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6 Best Home Equity Lenders of 2021

These mortgage lenders are among the standouts in 2021 for home equity loans, lines of credit and cash-out refinancing.

Dec 1, 2021

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If you have equity in your home — its market value is higher than what you owe on your mortgage — you can tap it for home improvements or other financial needs. You build equity over time by paying down your home loan, and rising home prices can also make your house worth more.

Home-equity borrowing has an advantage: You get a lower interest rate than with a personal loan because your borrowing is backed by your home. Use your home’s equity with care — many financial pros suggest using home equity only for things that increase your home’s value.

NerdWallet reviews and rates mortgage lenders to find the best for home equity loans, home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) and cash-out refinancing.

Best Home Equity Lenders

Rocket Mortgage, LLC
Learn more

at Rocket Mortgage, LLC

Rocket Mortgage, LLC: NMLS#3030

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Rocket Mortgage, LLC

Min. credit score

620

National / regional

National
Learn more

at Rocket Mortgage, LLC


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.

Read Full Review
Bank of America
Learn more

at Bank of America

Bank of America: NMLS#399802

4.0

NerdWallet rating 
Bank of America

Min. credit score

620

National / regional

National
Learn more

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.

Read Full Review

PenFed: NMLS#401822

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
PenFed

National / regional

National

Max LTV

90%

Min. credit score

N/A

Min. credit score

N/A

Why we like it

PenFed Credit Union has a digital mortgage application and offers a wide selection of mortgages, including low-down-payment home loans. But it doesn't offer FHA mortgages.

Pros

  • Offers a broad selection of home loan products, including low-down-payment options for first-time home buyers and home buyers of limited means.

  • Offers a lender credit, based on loan amount, for purchase mortgages.

  • Mortgage rates and fees are low compared to other lenders, according to the latest data.

Cons

  • Lender credit isn't available for refinance mortgages.

  • Doesn't offer FHA or home improvement loans.

Read Full Review

Flagstar: NMLS#417490

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Flagstar

National / regional

National

Max LTV

89%

Min. credit score

620

Min. credit score

620

Why we like it

Good for: borrowers who want a wide range of choices — not only among mortgage products, but also in the channel they prefer, whether a branch, online or on the phone.

Pros

  • Offers a wide range of loan types and products, including FHA, VA and USDA.

  • Has a full suite of online conveniences.

  • Offers customized online rate quotes with monthly payment estimates, including mortgage insurance, when applicable.

Cons

  • Home equity lending is geographically limited.

Read Full Review

PNC: NMLS#446303

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
PNC

National / regional

National

Max LTV

84.9%

Min. credit score

620

Min. credit score

620

Why we like it

Good for: borrowers with low-to-moderate incomes or limited down payments. PNC offers several low-down-payment loans, including one with no mortgage insurance.

Pros

  • Posts current mortgage rates on its website.

  • Has an online application for mortgage preapproval and a digital tool to track application progress.

  • Offers several affordable loan options, including FHA, VA, USDA and the PNC Community Loan.

Cons

  • Doesn't offer renovation mortgages.

  • In-person service is not available in every state.

Read Full Review

Connexus: NMLS#649316

4.0

NerdWallet rating 
Connexus

National / regional

National

Max LTV

N/A

Min. credit score

640

Min. credit score

640

Why we like it

Connexus boasts low-down-payment conventional loans and makes mortgage rate information readily accessible online, but doesn't offer government-backed mortgages.

Pros

  • Offers both traditional and interest-only HELOCs.

  • Displays sample rates for its entire array of loan products, and you don't need to provide personal information to get a custom rate quote.

Cons

  • Lacks document upload and online loan tracking capabilities.

Read Full Review

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 Home Equity Lenders of 2021