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Author: and
Published: May 04, 2022 23 min read
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Best Customer Service
Best MarketplaceBest Online Lender for Military MembersBest for Fast Closing Time
Quicken LoansLendingTreeVeterans UnitedBetter Mortgage
Our PartnerOur PartnerOur Partner Our Partner
Company Highlight

Offers more flexible fixed-term mortgages (8 - 29 years)

Large network of lenders and easy online comparison process

Ideal for active service members with no time to attend a physical branch

Fastest average closing time among competitors

Type of Loans

Purchase, Jumbo, Refinance, Fixed, Adjustable, FHA, VA

Purchase, Jumbo, Refinance, Fixed, Adjustable, FHA, VA, USDA (specifics vary by lender)

Purchase, Jumbo, Refinance, Fixed, Adjustable, FHA, VA, USDA

Purchase, Jumbo, Refinance, Fixed, Adjustable, FHA, VA, USDA

Minimum Down Payment

3%

Vary by lender

0%

3%

Best Customer Service
Quicken Loans
Our Partner
Check Price
Company Highlight

Offers more flexible fixed-term mortgages (8 - 29 years)

Type of Loans

Purchase, Jumbo, Refinance, Fixed, Adjustable, FHA, VA

Minimum Down Payment

3%

Best Marketplace
LendingTree
Our Partner
Check Price
Company Highlight

Large network of lenders and easy online comparison process

Type of Loans

Purchase, Jumbo, Refinance, Fixed, Adjustable, FHA, VA, USDA (specifics vary by lender)

Minimum Down Payment

Vary by lender

Best Online Lender for Military Members
Veterans United
Our Partner
Check Price
Company Highlight

Ideal for active service members with no time to attend a physical branch

Type of Loans

Purchase, Jumbo, Refinance, Fixed, Adjustable, FHA, VA, USDA

Minimum Down Payment

0%

Best for Fast Closing Time
Better Mortgage
Our Partner
Check Price
Company Highlight

Fastest average closing time among competitors

Type of Loans

Purchase, Jumbo, Refinance, Fixed, Adjustable, FHA, VA, USDA

Minimum Down Payment

3%

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.

Read on for our reviews of the best mortgage lenders in America.

Our Top Picks for Best Mortgage Lenders

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Best Mortgage Lender Reviews

Pros
  • First-time homebuyers can pay as little as 3% down
  • Best in customer satisfaction in J.D. Power study
  • Representatives are available every day of the week
Cons
  • No home equity loans or home equity lines of credit available
  • No brick and mortar locations
HIGHLIGHTS
Type of Loans
Purchase, Jumbo, Refinance, Fixed, Adjustable, FHA, VA
Minimum Down Payment
3%
Minimum Credit Score
580

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
HIGHLIGHTS
Type of Loans
Purchase, Jumbo, Refinance, Fixed, Adjustable, FHA, VA, USDA (specifics vary by lender)
Minimum Down Payment
Varies by lender
Minimum Credit Score
~585 (recommended)

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
HIGHLIGHTS
Type of Loans
Purchase, Jumbo, Refinance, Fixed, Adjustable, FHA, VA, USDA
Minimum Down Payment
0%
Minimum Credit Score
620

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
HIGHLIGHTS
Types of Loans
Purchase, Jumbo, Refinance, Fixed, Adjustable, FHA, VA, USDA
Minimum Down Payment
0%
Minimum Credit Score
620

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
HIGHLIGHTS
Type of Loans
Purchase, Jumbo, Refinance, Fixed, Adjustable, FHA, VA, USDA
Minimum Down Payment
0%
Minimum Credit Score
660

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.

