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Best Mortgage Lenders

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Written by Jessica Render
Edited by Jon Bortin
Reviewed by Michele Lerner
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Mortgages make the dream of homeownership a reality for millions of Americans. Our research team vetted 57 mortgage companies that have been collectively rated by more than 5,952 customers in the last year to help find the best mortgage lender for you. Read our guide to compare loan types, eligibility requirements, rates and terms.

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Current mortgage rates

Rates are effective 01/19/2022 and are subject to change without notice. APR shown is provided by a partner of ConsumerAffairs.

3.94%0.04%Get Rates

The APR shown of 3.940% is available for a 30-year fixed rate loan in the amount of $200,000 for consumers with loan-to-value of at least 80%.

3.596%-0.03%Get Rates

The APR shown of 3.596% is available for a 20-year fixed rate loan in the amount of $200,000 for consumers with loan-to-value of at least 80%.

3.32%0.06%Get Rates

The APR shown of 3.320% is available for a 30-year VA fixed rate loan in the amount of $200,000 for consumers with loan-to-value of at least 80%.

2.797%0.0%Get Rates

The APR shown of 2.797% is available for a 10-year fixed rate loan in the amount of $200,000 for consumers with loan-to-value of at least 80%.

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Our picks for top mortgage companies

Buying a house is a major financial investment, which can make the process more stressful than it needs to be. Your mortgage company should be your partner during every step, offering advice and answering questions to help you feel confident with your home purchase. The best mortgage lenders should have great reviews, wide availability and a straightforward process. Read our methodology to learn more about how we compared different lenders and chose our top picks.

The best mortgage lender for you really depends on your current financial situation and your personal goals. For example:

  • If you have a less-than-perfect credit score, Rocket Mortgage could be a good fit, thanks to its Fresh Start program.
  • Better Mortgage and First Internet Bank are worth considering if you want a fully digital loan process.
  • If you want more one-on-one human interaction (either over the phone or in person), check out Cardinal Financial.
Our pick for flexible requirementsRocket MortgageAUTHORIZED PARTNER
  • Purchase: Conventional, jumbo, FHA and VA loans
  • Refinancing: Cash-out, rate and term
  • Minimum credit score: 580 to 620
  • Maximum loan amount: $2.5 million

Rocket Mortgage is an online mortgage company developed by one of the largest lenders in the U.S., Quicken Loans. The company services almost all its mortgages. However, it doesn’t currently offer construction loans or home equity lines of credit.

Why we picked it: Even if your credit score is a little below 580, you can still apply through its Fresh Start program.

What reviewers say: As of publishing, about 70% of Rocket Mortgage clients say they would recommend the lender to a friend or family member. Highlights from 5-star reviews include friendly, knowledgeable reps and a simple refinancing process.

“They were quick and very helpful on things I didn't understand,” a reviewer in Illinois told us recently. “My schedule is very difficult but they worked around it great. I was allowed to always pick the day and time. Closed on the deal in less than a month.”

Our pick for first-time homebuyersBetter MortgageAUTHORIZED PARTNER
  • Purchase: Conventional and jumbo loans
  • Refinancing: Cash-out, rate and term
  • Minimum credit score: 620
  • Maximum loan amount: Undisclosed

Better Mortgage is a relatively new company, but it’s still a direct lender available in most states. Better stands out because it doesn’t charge lender fees or commissions.

Why we picked it: The application and preapproval process is streamlined and completely online. After closing, new homeowners can continue to digitally manage their mortgage loans.

What reviewers say: As of publishing, about 80% of reviewers say they would recommend Better. Happy clients frequently mention competitive rates and an easy-to-navigate web platform.

“My wife and I were looking for a less traditional, less stuffy mortgage route, and Better Mortgage fit the bill for us,” a reviewer in New York told us. “It’s a simplified way to get all of your ducks in a row if you're getting ready to buy a house.”

