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13 Best Mortgage Lenders for First-Time Home Buyers in 2022

These mortgage lenders cater to first-time home buyers with low down payments, grant programs and educational materials.

Jan 10, 2022

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For first-time home buyers, finding the right mortgage can be a big challenge. You want to work with a lender that can give you the best rate, the right term and the lowest closing costs, as quickly and efficiently as possible.

NerdWallet has picked some of the best mortgage lenders for first-time home buyers in a variety of categories so you can quickly decide which one is right for you.

The coronavirus pandemic introduced some new challenges to getting a mortgage. Many lenders facing high loan demand and staffing issues increased their fees, adjusted minimum required credit scores or temporarily suspended certain loan products. While some products and business practices have returned to pre-pandemic levels, you might still find delays and limited options. If you can’t pay your current home loan, refer to our mortgage assistance resource. For information on how to cope with financial stress during this pandemic, see NerdWallet’s financial guide to COVID-19.

Best Mortgage Lenders for First-Time Home Buyers in 2022

NBKC
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at NBKC

NBKC: NMLS#409631

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
NBKC

Min. Credit Score

620

Min. Down Payment

3%
Learn more

at NBKC


Why we like it

Good for: borrowers with solid credit who want to pay low rates and get an online experience with phone support. VA loans are an emphasis.

Pros

  • Offers low rates compared with other lenders, according to the latest data.

  • Extends full online capabilities, from application to loan tracking.

  • Displays customized rates, with fee estimates, without requiring contact information.

Cons

  • Equity lines and construction loans are available only in the Kansas City metro area.

  • Doesn’t offer renovation loans.

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NASB
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at NASB

NASB: NMLS#400039

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
NASB

Min. Credit Score

620

Min. Down Payment

3%
Learn more

at NASB


Why we like it

NASB couples competitive mortgage rates and reasonable fees with a good assortment of loan options.

Pros

  • Devotes much of its business to serving military families with VA loans.

  • Considers nontraditional income sources, in some cases.

  • Offers competitive rates and origination fees.

Cons

  • Does not offer home improvement mortgages.

  • Doesn't offer home equity loans and lines of credit.

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Bank of America
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at Bank of America

Bank of America: NMLS#399802

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Bank of America

Min. Credit Score

620

Min. Down Payment

5%

National / Regional

National
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at Bank of America


National / Regional

National

Why we like it

Good for: first-time home buyers looking for low-down-payment options and existing customers who may get a discount on fees.

Pros

  • Offers down payment and closing cost assistance programs.

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

  • Offers home equity line of credit, or HELOC.

Cons

  • Doesn't offer renovation loans that roll costs into a mortgage.

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Chase
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at Chase

Chase: NMLS#399798

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Chase

Min. Credit Score

620

Min. Down Payment

3%
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at Chase


Why we like it

Good for: borrowers who want a name-brand bank with offices in more than half the states that charges lower rates and fees than many other lenders.

Pros

  • Allows electronic submission and tracking of loan documents.

  • Carries a wide variety of mortgage types and products.

  • Generally offers competitive rates, according to the latest data.

Cons

  • Doesn't offer home improvement loans, such as FHA 203(k) and HomeStyle.

  • You have to speak with a home loan adviser to complete the application.

  • Home equity lines of credit (HELOC) are currently unavailable.

Read Full Review

SunTrust (Truist): NMLS#2915

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
SunTrust (Truist)

Min. Credit Score

620

Min. Down Payment

3%

Why we like it

Good for: first-time home buyers, doctors and other borrowers interested in low-down-payment mortgage options.

Pros

  • Offers a wide variety of loan options, including special programs for doctors.

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

  • Sample rates and fees are easy to find on the website.

Cons

  • Customized rates aren't available online without starting an application.

  • Branches are limited mostly to the Southeast.

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Flagstar: NMLS#417490

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Flagstar

Min. Credit Score

620

Min. Down Payment

3%

Why we like it

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.

  • Offers customized online rate quotes with monthly payment estimates, including mortgage insurance, when applicable.

