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Best Mortgage Lenders for Home Improvement Loans of 2019

NerdWalletJuly 19, 2019

At NerdWallet, we strive to help you make financial decisions with confidence. To do this, many or all of the products featured here are from our partners. However, this doesn’t influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.

Looking to pay for home improvements? NerdWallet picked the best lenders in five categories to help you have a first-rate experience and get the best rates.

Summary of Best Mortgage Lenders for Home Improvement Loans of 2019

LenderBest ForNational/RegionalMax LTVLearn More
SunTrust

SunTrust

Best HELOC lenders

National

89.9%

Read review
Flagstar

Flagstar

Best HELOC lenders

National

89%

Read review
Rocket Mortgage

Rocket Mortgage

at Rocket Mortgage

Best cash-out refinance lenders

National

N/A

at Rocket Mortgage

Veterans United

Veterans United

NerdWallet rating 

at Veterans United

Best cash-out refinance lenders

National

N/A

at Veterans United

PrimeLending

PrimeLending

Best Fannie Mae HomeStyle lenders

National

N/A

Read review
Flagstar

Flagstar

Best Fannie Mae HomeStyle lenders

National

N/A

Read review
HomeBridge

HomeBridge

Best FHA 203(k) lenders

National

N/A

Read review
New American Funding

New American Funding

at New American

Best FHA 203(k) lenders

National

N/A

at New American

LenderBest ForNational/RegionalMax LTVLearn More
SunTrust

SunTrust

Best HELOC lenders

National

89.9%

Read review
Flagstar

Flagstar

Best HELOC lenders

National

89%

Read review
Rocket Mortgage

Rocket Mortgage

at Rocket Mortgage

Best cash-out refinance lenders

National

N/A

at Rocket Mortgage

Veterans United

Veterans United

NerdWallet rating 

at Veterans United

Best cash-out refinance lenders

National

N/A

at Veterans United

PrimeLending

PrimeLending

Best Fannie Mae HomeStyle lenders

National

N/A

Read review
Flagstar

Flagstar

Best Fannie Mae HomeStyle lenders

National

N/A

Read review
HomeBridge

HomeBridge

Best FHA 203(k) lenders

National

N/A

Read review
New American Funding

New American Funding

at New American

Best FHA 203(k) lenders

National

N/A

at New American

Our picks for

Best HELOC lenders

A home equity line of credit, or HELOC, acts somewhat like a credit card, using your home as collateral. HELOCs have variable rates, and you tap your equity only when you need it.

SunTrust

Logo
National / Regional 
National 

Max LTV 
89.9% 


Why we like it

Ideal for homeowners who want flexibility. SunTrust offers a variable-rate HELOC where borrowers can convert all or part of the HELOC balance into a fixed-rate option.

Rating and Review

Pros

  • Discount introductory interest rate for initial advances of $25,000 or more.

  • Up to five loans of at least $5,000 each can be converted to a fixed-rate, fixed-term option.

  • Multiple ways to access funds: checks, online, mobile or at a branch.

  • Annual fee waived for Signature Advantage or Premier Banking clients.

Cons

  • Borrower pays closing costs of $100 to $2,000 if account is closed within three years.

  • $65 annual fee.

  • No interest-only payment option during draw and repayment periods.

Read Full Review

Flagstar

Logo
National / Regional 
National 

Max LTV 
89% 


Why we like it

Ideal for current Flagstar customers. Flagstar offers rate discounts for existing customers with high credit scores who withdraw at least $25,000 at closing.

Rating and Review

Pros

  • Multiple draw methods.

  • Line amounts from $10,000 to $1,000,000.

  • No prepayment penalty on home equity loans.

Cons

  • Below average customer satisfaction, according to J.D. Power.

  • Branch locations in only about half of U.S. states.

Read Full Review

Our picks for

Best cash-out refinance lenders

If you have plenty of equity in your home, you can pay for home improvements by refinancing your mortgage for more than you currently owe. You collect the difference in cash; that’s why this form of refinancing is called a cash-out refi. The cash can be used to pay for the renovations.

Logo

at Rocket Mortgage

Rocket Mortgage

Logo
Min. Credit Score 
620 

National / Regional 
National 

at Rocket Mortgage


Why we like it

Ideal for refi borrowers with little time. Rocket Mortgage brings smartphone app convenience to the refinance process. And online income and asset verification speeds the process.

Rating and Review

Pros

  • Offers conventional and government-backed refinance mortgages.

  • Customized loan recommendations based on refinance goals.

  • Automatically fills in your application with public information.

  • Helpful mortgage bankers are just a click away.

Cons

  • Doesn’t consider alternative-credit info for refinances.

  • No in-person customer service available.