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Best for Self-Employed Individuals: Caliber Home Loans
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
HIGHLIGHTS
Types of Loans
Purchase, Jumbo, Refinance, Fixed, Adjustable, FHA, VA, USDA
Minimum Down Payment
3%
Minimum Credit Score
580 for VA 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
HIGHLIGHTS
Type of Loans
Purchase, Jumbo, Refinance, Fixed, Adjustable, FHA, VA
Minimum Down Payment
3%
Minimum Credit Score
620

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
HIGHLIGHTS
Type of Loans
Purchase, Jumbo, Refinance, Fixed, Adjustable
Minimum Down Payment
3%
Minimum Credit Score
620

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.

Other mortgage lenders we considered

The following lenders were considered for our list, but ultimately didn’t make the cut:

Guaranteed Rate: Good for fully online loan applications

Pros
  • Allow borrowers to upload and e-sign documents
  • Provides sample rates for many of its loan products
  • Participates in down payment assistance programs: HomeReady, HomePossible®, Fannie Mae 97%, and Freddie Mac HomeOne
  • Over 350 branches across 50 states
Cons
  • No home equity products
  • Not available in Mississippi, Vermont, or West Virginia

Guaranteed Rate (NMLS: #2611) is an online mortgage lender with a fully digital process that can be tracked via an interactive checklist. The lender also has more than 350 physical branches across all states.

Guaranteed Rate has a full suite of comprehensive educational resources, including a Know Your Neighborhood feature that gives borrowers the ability to view market and population trends by zip code, as well as school data and taxes.

  • Loan Types – Purchase, Jumbo, Refinance, Fixed, Adjustable, FHA, VA, USDA
  • Minimum Down Payment – 3%

Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation: Good for online and offline resources

Pros
  • Proprietary FairwayNOW app serves as a one-stop shop for documents, communications, and more
  • Offers physician mortgage loans
  • Flexible term options for fixed-rate loans
Cons
  • No home equity loan or lines of credit available
  • Interest rates and minimum credit score requirements not available upfront

Fairway Independent (NMLS: #2289) has more than 400 branches across 48 states along with a comprehensive mobile app. Their FairwayNOW app helps streamline the document submission process while also providing calculators and direct communication with your loan officer.

Fairway offers flexible mortgage terms of 10, 15, 20, 25 or 30 years. Their most notable products are physician loans, which are designed to help physicians currently saddled with student loan debt.

While Fairway Independent receives overall favorable reviews, it doesn’t publish any of their rates, credit score requirements and minimum down payments online. Instead, you must reach out to an agent in order to access this information.

  • Loan Types - Purchase, Jumbo, Refinance, ARM, FHA, Reverse Mortgage, USDA, VA
  • Minimum Down Payment - 5%

PrimeLending: Good for home renovation loans

Pros
  • Proprietary Loanplicity® app guides borrowers through the entire process, from application to closing
  • Ample selection of mortgage products
  • Participates in over eight closing cost and down payment assistance programs
  • No lending fees on any VA loan, including renovation
  • Float-down rate lock option available within 20 days of closing, if rates drop
Cons
  • No home equity products
  • Must speak with a loan officer before an online application
  • Qualifying requirements not published

PrimeLending (NMLS: #13649) has a broad selection of loan products, including some unique options, such as pool escrow loans, energy-efficient mortgages and FHA 203(k) renovation loans. Additionally, with its Neighborhood Edge program, low- to moderate-income borrowers can receive up to $2,000 in closing credits, based on income and area.

While PrimeLending’s selection is wide, the lender could be more transparent regarding its requirements for borrowers. Further, though the company touts its online availability, potential homebuyers must first speak with a loan officer before completing an application.

  • Loan Types – Purchase, Jumbo, Refinance, Fixed, Adjustable, FHA, VA, USDA, Home Renovation, Manufactured Home
  • Minimum Down Payment – 3%

Flagstar Bank: Good for loan variety

Pros
  • Over 2,000 mortgage brokers in the U.S. and service loans in every state
  • Offers some options that don't require down payments
  • Has several specialized products, such as multiple properties or high balance loans
  • Borrowers are assigned a single loan advisor and loan processor
  • Rates easily accessible
Cons
  • Home equity products not available nationwide but primarily concentrated in Michigan
  • Home equity products have an annual $7 fee and must be taken out in person
  • A high number of complaints in the CFPB database related to trouble during the payment process

Though better known as a mortgage servicer than an originator, Flagstar Blank (NMLS: #417490) offers a full suite of loans, including home equity products and several specialty loans.

