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Best Mortgage Lenders for Home Improvement Loans of 2019

NerdWalletJuly 2, 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.

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.

National / Regional

National

Max LTV

89.9%

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
National / Regional

National

Max LTV

89%

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.

Rocket Mortgage

at Rocket Mortgage

at Rocket Mortgage

Min. Credit Score

620

National / Regional

National

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
Veterans United

at Veterans United

4.5

NerdWallet rating 

at Veterans United

Min. Credit Score

620

National / Regional

National

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%.

Min. Credit Score

620

Min. Down Payment

3%

Pros

  • Low rate of consumer complaints filed with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
  • Request a pre-qualification through PrimeLending’s secure system from a phone, tablet or computer.
  • Niche mortgage products include energy-efficient mortgages, FHA 203(k) renovation and remodeling loans, manufactured home mortgages and home construction loans.
  • Free “float down” interest rate option lets borrowers choose the lower rate if interest rates fall, even with a rate lock.
  • NeighborhoodEdge closing cost assistance program for low- to moderate-income borrowers allows qualified borrowers $2,000 in closing cost credits (restrictions on income and location).
  • “Alternative doc” program lets borrowers qualify for mortgage based on bank statements rather than tax returns.

Cons

  • No live chat online.
  • No online mortgage rate quotes.
Read full review
Min. Credit Score

620

Min. Down Payment

3%

Pros

  • Embraces FHA-backed home loans.
  • Offers three construction loan offerings.
  • A professional loan package is tailored for the needs of doctors, lawyers, architects 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 $1,000 origination fee.
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.

Min. Credit Score

550

Min. Down Payment

3%

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
New American Funding

at New American

at New American

Min. Credit Score

620

Min. Down Payment

3%

Pros

  • Uses manual underwriting to evaluate creditworthiness.
  • Offers full online mortgage application, rate quotes, document upload and loan tracking.

Cons

  • Services not available in all 50 states.
Read full review

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/ARead review
Flagstar

Flagstar

Best Fannie Mae HomeStyle lenders

National

N/ARead review
HomeBridge

HomeBridge

Best FHA 203(k) lenders

National

N/ARead 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/ARead review
Flagstar

Flagstar

Best Fannie Mae HomeStyle lenders

National

N/ARead review
HomeBridge

HomeBridge

Best FHA 203(k) lenders

National

N/ARead review
New American Funding

New American Funding

at New American

Best FHA 203(k) lenders

National

N/A

at New American

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 2, 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