To determine a mortgage lender’s SimpleScore, The Simple Dollar’s editorial team rates lenders on a scale of one to five stars based on a variety of factors relating to the lender’s products and services. The Simple Dollar’s partners compensate us, but our opinions are our own, and partner relationships do not influence our reviews. Here is our full methodology for reviewing mortgage lenders.
The Simple Dollar’s experts regularly research, review and rate mortgage lenders to help you objectively compare and choose a lender that fits your needs. To determine a mortgage lender’s SimpleScore, The Simple Dollar rates lenders on a scale of one to five stars — with five the highest rating — based on a variety of factors relating to the lender’s products and services.
To assign our ratings, we assessed each mortgage lender across three core areas: affordability, availability and customer experience. Within these areas, we considered fees, average closing timelines, online capabilities and level of service and support, among other measures. Specifically, we looked at:
- Lowest advertised annual percentage rate (APR)
- Fees (excluding fees from third-party sources, like an appraisal or credit check fee)
- Alternatives to private mortgage insurance, when applicable
Why we consider this: These affordability factors differ from lender to lender, so comparing costs is key.
- Approval and closing timelines
- Application process (e.g., online submittal)
- Flexible underwriting, when applicable
Why we consider this: These availability factors can make the overall process smoother or more challenging.
- Availability of customer service support
- Customer discounts or incentives, when applicable
Why we consider this: These customer experience factors can help you know what to expect when you work with a specific lender.
Note: The The Simple Dollar Score does not take into account customer reviews, which are also displayed on each mortgage lender’s review as a separate star rating.