Some examples of the latter include the Professional Loan, aimed at recent graduates with high earning potential. In some cases, Flagstar may even exclude some student loan debt from its DTI calculation.

  • Loan Types – Purchase, Jumbo, Refinance, Fixed, Adjustable, FHA, VA, USDA, Home Renovation, Manufactured Homes
  • Minimum Down Payment – 3%

How Much Will I Pay for My Mortgage?

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1Add Your Info
i

Gross income is the amount you receive before taxes and other deductions.

i

In order to get the most accurate estimate, select the credit score that best represents your credit history.

i

Not sure which loan type to choose? Go with a 30 Year Fixed Rate Loan, 90%+ of Americans do.

i

If your cash down payment is less than 20% of your loan amount, we will automatically apply PMI to your results.

i

In order to get the most accurate estimate, select the credit score that best represents your credit history.

i

Not sure which loan type to choose? Go with a 30 Year Fixed Rate Loan, 90%+ of Americans do.

Money’s calculator results are for illustrative purposes only and not guaranteed. Money uses regional averages, so your mortgage payment may vary.

2See Your Results
i

We try to keep our information current and accurate. However, interest rates are subject to market fluctuations and vary based on your qualifications. Calculator results assume a good credit score and factor-in regional averages; your actual interest rate may differ. Calculator results are for educational and informational purposes only and are not guaranteed. You should consult a licensed financial professional before making any personal financial decisions.

You can afford a house worth:

$---,---

with monthly payment of

$---,---

Monthly Breakdown

Mortgage Payment
Private Mortgage Insurance
Property Tax
Home Insurance
HOA / Condo Fees

Thank you for your service! 0% downpayment and $0 PMI applied.

3What is Today's Rate?

Rate for yesterday May 20 was

5.888%

Find your actual rate at Quicken Loans today!

View Your Rate For May 21, 2022

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Mortgages Guide

Taking on a mortgage loan can be an intimidating process, especially if you’re a first-time buyer. This basic information will help you start with confidence:

How Do Mortgages Work?

Mortgages are secured loans that use the value of the home you’re buying as collateral. Most Americans need a mortgage to afford a home. The drawback of a mortgage is if you’re unable to make your monthly payments, the lender can seize the property.

If you’re already a homeowner and thinking about refinancing your mortgage, check our mortgage refinance calculator and our list of the best mortgage refinance companies to get started.

Types of mortgage loans

To fit the diverse needs of homebuyers, mortgage companies offer products with a range of lengths, interest rates and payment structures.

Conventional loans: The most common type of mortgage loan, conventional loans are offered by private lenders and not part of any government-insurance programs. Conventional loans can be conforming or non-conforming. Conforming loans meet the standards to be purchased by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which are government-sponsored mortgage investors. The biggest requirement is that the loan balance falls below a limit that is set annually. For 2022, the conforming loan limit is $647,200 in most places. In some expensive areas the limit goes up to $970,800.

Jumbo loans: Jumbo loans are a type of conventional, non-confroming loan for loans above the conforming loan limits.

FHA loans: A Federal Housing Administrationis a government-backed loan popular with first-time buyers. The government offers the lender insurance on this type of loan, so mortgage rates tend to be lower than conventional loans. You can also make a lower down payment with this type of loan, typically as low as 3.5% of the purchase price.

VA loans: Backed by the US Veterans Affairs Department, VA loans are available to service members, veterans and eligible surviving spouses. They often come with lower interest rates and don’t require a down payment or private mortgage insurance. However, it requires a VA funding fee. For more information about VA loans, check out our guide to the best VA loans.

