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Best Mortgage Lenders for First-Time Home Buyers of 2019

NerdWalletApril 26, 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.

Quicken Loans

at Quicken Loans

at Quicken Loans

Min. Credit Score

620

Min. Down Payment

3%

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
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
SoFi

at SoFi

at SoFi

National / Regional

Regional

Min. Down Payment

10%

Pros

  • Charges no application or origination fees.
  • 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.

Cons

  • Doesn't offer government-backed loans, like FHA or VA.
  • Does not offer home equity loans or HELOCs.
Read full review
Chase

at Chase

at Chase

Min. Credit Score

620

Min. Down Payment

3%

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
Vylla

at Vylla

at Vylla

Min. Credit Score

620

Min. Down Payment

3%

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
National / Regional

National

Min. Down Payment

3%

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
Min. Credit Score

620

Min. Down Payment

3%

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
National / Regional

National

Min. Down Payment

0%

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.
  • Lower minimum loan amounts than many other lenders.
  • Online application for preapproval with quick decision.
  • $1,000 mortgage rate match program.
  • Operates nationwide.

Cons

  • Charges application and underwriting fees.
  • Origination charge on a typical conventional loan is 1% of the loan amount.
Read full review
Min. Credit Score

620

Min. Down Payment

3%

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
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

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

LenderBest For

Minimum Credit Score

Minimum Down PaymentLearn More
Quicken Loans

Quicken Loans

at Quicken Loans

first-time home buyers overall

620

3%

at Quicken Loans

New American Funding

New American Funding

at New American

Low credit score

620

3%

at New American

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
Quicken Loans

Quicken Loans

at Quicken Loans

first-time home buyers overall

620

3%

at Quicken Loans

New American Funding

New American Funding

at New American

Low credit score

620

3%

at New American

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

Last updated on April 26, 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