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Best Mortgage Lenders and Refinancing Companies

Profile picture of Michele Lerner
by Michele Lerner Mortgage & Real Estate Contributing Editor

A mortgage is a loan secured by real estate, typically a residential property. When looking to obtain a mortgage to buy a home or refinance an existing mortgage, you’ll want to compare the different types of mortgage loans (like FHA, VA and USDA loans), application requirements, fixed vs. adjustable rates, interest rates and the reputation of the lender.

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Best lender overall(866) 815-0655Read Reviews
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Best online lenderRead Reviews
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Best mortgage broker(866) 701-0467Read Reviews

Compare mortgage lender reviews

A home mortgage is a long-term decision, so it’s important to choose a trusted company that offers a financially feasible option. When choosing our top picks for mortgage companies, we looked at online experience, types of loans offered, customer reviews, availability of service, minimum credit scores required, refinancing options, prompt and attentive customer service and maximum debt-to-income ratios accepted. We also took into account whether the companies offered VA loansFHA loans and USDA loans. Our top pick for mortgage broker excels at matching consumers to mortgage lenders with the aforementioned qualities.

 

Best mortgage lender overall: Amerisave Mortgage

  • 620 minimum credit score
  • 3% minimum down payment
  • 45% maximum debt-to-income ratio

AmeriSave offers fixed, adjustable, FHA, HARP, VA, USDA and jumbo loans. They also offer cash-out refinances. For conventional loans, a minimum credit score of 620 is required. For government-backed loans, including FHA, VA and USDA, the minimum credit score required is 600. AmeriSaves serves customers in 49 states and the District of Columbia. The company conducts most of its business with consumers (80 percent) through its call center. The remaining 20 percent is conducted online. Mortgage refinancing is a specialty of AmeriSave’s—a full 80 percent of its business is refinancing mortgages.

Homeowners can apply online for pre-approval. AmeriSave will conduct a hard credit pull, and applicants will need to update the necessary documents and sign them electronically. Each applicant is paired with a loan officer who will communicate updates to the consumer.

You can find many mortgage calculators and other educational tools on AmeriSave’s website to help you with your home and mortgage search. AmeriSave also offers many financial bonuses to customers. Borrowers can receive bonuses ranging from a couple hundred to several thousand dollars if they purchase a home through AmeriSave’s network of affiliated real estate brokers. AmeriSave also offers a rate matching guarantee. If you find a better rate after securing a loan with AmeriSave, the company will either match the competitive rate or give you $1,000.

 

Best online mortgage lender: BOK Financial Mortgage

  • 620 minimum credit score
  • 5% minimum down payment
  • 36% maximum debt-to-income ratio

BOK Financial Mortgage is an online-only lender. They offer conventional, refinance and VA loans. These can be purchase, refinance, cashout refinance or HELOC loans. Consumers can pre-apply for a loan via BOK Financial’s online application system. All that potential lenders have to do is upload the necessary documents and e-sign the applications. A loan officer then reviews the application and reaches out to discuss the next steps and answer questions.

This lender requires a credit score of 620 and 5 percent down for those applying for conventional loans. Customer service is excellent, and consumers report consistently receiving status updates during the application process. BOK Financial Mortgage’s website also offers comprehensive answers to questions consumers might have about their loans. This information is designed to help consumers, not just to sell a product or service. They even explain the pros of renting a house or apartment vs. buying a home.

Compare Reviews for Top Mortgage Lenders

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BOK Financial Mortgage
Read 1,643 Reviews

Offers conventional, jumbo, FHA, VA, USDA and Native American home loan programs plus mortgage refinancing. The Lock and Build program is available to finance new home construction. Direct mortgage lender.

Mr. Cooper
Read 8,876 Reviews

Offers conventional, FHA, VA and jumbo home loans nationwide. Refinances homes with FHA Streamline and VA IRRRL (interest rate reduction refinance loan). Provides convenient app. No online payment fees. Non-bank mortgage servicer.

toll freenumber(855) 601-3278
Vanderbilt Mortgage
Read 1,862 Reviews

Specializes in financing for new or used manufactured, modular and mobile homes. Provides conventional, land-home, FHA and biweekly advantage mortgages available. Down payments start at 3.5% of the total purchase price.

toll freenumber(866) 701-0467
Gateway First Bank
Read 658 Reviews

Offers purchasing and refinancing loans with fixed and adjustable rates. Provides conventional and government-backed loans for condos and manufactured homes.