USDA loans: The US Department of Agriculture backs home loans for low-income borrowers in rural and some suburban areas. No down payment is required, and it offers competitive interest rates, flexible credit score requirements, and low monthly mortgage insurance.

Reverse mortgage: A reverse mortgage allows homeowners age 62 or older to convert their home equity into cash without having to sell their property. Generally, as long as they live in the house, they don’t have to pay back the loan — however, there are caveats, such as having homeowners insurance and maintaining the property in good condition.

Instead of a reverse mortgage, homeowners under the age of 62 can also look into home equity loans, which are similar in concept, though with different repayment rules.

Type of mortgage rates

When looking for a loan, always look at the most current mortgage rates and the APR being offered by the lender to make sure you’re getting the best rate.

The annual percentage rate (APR) is a measure of both how much interest you will pay throughout the year and any applicable loan fees. This is expressed as a percentage of your principal loan amount.

Lenders typically offer both fixed-rate mortgages and adjustable-rate mortgages.

Fixed-rate mortgages

Pros
  • Interest rate doesn't change over the life of the loan
  • Predictable monthly payments
  • Ideal for long-term homeownership
Cons
  • Higher interest rates than adjustable-rate mortgages
  • Harder to qualify for when interest rates are high

Adjustable-rate mortgages (ARM)

Pros
  • Lower interest rates during fixed-rate period
  • Ideal for short-term homeownership
  • Easier to qualify for higher loan amounts
  • Interest rates may go down throughout the life of the loan
Cons
  • Monthly payment amounts can change multiple times over the life of the loan
  • Interest rates can potentially double in the span of a few years

How to Get a Mortgage Loan

Your first step toward getting a mortgage loan is to determine your budget. Check our home affordability calculator to see how much you’ll be able to afford in monthly mortgage payments and get an estimate of your ideal purchase price.

Before applying for a mortgage, make sure to check your credit score. Lastly, check your debt-to-income ratio before applying. Lenders prefer borrowers with a debt-to-income ratio lower than 36%, and many lenders will not even consider borrowers with a ratio higher than 43%.

It is also important to compare mortgage lenders to make sure you find the one with terms that best fits your financial situation. Once you’ve decided on a lender, gather all the necessary paperwork to help streamline the application process.

Documents needed to apply for a mortgage include:

  1. Your two most recent pay stubs
  2. Your most recent tax return
  3. W-2 and/or 1099 (lenders may ask for two years, depending on your employment history)
  4. A state-issued photo ID, such as your passport or driver’s license
  5. Statements of all your assets (retirement accounts, investment accounts, checking and savings accounts, etc.)
  6. Bankruptcy discharge documents (if applicable)
  7. A recent credit report (typically obtained by the lender)
  8. Records of any outstanding debts, such as credit cards and student loans
  9. In some cases, lenders may require additional documentation, like a history of alimony payments and gift letters, so make sure to ask before applying

Lenders will perform hard credit inquiries when you apply. If you apply with multiple lenders within 45 days, your score will not be affected once. Credit reporting agencies recognize this as shopping around for the best mortgage rate.

Another good idea is getting a mortgage pre-approval before deciding on a property. It will save you time and make the mortgage process more manageable.

It is important to note that student loans count against your debt-to-income ratio, which can make applying for a mortgage a tricky proposition for many individuals. However, getting a mortgage when you have student loans is not uncommon, so make sure to thoroughly explore all of your bank’s options to secure the best rates.

Once you’ve submitted your application, the lender will generally provide you with a loan estimate within three business days. The loan estimate is a document that outlines the preliminary terms of the loan you have requested.

Latest News on Mortgage Lenders

The era of low rates has come to an end. The average interest rate on a 30-year loan has increased by nearly 2 percentage points since the start of the year, according to Freddie Mac. Stay up to date with current mortgage rates and how they affect your house-hunting goals.

The spring buying season started early this year as buyers rushed to take advantage of lower mortgage rates. But will those who waited be able to find a home in what remains a very competitive housing market? Or will rising interest rates finally start to cool it down? Check out our Spring buying guide to see what’s happening the next few months.

