10 Best Mortgage Lenders to Buy a Home


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Buying a home is a massive decision. It’s by far the biggest financial commitment you will have in your life. This is why knowing the best mortgage lenders is important.

The best mortgage lenders can offer more competitive rates, lower closing costs and other perks you may not find with every mortgage lender. Check out this list to find mortgage lenders for your needs.

Best Home Mortgage Lenders

We’re sharing important details about some of the best mortgage lenders on the market. Consider researching them for additional information if you’re in the market for a mortgage.

1. PennyMac

PennyMac is an online lender who can help navigate you through the home buying process online or on the phone.

They do not have physical locations, but this also helps keep costs as low as possible for you.

Loan types offered by PennyMac:

  • Fixed-Rate Loans
  • Adjustable-Rate Loans
  • Jumbo Loans  
  • VA Loan (they require zero down payment)
  • FHA Loans  (they usually start at a 3.5% down payment)
  • Refinancing options

Details

PennyMac does not have income requirements and generally look for a credit score of 620 or above to get started. FHA loans are a slightly lower requirement at 580.

Plus, they are one of the few lenders who will consider your rental payment history as part of your loan application. Most lenders aren’t this generous!

To get started, you can call or go online to begin the lending process. One downside to working with PennyMac is that they require a $100 application fee but can be applied toward your closing costs in the future.

As they are online-only, they have a very easy to use platform, making it simple for you to upload all necessary paperwork to get approved.

If you have any questions, they have thousands of loan officers at call centers around the country as well.

The last major perk of PennyMac is their “rate lock” guarantee. At a certain stage of the application process, you are guaranteed the lowest quoted interest rate even if it increases during the application.

Should You Use PennyMac?

PennyMac is a very standard online mortgage lender that can help you secure a low-cost loan for your home. However, it is considered one of the best mortgage lenders.

One of the downsides is the $100 application fee and $440 appraisal fee, but both can be used as part of the closing costs.

Trustpilot score: 3.8/5

2. LoanDepot

LoanDepot is also one of the best mortgage lenders with over $100 billion in new home loans and refinances combined.

A great perk is that their agents aren’t paid on which type of loan you choose. This is like a financial advisor who is actually looking out for your own best interest, not his or her own!  

Loan types offered by LoanDepot: 

  • Fixed-Rate Loan
  • Adjustable-Rate Mortgage
  • Jumbo-Mortgage
  • VA Loan
  • FHA Loan

Details

Loan Depot has an origination fee of 1-5%. With a lower credit score, you might have to pay closer to 4-5%, which is relatively high compared to other lenders on the list.

There are several options to begin the application process with Loan Depot. The first is to actually speak with someone in person as they have outstanding customer service.

In fact, they have over 1,700 licensed loan offers in the United States. You will work with your assigned loan officer for the rest of the loan.

They will help show you the different options based on their different loan types and review your budget.

Once you find your home, you will schedule the closing date with your lender, and they will make sure all paperwork is completed.

Plus, Loan Depot specializes in refinancing as well, if it makes sense for you to do in the future.

Should You Use Loan Depot?

Loan Depot has many great benefits, including different types of loans, personalized service and refinancing in the future.

I think Loan Depot is a great choice as long as you have a high enough credit score. However, a 5% origination fee is very high. 

Trustpilot score: 3.6/5

3. Guaranteed Rate

Guaranteed Rate is another great mortgage lender I have personal experience with as I used them to refinance my home.

They began processing loans in 2000 as the first digital mortgage service. When I did my refinancing, I did everything online, which made it simple and easy.

Loan types offered by Guaranteed Rate: 

  • 15 or 30 Year Fixed-Rate Loans
  • Adjustable-Rate Mortgage
  • Jumbo-Mortgage
  • VA Loan
  • FHA Loan
  • Interest Only Mortgages

Details

While Guaranteed Rate is primarily online-only, they also have 170 branches in the United States. Guaranteed Rate recommended you have a credit score of at least 620 before submitting an application.

They run a credit check relatively early in the process, so make sure your score is high enough before applying.  

Guaranteed Rate has very competitive rates and will give you various options to offset any lender fees, like applying them toward closing costs.

I personally loved this as I ended up having to only spend $300 out of pocket to actually refinance my loan from a 30 to a 20-year loan.

Their online platform also leads to speedy closing times! Using their tool, you can also sort mortgages by preferred loan term, interest rate, and lowest monthly payment.

This is super convenient and makes you feel assured you’re getting the best loan possible.

Once you select a loan, you can upload all documents digitally, sign and even schedule your appraisal without picking up the phone.

Plus, if you do need help, they have glowing reviews of 95% or above on any review site out there.