ClearPath Lending
Read 809 Reviews

Offers FHA, VA, conventional and jumbo loans for purchase, plus mortgage refinancing options. Lets customers track loan progress via an online portal. Funds most loans within 30 days.

toll freenumber(855) 866-5363 Visit Website
21st Mortgage Corporation
Read 1,094 Reviews

Specializes in fixed-rate manufactured home loans. Minimum loan amounts range $13,468 to $21,549. No minimum credit score in most states. Finances closing costs and third-party fees.

toll freenumber(800) 955-0021
Quicken Loans
Read 4,742 Reviews

Offers conventional mortgages, plus FHA, VA and jumbo loans. Refinancing options available to lower payments, change terms or take cash out. Provides fast online application process through RocketMortgage.

First Internet Bank
Read 309 Reviews

Provides purchase, construction and refinance loans with fixed or adjustable rates. Gives free personalized quotes in less than a minute. Most borrowers close in 40 days or less.

toll freenumber(855) 767-2424 Visit Website
PHH Mortgage
Read 3,969 Reviews

Offers loan programs for first-time buyers, vacation homes and investment properties. Provides refinancing options to lower monthly payments, reduce interest rates and shorten your repayment terms.

Homebridge Financial Services
Read 871 Reviews

Provides purchase, refinance and renovation loans. Minimum down payments range from 0% to 20%. Gives current mortgage rates based on the loan type, occupancy, home description and credit profile. Privately held lender.

toll freenumber(855) 321-7366 Visit Website
AmeriSave Mortgage
Read 2,828 Reviews

Provides FHA, VA, USDA and jumbo purchase loans plus cash-out refinancing options. Gives accurate quotes within minutes. Prequalify and close in as little as 25 days. Direct mortgage lender.

toll freenumber(866) 815-0655
LendingTree
Read 1,500 Reviews

Specializes in home purchase loans, home refinance, home equity and reverse mortgages. Compares rates and quotes from multiple lenders. Provides free mortgage calculator.

Network Capital Funding Corporation
Read 369 Reviews

Provides VA, FHA, conventional HomeReady and HomePossible mortgages plus cashout programs for refinancing. No application, origination, rate lock, processing or underwriting fees for qualified borrowers.

J.G. Wentworth Home Lending
Read 304 Reviews

This direct mortgage lender offers conventional, fixed rate, adjustable rate, FHA, VA, USDA and HARP loans. No points or hidden fees. Minimum credit score of 580.

Jersey Mortgage Co.
Read 465 Reviews

Offers first-time homebuyer loan programs, FHA, USDA and VA mortgages. Provides refinancing options and reverse mortgages. Serves New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Florida. Direct lender.

How to apply for a mortgage

After you’ve checked your credit score, figured out how much house can you afford and researched the best mortgage lenders, it’s time to start the real paperwork. Your mortgage application process will vary depending on preapproval status and other factors, but more or less everyone who applies for a mortgage goes through these five steps:

1. Collect important documents

You’ll need W-2s or federal tax returns for the past two years, plus pay stubs for the past month and any details about long-term debts like a car note or student loan, recent bank statements, and a government-issued ID. Your lender will also need to verify information relating to your monthly income, credit report and cash savings.

2. Fill out the application

Residential loan applications are uniform across lenders, so if you’ve seen one you’ve seen them all. First, you’ll sign the top to acknowledge that you understand and agree to the terms of the application. There will be a box to check if you are including a spouse’s information to qualify, and another box to check that indicates the loan type and loan amount for your mortgage application. You’ll then fill out personal information, such as your name, date of birth, Social Security and phone numbers, marital status and number of dependents.

You’ll also have to provide information about your residence history and employment history for the last two years and fill in details about your gross income and regular monthly expenses, checking and savings account balances, as well as other assets or liabilities. Keep in mind that you also must disclose if you’ve filed for bankruptcy in the last seven years or if there are any outstanding judgments against you.

