Buying a home is a big deal. It’s one of the most significant purchases that most people ever make, and it should be an extremely exciting time for you and your family. You only do it a few times in your life, and since it’s probably going to be the largest purchase you ever make, you need to make sure that you’re well taken care of every step of the way by making sure you have the best people supporting you through the ordeal.
Most people think that deciding on your realtor is going to be the most important part. While having the right professional in your corner for the home buying process itself is important, making sure you choose the best mortgage lender is just as important. Unless you have a few hundred thousand dollars lying around to pay the house in full, chances are you’ll need to take out a mortgage loan to help finance your new home.
The “best mortgage lender” is going to vary from person to person depending on what your needs might be, so it’s important to shop lenders and make sure that you’re finding the perfect lender who aligns with your needs the best. Whether you’re thinking about buying a home for the first time, or thinking about refinancing your current home, you should keep reading to learn about the best mortgage lenders that are on the market today. Hopefully as you read through here, you may find a lender that can meet your needs as closely as possible, giving you the savings and flexibility that you’re going to need as you move into your new home.
Best Mortgage Lenders
- Quicken Loans (Rocket Mortgage)
- New American Funding
- Mutual of Omaha
1. Quicken Loans (Rocket Mortgage)
Quicken Loans has grown into the nation’s highest-volume mortgage lender in the United States. They offer new purchases and refinance loans. Quicken loans is great if you’re looking for a simple, straightforward way to get started, since the application process. They offer an easy to use application on their website, and as far as mortgage applications go, it’s super simple and pretty quick.
Quicken Loans has been known to excel in the area of ease of use when compared to other online mortgage lenders. By the nature of home buying, mortgages are obviously complex. With this being said, Quicken Loans online mortgage application process has been known to work smoothly. You can even do the application through your smartphone, which is something that most other online providers don’t offer.
The process is so smooth, in fact, that the company’s marketing department claims that you can apply for a mortgage and get your decision in as little as 15 minutes, especially if you use Quicken Loans Rocket Mortgage platform. If this sounds appealing to you, go ahead and give it a short. It would still be a good idea to set aside more time, though, in case that your process takes a bit longer. Rocket Mortgage or Quicken Loans quick and easy process doesn’t always leave room for much nuance. For example, if your credit score is a bit too low, or if your debt-to-income ratio needs some work or explaining, you would probably be best shopping with another lender. The company also doesn’t offer any type of home equity line or credit (HELOC) options and does lack a personal touch since everything is based online. So if you’re trying to go more of a refinance route by using a HELOC, then Quicken Loans wouldn’t be able to help you out. They do offer other means of refinancing, a HELOC just isn’t one of their options.
However, if you know what you want and you meet all of their other expectations, you should give Quicken Loans or Rocket Mortgage a second look. Between how quickly applicants can get approved and how seamless the process is, they are certainly well worth the time.
LoanDepot was one of the first online mortgage lenders on the market, helping be a pioneer in the space dating as far back as the 1990s during the time of bulky computer monitors, dial-up interest, and everything else that makes us grateful for how far technology has come.
LoanDepot doesn’t stress the online experience anymore, though you can still benefit from its fast underwriting process. Instead, LoanDepot has branch offices across the United States, as well as an active phone-based customer service department that has been known to be helpful and guide applicants through the loan application process. LoanDepot is a direct lender, meaning that there is no middleman when it comes to the mortgage process. Because LoanDepot is a direct lender, you will also find almost every kind of mortgage that you might want to try and apply for. The one exception is the USDA-subsidized loan.
LoanDept also has cost matching, so if you shop around and find the same type of mortgage at another lender, LoanDepot will match their offer. LoanDepot has also been known to be a great lender for new constructions and restorations for home, so if you’re looking to get a new build, then LoanDepot might be a good option for you.
They also pride themselves on having digital underwriting, which speeds up the process dramatically. But even though LoanDepot has an online presence, it has been critiqued as being rather limited experience. This can be avoided if you’re willing to go to one of their branch locations, but if you’re looking for a better online experience then you might want to look at some other options.
LendingTree is not an actual lender, but the service it provides lands it on this list for a reason. The service that LendingTree provides is connecting your online loan applications with a variety of different lenders so you can compare their quotes in real time and see what the best rates for you are offered. If you’re a comparison shopper like I am, then LendingTree is a great place to start.
Even if you don’t decide to go with one of the lenders that LendingTree presents, you’ll definitely learn a lot about the mortgage lending marketing by seeing a variety of real quotes. What’s even more important for the applicant is that you’’ll see where you stand personally compared to a number of different lending companies in the market. This can give you a great idea of where you stand for when you do decide on a lender.
LendingTree is a great way to save time by comparing plenty of different big names on the market, and it’s a great way to get you familiar with the market as a whole. The site itself is also very user friendly. However, the downside to seeing so many quotes is that it can lead to way more loan offers than what you’re wanting, and lenders that partner with LendingTree to give you their quote might contact you independently, which can get rather annoying when you keep getting continuous call from companies trying to sell you on their business.
