Best of

10 Best Mortgage Lenders for First-Time Home Buyers of 2019

NerdWalletOctober 1, 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.

If you're a first time home buyer, we'll help you choose the best lenders of 2019 for you. We've assembled lenders that cater to first time home buyers with low down payments, grant programs and educational materials.

Summary of Best Mortgage Lenders for First-Time Home Buyers of 2019

LenderBest For

Minimum Credit Score

Minimum Down PaymentLearn More
New American Funding

New American Funding

at New American

low credit score

620

3%

at New American

Quicken Loans

Quicken Loans

at Quicken Loans

first-time home buyers overall

620

3%

at Quicken Loans

SoFi

SoFi

at SoFi

low-down-payment jumbo loans

N/A

10%

at SoFi

Chase

Chase

at Chase

face-to-face service

620

3%

at Chase

Vylla

Vylla

at Vylla

low credit score

620

3%

at Vylla

Citibank Mortgage

Citibank Mortgage

first-time home buyers overall

N/A

3%

Read review
Bank of America

Bank of America

face-to-face service

620

3%

Read review
Navy Federal

Navy Federal

no credit history

N/A

0%

Read review
SunTrust

SunTrust

low down payments

620

3%

Read review
Flagstar

Flagstar

low down payments

620

3%

Read review
LenderBest For

Minimum Credit Score

Minimum Down PaymentLearn More
New American Funding

New American Funding

at New American

low credit score

620

3%

at New American

Quicken Loans

Quicken Loans

at Quicken Loans

first-time home buyers overall

620

3%

at Quicken Loans

SoFi

SoFi

at SoFi

low-down-payment jumbo loans

N/A

10%

at SoFi

Chase

Chase

at Chase

face-to-face service

620

3%

at Chase

Vylla

Vylla

at Vylla

low credit score

620

3%

at Vylla

Citibank Mortgage

Citibank Mortgage

first-time home buyers overall

N/A

3%

Read review
Bank of America

Bank of America

face-to-face service

620

3%

Read review
Navy Federal

Navy Federal

no credit history

N/A

0%

Read review
SunTrust

SunTrust

low down payments

620

3%

Read review
Flagstar

Flagstar

low down payments

620

3%

Read 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
Logo

at Quicken Loans

Quicken Loans

Logo
Min. Credit Score 
620 

Min. Down Payment 
3% 

at Quicken Loans


Why we like it

Ideal choice for convenience and quick-response customer service. Quicken Loans provides just about all the services your neighborhood lender does — with online convenience.

Rating and Review

Pros

  • Quicken Loans couples a fully online application with available mortgage advisors for those who want a human touch.

  • Instantly verifies employment and income for more than 60% of working Americans.

  • Offers custom fixed-rate loan terms that are between eight and 30 years.

  • Provides FHA-backed loans, USDA loans as well as products offered by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae that require down payments as low as 3%.

Cons

  • Doesn't offer home equity loans or HELOCs.

  • If you’re a “look me in the eye” type of customer, you’re out of luck.

  • Doesn’t consider alternative credit data. It just looks at credit scores and debt-to-income ratios, the way most mortgage lenders always have.

Read Full Review
Logo

at SoFi

National / Regional 
Regional 

Min. Down Payment 
10% 

at SoFi


Why we like it

Ideal for young professionals and self-employed borrowers looking for a lender that considers nontraditional income.

Rating and Review

Pros

  • Provides an entirely digital mortgage application to make the process easier for borrowers.

  • Considers nontraditional income, such as restricted stock units, and works with self-employed borrowers.

  • Does not require private mortgage insurance for jumbo loans.

Cons

  • Doesn't offer government-backed loans, like FHA or VA.

  • Does not offer home equity loans or HELOCs.

Read Full Review
Logo

at Chase

Min. Credit Score 
620 

Min. Down Payment 
3% 

at Chase


Why we like it

Ideal for first-time home buyers who want to talk to a loan officer in person or on the phone, and for homeowners who want to refinance their mortgages in 60 days or less. Chase offers a full line of mortgage products and account management tools.

Rating and Review

Pros

  • Allows electronic submission and tracking of documents.

  • Existing Chase customers can get discounts.

  • Offers a wide selection of purchase and refinance mortgages.

Cons

  • Charges rate lock, origination and underwriting fees.

  • You have to speak with a mortgage banker to get complete info on products and requirements.

Read Full Review
Logo

at Vylla

Min. Credit Score 
620 

Min. Down Payment 
3% 

at Vylla


Why we like it

Ideal for first-time home buyers or credit-challenged borrowers who may have trouble qualifying for a mortgage.

Rating and Review

Pros

  • Low minimum credit score.

  • Online application, loan tracking and document upload.

  • Free rate locks.

Cons

  • No online preapproval.

  • No presence in Massachusetts or North Dakota.

Read Full Review

Citibank Mortgage

Logo
National / Regional 
National 

Min. Down Payment 
3% 


Why we like it

Ideal for first-time home buyers or those with weaker credit. Citibank Mortgage, a large-scale lender with a full menu of home loan products, offers low down payment options and considers alternative credit data.

Rating and Review

Pros

  • Low down payment options.

  • Discounts for Citibank customers.

  • Looks at alternative credit data like rent history and child support payments.

  • Available in all 50 states.

Cons

  • Charges a mortgage application fee.

  • Did not disclose origination fees, which may vary.

  • Can't complete loan online.

Read Full Review

Bank of America

Logo
Min. Credit Score 
620 

Min. Down Payment 
3% 


Why we like it

Ideal for borrowers who prefer a traditional bank. Bank of America offers a wide array of mortgages and online account management tools. It also has first-time home buyer loans with low down payments and no mandatory mortgage insurance.

Rating and Review

Pros

  • Allows borrowers to apply entirely online.

  • Offers down payment and closing cost assistance programs.

  • Accepts alternative credit data for some loan types.

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

Cons

  • Charges an application fee of $1,170, on average.

  • Has a high volume of consumer complaints, even for a big national bank.

Read Full Review

Navy Federal

Logo
National / Regional 
National 

Min. Down Payment 
0% 


Why we like it

Ideal for military members and their families. Navy Federal Credit Union offers a wide range of mortgage products, an online application and considers alternative credit data for certain loan types.

Rating and Review

Pros

  • Wide range of affordable mortgage products designed for military members.

  • Willing to look at nontraditional credit data, such as rent payments, as part of its credit evaluation for certain products.

  • Online application for preapproval with quick decision.

Cons

  • Website does not provide customized mortgage rates based on credit score or other factors before you apply.

Read Full Review

SunTrust

Logo
Min. Credit Score 
620 

Min. Down Payment 
3% 


Why we like it

Ideal for first-time home buyers, including those with little money saved for a down payment. SunTrust's online portal offers information and tools in English and in Spanish.

Rating and Review

Pros

  • Offers a complete online suite of mortgage application tools and loan tracking.

  • Has plenty of loan options to choose from and competitive interest rates.

  • Provides customer service in its physical locations, online, via chat and by phone.

  • Has a Doctor Loan Program for medical professionals who have high earning potential but little cash for down payments.

Cons

  • Has a limited number of physical branch locations in 11 states and Washington, D.C.

  • Does not consider alternative scoring data, such as rent or utility payments, in standard underwriting.

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

Last updated on October 1, 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 First-Time Home Buyers of 2019