Our pick for fast online quotesAmeriSave MortgageAUTHORIZED PARTNER
  • Purchase: FHA, VA and USDA loans
  • Refinancing: Cash-out, rate and term
  • Minimum credit score: 600 to 620
  • Maximum loan amount: $1.5 million

AmeriSave offers fixed and adjustable rates with a range of closing cost options available. The company is a direct lender in 49 states (currently unavailable in New York), plus Washington, D.C.

Why we picked it: With AmeriSave, you can get real quotes — not estimates — in just a few minutes online.

What reviewers say: As of publishing, about 77% of AmeriSave clients say they would recommend the lender to a friend or family member. Five-star reviews frequently mention helpful loan officers and fair rates.

“The customer service I got at AmeriSave was far better than anybody else. It is an excellent company. I applied online and it was simple. I took out some extra money to do some housework and the rates were fair. Everything was perfectly in line with what I got. My experience was smooth from start to finish,” a reviewer in New Hampshire told us.

Our pick for mobile appMr. CooperAUTHORIZED PARTNER
  • Purchase: Conventional, FHA, VA and jumbo loans
  • Refinancing: FHA Streamline, VA IRRRL
  • Minimum credit score: Undisclosed
  • Maximum loan amount: Undisclosed

Mr. Cooper offers purchase and refinance options nationwide, with plenty of fixed-rate and adjustable-rate loan programs to choose from. It also provides a “close on time” guarantee.

Why we picked it: The Mr. Cooper app lets you make monthly payments, track home value and equity, access home loan professionals and more. It’s highly rated on Google Play and the App Store.

What reviewers say: As of publishing, about 78% of reviewers say they would recommend Mr. Cooper. Clients often tell us about the smooth process, though some say rates could be a little lower.

“The process was straightforward, the people I interacted with were helpful and professional, and the whole thing took a little less than 30 days. The app is also remarkably easy to use,” according to a reviewer in Maryland.

“It's really cool to make my payment on my app. I just swipe and it’s paid. Then we decided to refinance after a year and everything went smoothly. It was very easy,” another reviewer in Arizona told us.

Our pick for helpful loan officersZillow Home Loans, LLCAUTHORIZED PARTNER
  • Purchase: Conventional, VA and FHA loans
  • Refinancing: Varies by state
  • Minimum credit score: Undisclosed
  • Maximum loan amount: Undisclosed

Did you know you could get a home loan through Zillow now? The lender has options with low down payments and competitive interest rates. Mortgages are currently available in all states, though the availability of programs can vary by location.

Why we picked it: Zillow Home Loans clients consistently told us that loan officers are clear, concise and knowledgeable. Multiple reviewers say the officers were available to answer all their questions throughout the process.

What reviewers say: As of publishing, about 86% of Zillow Home Loan reviewers say they would recommend the lender to a friend or family member.

A reviewer in New Mexico told us that the company was “wonderful to work with from start to finish of my mortgage refinance. ... The only problem with the whole process was due to the title company’s inability to meet their deadline. He [kept] in touch with them and updated me repeatedly, which was much appreciated.”

Our pick for construction loansFirst Internet BankAUTHORIZED PARTNER
  • Purchase: Conventional, construction, FHA, VA and jumbo loans
  • Refinancing: Home equity loans and lines of credit
  • Minimum credit score: Undisclosed
  • Maximum loan amount: Undisclosed

Like most of our other picks, First Internet Bank offers conventional loans with fixed or adjustable rates. What set it apart are its conforming and jumbo construction loan options. The lender also provides portfolio and piggyback second mortgage programs.

Why we picked it: First Internet Bank’s construction-to-permanent loan product is available with 5% down and eight- to 12-month rate locks. You can even lock rates before construction begins.

What reviewers say: As of publishing, almost all the First Internet Bank clients we talk to said they would recommend the lender to a friend. “First Internet did a great job of controlling the other closing costs to the transaction and making it as seamless and convenient for us as possible,” according to a reviewer in Louisiana.

Our pick for customer supportCardinal FinancialAUTHORIZED PARTNER
  • Purchase: FHA, VA, USDA jumbo and conventional loans
  • Refinancing: Cash-out, rate and term
  • Minimum credit score: Undisclosed
  • Maximum loan amount: Undisclosed

Cardinal Financial is a national lender that combines personal and digital processes. In addition to traditional mortgages, it offers disaster relief loans, construction home loans and down payment assistance.

