BEST OF

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.

NerdWalletJanuary 26, 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.

Summary of Best Home Equity Lenders of 2021

PenFed: NMLS#401822

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
National / Regional

National

Max LTV

90%

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.
  • Offers relatively low mortgage rates in comparison to other lenders.

Cons

  • Lender credit isn't available for refinance mortgages.
  • Doesn't offer FHA loans.
Read full review

PNC: NMLS#446303

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
National / Regional

National

Max LTV

84.9%

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

  • Can't complete a full mortgage application online.
  • Doesn't offer renovation mortgages.
  • In-person service is not available in every state.
Read full review

Flagstar: NMLS#417490

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
National / Regional

National

Max LTV

89%

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.
  • Does well with rate transparency, and monthly payment estimates add mortgage insurance, when applicable.

Cons

  • Home equity lending is geographically limited.
Read full review

Citibank: NMLS#412915

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
National / Regional

National

Good for: Borrowers wanting to compare mortgage rates online for a variety of loan options.

Pros

  • Offers a wide variety of loan options, including low-down-payment mortgages and jumbo mortgages.
  • Provides customizable mortgage rates on its website.
  • Offers low rates and fees compared with other lenders.

Cons

  • Charges a mortgage application fee.
  • Requires help from a mortgage loan officer to complete the loan application online.
Read full review
Rocket Mortgage by Quicken Loans

at Rocket Mortgage by Quicken Loans

4.5

NerdWallet rating 

at Rocket Mortgage by Quicken Loans

Min. Credit Score

620

National / Regional

National

Good for: refinance borrowers who want a fully digital home loan experience powered by Quicken Loans.

Pros

  • Offers conventional and government-backed refinance mortgages.
  • Customized loan recommendations based on refinance goals.
  • Offers document and asset retrieval capabilities.

Cons

  • If you’re a “look me in the eye” type of customer, you’re out of luck.
  • Getting a customized interest rate requires a credit check, which can lower your credit score by a few points.
Read full review

Bank of America: NMLS#399802

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Min. Credit Score

620

National / Regional

National

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

Pros

  • Offers refinance mortgages with fixed and adjustable rates.
  • Allows borrowers to apply entirely online.
  • May give existing customers a discount on mortgage lender origination fees.

Cons

  • Does not offer renovation loans.
Read full review

Last updated on January 26, 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