Best Mortgage Lenders of 2019

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One of the most significant decisions a person can make is buying a home. It’s a huge investment, from the time spent looking at potential homes to the cost of a mortgage.

Given the importance of the process, it’s important to research mortgage companies and professional mortgage lenders to determine who would be right to guide you through the process. After all, just a few small details in loan terms or interest rates can add up to thousands of dollars – upward or downward – over the course of your loan, so having the right guidance is imperative.

One of the best ways to ensure you find the best mortgage for your needs is to compare offers from multiple lenders. There are online lenders and traditional lenders, as well as lenders who specialize in specific types of loans.

We did some digging to find the best mortgage lenders to help you achieve your individual goals, whether this is your first mortgage or your last.

Top Pick List

  • Quicken Loans
  • Rocket Mortgage
  • SunTrust
  • Chase
  • Bank of America
  • SoFi
  • New American Funding
  • Guaranteed Rate

The loan rates below are based on a 30-year fixed mortgage for a first time home buyer with good credit (generally a score in the range of 660-719).

The down payments fluctuate, but most require 20% down to avoid the requirement of private mortgage insurance (PMI) However, the minimum down payment required typically factors in things like credit score and debt-to-income ratio. FHA , VA and USDA loans generally have different requirements than traditional loans to qualify.

Bank Best Possible Rate Minimum Down Payment
Quicken Loans 3.99% (4.247% APR) 3%
Rocket Mortgage 4.56% 3%
SunTrust 3.75 (3.8898% APR) 3%
Chase 3.625% 3%
Bank of America 3.750% 5%
SoFi 3.274% 10%
New American Funding 3.500% 3%
Guaranteed Rate 3.750% 3%

Quicken Loans

Best Possible Rate Minimum Down Payment
3.99% (4.247% APR) 3%

Quicken Loans has mortgage advisors and an easily accessible online application that instantly verifies your income and employment, and offers loan terms between five and 30 years. If you require an FHA-backed loan or products by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, you can walk away with a mortgage for only 3% down.

Quicken Loans does not offer HELOCs (Home Equity Lines of Credit) or home equity loans, and only looks at your credit score and debt-to-income ratio to qualify. The loan process is fairly straightforward, and you are often given an answer as to whether or not you’re approved in a matter of minutes.

Rocket Mortgage

Best Possible Rate Minimum Down Payment
4.56% 3%

Rocket Mortgage offers both conventional and government-backed mortgages. Loan types include purchase, refinance, jumbo, adjustable, VA, FHA, USDA and fixed. Rocket Mortgages is a self-service, online, mobile-friendly mortgage company that inform you of the loan amount you qualify for in minutes. Rocket Mortgage, like Quicken Loans, does not offer home equity loans or HELOCs.

If you’re not searching for face-to-face contact with a mortgage lender and want to apply at your own pace, Rocket Mortgage is likely your best bet. They do have lenders available, though, if you have questions along the way. They offer fully digital mortgage experiences and a wide range of products.

SunTrust

Best Possible Rate Minimum Down Payment
3.75% (3.8898% APR) 3%

SunTrust offers a wide range of online mortgages, all of which have competitive interest rates. To get a personalized rate, however, you’ll have to call customer service, visit online chat or visit a store in-person. Borrowers can get 15- or 30-year fixed loans, and 5-, 7-, and 10-year ARMs (adjustable rate mortgages), as well as jumbo loans. If you don’t have a standard 20% down payment or good credit history, SunTrust will offer flexible options. It also provides FHA, VA and USDA Loans, provided you can meet the eligibility requirements.

SunTrust also has affordable loan programs, offering what they call “Agency Affordable Financing” through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. This helps families who may only have a 3% to 5% down payment.

Chase

Best Possible Rate Minimum Down Payment
3.625% 3%

Chase has a major presence in the mortgage industry, with in-person mortgage experts in 30 states across the U.S. who are available to guide you through the loan process. They offer just about any type of mortgage you may be looking for including fixed-rate, adjustable-rate, FHA, VA, jumbo and HARP. Chase also has what they call a “DreaMaker Mortgage,” which is a mortgage grant that provides up to $3,000 assistance toward your closing costs or down payment, along with down payment options as low as three percent, which can be from gifted funds, and no income limits.

When compared to the other ‘big four’ lenders (Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Citibank), Chase typically comes out on top for the lowest rates on fixed-rate mortgages.

Bank of America

Best Possible Rate Minimum Down Payment
3.750% 5%

In addition to offering a wide range of options for retail banking, Bank of America also offers a wide variety of mortgages, including fixed and adjustable rate mortgages, FHA, VA, jumbo loans and an “Affordable Loan Solution” mortgage, a program that was launched in 2016 to help low-income buyers step into their first home. The Affordable Loan Solution mortgage program is similar to the “DreaMaker” mortgage offered by Chase.

