10 Best Conventional Mortgage Lenders of 2024

See NerdWallet's top picks for the best conventional mortgage lenders, many of which offer 97% mortgage financing.

NerdWallet
Written by
Last updated on February 26, 2024
Edited by
✅ Fact checked and reviewed
Dawnielle Robinson-Walker
Edited by
✅ Fact checked and reviewed

Some or all of the mortgage lenders featured on our site are advertising partners of NerdWallet, but this does not influence our evaluations, lender star ratings or the order in which lenders are listed on the page. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money.

  • 50+ mortgage lenders reviewed and rated by our team of experts.
  • 40+ years of combined experience covering mortgages and financial topics.
  • Objective, comprehensive star rating system assessing 120+ categories and 5,000+ data points.
  • Governed by NerdWallet's strict guidelines for editorial integrity.
NerdWallet's mortgage content, including articles, reviews and recommendations, is produced by a team of writers and editors who specialize in home lending. Their work has appeared in The Associated Press, USA Today, The Washington Post, MarketWatch, Newsweek and many other national, regional and local publications. They have been cited in publications including The Wall Street Journal, and appeared on NerdWallet's "Smart Money" podcast as well as local TV and radio.

10 Best Conventional Mortgage Lenders of 2024

Have you or your spouse served in the military?

We’ve got more home loan options for you. Show me

Lender
NerdWallet Rating
Min. credit score
Min. down payment
Learn more
Guaranteed Rate

Guaranteed Rate: NMLS#2611

Top 3 most visited 🏆
Learn more
at Guaranteed Rate
at Guaranteed Rate
Home loans overall
Best for loan variety

620

3%

4.5
/5
Home loans overall
Best for easy-to-browse mortgage rates

620

3%

Better

Better: NMLS#330511

Learn more
at Better
at Better
4.5
/5
Home loans overall
Best for loan variety

620

3%

PNC

PNC: NMLS#446303

LEARN MORE
on NerdWallet
5.0
/5
Home loans overall
Best for first-time home buyers

620

3%

LEARN MORE
on NerdWallet
Flagstar

Flagstar: NMLS#417490

LEARN MORE
on NerdWallet
5.0
/5
Home loans overall
Best for overall mortgage experience

620

3%

LEARN MORE
on NerdWallet
Alliant

Alliant: NMLS#197185

LEARN MORE
on NerdWallet
4.5
/5
Home loans overall
Best for credit union lending

N/A

3%

LEARN MORE
on NerdWallet
Guaranteed Rate
Learn more
at Guaranteed Rate
at Guaranteed Rate
Guaranteed Rate

Guaranteed Rate: NMLS#2611

5.0
Home loans overall
NerdWallet rating
Min. credit score

620

Min. down payment

3%

Why We Like ItGood for: borrowers seeking a broad menu of loans, including jumbo and interest-only options, renovation loans and government-backed mortgages, as well as home equity lines of credit.
Pros
  • Offers a one-day mortgage approval process.
  • Offers a generous selection of loans, including government-backed, interest-only, ITIN, jumbo and renovation loans.
  • Advertises a HELOC that can be funded in as few as five business days.
Cons
  • Origination fees are higher than average, according to the latest federal data.
  • HELOC has a relatively short draw period, which may not provide flexibility for someone who wants the option of accessing home equity over a longer period.
Read Full Review
NBKC

NBKC: NMLS#409631

4.5
Home loans overall
NerdWallet rating
Min. credit score

620

Min. down payment

3%

Why We Like ItGood for: borrowers who want low rates and fees and an online experience with phone support. VA loans are an emphasis.
Pros
  • Offers government-backed loans and some harder-to-find products, such as construction loans and specialty mortgages for pilots.
  • Offers low rates and fees compared with other lenders, according to the latest federal data.
  • Displays customized rates, with fee estimates, without requiring contact information.
Cons
  • HELOCs and construction-to-permanent loans are available only in the Kansas City metro area.
Better