Higher interest rates may be daunting, but don’t necessarily mean you can’t buy a house. By following these tips for buying in a higher rate environment, you can plan ahead, set your budget and still get that right home.Do you know how the realtor who helped you buy your home got paid? Learn all about real estate commissions and who pays the bill when you buy or sell your home.

Mortgage Lenders FAQ

To answer the questions in this section, we contacted Tim Lucas, managing editor for The Mortgage Reports; Jason Sharon, mortgage broker, US Navy Veteran, and owner of Home Loans, Inc; and Andy Harris, owner of Vantage Mortgage Group, Inc.

Mortgage Lenders FAQ
What are jumbo loans?
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Jumbo loans are private mortgages that they exceed the limits set by the Federal Housing Finance Agency. For 2022, the conforming loan limit is $647,200 in most places. In some expensive areas the limit goes up to $970,800. Applicants generally need an excellent credit history, a lower debt-to-income ratio and may have to provide a larger down payment. They may also need a greater number of tax returns and more liquidity in their bank account for the closing process, which tends to be longer because of the stricter requirements for a jumbo loan.
Which FICO score do mortgage lenders use?
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Mortgage lenders will typically look at each of the three major credit bureaus' FICO scores when evaluating your mortgage application. The three score models are FICO Score 2, or Experian/Fair Isaac Risk Model v2; FICO Score 5, or Equifax Beacon 5 and FICO Score 4, or TransUnion FICO® Risk Score 04. Mortgage lenders normally use the "middle" score as the one that determines your mortgage eligibility.
What is the average mortgage rate?
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As of the week ending April 28, 2022, the average rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was 5.10%, according to Freddie Mac. Note, however, that these rates change quickly and often and the rate you'll get will depend on your credit history, among many other factors. Stay up to date with current mortgage rates and how they affect your house-hunting goals.
What is a mortgage loan originator?
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A mortgage loan originator, also known as MLO, is a trained professional that can guide applicants throughout the mortgage approval process. Their goal is to orient customers from the moment the loan application is prepared up to closing. Mortgage loan originators can be either state-licensed individuals or licensed company representatives.
What documents do you need to apply for a mortgage?
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While the list can vary by lender, it's always a good idea to have copies of your last two pay stubs; a copy of your most recent tax return W-2 and/or 1099; a state-issued photo ID, such as your passport or driver's license; statements of all your assets (retirement funds, investment accounts, checking and savings accounts, etc.); bankruptcy discharge documents (if applicable); a recent credit report; statements of any outstanding debts; and, in some cases, additional documentation, like a history of alimony payments and gift letters.

How We Chose the Best Mortgage Lenders

Our rankings were determined based on the following categories:

  • Types of loans offered: We favored companies that offer a variety of loan options, such as fixed- and adjustable-rate mortgages, different term-lengths, and both privates loans and loans backed by government agencies.
  • Customer experience: We favored companies that consider alternative credit data, provide a streamlined application process, offer at least two forms of customer service, and have a variety of resources and educational tools on their websites.
  • Reputation and transparency: We evaluated consumer complaints with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the number of regulatory actions filed with the Nationwide Multistate Licensing System

Over the course of our research, we consulted the following expert sources:

Summary of Money’s Best Mortgage Lenders of March 2022

COMPANY and SPECIALTY MINIMUM CREDIT SCORE MINIMUM DOWN PAYMENT
Rocket Mortgage - Best for Customer Service 620 3%
LendingTree - Best Marketplace ~585 (recommended) n/a
Veterans United - Best Online Lender for Military Members 660 0%
Guild Mortgage - Best for First-Time Homebuyers 620 0%
Navy Federal - Best for In-Person Lender for Military Members 620 0%
Caliber Home Loans - Best for Self-employed Individuals 580 3%
Bank of America - Best National Bank 620 3%
Better Mortgage - Best for Fast Closing Time 620 3%