Should You Use Guaranteed Rate?

Based on my experience and reading the reviews online, I highly recommend this as one of the best mortgage lenders for your loan.

If you’re someone who enjoys the convenience and conducting everything online, this is one of the best options out there.

Plus, they have very competitive rates, flexible loans and great customer service. They are one of the few lenders who offer “interest-only” loans.

These loans minimize your payments at the beginning of the loan in anticipation of increased income in future months.

Trustpilot score: 2.5/5

4. Rocket Mortgage

Rocket Mortgage is a newer mortgage lender that has gained a ton of popularity since beginning in 2016.

Their commercials seem to be everywhere, and they tout how easy it is to use the platform through their mobile app.

Loan types offered by Rocket Mortgage: 

  • Fixed-Rate Loans
  • Adjustable-Rate Loans
  • Jumbo Loans  
  • VA Loan
  • FHA Loan
  • Refinance

Details

Rocket Mortgage makes the home buying process simple with their online app, where you can learn tons about the process without needing to speak to anyone.

You can qualify for a loan with as low as a 3% down payment. No need to get to 20%, as you may have been told!

Origination fees are incredibly low as well, at .5%. If you choose something like VA or FHA loans, the fee is slightly higher but still below 1% most of the time.

For a $400,000 loan, you would only pay between $2,000 to $4,000, which is nearly stealing. 

Getting started with Rocket Mortgage is easy. Start by downloading the app or applying online.

If you have questions during the process, they also have helpful videos to guide you through the process. There’s no need to speak with someone if you don’t’ want to deal with lenders. 

Should You Use Rocket Mortgage?

If you want minimal human interaction and fast closing times, Rocket Mortgage is a phenomenal option!

They make it so simple to get your qualifying loan amount in just a few minutes, and it can all be done from your phone.

The entire platform and process are very user-friendly and educational to make it as easy as possible.

While the service won’t be for everyone, it’s a great option for millennials or someone who wants to get the process going fast!

Trustpilot score: 3.8/5

5. First Internet Bank

First Internet Bank is another top lender with outstanding customer service!  They offer service in all 50 states.

And they can help you secure a loan even if you don’t have the highest credit score.

However, they require additional paperwork for your downpayment source. But they even allow you to secure a loan against a 401K or another retirement account like an IRA.

Loan types offered by First Internet Bank: 

  • Fixed-Rate Loans  
  • Adjustable-Rate Loans
  • Jumbo Loans  
  • VA Loan
  • FHA Loan
  • Home equity loans

Details

To get started with First Internet Bank, simply apply online. They also have loan experts (not salespeople) who can help with any questions.

This means no pressure on which type of loan, and you can use them as a resource for any questions you might have.

Plus, they are very clear on their website with informational guides, videos and different calculators to find the best loan for your situation.

My favorite part is the informational glossary so that you can check on any terms you might not understand.

The home buying process isn’t simple, but these resources make it very easy to understand.  

Should You Use First Internet Bank?

First Internet Bank has a lot of perks such as convenience and the ability to find answers quickly.

Whether you use their online resources or contact a loan official, it’s never been easier to find help to any questions on your loan.

Plus, if your credit score isn’t as good, you can also secure an FHA loan with additional paperwork and minimal down payment as well.

Trustpilot score: 2.8/5

6. SunTrust

SunTrust is another great lender with a ton of options to help you get started buying your home.

Loan types offered by Sun Trust: 

  • Fixed-Rate Loans (10, 15, 20, 25 or 30-year terms)
  • Adjustable-Rate Loans
  • Jumbo Loans  
  • VA Loan
  • Agency Affordable Financing (AAF): These are loans to help borrowers with lower income and areas affected by natural disasters.
  • Agency Plus Financing: These are loans for high-cost home and finance up to $765,600 if you meet the other requirements.
  • Physician Loan Program: If you are a licensed physician or dentist or enrolled in a program, you might qualify for 95% financing.
  • USDA Rural Development Loans – No down payment is required!

Details

As you can see from above, SunTrust offers various loan types that other lenders don’t have available.

They offer other programs like APF’s and Doctor Loans that can help all different kinds of borrowers. Whether you’re in the lower income or higher income brackets, SunTrust has an option for you.

To get started with SunTrust, you can go online and complete all necessary paperwork. They are a large lender and have made the application process as easy as possible.

Should You Use SunTrust?

I think SunTrust is one of the best mortgage lenders available as they have so many different options for almost any type of borrower.

Plus, they offer exceptional customer service and a simple application process to secure your loan. 

Trustpilot score: 1.8/5

7. Carrington Mortgage Services

Carrington Mortgage Services will help you secure a mortgage even with a less than stellar credit score. They help people secure loans with government-backed mortgages.