  • Must create an account to see personalized refinance rates.

Read Full Review
Logo

at Veterans United

Veterans United

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Logo
Min. Credit Score 
620 

National / Regional 
National 

at Veterans United


Why we like it

Ideal for military-connected customers looking to refinance. Veterans United's streamline VA refis require a lot less paperwork with lower closing costs.

Rating and Review

4.5

NerdWallet rating 

Pros

  • Offers VA IRRRL, or “Streamline,” and cash-out refinance loans.

  • Online application and prequalification available.

  • Offers 24/7 customer service.

Cons

  • Doesn’t publish refinance rates on its website.

  • Must provide some personal information for a customized refinance rate quote.

  • Physical locations not available in all states.

Our picks for

Best Fannie Mae HomeStyle lenders

A HomeStyle mortgage allows home buyers and refinancers to roll the costs of renovations into the loan. Qualified first-time home buyers can buy with down payments as low as 3%.

PrimeLending

Logo
Min. Credit Score 
620 

Min. Down Payment 
3% 


Why we like it

Ideal for borrowers with past credit issues and those looking for down payment and closing cost assistance programs.

Rating and Review

Pros

  • Low rate of consumer complaints filed with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

  • Offers a "float-down" interest rate lock.

  • Offers a proprietary closing-cost assistance program.

Cons

  • No online mortgage rates.

  • Charges an origination fee.

  • Doesn't offer home equity products.

Read Full Review

Flagstar

Logo
Min. Credit Score 
620 

Min. Down Payment 
3% 


Why we like it

Ideal for those who appreciate the full-service experience of a leading regional bank. Flagstar offers a full menu of fixed and adjustable home loans and mortgage refinancing, as well as jumbo loans and home equity financing.

Rating and Review

Pros

  • Embraces FHA-backed home loans.

  • Offers several types of construction and renovation mortgages.

  • A professional loan package is tailored for the needs of doctors, lawyers, nurse practitioners, airline pilots and certified public accountants.

  • Flagstar reps are familiar with low-down-payment state bond programs for first-time home buyers and income-limited households, as well as the areas that qualify for USDA loans.

  • Offers home equity loans and home equity lines of credit.

Cons

  • Charges an average $1,295 in underwriting and processing fees.

Read Full Review

Our picks for

Best FHA 203(k) lenders

The Federal Housing Administration’s 203(k) program lets borrowers include renovation costs in an FHA-insured mortgage. The loan amount takes into account the home’s current value, its future value after renovations are completed, and how much the work will cost.

HomeBridge

Logo
Min. Credit Score 
620 

Min. Down Payment 
3% 


Why we like it

Ideal for borrowers who prefer an online experience. Homebridge offers a variety of home loan options and an online application.

Rating and Review

Pros

  • A wide variety of loan types.

  • Low credit score requirements for government-backed loans.

  • A wealth of educational material on its website.

  • Licensed in all 50 states.

Cons

  • Mortgage application can't be tracked online.

  • Charges origination fees on some loans.

  • Limited branch locations.

Read Full Review
Logo

at New American

New American Funding

Logo
Min. Credit Score 
620 

Min. Down Payment 
3% 

at New American


Why we like it

Ideal for borrowers who need to be evaluated on the basis of nontraditional credit. New American Funding offers FHA and VA loans, works with down payment assistance programs, and helps borrowers whose credit histories don't fit the mold of traditional banking.

Rating and Review

Pros

  • Uses manual underwriting to evaluate creditworthiness.

  • Offers full online mortgage application, rate quotes, document upload and loan tracking.

  • Home equity lending sets it apart from most non-bank lenders.

Cons

  • Services not available in all 50 states.

Read Full Review

More ways to pay for home improvements

In addition to the mortgage options listed above, homeowners can consider unsecured personal loans that are not backed by collateral such as one’s home. Personal loan interest rates are higher, but borrowers won’t put their homes at risk. Check out NerdWallet's selections for some of the best personal loans for home improvements.

More from NerdWallet

How much is my house worth?

The pros and cons of home equity lines of credit

How much house can I afford?

Last updated on July 19, 2019

Methodology

NerdWallet's selection of mortgage lenders for inclusion here was made based on our evaluation of the products and services that lenders offer to consumers who are actively shopping for the best mortgage. The six key areas we evaluated include the loan types and loan products offered, online capabilities, online mortgage rate information, customer service and the number of complaints filed with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as a percentage of loans issued. We also awarded lenders up to one bonus star for a unique program or borrower focus that set them apart from other lenders. To ensure consistency, our ratings are reviewed by multiple people on the NerdWallet Mortgages team.

To recap our selections...

NerdWallet's Best Mortgage Lenders for Home Improvement Loans of 2019