Why we picked it: Cardinal Financial provides guidance online, over the phone and in person. The company engineered a proprietary online web platform, Octane, to streamline the loan process and make it easier to buy a house or refinance.

What reviewers say: As of publishing, all of the reviewers we talked to about Cardinal Financial say that they would recommend it to a friend.

“Cardinal had a great blend of personal (phone based agent) and digital experiences that helped me get from pre-qualified to closed within about a month without ever needing to step into a physical location,” a reviewer in Texas told us.

Our pick for VA lendingVeterans United
  • Purchase: VA conforming and jumbo loans
  • Refinancing: Streamline (IRRRL), cash-out
  • Minimum credit score: Undisclosed
  • Maximum loan amount: Undisclosed

Veterans United specializes in mortgage products for eligible vets, service members and military spouses. Through the VA Energy Efficient Mortgage program, you can borrow an extra $6,000 to pay for qualified home improvements.

Why we chose it: If you’re eligible, a VA loan is worth considering, especially if you’re a first-time homebuyer. Veterans United has a friendly team and a simple refinance process.

What reviewers say: As of publishing, about 92% of verified reviewers say they would recommend Veterans United to a friend or family member looking for a VA mortgage.

Recently, a reviewer in Iowa told us, “If you’re on the fence, do it. We just got our home and love it. Veterans United made the process a lot simpler and more manageable. Their online to-do list system and responsive loan team helped put us at ease during what usually would be a stressful time.”

Our pick for mobile home loansVanderbilt MortgageAUTHORIZED PARTNER
  • Purchase: Portfolio, land and home, Biweekly Advantage, Fresh Start and Home Upgrade loans
  • Refinancing: Limited
  • Minimum credit score: Undisclosed
  • Maximum loan amount: Undisclosed

Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance is a housing lender specializing in manufactured and modular home financing. With a Home Upgrade loan, you can get $2,500 to $25,000 with terms between five and 10 years. It doesn’t advertise refinancing loan products.

Why we chose it: VMF offers a few unique mortgage products, including portfolio loans, which can be easier to qualify for than conforming loans.

What reviewers say: As of publishing, about 80% of Vanderbilt clients say they would recommend the company to a friend or family member. “The loan specialist that I dealt with was very proactive and worked ahead to get things done so that when it was time to close, everything was good to go, and it was an easy process,” a reviewer in Tennessee said.

Learn more: Read our full Vanderbilt Mortgage review. For another lender that specializes in manufactured home loans, check out 21st Mortgage Corporation.

What is a mortgage?

A mortgage is a loan that's used to buy real estate — typically residential property. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, it’s an “agreement between you and a lender that gives the lender the right to take your property if you fail to repay the money you've borrowed plus interest.” In other words, it’s the legal document you have to sign to finance a house.

Of all the different types of mortgage loans, conventional and government-backed mortgages are most frequently used to finance a home.

How does a mortgage work?

A mortgage functions as a lien or legal claim against a property (a single-family house, condo, duplex, etc). In exchange for immediate funds, the borrower must repay the loan with interest and fees over time.

Conventional mortgages require a minimum 620 credit score.

The term refers to the life span of the loan, which is usually between 15 and 30 years. There are also 10-year term options. The mortgage rate refers to the amount of interest the lender charges in exchange for the loan.

Mortgage rates can be fixed or adjustable. A fixed-rate mortgage has the same interest rate for the entire loan term, whereas an adjustable-rate mortgage increases or decreases based on a changing index.

“Mortgage amortization” is the process of paying down home loan debt over time. Homeowners build equity by making payments on their mortgage principal. If you get a second mortgage, you borrow funds with your house as collateral for the loan but don’t have to use the funds to purchase a home. Home equity loans and lines of credit are types of second mortgages.

Learn more: Read about what a mortgage is and how it works.

How does refinancing work?