Better: NMLS#330511

4.5
Home loans overall
NerdWallet rating
Min. credit score

620

Min. down payment

3%

Why We Like ItGood for: borrowers who prefer an online experience, prize low rates and are primarily interested in conventional loans.
Pros
  • Offers a one-day mortgage that lets eligible borrowers apply, lock in a rate and get a loan commitment within 24 hours.
  • Average interest rates are on the low end compared to other lenders, according to the latest federal data.
  • Offers a HELOC that can be used for a primary, second or investment home.
Cons
  • Doesn't offer harder-to-find loans, such as construction loans, renovation loans, or USDA mortgages.
  • Finding descriptions of all of the loan offerings on the website requires some digging, and the lender does not have a mobile app.
  • Average lender fees are on the high end compared with other lenders, according to the latest federal data.
PNC
LEARN MORE
on NerdWallet
PNC

PNC: NMLS#446303

5.0
Home loans overall
NerdWallet rating
Min. credit score

620

Min. down payment

3%

Why We Like ItGood for: borrowers with low to moderate incomes or limited down payments, as well as home buyers seeking mortgages in higher-priced regions of the nation.
Pros
  • Offers several low-down-payment loan options, including FHA, VA, USDA and the PNC Community Loan.
  • Receives high marks for customer satisfaction, according to J.D. Power and Zillow.
  • Mortgage rates are lower than the industry average, according to the latest federal data.
  • Jumbo loans available with 5% down payment.
Cons
  • Doesn't offer renovation mortgages or home equity loans.
  • In-person service is not available in every state.
  • You’ll have to create an account or supply personal data to get answers by phone.
Flagstar
LEARN MORE
on NerdWallet
Flagstar

Flagstar: NMLS#417490

5.0
Home loans overall
NerdWallet rating
Min. credit score

620

Min. down payment

3%

Why We Like ItGood for: Borrowers who may benefit from Flagstar’s unique loan options, such as ITIN loans, loans for manufactured homes or physician loans.
Pros
  • Multiple loans for those who are renovating or building a home, including loans with interest-only payments during construction.
  • Offers home equity loans and lines of credit.
  • Offers down payment assistance and loans for underserved borrowers, including ITIN loans and loans with flexible qualifications in certain communities.
  • Interest rates are on the low side relative to other lenders, according to the latest federal data.
  • Borrowers can enter their information (including their desired loan amount, down payment and zip code) into the lender’s Mortgage Quote Comparison tool and receive a customized rate quote.
Cons
  • Home equity loans are not available in all locations served by Flagstar.
  • In 2022, the lender was fined for violating laws regarding properties in flood zones.
Alliant
LEARN MORE
on NerdWallet
Alliant

Alliant: NMLS#197185

4.5
Home loans overall
NerdWallet rating
Min. credit score

N/A

Min. down payment

3%

Why We Like ItGood for: eligible borrowers who are open to joining a credit union and want a mortgage from an online lender.
Pros
  • Borrowers can apply entirely online. The lender is also very transparent about what borrowers can expect from the process, including nontraditional customers.
  • Borrowers do not need to become members of the credit union until they’ve reached the closing process, meaning that interested home buyers can apply and get rate offers without committing to membership.
  • Offers customized rate quotes, including a detailed breakdown of estimated closing costs.
Cons
  • Doesn’t offer renovation loans.
  • Joining the credit union adds a step to the application process.
Navy Federal
LEARN MORE
on NerdWallet
Navy Federal

Navy Federal: NMLS#399807

4.5
Home loans overall
NerdWallet rating
National / regional

National

Min. down payment

0%

Why We Like ItGood for: Military borrowers who’ve exhausted their VA loan benefits and qualified government employees who want to compare mortgage options without down payments.
Pros
  • Offers unique loan options aimed at military borrowers, such as a proprietary loan called Military Choice that works as an alternative to VA loans.
  • 24/7 customer service supports borrowers stationed overseas.
  • Offers home equity loans and lines of credit.
Cons
  • Borrowers must join the credit union before applying for a mortgage.
  • The lender does not offer renovation or construction loans.
  • When we tried their customer service line, we sometimes waited longer than 10 minutes before being connected with a representative who could answer our questions.
Andrews Federal Credit Union
LEARN MORE
on NerdWallet
Andrews Federal Credit Union

Andrews Federal Credit Union: NMLS#410421

5.0
Home loans overall
NerdWallet rating
Min. credit score

620

Min. down payment

3%

Why We Like ItFirst-time home buyers and military borrowers in the Mid-Atlantic looking for a lender with deep roots in their local communities.
Pros
  • Caters to first-time home buyers with incentives and education.
  • Provides extra support for military borrowers, including branches near bases in Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands.
  • Offers HELOCs and home equity loans at competitive interest rates.
Cons
  • Physical branches in the U.S. are limited to Maryland, New Jersey, Virginia and Washington, D.C.
  • Does not offer renovation or construction home loans.
Truist
LEARN MORE
on NerdWallet
Truist