One of the last sections you have to fill out will include the address of the property that you want to finance. If at any point you’re confused about how to fill out a section your loan application, your loan officer should be able to explain or clarify what information you need to provide. Finally, you (and a co-borrower, if applicable) will be required to sign the application again at the bottom to acknowledge that all of the information you’ve provided is true.

3. Review Loan Estimates from several lenders

All lenders are required to use the same Loan Estimate form with three days of receiving your application, which makes it easy to compare loan amounts, interest rates, monthly projected payments and origination fees.

  • Loan amount: This is the total amount of money you’ll borrow for your mortgage loan. This amount could go up if your lender rolls some of your closing costs into your loan.
  • Interest rate: Make sure you’re getting the lowest interest rate possible, and hold on to your original Loan Estimate when it’s time to close to make sure you’re getting the same rate you were offered.
  • Monthly projected payments: This section of the Loan Estimate breaks down the amount you’ll pay each month for principal, interest, mortgage insurance and the estimated escrow along with how they’ll change over time.
  • Origination fees: Mortgage lenders charge loan “origination fees” for things like mortgage application and underwriting fees. Origination fees are usually a small percentage (between 0.5 and 2 percent) of the total loan amount, but some mortgage lenders offer fixed fees of $1,000 or less.

4. Make a commitment

After you’ve compared rates and fees and found a lender you can trust, it’s time to make a decision. It’s alright to take your time on this step, so don’t let a pushy loan officer make you feel cornered into your final decision. When you’re comfortable, you can simply contact the mortgage lender that you like best and tell them you’re ready to buy a house.

5. Wait for approval

Remember that official mortgage application that you filled out and had to sign twice? Now that you’ve committed to a lender, all of that information will be scrutinized. A processor will pull all of your tax records to confirm your income. Then an underwriter will evaluate how risky it is to give you a loan. This process can take anywhere for from a few days to a few weeks.

Keep in mind that it’s more difficult to get a mortgage now than it was pre-Great Recession. Common reasons that mortgage applicants are unexpectedly denied a loan include leaving out crucial information on their application, inability to verify some portion of their income, a recent application for a personal loan or line of credit, job change or overdraft on a checking account.

If you are denied for a mortgage loan, you have the right to find out why. You can ask your loan officer what went wrong, and they might give you advice—you might be able to still get the loan if you make a bigger down payment, get a cosigner or put up extra collateral for the loan. If all else fails, you can still try to apply for the mortgage loan with another lender. If you’re approved, then closing will be the next step toward homeownership.

Who are the best mortgage lenders near me?

We’ve compared the best local mortgage lenders across the United States to help you find trusted mortgage companies in your city.

Mortgage questions

How does a mortgage loan work?
A mortgage is a loan from a bank, credit union or lender for the purchase of a home. In addition to paying back the mortgage over the course of several years, you also agree to provide the house as collateral in the event that you are unable to make your monthly payments toward the mortgage.

The amount you borrow initially is called the principal. Each month, your payment reduces the amount owed. Lending companies also charge interest in addition to the initial principal. On a fixed-term loan, the lower your mortgage balance, the less interest you will owe. Taxes and insurances also usually add additional costs.

What is a good mortgage interest rate?
In 2018, the average interest rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage was 4.38 percent. A good mortgage rate will be one that you feel results in payments you can afford over the long term.

Historically, rates have hovered around 8 percent. Mortgage interest rates vary from year to year and tend to be higher when the economy is doing well. Interest rates have increased since the recession, with most homeowners paying at least 4.5 percent. You’ll get around the same interest rate with a conventional loan as you will with an FHA loan.

How do I get the best mortgage rate?
To get the best interest rate on your mortgage, you need to have excellent credit. Take the time now to pay off your credit cards, and don’t take out any new loans while you’re getting ready to apply for a home loan.

You can also get a better mortgage rate by getting an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) rather than a fixed-mortgage. Keep in mind, though, that your monthly payments will increase after the fixed-rate period ends if you opt for an ARM.

A higher down payment usually equates to a lower interest rate. Try to save up for a 20 percent down payment, so you can also avoid having to pay private mortgage insurance (PMI). If you can’t put down 20 percent, shoot for at least 5 percent, since that is usually where you’ll start seeing a decrease in interest rates.

