mortgages are available in all 50 states and Washington D.C. However, Veterans United has physical branches in just 18 states: Alabama, Alaska, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Kentucky, Nebraska, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Washington.

Unlike some of its VA loan competitors, Veterans United doesn’t offer home equity loans or home equity lines of credit (HELOCs). Though they do offer VA Cash-Out refinance.

PROS

  • One of the nation’s top five lenders of FHA loans
  • Home improvement and manufactured home mortgage loans available
  • Specific programs for low-income borrowers available
  • Matches customers with down payment assistance

CONS

  • No current mortgage rates available on its website
  • No home equity products available
  • Not available in NY and NJ

Navy Federal

Why we chose this company: With 324 branches nationwide, Navy Federal Credit Union (NMLS: #399807) is our pick for best in-person lender for military members.

Borrowers can also take advantage of NFCU’s rate loan match. If you find a better rate elsewhere, NFCU will match it or discount $1,000 from your closing costs.

First-time applicants have access to the Freedom Lock feature, which allows you to lock in a lower interest rate, if one becomes available. Borrowers are allowed up to two locks with a minimum interest decrease of 0.50%.

Navy Federal’s HomeBuyers Choice program is a standout option in the company’s line of financial products. It offers 100% financing, a fixed interest rate, and a seller contribution of up to 6%.

NFCU also services every mortgage it originates in-house for the life of the loan, which means customers do business solely with their chosen lender. Navy Federal membership is open to active-duty military members as well as reservists, veterans, retirees and annuitants.

PROS

  • One of the largest selections of mortgage loans on our list
  • Some loan programs have low credit score options
  • Program available for self-employed customers

CONS

  • No home equity loans available

Guild Mortgage

Why we chose this company: Guild Mortgage (NMLS: #3274) has low credit score requirements and down payment assistance programs that make it a great choice for first-time homebuyers.

In addition to conventional loans, Guild Mortgage offers government-backed FHA, VA and USDA loans and can help customers who need help coming up with a down payment find the right assistance programs.

According to the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), Guild is among the nation’s top lenders of FHA loans, making it an excellent option for qualifying borrowers with credit scores as low as 540 (provided they put at least 10% down).

Guild also offers an FHA Zero Down program for low to moderate-income homebuyers with below-average credit (generally under 700) and who don’t have enough saved up for a down payment.

While most FHA loans require at least 3.5% down, Guild’s Zero Down program allows applicants with credit scores as low as 640 to get an FHA home loan without a down payment.

Guild can originate loans in all but two states — New York and New Jersey. Additionally, the company can fully close mortgages online via its digital platform, MyMortgage, which can speed up the closing process.

PROS

  • 324 branches nationwide, catering to military members, reservists, veterans, retirees, and annuitants
  • Up to 100% financing and 0% down payment options available
  • Rate loan match available

CONS

  • Doesn’t offer customized rates unless you apply
  • No private mortgage insurance

Caliber Home Loans

Why we chose this company: Caliber Home Loans (NMLS: #15622) offers a program tailored specifically for self-employed individuals that makes it much easier for borrowers to prove how much they earn even if they don’t have traditional income sources.

Caliber also has a low minimum credit score requirement and accepts non-traditional credit information when evaluating loan applications. Caliber says borrowers with this alternative credit data can secure down payments as low as 3% on conventional loans.

Caliber’s online application process is another standout feature. Customers can apply online by answering a few questions about themselves, their finances and their housing budget. A representative then contacts applicants shortly after. The process can reportedly take as little as 15 minutes.

PROS

  • Thousands of branches nationwide
  • Down payment and closing costs assistance program available
  • Application can be done digitally

CONS

  • Rates shown are for a credit score of 740 or higher
  • Fee information isn’t available online
  • No renovation loans available

Bank of America

Why we chose this company: With more than 4,300 branches and 2,900 lending centers, Bank of America (NMLS: #399802) is one of the most accessible lenders on our list, especially for clients who prefer face-to-face interaction.

Bank of America’s diverse selection of mortgage options, competitive closing costs, interest rate estimates and broad reach makes it a solid lender choice overall. It can be an even better choice if you have existing accounts with Bank of America, as the bank may offer customers discounts on origination fees or other perks.

The bank also allows borrowers to apply and pre-qualify online. Bank of America’s Home Loan Navigator, which can be accessed through the bank’s mobile app, lets users sign, submit and track documents online.

PROS

  • No origination, underwriting, or application fees
  • Assistance programs for down payment and closing costs
  • Representatives available every day until 9 pm ET

CONS

  • Doesn’t offer customizable terms
  • No VA, USDA, FHA, home equity, or home improvement loans
  • Not available in Hawaii, Massachusetts, Nevada, or New Hampshire

Better Mortgage

Why we chose this company: Better Mortgage (NMLS: #330511) offers a fast and streamlined document submission process, which results in faster closing times for many customers.

Consumers can obtain a rate quote and a pre-approval letter in just a few minutes. Better also says that it has an average loan closing time of 32 days, which is faster than the national average of 49 days as of December 2021. While these claims are difficult to verify, customer reviews mention closing times between one and two months.

Better is an online alternative to brick-and-mortar lenders. Thanks to this business model, Better has lower operating costs, which it says translates to savings for consumers. Despite this focus on the digital, borrowers do gain access to a dedicated loan officer.

Lastly, Better offers a price guarantee, promising to match any valid competitor’s offer and credit you $100.

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