Truist: NMLS#399803

4.5
Home loans overall
NerdWallet rating
Min. credit score

620

Min. down payment

3%

Why We Like ItGood for: first-time and low-income home buyers, early career doctors and other borrowers interested in low-down-payment mortgages, especially those in South Carolina, North Carolina, Texas and Virginia.
Pros
  • Offers a wide variety of loan options, including construction loans, programs for early career doctors, a wide variety of jumbo loans and home equity lines of credit.
  • Proprietary grant program can help borrowers afford down payment and closing costs.
  • Mortgage rates are lower than industry average, according to the latest federal data.
Cons
  • Customized rates aren't available online without contacting the lender.
  • For borrowers who prefer to apply in person, branches are limited mostly to the South and East.
  • Mortgages aren’t available in all 50 states.
Pennymac
LEARN MORE
on NerdWallet
Pennymac

Pennymac: NMLS#35953

4.5
Home loans overall
NerdWallet rating
Min. credit score

620

Min. down payment

3%

Why We Like ItGood for: rate-conscious borrowers who want to shop and compare a wide variety of mortgage types online.
Pros
  • Rates are on the low side, according to the latest federal data.
  • An online tool makes it easy to customize a rate quote online, with no contact information required.
  • “Lock & Shop” lets you secure a rate for up to 90 days while you house-hunt, and switch to a lower one if rates drop while you shop.
Cons
  • Origination fees are on the higher end, according to the latest federal data.
  • Doesn't offer home equity lines of credit or renovation loans.
  • Online chat is available only in the logged-in experience.

Qualifying for a conventional mortgage

Conventional mortgages typically conform to loan limits set by the Federal Housing Finance Agency, and aren’t guaranteed or insured by the federal government.

Qualifying for a conventional loan is generally harder than qualifying for FHA loans and other government home loans. In addition to a solid income and money for a down payment, you'll likely need a strong credit history.

More from NerdWallet

Last updated on February 26, 2024

Methodology

The star ratings on this page reflect each lender's overall star ratings. Read more about how we determine those ratings.

The lenders on this page are chosen using this methodology:

NerdWallet reviewed more than 50 mortgage lenders, including the majority of the largest U.S. mortgage lenders by annual loan volume (measured among lenders with at least 1% market share), lenders with significant online search volume and those that specialize in serving various audiences across the country.

For inclusion on this roundup, lenders must offer conventional mortgage and refinance loans. The highest scoring lenders according to our home loans overall methodology are featured here.

NerdWallet solicits information from reviewed lenders on a recurring basis throughout the year. All lender-provided information is verified through lender websites and interviews. We also utilized 2022 HMDA data for origination volume, origination fee, average interest rate and share-of-product data.

To recap our selections...

NerdWallet's Best Conventional Mortgage Lenders of 2024

  • Guaranteed Rate: Best for loan variety
  • NBKC: Best for easy-to-browse mortgage rates
  • Better: Best for loan variety
  • PNC: Best for first-time home buyers
  • Flagstar: Best for overall mortgage experience
  • Alliant: Best for credit union lending
  • Navy Federal: Best for military borrowers
  • Andrews Federal Credit Union: Best for first-time home buyers
  • Truist: Best for competitive mortgage rates
  • Pennymac: Best for competitive mortgage rates

Frequently asked questions

  • Some lenders offer conventional mortgages with a down payment of as little as 3%. You’ll typically need to put down at least 20% to avoid private mortgage insurance, however.

  • The credit score needed to buy a house with a conventional loan varies by lender, but 620 is typically the minimum. You’ll need a score of around 740 to get the best rates.

  • Unlike conventional mortgages, FHA loans are guaranteed by the Federal Housing Administration. FHA mortgages have more relaxed income and credit score requirements than conventional mortgages, but they typically require a 3.5% down payment and mandatory mortgage insurance for the life of the loan. Compare FHA vs. conventional home loans to see which one fits your needs.

  • The best conventional mortgage lenders offer the right combination of competitive rates, attractive loan terms and low closing costs. Finding a lender that excels at customer service and your preferred style of communication is also essential.

NerdWallet Pixel