6 Ways to Determine the Best Mortgage Loan for You

To get the best mortgage loan, know how much you can afford and shop like the bargain hunter you are.
Phil Metzger
Hal M. Bundrick, CFP®
By Hal M. Bundrick, CFP® and  Phil Metzger 
Updated
Edited by Jeanette Margle Reviewed by Michelle Blackford
How to Choose the Best Mortgage

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If only shopping for a mortgage were as much fun as shopping for shoes — or a smartphone or a big-screen TV. Hunting down bargains and saving a few bucks is worth an afternoon or two, right? But the time and effort it takes to decode jargon and apply to lenders when shopping for a mortgage loan may not give off the same vibe.

Still, you can make this as pain-free as possible.

Here are six steps to determining which mortgage loan is right for you.

1. Figure out how much you can afford

Since this is a six-figure purchase, you're probably wondering if it's within your financial reach. A calculator can help you determine how much house you can afford.

If you have a decent credit score, lenders will likely be more optimistic about how much house you can buy than you are. Keep in mind, their job is selling a loan; your job is to pay it back. So leave some room in your budget for living life.

Mortgage loans from our partners

New American Funding - PURCHASE logo
Check Rate

on New American Funding

New American Funding

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
New American Funding - PURCHASE logo

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Min. credit score 
500

Min. down payment 
3.5%

Check Rate

on New American Funding

Better - PURCHASE logo
Check Rate

on Better

Better

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Better - PURCHASE logo

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Min. credit score 
620

Min. down payment 
3%

Check Rate

on Better

NBKC - PURCHASE logo
Check Rate

on NBKC

NBKC

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
NBKC - PURCHASE logo

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Min. credit score 
620

Min. down payment 
3%

Check Rate

on NBKC

Rocket Mortgage - PURCHASE logo
Check Rate

on Rocket Mortgage

Rocket Mortgage

4.0

NerdWallet rating 
Rocket Mortgage - PURCHASE logo

4.0

NerdWallet rating 
Min. credit score 
620

Min. down payment 
1%

Check Rate

on Rocket Mortgage

Guaranteed Rate - PURCHASE logo
Check Rate

on Guaranteed Rate

Guaranteed Rate

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Guaranteed Rate - PURCHASE logo

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Min. credit score 
620

Min. down payment 
3%

Check Rate

on Guaranteed Rate

Mortgage loans from our partners

New American Funding - PURCHASE logo
Check Rate

on New American Funding

New American Funding

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
New American Funding - PURCHASE logo

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Min. credit score 
500

Min. down payment 
3.5%

Check Rate

on New American Funding

Better - PURCHASE logo
Check Rate

on Better

Better

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Better - PURCHASE logo

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Min. credit score 
620

Min. down payment 
3%

Check Rate

on Better

NBKC - PURCHASE logo
Check Rate

on NBKC

NBKC

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
NBKC - PURCHASE logo

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Min. credit score 
620

Min. down payment 
3%

Check Rate

on NBKC