How do you get rid of PMI?
If you want to avoid paying private mortgage insurance (PMI), you have to place a down payment of 20 percent or more at closing.

If you put down less than 20 percent of your new home’s purchase price, you’ll have to pay PMI, which protects the lender in case you stop making payments on your loan. If you paid 20 percent initially, or once your conventional loan balance has dropped to 78 percent of the value of your home, you can submit a written request to your lender asking for your PMI to drop off.

If your home’s value has increased to the point that you owe less than 78 percent of the value, you might be able to request for your PMI to be removed. You’ll need to pay for an appraisal to validate that the value of your home has increased. Many lenders won’t consider removing PMI until you have made payments for at least two years, so check with your bank or mortgage lender before getting an appraisal.

If you have an FHA loan, you have to keep paying PMI unless you refinance your mortgage to a conventional loan.

How do you get pre-approved for a mortgage?
To get pre-approved for a mortgage, you have to submit your W2, tax returns and pay stubs to your lender so they can verify your monthly income. Your lender will also want documentation of any other assets you have. They will use all this information to determine whether or not you can reasonably afford the loan you’re going to apply for. Keep in mind that the lender will do a hard pull on your credit, which means your credit score could take a small dip, so only get pre-approved when you’re serious about putting in an offer on a home.
Is it better to get a mortgage from a bank or mortgage company?
Depending on your circumstance, there are advantages to both options:
  • Mortgage companies have a more extensive range of products than banks
  • Banks service their own loans, while mortgage companies usually function as middlemen between lenders and customers

When picking a mortgage provider, don’t be afraid to shop around. Getting multiple quotes from different companies and banks before you make a decision can help you find the best lender for your situation.

What is the easiest mortgage to qualify for?
Mortgage companies and banks have specific requirements for loan qualification that usually include:
  • A good credit score
  • A low debt ratio
  • A steady income

If your credit score is less than ideal, you may not be eligible for a conventional mortgage through the bank. Mortgage companies have a larger network of lenders, so there are more options that cater to homebuyers with low credit scores or higher debt-to-income ratios.

How do I find out who my mortgage lender is?
Your mortgage lender, also called a mortgage holder or note holder, is the owner of your loan. To find out who your mortgage lender is, you can:
  • Call your mortgage company or bank
  • Check city records
  • Use the government lookup function on their website (for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans)
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Compare Reviews for Top Mortgage Lenders

Chase Mortgage
Read 1,874 Reviews

Offers fixed- and adjustable-rate mortgages for purchase and refinance. Provides FHA, VA and jumbo loans. Get prequalified online and connect to a Chase Home Lending Advisor.

Wells Fargo Mortgage
Read 1,432 Reviews

Offers mortgage loan option to buy a house, refinance an existing mortgage and tap into your home equity. Lets clients compare rates and track their online application through yourLoanTracker tool.

Bank of America Mortgages
Read 2,858 Reviews

Offers affordable loan programs, jumbo loans, FHA and VA mortgages plus refinancing and home equity loan options. Gives prequalifications online. Preferred Rewards clients can qualify for up to $600 off the origination fee.

Caliber Home Loans
Read 2,756 Reviews

Specializes in loans designed for borrowers who may not qualify for traditional mortgage financing. Offers mortgage loans up to $1 million. Provides fixed- or adjustable-rate mortgages with low down payment options.

Guaranteed Rate Mortgage
Read 132 Reviews

Offers FHA, VA, jumbo and interest-only mortgages. Borrowers get interest rate guarantee before interest rate lock. Provides 15- or 30-year fixed and 5/7 ARM. Requires a 1% down payment for Double Match program.

BSI Financial Services
Read 215 Reviews

Specializes in loan servicing of performing and non-performing portfolios. Loan boarding and conversion includes borrower and collateral data validation, acquisition notifications and resolution of any exception items.

Citizens One
Read 117 Reviews

Provides FHA, VA and doctor loan programs plus refinancing options, home equity lines of credit and personal loans. Offers one-on-one support and easy access to transparent pricing.