Mortgage refinancing companies replace your existing mortgage with a new loan. The two most common types of home refinance loans are rate-and-term refinancing and cash-out refinancing.

Many homeowners refinance their mortgage to lower their monthly payments, get a better rate, convert home equity into cash or pay off their loan faster. Some mortgage refinance lenders also specialize in debt consolidation strategies.

For example, the home equity conversion mortgage (HECM) is a reverse mortgage backed by the federal government. This program lets you draw on your home’s equity to borrow money.

Learn more: Read about how to refinance a mortgage or compare top refinancing lenders.

Mortgage broker vs. lender

Loan officers work for financial institutions and handle the lending process. On the other hand, brokers negotiate with lenders on your behalf to find a loan program with the best terms for you.

  • Mortgage broker: A mortgage broker is the middleman between a borrower and a mortgage lender.  Working with a broker can save time and money, especially if you want to compare multiple lenders.

    A broker can also help manage your paperwork and fees during the homebuying process. However, brokers typically aren’t able to guarantee cost estimates and may not have access to all the lenders in your area.
  • Mortgage lender: A mortgage lender is the banking institution that finances the home loan for a fee. Mortgage lender origination and closing fees vary by lender and from state to state. Mortgage banks and portfolio lenders are types of direct mortgage lenders.
    Direct lenders process applications and originate and underwrite loans. A lender is different from a mortgage servicer, which processes loan payments, responds to borrower inquiries and manages escrow accounts.

How much is a mortgage?

The average mortgage is $840 to $1,200 per month. Most financial experts suggest keeping your mortgage payment below 30% of your monthly gross income (and your total debt-to-income ratio lower than 36%). Use our mortgage calculator to determine how much house you can afford.

Keep in mind that the total cost of a mortgage is more than just the price of your house. As you compare mortgage companies, consider closing costs, mortgage points and prepayment penalties.

  • Down payment: A down payment is the part of the total sale price that you put down upfront. The amount required depends on the loan type. FHA loans, for example, require at least 3.5%, while VA or USDA loans don’t require down payments. Some government agencies and nonprofits offer down payment assistance programs.
  • Closing costs: Closing costs amount to 2% to 5% of the home loan and include application fees, lender fees, attorney fees, earnest money, escrow fees, courier fees, homeowners association transfer fees, inspection fees and title insurance.
  • Origination fees: Lenders charge loan origination fees for services like mortgage application and underwriting. Origination fees are usually a small percentage (between 0.5% and 2%) of the total loan amount, though some mortgage lenders offer fixed fees of $1,000 or less.
  • Mortgage points: Sometimes called discount points, mortgage points are optional fees paid to your lender in exchange for a lower interest rate. Each point is equal to 1% of the mortgage loan amount.
  • Prepayment penalties: A prepayment penalty is a fee that some lenders charge when a borrower pays their mortgage loan off early, either through refinancing or overpaying each month. The average prepayment fee is 80% of six months of interest.

What makes up a monthly mortgage payment?

Once you’ve covered all the upfront costs of a home loan, your monthly mortgage payments include principal, interest, taxes and insurance (PITI). In some cases, other regular expenses include homeowners association or condo fees.

  • Principal: The principal is the balance of the loan amount you borrowed. Each month, your mortgage payment reduces the principal.
  • Interest: Interest is the amount you agree to pay your lender in exchange for a mortgage loan. Fixed interest rates stay the same throughout the term of the loan. Adjustable interest rates can vary over the life of the loan.
  • Property taxes: Property taxes are often included in mortgage bills. Lenders keep your property tax payments in an escrow account until they're due and then pay them on your behalf.
  • Mortgage insurance: Mortgage insurance protects the lender if you stop making payments on your loan. The two types of mortgage insurance are private mortgage insurance (PMI) and mortgage insurance premiums (MIP). For conventional mortgages, you can avoid the need to pay for PMI by making a down payment of 20% or more. For FHA and other government-backed loans, you can avoid MIP after 11 years by putting at least 10% down.
  • Homeowners insurance: Homeowners insurance covers damage from fire, storms, theft and other perils. Most lenders require homeowners insurance and charge premiums on your mortgage bills.