Overall, LendingTree’s service simplifies the process of mortgage shopping, whether you’re looking to buy or refinance a home. The ability to get real time quotes side by side can be a big help when you’re looking to get the best deal for you and your situation.
Credible is one of my personal favorites, especially as a student loan refinancing tool. Now, Credible can help you refinance with your mortgage as well, not just your student loans. Much like LendingTree, Credible doesn’t lend money. Rather, they connect your application with leading lenders so you can compare real quotes in real time. Credible also doesn’t do a hard credit check when you use their service, so you can compare lenders without having to worry about your credit score dropping.
Personally, I do like the way Credible uses the specific details from your application to match you with the loan offers that best address your situation and needs. Because of this comparison feature, you can spend more time comparing finely tuned details of your loan offers instead of trying to sift through offers you wouldn’t otherwise ever really consider. Plus, unlike LendingTree, Credible says it won’t let the lenders contact you independently. This means no annoying phone calls from a number of different companies because you used Credible’s service.
The biggest drawback is that even though the online application is easy to use, the mortgage application process isn’t entirely online, and you will have to fill out some paper documents and upload them to the website. Even with this, you can still apply pretty quickly. Credible also doesn’t offer any type of HELOC options, which can be a deterrent if you’re looking to refinance your mortgage.
This list covered a lot of unconventional options or even newer options for mortgage lending. We’ve included loan comparison tools to all-online lenders to lenders who use specialized forms of underwritings in their process. Chase is the exact opposite of all of these. It’s a standard, national bank with loan officers that are staffed at their branch locations throughout the nation. Borrows that would be looking for a more traditional, in-person lender would most likely prefer Chase.
They do have a modern approach on the traditional take, and you do have a wide selection of loan options. Chase can help with anything from new purchases, refinancing, home equity lines of credit (HELOC), federally subsidized loans, and the list goes on. Pretty much any type of loan that you would be wanting to apply for, Chase can help get you started.
Going through Chase can be great as well if you want to do all of your banking through one company. Since you can also have your checking/savings accounts and credit cards through Chase as well, Chase can be a one stop shop for you if you want it to be. They also do offer discounts for existing Chase customers, so if you want to package everything together through Chase you might also get some additional savings along the way.
The biggest downside to using Chase is that they do have some fees that you can be charged if you aren’t careful. For example, if you want to lock in your rate, you will be charged a fee to do so. Also, you will need to work with an in-person loan officer as previously mentioned, so if you want a process that’s more online you might want to look at other lenders. You will be able to track your application’s status online and provide digital documentation if you need to update anything during the process.
6. New American Funding
If you’re wanting to find something that is more online than a traditional mortgage lender like Chase but also has a more personal touch like a neighborhood bank, then look no further. New American Funding can be a great option for those who are wanting to apply for a mortgage through a reputable lender but have a lower credit score than what’s recommended. Whether you’re looking for a mortgage or looking to refinance, New American Funding can really help you out.
For most first-time home buyers, they often need this kind of special attention since they’ve never owned a home before, and their credit might be newer than others who have purchased a home or two in the past. Don’t think that this means that New American will fund your loan no matter what, because you can still get denied if you don’t meet their standards. It just means that the company is going to be more willing to work with you and your specific situation when compared to the majority of other lenders.
New American also has a home equity line of credit along with refinancing and first-time mortgage loans. They also do their underwriting manually, which offers a more nuanced approach than that of more digitized underwriting. They also have a full variety of federally subsidized loans which is something that a lot of companies that are geared more for first time home buyers. A bigger issue is that since they do everything manually, their application takes longer. They also currently don’t offer services in New York or Hawaii, so if you live in either state you can’t use New American as your lender.
SoFi started off as a student loan refinancing lender but has since expanded into mortgage lending as well. SoFi, which is short for Social Finance, has its own approach to mortgage underwriting. SoFi doesn’t rely nearly as much on credit histories or debt-to-income ratios. So if you’re a high income earner but are still starting out and don’t have that much credit history, then SoFi is a great place to start looking at lenders. They are geared much more for the younger generation in this regard.
Your credit history and debt-to-income ratio still matter, but SoFi also considered other factors as well, such as the kind of college degree you have, and your current and future earning potential in the future. SoFi also takes into account the field you’re currently working into account for these projections in your current and future earning potential.
SoFi doesn’t normally lend to real estate investors, as the company prefers working with first time home buyers and other single-family home buyers who need large loans. Because this is the business where they want to go, SoFi is great for jumbo loans. Plus, since they’re geared for the younger generation, their online application is great.
SoFi also doesn’t issue federally subsidized loans, which means that if you want to go through SoFi for your mortgage loan, you’ll need to put at least 10 percent down for your purchase. It’s also worth noting that SoFi doesn’t lend for home equity or home equity line of credit loans, FHA, VA, or USDA loans. With this being said, SoFi has some great options for first time home buyers, and their services past just student loans and mortgages such as SoFi Invest, where you can open different types of investing accounts.
Better.com has helped finance more than $7 billion in home loans since issuing it’s first mortgage back in 2016. They use their algorithms to connect borrowers to the right loans, and are best known for their low fee online borrowing. Securing funding through Fannie Mae has helped establish Better.com as a legitimate alternative to conventional lending. Fannie Mae is a United States government-sponsored enterprise, so securing funding through them was a great way get establish itself as a viable mortgage lender.