Plus, you can start online and go into a branch if you have any questions.

Unfortunately, you might not be located in a state where they have local branches, so make sure to double-check before enrolling.

And if you live in Vermont, Alaska, Massachusetts or North Dakota you are not eligible.

Loan types offered by Carrington: 

  • Fixed-Rate Loans 
  • Adjustable-Rate Loans
  • Jumbo Loans  
  • VA Loan
  • FHA Loans (including an FHA 203K Streamline and FHA 203K Full)

Details

The minimum credit score to get started with Carrington is 500, which is significantly less than most lenders on this list as most require a 650 score or above.

They use more than just credit score to determine your trustworthiness to repay the loan.

This process is great if you don’t have a high credit score, but it also increases the amount of time as they manually underwrite each loan.

They also review your income, employment history, and any previous mortgage payments if eligible. Maybe the best benefit of working with Carrington is their partnership with 13 down payment assistance programs.

If you live in one of the 13 cities that participate, they will pair you up with organizations that help contribute free money towards your down payment.

Should You Use Carrington Mortgage Services?

Carrington Mortgage Services s a great option if you have a lower credit score and might be strapped for cash.

While other lenders won’t give borrowers a chance without a 650+ credit score, they use other methods to help.

Plus, they have tons of educational information online and help you walk through the entire home buying process.

Trustpilot score: 3.2/5

8. Citi Mortgage

Citi Mortgage is a branch of CitiBank and has a ton of different options for your home buying needs. They operate in all 50 states and have a variety of options available to all types of borrowers.

Loan types offered by Citi Mortgage: 

  • Fixed-Rate Loans
  • Adjustable-Rate Loans
  • Jumbo Loans  
  • VA Loan
  • FHA Loans  

Details

Citi Mortgage offers a standard set of loans and doesn’t have specific eligibility requirements online like other lenders.

One benefit they do have is that more than just a credit score is used to determine your trustworthiness.

Another huge perk is that if you are self-employed, they will work with you to secure a loan.

Many banks and credit unions have strict requirements for self-employed individuals, making it difficult to secure a loan if you don’t have two years of past returns.

To get started with Citi Mortgage, you can go online or pick up the phone if you prefer to speak to someone in person.

Unfortunately, there is a $100 application fee to get started. Once you submit all of your paperwork, they will show you each type of loan applicable interest rate.

If you already use Citibank for other services, you can also benefit from their “relationship pricing,” which can lower your interest rate even more.

Should Your Use Citi Mortgage?

Citi Mortgage is a great option as they are part of a well-established brand like CitiBank and have great reviews online.

Plus, if you are self-employed, they will work with you and help you secure a loan with additional paperwork.

Trustpilot score: 1.5/5

9. US Bank

US Bank is another huge home mortgage lender that offers lending services in all 50 states. Plus, they have local branches in 25 if you prefer more in-person assistance with your home loan.

Loan types offered by US Bank:

  • Fixed-Rate Loans (down payments for as low as 5% of the home’s value)
  • Adjustable-Rate Loans
  • Jumbo Loans  
  • VA Loan
  • FHA Loans  
  • Construction and Lot Loans (only available in states with physical branch locations)
  • Equity-Based products (this includes HELOC’s, home equity loans, and refinancing options)

Details

To get started with U.S. Bank, apply online or in-person at a local branch office. There are no application fees, and standard closing costs do apply for any loan with US Bank.

One of the biggest perks of working with US Bank is how you choose to communicate with your lender.

You can work entirely online, call them directly or work in-person in 25 states. This is great for first-time homebuyers who might have additional questions about the entire process.

They don’t have an excess of online resources that other online lenders do on this list, but they make up for it with all the communication.

Should You Use US Bank?

US Bank is a mix of old school and new school lending. If you prefer to go in person, you can do that or do everything online.

Plus, they offer different types of loans that other lenders don’t, such as Construction and Lot Loans.

And if you are already a homeowner, you can work with US Bank to refinance, get a HELOC or a home equity loan to use your equity.

Trustpilot score: 1.3/5

10. Lending Tree

The last option on this list isn’t actually a mortgage lender but an online marketplace to help you find the lowest rate possible.

Lending Tree gives you all the information to help you decide on a potential lender before submitting any paperwork.

Lending Tree tends to evaluate your loan based on:

  • Credit score
  • Debt to income ratio
  • Available cash (for closing costs and down payment)
  • Employment history  

Loan types offered by Lending Tree: 

  • Fixed-Rate Loans (including non-conforming, sub-prime, and portfolio loans)
  • Adjustable-Rate Loans
  • Jumbo Loans  
  • VA Loan  
  • FHA Loans

Should You Use Lending Tree?