How to apply for a mortgage

These days, you can complete almost the whole mortgage process online. After you’ve checked your credit score, figured out how much house you can afford and researched the best mortgage lenders, it’s time for some paperwork.

Keep in mind that the mortgage lender makes a hard inquiry on your credit when you apply. Hard inquiries cause your credit score to take a small dip, so only try to get preapproved when you’re serious about putting in an offer on a home.

The application process varies depending on your preapproval status and other factors, but everyone who applies for a mortgage generally goes through these five steps:

1. Collect important documents
Lenders want to verify information relating to your monthly income, credit score and assets. You need W-2s or federal tax returns from the past two years and several months of pay stubs. Gather any statements about your assets or long-term debts, including car notes and student loans. Get your recent bank statements and a government-issued ID ready too.

The most common documents required to get preapproved for a home loan include:

  • W-2 wage statements
  • Recent tax returns
  • Pay stubs
  • Credit report
  • Investment account statements
  • Monthly debt statements
  • Copy of your driver’s license
  • Social Security card
2. Fill out the application
Conventional mortgage loan applications are uniform across lenders — if you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all.

First, there's a box to check if you're applying with a spouse or co-borrower (if applicable, you both must sign). Then, you fill in the type of mortgage, interest rates and loan terms (fixed, graduated, adjustable or other).

The application asks for details about the property, including its original cost and present lot value. Lenders consider the loan-to-value ratio (LTV) — the loan amount divided by the appraised property value — to assess how risky your mortgage loan is in the current market.

They also ask for personal and financial information to assess your debt-to-income ratio (DTI), such as residence and employment history.

Applicants are also required to disclose if they’ve filed for bankruptcy in the last seven years or if there are any outstanding judgments against them.

Finally, you (and a co-borrower, if applicable) sign the application again at the bottom to acknowledge that the information provided is true.

3. Review Loan Estimates from several lenders
After a lender receives your application, you should get a Loan Estimate within three days. All lenders are required to use the same template, which makes it easy to compare interest rates, fees and projected monthly payments.
  • Loan amount: This is the total amount of money you borrow for the mortgage loan. This amount could go up if your lender rolls some of your closing costs into your loan.
  • Monthly projected payments: This section breaks down the amount you pay each month and the estimated escrow fees. The total interest percentage (TIP) tells you the total amount of interest the loan requires.
  • Monthly projected payments: This section breaks down the amount you pay each month and the estimated escrow fees.
4. Make a commitment
After you’ve compared rates and fees and found a trusted mortgage lender, it’s time to make a decision. It’s OK to take your time on this step, so don’t let a pushy loan officer make you feel cornered into a final decision. When you’re comfortable, contact the mortgage lender you like best and tell them you’re ready to buy a house.
5. Wait for approval (or denial)
Remember the official mortgage application you filled out and had to sign twice? Once you commit to a lender, all that information is scrutinized. A processor pulls your tax records and confirms your income, and then an underwriter evaluates how risky it is to give you a loan. This process can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks.

If you're denied a mortgage loan, you have the right to know why. You can ask your loan officer what went wrong — you might be able to get the loan if you make a bigger down payment or get a co-signer.

Common reasons for being unexpectedly denied a loan include leaving out crucial information on the application, the inability to verify some portion of your income, a recent application for a personal loan or line of credit, a job change or an overdraft on a checking account.

If all else fails, you can try to apply for a mortgage loan with another lender. If you’re approved, then closing is the next step toward homeownership.

Who are the best mortgage lenders near me?