Bank of America has branch offices in all 50 states, and mortgage lenders who are available to walk you through the process. Current Bank of America customers may like the convenience of keeping all of their banking under one roof, including their mortgage.

Still, Bank of America is a giant, and there are a number of negative reviews floating around the Internet, so before you sign on the dotted line, do your research and talk to a lender at Bank of America to learn all the details.

SoFi

Best Possible Rate Minimum Down Payment
3.274% 10%

SoFi is a leading online mortgage lender that specializes in jumbo loans for borrowers who have a good income but little saved up for a down payment. There are no origination or application fees, no prepayment penalty fees, and you can secure a loan of up to $3 million on primary or second homes with a 10% down payment. SoFi’s online application process takes 30 days or less, and pre-approval won’t cost you a hard credit inquiry.

However, these benefits are not available to everyone. You must have an excellent credit history and solid employment. Your income must be in the high range, and you must purchase or refinance a home in a state where SoFi is licensed to originate loans.

New American Funding

Best Possible Rate Minimum Down Payment
3.500% 3%

Unlike larger mortgage lenders, New American Funding is family-owned but has grown to be one of the top 30 lenders in the country. They offer a variety of mortgages, including refinance and purchase, home equity, reverse mortgages, jumbo, fixed, adjustable, HELOCs, FHA, VA and USDA.

New American Funding uses manual underwriting to evaluate creditworthiness, which means they can evaluate a borrower’s finances more comprehensively, rather than relying on automated methods to do the job for them. They offer an online application, rate quotes, loan tracking and document upload.

New American’s rates are competitive and they have first-time home-buyer programs as well. They also work with state and local agencies to help buyers with payment assistance.

Pre-qualification can be done online, but you must follow up to receive your prequalification letter.

Guaranteed Rate

Best Possible Rate Minimum Down Payment
3.750% 3%

If you’re well-qualified (minimum credit score of 620) but don’t have a huge amount of money for a down payment, you may want to check out Guaranteed Rate mortgages. Their online application process is easy and has room for most borrowing scenarios.

Guaranteed Rate also offers the ability to sign and upload loan documents securely, but they charge a $1,290 lender fee, which includes their application fee of $150.00. This company offers cash out, FHA, VA, USDA, various adjustable rate mortgages and jumbo mortgages for purchase or refinance.

If you have a good credit score, a solid credit history and stable income, you will likely qualify for a mortgage loan with Guaranteed Rate. As an online lender, Guaranteed Rate focuses on efficiency throughout the process, and they carry a strong track record of customer satisfaction.

They do have about 170 physical offices spread across the 50 states, but you can apply and qualify all online.

What is a Mortgage Lender?

A mortgage lender provides financing for buying or refinancing a home. They retain the mortgage on the property, but will occasionally sell the mortgage to another company who then becomes the mortgage holder.

Mortgage lenders are usually banks, credit unions or other financial entities that handle payment processing and sends out monthly statements to borrowers.

Lenders educate borrowers about the various types of loans available, as well as the necessary paperwork needed to complete your application, fees, minimum down payment, interest rates and so on. They also perform a credit check and evaluate your credit history, income, amount of debt, and any negative information they might pull from a credit union, such as late or missed payments.

How Should I Choose the Right Mortgage Lender?

Applying and qualifying for a mortgage can be intimidating. This can be especially true if you are a first time home buyer. Lenders are there to guide you through the process, but knowing some of the basics beforehand can help you determine which lender best fits your needs.

One of the best things you can do is shop around. There are many online and brick-and-mortar lenders to choose from. Ask your real estate professional for advice and recommendations, and be sure to check out online reviews. They can tell you a lot about a company’s reputation and their customer service.

Keep in mind that you don’t have to worry about your credit being hit repeatedly while shopping around for the best rate. FICO allows you to search around for home mortgages, and as long as your applications are filed within a two-week period, they count it as a single credit check for scoring purposes.

The Bottom Line

Getting a mortgage as a first-time homebuyer is pretty straightforward, as long as you have a pulse on your credit history, all of the required paperwork, a lender you’re comfortable working with and a home to purchase or refinance.

Getting preapproved for your mortgage can boost your chances of having your offer on your dream home accepted by the seller, and having your credit in good shape can give you more bargaining power with lenders.

Compare rates from mortgage lenders and ask questions if you’re unsure about something. The Simple Dollar has given you a head start with a list of the best mortgage lenders. Shopping around will give you the best rates.