Lending Tree is a great option to help you compare lenders and find the lowest interest loan.

They are constantly updating lenders’ rates and details to make it easy for you to decide. Plus, you can use them to search for auto, personal and business loans as well.

Trustpilot score: 4.5/5

How to Pick The Best Mortgage Lender

There’s more to think about when choosing your mortgage lender than you initially realize. Here are a few things to consider when selecting a lender.

1. Understand The Home Buying Process

When you start searching for the best mortgage lenders, it’s so important to understand the process of buying a home.

Your mortgage will range from 10-30 years, so don’t underestimate how big of a decision this is for your financial future.

Here’s a simple overview: 

Before you start looking at homes out of your price range, it’s best to get pre-qualified to know your loan details.  

Once pre-qualified, you can start looking at houses. But, if you want to make an offer on a home, you will need to get pre-approved as well.

Once an offer is accepted, you will enter the escrow period, ranging from 30-90 days. During this process, you’ll need to secure home insurance, go through an inspection and appraisal.  

A few days before the end of escrow, you will meet to sign all the paperwork, pay for closing costs and get your keys to move in!

2. Try to Increase Your Credit Score

Since the 2008 housing market collapse happened, buying a home requires a lot more paperwork than it did in the past. The best mortgage lenders will also be concerned with your credit score.

Your credit score is one of the biggest factors in determining if you qualify to buy a home. If you do qualify, the lower your score, the higher your interest rate.

Try to build your credit score beforehand by pulling your free credit reports and verifying any potential errors. Missed payments and negative credit marks can play a huge role in decreasing your credit score.

To increase your score, focus on paying off high-interest credit card debt as quickly as possible. If you do have credit card debt, pay off what you can to minimize your debt to income ratio.

Anything over 30% credit utilization ratio can have a negative mark on your credit score.

3. Pre-Approval 

When I went looking for my first home, I hadn’t even gotten pre-qualified yet! I had to pre-qual and get pre-approval at once, which was a ton of work but luckily a quick process thanks to being very organized. A high credit score didn’t hurt either.

I recommend getting a pre-approval letter, especially if you are in a competitive market before you begin house hunting.

The home buying process can happen quickly, and I’d hate to have you miss out on the home of your dreams by not being pre-approved in advance.

4. Compare Rates from Several Lenders

Once pre-approved, you can begin to compare rates with all types of lenders. You can go to credit unions, big banks or search from the best mortgage lenders listed here.

Ask your friends, family, and co-workers for recommendations on which lender or broker to work with if you don’t have a specific one already.

Frequently Asked Questions About Mortgage Lenders

The process of buying a home and selecting a mortgage lender can be confusing. Here are a few of the most frequently asked questions.

How do I prequalify for a Mortgage?

Pre-qualifying is the first step in securing your loan with one of the best mortgage lenders. Remember, once you get pre-qualified, you will still need to get pre-approved and submit additional paperwork.  

To get pre-qualified, you will need to fill out basic information with a lender to gauge how much you can loan based on your income and debts.

The quotes will provide you with a general estimate to start looking at homes. 
But you might need more information to actually make an offer on the home by securing a pre-approval letter.

A pre-approval will show sellers that you are committed and serious about purchasing the home.

To get pre-approved, you will need to provide a ton of information, including: 
-Taxes for the past 2 years
-Bank statements
-Employment verification
-Explanations of negative remarks on credit score

The lender will also do a hard pull on your credit score to figure out your interest rate. The process isn’t quick, and I recommend that you have all your statements prepared electronically to make it easy.

What should I look for in a mortgage lender?

It’s not always easy to find the best mortgage lenders. Getting a mortgage is a big decision, and I recommend doing plenty of research to find the best loan possible.

Choose several lenders and compare the types of loans, interest rates, and what your estimated monthly payments would be.

Another thing to evaluate with each lender is the amount you will owe for closing costs. Closing costs are 3-5% of the loan amount you will owe to close the deal.

This can add up quickly depending on the purchase of your home. Good lenders should check on this and help find things like paying extra points to reduce closing costs.

Plus, check with your realtor to see if you can get the seller to pick up a percentage as well. Even a little bit counts!

Summary

Remember, buying a house is a huge deal and a big financial commitment. If you are serious about becoming a first-time homeowner, make sure to get prepared before starting to search for your home.

Find ways to improve your credit score, get all your income, debts and other financials to make the process as easy as possible.

Also, plan for some hiccups as there is a ton of information exchanged between the buyer and seller.

Once prepared, use this list of best mortgage lenders to find ones that will fit your credit score and the type of loan needed. Good luck with owning your first home!