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10 Best FHA Streamline Refinance Lenders of 2021

An FHA streamline refinance puts fewer hurdles between you and a lower monthly FHA loan payment. Use our list to compare top FHA streamline refinance lenders across several categories.

Dec 1, 2021

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An FHA streamline refinance is a faster way to get a better deal on your Federal Housing Administration-backed mortgage. You won't have to get a new FHA appraisal, and with a non-credit-qualifying streamline refinance, you can skip the credit check, too.

Not all FHA streamline refinance lenders are the same. Lenders can add their own additional requirements to FHA loans, including a higher minimum credit score, and origination fees can vary as well.

Take a look at some of NerdWallet's picks for top FHA streamline refinance lenders to find strong options across several categories.

Best FHA Streamline Refinance Lenders

Quicken Loans
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at Quicken Loans

Quicken Loans: NMLS#3030

4.0

NerdWallet rating 
Quicken Loans

Min. Credit Score

580

Min. Down Payment

3.5%
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at Quicken Loans


Why we like it

Good for: borrowers who appreciate convenience online and on the go for a fully digital home loan experience with consistently acclaimed customer service.

Pros

  • Caters to self-service users who want to apply for a home loan online and talk to a human only as necessary.

  • Estimates the loan amount you’ll qualify for within minutes.

  • Streamlines the online process with document and asset retrieval capabilities, including the ability to edit your preapproval letter.

Cons

  • Getting a customized interest rate requires a credit check, which can affect your credit score.

  • Doesn't offer home equity loans or lines of credit.

  • Lender fees are on the high side and the fees aren't offset by particularly low mortgage rates, according to the latest data.

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Veterans United
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at Veterans United

Veterans United: NMLS#1907

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Veterans United

Min. Credit Score

620

National / Regional

National
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at Veterans United


Why we like it

Good for: veterans, active-duty service members and eligible reservists looking to refinance VA or non-VA loans.

Pros

  • Offers 24/7 customer service over the phone.

  • Has online application and prequalification.

  • Offers a free credit counseling service.

  • Employs advisors from each branch of the armed forces.

Cons

  • Doesn't offer home equity loans or HELOCs.

  • Veterans United has physical branch offices in only 17 states.

  • Information on FHA, USDA and conventional loans is harder to find on its website.

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PennyMac
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at PennyMac

PennyMac: NMLS#35953

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
PennyMac

Min. Credit Score

620

Min. Down Payment

3.5%
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at PennyMac


Why we like it

PennyMac excels in online capabilities and makes it easy to shop rates online. Average origination fees are higher than other lenders, and home equity lines of credit and jumbo mortgages were suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pros

  • Offers a full range of online capabilities, including e-signatures and online loan process tracking.

  • Displays custom rate quotes based on home value, down payment or equity, ZIP code and credit score range.

Cons

  • Origination fees are on the higher end, according to the latest federal data.

  • Doesn't offer jumbo mortgages or home equity lines of credit.

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Guaranteed Rate
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at Guaranteed Rate

Guaranteed Rate: NMLS#2611

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Guaranteed Rate

Min. Credit Score

600

National / Regional

National
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at Guaranteed Rate


Why we like it

Good for: homeowners who are looking to refinance conventional, FHA or VA mortgages.

Pros

  • Offers the ability to securely upload and digitally sign loan documents.

  • Displays detailed sample rates for many of its refinance loan products.

Cons

  • Charges some fees, such as a lender fee which includes an application fee.

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Bank of America
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at Bank of America

Bank of America: NMLS#399802

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Bank of America

Min. Credit Score

620

National / Regional

National
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at Bank of America


Why we like it

Good for: borrowers who like options. Bank of America offers multiple refinance loans, including FHA, VA and cash-out.

Pros

  • Offers down payment and closing cost assistance programs.

  • May give existing customers a discount on mortgage lender origination fees.

  • Offers home equity line of credit, or HELOC.

Cons

  • Doesn't offer renovation loans that roll costs into a mortgage.

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loanDepot
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at loanDepot

loanDepot: NMLS#174457

3.5

NerdWallet rating 
loanDepot

Min. Credit Score

580

National / Regional

National
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at loanDepot


Why we like it

Good for: borrowers looking to refinance or who want to start the application process online.

Pros

  • Offers digital income, asset and employment verification.

  • Offers multiple renovation loan options.

  • Has affiliated loan stores for customers who prefer face-to-face service.

Cons

  • Mortgage rates aren't available online; you'll need to contact a loan officer.

  • Does not offer home equity loans or lines of credit.

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Alterra: NMLS#133739

3.0

NerdWallet rating 
Alterra

Min. Credit Score

N/A

Min. Down Payment

3.5%

Why we like it

Good for: first-time home buyers and those with nontraditional incomes.

Pros

  • Offers an ITIN qualification path for borrowers ineligible for Social Security numbers.

  • Has a digital application process.

  • Offers several mortgage options for low- to moderate-income borrowers.

  • Borrowers can qualify with income from self-employment and other nontraditional sources.

Cons

  • No mortgage rates published online.

  • No home equity loans or lines of credit.

  • Generally has higher rates and fees than other lenders.

  • Branch offices not available in all states.

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Homebridge: NMLS#6521

4.0

NerdWallet rating 
Homebridge

Min. Credit Score

550

Min. Down Payment

3.5%

Why we like it

Good for borrowers who want a loan officer's help, in person or on the phone, when deciding among the wide range of available mortgage options — including loans to buy and renovate.