Guild Mortgage Company
Read 120 Reviews

Offers conventional, FHA, USDA, VA and jumbo mortgage loans for purchase and refinancing options. Provides DPA programs, expanded (non-QM), short-term rental refinance and renovation loan programs.

Suntrust Mortgage
Read 385 Reviews

Offers programs for first time home buyers. Provides cash-out refinancing, home improvement financing and home equity lines of credit. Find current mortgage rates and calculators on its website.

PNC Mortgage
Read 265 Reviews

Offers FHA, VA, jumbo and specialized mortgage loans in the Midwest and South. Provides mortgage refinancing, auto loans and retirement planning services.

Provident Funding Associates
Read 168 Reviews

Specializes in mortgage origination and loan servicing technology. Offers mortgage loans for purchase plus refinancing options to lower interest rate or payment, shorten loan term and take cash out. Direct lender.

Zillow Home Loans, LLC
Read 19 Reviews

Connects borrowers with licensed mortgage lenders and home equity lines of credit options. Provides online tools to check current mortgage rates and estimate monthly payments.

Arvest Central Mortgage Company
Read 106 Reviews

Offers conventional, FHA, VA and jumbo loans in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri and Kansas. Provides mortgage refinancing options.

CitiMortgage
Read 1,001 Reviews

Offers loans for buying a home through SureStart programs. Provides mortgage refinancing options are also available. Find today’s mortgage rates and mortgage calculator tools online. Gives free preapprovals.

HSBC Mortgage
Read 421 Reviews

Provides loan options to buy a home, refinance an existing mortgage and access a home equity line of credit. Qualified borrowers can get up to $6,500 through the home search and rewards programs. Find out if you prequalify online.

Regions Mortgage
Read 45 Reviews

Offers conventional mortgage programs for first-time homebuyers plus FHA, VA, construction-to-permanent and renovation loans. Enroll in Regions’ HomeBonus program to find local real estate agents and mortgage loan originators.

Fannie Mae
Read 108 Reviews

Makes home loans possible for low- and moderate-income borrowers. Does not provide mortgage loans but guarantees them in the secondary mortgage market. Government-sponsored enterprise.

CashCall Mortgage
Read 40 Reviews

Offers FHA and VA loans with 10- to 30-year fixed rates. Provides common-sense loan programs that charge a flat $995 fee and are designed for those who can benefit from alternative loan qualification methods.

Coldwell Banker Mortgage
Read 23 Reviews

Helps clients through the preapproval process to determine the highest loan amount borrowers can qualify for. If preapproved, mortgage loans are serviced by PHH mortgage. Mortgage loan consultants.

Network Funding
Read 13 Reviews

Offers conventional, jumbo, FHA, VA and USDA home loans plus mortgage refinancing options. Provides free app to calculate how much house you can afford. Closes loans in as few as 10 days.

Capital One Mortgage
Read 121 Reviews

This national lender continues to serve existing loans but does not write new loans. They have refinancing, reinstatement, repayment and modification plans for homeowners who need help keeping up with mortgage payments.

Residential Credit Solutions
Read 179 Reviews

Residential Credit Solutions no longer services loans.

Household Finance
Read 140 Reviews

Now part of the HSBC, this corporation provides a variety of home finance solutions, including real estate secured loans and home mortgages. It operates in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.

First Meridian Mortgage Corporation
Read Reviews

Offers conventional, government, non-conforming mortgages and home improvement loans in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, DC. Provides refinancing options with no closing cost.

Ditech Financial
Read 3,256 Reviews
Out of Business

This lender offers fixed and adjustable rates plus FHA, VA and manufactured home loans. Minimum down payment of 3.5% and a minimum credit score of 580 required.

Pacific Union Financial
Read 153 Reviews
Out of Business

This full-service, national mortgage lender offers FHA, VA, jumbo, HARP, USDA and conventional loans. Minimum credit score required is 560.

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Profile picture of Michele Lerner
Michele Lerner Mortgage & Real Estate Contributing Editor

Michele Lerner, author of “HOMEBUYING: Tough Times, First Time, Any Time”, has been writing about personal finance and real estate for more than two decades. Michele writes for regional, national and international publications in print and online for a variety of audiences including consumers, real estate investors, business owners and real estate professionals.