Mortgage questions

The easiest way to get the best interest rate is to compare multiple mortgage lenders and refinancing companies. Some tips for getting a great mortgage deal include improving your credit score, making a larger down payment and paying mortgage points:
  • Compare all loan options: As you shop around, get quotes from at least three lenders and be sure to consider all your loan options — for example, a USDA loan is ideal for someone who lives outside of an urban community, and a jumbo loan is for when you want to borrow an especially high amount. Remember that you can also negotiate with lenders to get better deals.
  • Improve your credit score: To get the best interest rate on your mortgage, you need to have an excellent credit score. 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. For more, learn about how to find the best credit repair companies.
  • Make a larger down payment: A larger down payment often gets you a lower interest rate. Try to save up for a 20% down payment to avoid having to pay private mortgage insurance (PMI). If you can’t put down 20%, aim for at least 5% — that's where you start seeing a decrease in interest rates.
  • Consider mortgage points: Mortgage points are optional upfront payments that reduce your interest rate. One point typically equals 1% of the loan. When interest rates are high, paying mortgage points can save you money in the long term.
  • Go for the ARM: You can usually get a better upfront mortgage rate by getting an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) rather than a fixed-rate mortgage. The most popular type of adjustable-rate mortgage is the 5/1 ARM, which has a fixed rate for the loan's first five years and then can adjust each year after that.
How do you get preapproved for a mortgage?
Lenders consider your credit history and current financial information to determine whether you can be preapproved for a mortgage.

If you’re preapproved, you receive a mortgage letter with the loan amount for which you qualify. Each preapproval letter is valid for up to 90 days. A mortgage preapproval letter lets you start making offers on homes.

Getting pre-qualified is different from getting preapproved for a mortgage. Mortgage pre-qualification is a less formal process that gives you a general idea of how much of a loan you are eligible for.

What is the easiest mortgage to qualify for?
Government-backed loans are typically the easiest mortgage loans to qualify for since they are the least risky for lenders.

Many first-time homebuyers opt for FHA loans, due to lower interest rates, down payment requirements and credit score requirements. To qualify for an FHA loan, you only need a credit score of 580 and a minimum down payment of 3.5%. With this type of loan, rates are fixed and you can pay it off over 15 or 30 years.

If you are eligible for VA (for service members and veterans) or USDA (for rural properties) loans, you can qualify for additional interest breaks and no down payment requirements. Conventional loans are typically chosen by those with higher credit scores and more liquid savings to draw from. The right loan for you depends on your financial circumstances and personal details.

What credit score do you need for a mortgage?
Government-backed mortgage loans — FHA, VA and USDA programs — typically require credit scores higher than 580 and down payments from 0% to 3.5%. Since conventional loans are riskier for lenders, most require credit scores of 620 and 5% to 20% down payments.

Those with credit scores below 580 can still qualify for an FHA loan if they can make a 10% down payment.

Banks sometimes have stricter eligibility requirements, so riskier applicants typically get a better deal from a mortgage company. If you have bad credit, you may not be eligible for a conventional mortgage through a bank. Mortgage companies often work with a vast network of lenders, so they can provide more options that cater to homebuyers with low credit scores or higher debt-to-income ratios. You might also consider a local credit union.

Can you get a mortgage to build a house?
Yes, construction loans are a type of home loan available to finance building a brand-new home. A regular construction loan is different from a mortgage because there is no existing property to use as collateral for the loan. A construction-to-permanent loan is a type of construction loan that converts into a mortgage once the construction is complete. Also called “single-close” construction loans, these are the most streamlined ways to finance a build and get a mortgage on your new home.
What do the worst mortgage lenders have in common?
Some of the worst mortgage companies consistently get reports of hidden fees, bad customer service and aggressive marketing tactics. Additional red flags to watch out for include:
  • Pressure to rush through the process or borrow more than you need or can afford
  • Unusually high rates and fees compared with other lenders
  • Being asked to sign blank loan documents or lie on your application
What is a blanket mortgage?
A blanket mortgage is a home loan that covers multiple properties at once. This type of mortgage can be beneficial for investors by saving money, time and energy spent on keeping track of several different mortgages.


The best mortgage companies are transparent about their fees, excel in customer service and have reasonable rates. To find our top picks, we first considered customer reviews and ratings. All of our top picks have an overall satisfaction rating above 4 stars, plus at least twice as many 5-star reviews as 1-star reviews over the last year (June 15, 2020, through June 15, 2021). We also considered the availability and online experience when selecting top picks.

Not sure how to choose?

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