Despite being a relatively new mortgage lender in the space of mortgage lenders, Better.com stays competitive by offering lower fees, simplicity, and competitive interest rates that make them a company that is at least worth a look. Better.com specializes in simplifying the application process by creating a fast and easy application process. They also have been able to lower or eliminate a lot of their fees such as their origination fee.
They also offer plenty of different types of loans. New buyers can apply for fixed rate or adjustable rate mortgages, jumbo loans, and FHA loans. However, if you’re wanting to find a USDA loan or a VA loan, shoppers should find another lender since Better.com currently doesn’t offer these services.
9. Mutual of Omaha
While Mutual of Omaha has been historically known as an insurance giant, the company became a mortgage broker practically overnight while it acquired Synergy One Lending. Mutual of Omaha has a huge variety of mortgage products and specializes in low cost loans for veterans through the Department of Veteran Affairs.
They do also offer personalized customer service, which is a pretty rare touch for a company as large as Mutual of Omaha. You can chat online with customer service reps who are there to answer any questions that you might have. The company also has a new app for getting pre-approved on loans, which can be a way to really help speed up the application process. A drawback that should be mentioned is that you can’t complete the entire application online. However, if you don’t want to go into a Mutual of Omaha location, you can communicate over the phone with a loan office.
They also still have some Synergy One Lending offices on up and down the west coast, so you can also stop into one of these locations as well if that works better for you. Like most major companies, they do offer very competitive rates when you shop around to other companies for your mortgage. A big downside to going through Mutual of Omaha is that they don’t offer short term loans such as 10 or 12 years. If you’re looking for a more traditional, longer term mortgage like a 30-year rate, then this doesn’t really affect you. But if you’re looking for something shorter, you’ll need to shop elsewhere.
SunTrust writes both adjustable and fixed-rate mortgages in all of the United States except Alaska, Arizona, Hawaii, and Oregon. Even though they have a wide-ranging base where people can use the SunTrust services, home buyers outside of the southeast usually have not heard of this company that’s based out of Atlanta.
SunTrust is a great company for anyone who is looking to buy their home with a lower to no down payment. Shoppers who plan to make a lower down payment can benefit from using the SunTrust service that they call the SunTrust Agency Affordable financing program. Despite not being a fully subsidized loan, you can still make a down payment in this affordable financing program for as low as 3.5% because Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac buy these loans.
As mentioned previously Fannie Mae is a US sponsored enterprise that supports mortgages. Freddie Mac works like Fannie Mae and operates in the same space, they’re just a few years newer than Fannie Mae, being formed in 1970 compared to Fannie Mae’s 1968. You would still have to pay PMI, or private mortgage insurance, on your loan amount as well as your closing costs.
If you’re a doctor or dentist in SunTrust’s main service area, which is the southeast, you can also get great deals on conventional mortgages. However, they currently aren’t available in all 50 states, and if you don’t have the best credit, then SunTrust might deny you, as they aren’t that flexible when it comes to those who are more credit-challenged.
Customer Satisfaction In You Mortgage Process
For most homebuyers, working hard to get your dream home with a low mortgage rate and lower mortgage payments that are affordable is satisfying in itself. That doesn’t mean that you should settle for the mortgage experience. Things that you should consider should be things like how you like to shop, reviews of the mortgage company you’re viewing, figuring out if you want a fixed or adjustable rate mortgage, and choosing between a conventional or subsidized loan. Understanding and deciding on things like this can not only make your decision process easier but make it much more customer friendly for everyone involved.
Buying a home is a major, life changing event. It can be a first home, a refinancing on a current mortgage, or applying for a home equity line of credit (HELOC). In any case, it is extremely important to make sure that you’re working with the best mortgage lender for you and your situation. This list outlines a good selection of different mortgage lenders that can cater to your different situations. Whether you’re looking for an online lender or a more brick and mortar lender, there are plenty to choose from. Just make sure you’re doing your research as well to make the process as well as it can for you.
At the end of the day, the mortgage process should be able to give you more financial freedom. Owning a home should mean that your monthly home payments become an investment in your future. Overtime, your home should gain value, meaning you could potentially sell it for a profit in the future.
However, there are too many loans that can cut into first time home buyers’ financial freedom. If you can’t afford monthly payments, you risk losing what you’ve invested. As a common practice, you should avoid agreeing to a loan you can’t accord by shopping for at least a few different rate quotes, typically at least three or four. Compare rate quotes and application fees can differ for different mortgage loans. Ask for a truth-in-lending report so you’ll know how much you will pay in interest throughout the entirety of the loan.
There are other things to consider in regard to costs of owning a home past your mortgage. Property taxes, homeowner’s insurance, and other ongoing fees. There are also a few onetime fees like closing costs that you’ll want to keep in mind as well. It’s a good idea to not finance most of these costs unless you absolutely have to. When you’re in control of the amount that you’re borrowing, as well as the borrowing process, you’ll have more freedom now and throughout your journey as a homeowner.