Cons

  • Home equity lending is geographically limited.

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PenFed: NMLS#401822

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
PenFed

Min. Credit Score

620

Min. Down Payment

3%

Why we like it

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.

  • Mortgage rates and fees are low compared to other lenders, according to the latest data.

Cons

  • Lender credit isn't available for refinance mortgages.

  • Doesn't offer FHA or home improvement loans.

Read Full Review

Wells Fargo: NMLS#399801

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Wells Fargo

Min. Credit Score

620

Min. Down Payment

3%

Why we like it

Wells Fargo has a solid selection of mortgage products and offers easy-to-shop rates.

Pros

  • Provides numerous online conveniences, including loan application and process updates.

  • Current rates clearly posted for various loan products.

  • Offers a wide variety of loan types and products.

Cons

  • Home equity loans and lines of credit suspended due to COVID-19 are still unavailable.

  • Scandals and government actions have damaged consumer trust in recent years.

  • No home improvement loans offered.

Read Full Review

BB&T (Truist): NMLS#399803

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
BB&T (Truist)

Min. Credit Score

620

Min. Down Payment

3%

Why we like it

Good for: borrowers in the Southeast who want the option of face-to-face service. BB&T is now part of Truist Financial Corp., which offers a full menu of home loans.

Pros

  • Offers a variety of home loans, including construction-to-permanent loans, physicians loans and jumbo loans.

  • Has a robust online mortgage application.

Cons

  • Branches limited to mostly the Southeast region.

  • Custom rates are only available if you speak with a representative.

Read Full Review

PNC: NMLS#446303

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
PNC

Min. Credit Score

620

Min. Down Payment

3%

Why we like it

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

  • Doesn't offer renovation mortgages.

  • In-person service is not available in every state.

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TD Bank: NMLS#399800

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
TD Bank

Min. Credit Score

620

Min. Down Payment

3%

Why we like it

TD Bank Mortgage gets high marks for its variety of loan products and mortgage types, and excels at online convenience, including providing customized mortgage rates on its site.

Pros

  • Allows 3% down payment without borrower-paid mortgage insurance.

  • Offers specialty loans like construction-to-permanent mortgages and medical professional mortgages.

  • Among the best when it comes to online convenience, including loan process updates.

Cons

  • Available only in states on the East Coast.

  • The only way to see mortgage rates is through a customizing form.

Read Full Review

Citibank: NMLS#412915

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Citibank

National / Regional

National

Min. Down Payment

3%

Why we like it

Good for: existing Citibank customers, as well as borrowers eligible for the low-down-payment HomeRun mortgage.

Pros

  • Offers a wide variety of loan options, including low-down-payment mortgages and jumbo mortgages.

  • Offers low rates and typical fees compared to other lenders, according to the latest data.

Cons

  • Requires help from a loan officer to complete an online mortgage application.

  • Customized mortgage rates not available without making contact.

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Carrington: NMLS#2600

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Carrington

Min. Credit Score

620

Min. Down Payment

3%

Why we like it

Good for: first-time home buyers or credit-challenged borrowers interested in government loan products.

Pros

  • Offers multiple low-down-payment loan programs.

  • May consider alternative credit data, such as bank statements and rent payments.

  • You can view customized rates for purchasing a home and apply online.

Cons

  • Doesn't offer home equity loans, HELOCs or renovation mortgages.

  • Lender fees and mortgage rates are on the high side, according to the latest data.

Read Full Review

How do I choose a mortgage lender?

Once you have an idea of the type of mortgage you're looking for, finding the right lender may be easier than you think, especially when you compare at least three lenders and let them compete for your business. It's likely one lender's mortgage package will rise above the others’ — with a lower rate and lower fees.

More from NerdWallet

Last updated on January 10, 2022

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 four key areas we evaluated include the variety of loan types offered, ease of application, mortgage rate transparency, and our analysis of the rates and fees 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 Mortgage Lenders for First-Time Home Buyers in 2022

Frequently asked questions