Pros

  • Offers a full array of mortgage products, including government and renovation loans.

  • Has loans for most purposes, including purchase, refinance and jumbo mortgages.

  • Online portal keeps borrowers up-to-date on the loan application's progress.

Cons

  • Doesn't post interest rates on its site.

  • Doesn’t directly offer home equity loans or lines of credit.

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Carrington: NMLS#2600

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Carrington

Min. Credit Score

500

Min. Down Payment

3.5%

Why we like it

Good for: first-time home buyers or credit-challenged borrowers interested in government loan products.

Pros

  • Offers multiple low-down-payment loan programs.

  • May consider alternative credit data, such as bank statements and rent payments.

  • You can view customized rates for purchasing a home and apply online.

Cons

  • Doesn't offer home equity loans, HELOCs or renovation mortgages.

  • Lender fees and mortgage rates are on the high side, according to the latest data.

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BB&T (Truist): NMLS#399803

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
BB&T (Truist)

Min. Credit Score

620

Min. Down Payment

3%

Why we like it

BB&T excels in online convenience and offers a good variety of loan types, but has a limited physical presence outside the Southeast.

Pros

  • Offers a variety of low-down-payment mortgages as well as construction mortgages.

  • Website lets users estimate rates online by loan and property type, amount and location.

  • Has an online mortgage application.

Cons

  • Branches limited to mostly the Southeast region.

  • Does not offer FHA loans.

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FHA streamline refinance FAQ

What is an FHA streamline refinance?

An FHA streamline refinance involves replacing an FHA-insured mortgage with another FHA loan that has a lower interest rate, shorter term or both. It’s streamlined because the new loan doesn’t require an FHA appraisal. This speeds up the process and reduces fees.

What is a credit-qualifying FHA streamline?

There are two types of FHA streamline refinance: credit-qualifying and non-credit-qualifying. The non-credit-qualifying option is about as streamlined as it gets — there's no appraisal, no credit check and the lender doesn't assess your debt-to-income ratio, or DTI.

A credit-qualifying streamline refinance still lets you avoid an FHA appraisal, but your lender will run a credit check, thoroughly examine your ability to continue paying your loan and calculate your DTI. If you want to make certain changes to your FHA loan when you do a streamline refinance, like removing a borrower, you'll have to choose the credit-qualifying option.

Can I get an FHA streamline refinance if I don't have an FHA loan?

No, you must have an FHA-insured mortgage to get an FHA streamline refinance. It is possible to refinance a non-FHA loan into an FHA loan, but the lender would require an appraisal, income verification and credit check, so it wouldn’t be considered “streamlined.”

Why go from a conventional loan to an FHA loan? You might choose to refinance to an FHA loan to get a 203(k) refinance, which allows you to roll the cost of home improvements into the refi.

Can I get an FHA streamline refinance with a different lender?

Yes. Though you'll likely want to get a rate quote from your current lender, you can shop different FHA-approved lenders to see which will give you the best deal. In addition to the lenders we've highlighted above, you can search a list of all FHA-approved lenders on the HUD website.

What's the minimum credit score for an FHA streamline refinance?

In general, borrowers with credit scores of 580 or higher may qualify for FHA-insured loans with down payments as low as 3.5%. Borrowers with credit scores of 500 to 579 may qualify for FHA loans with down payments as low as 10%. That said, lenders can set their own minimum credit scores for FHA loans, so you may need to check with multiple lenders if your credit score is low.

With a non-credit-qualifying FHA streamline refinance, a credit check is not required. Instead, the lender will use your mortgage payment history to assess your ability to repay the new loan. You'll need to have at least six months' worth of on-time payments; in the six months prior to that, you can have had no more than one late payment.

Can I get an FHA streamline cash-out refinance?

No. The FHA’s streamline refinance program limits borrowers from taking out more than $500 in cash from the refinance. If you're looking to get cash out from your refi, you'd have to choose an FHA cash-out refinance.

Do I have to pay closing costs on an FHA streamline refinance?

Yes, you will have to pay FHA closing costs, including a new upfront mortgage-insurance premium. Closing costs can't be rolled into an FHA streamline refinance, though you may be able to use gift money or other sources of funds to help cover those costs (your lender will have to approve the sources).

Is an FHA streamline refinance a good idea?

Whether any refinance is a good idea depends on your unique situation. One requirement of any FHA streamline refinance is that it has a "net tangible benefit" to the borrower.

For example, if you lower your rate but keep the same term, you'd be paying less interest overall — a net tangible benefit. On the other hand, if you dropped your rate but extended your term, you might lower your monthly payment but end up paying more interest over time. That scenario wouldn't cut it for an FHA streamline refinance.

To decide whether an FHA streamline refinance might benefit you, run the numbers with a refinance calculator. This can help you see how a better rate or a different term could impact your monthly payments and the total interest paid over the life of the loan. Also consider how long it will take you to break even — when your savings on the new loan are greater than your cost of getting it.

More from NerdWallet:

Last updated on December 1, 2021

Methodology

NerdWallet's star ratings for mortgage lenders are awarded based on our evaluation of the products and services each lender offers to consumers who are actively shopping for the best mortgage. The five key areas we evaluated include the variety of loan types and products offered, online conveniences, online mortgage rate information, and the rate spread and origination fee lenders reported in the latest available Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data. To ensure consistency, our ratings are reviewed by multiple people on the NerdWallet Mortgages team.

To recap our selections...

NerdWallet's Best FHA Streamline Refinance Lenders of 2021