BEST OF

16 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.

Feb 28, 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.

Best Mortgage Lenders for First-Time Home Buyers in 2022

NASB
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at NASB

NASB: NMLS#400039

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
NASB

Min. credit score

620

Min. down payment

3%
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at NASB


Why we like it

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

Pros

  • Offers competitive rates and origination fees.

  • Considers nontraditional income sources, in some cases.

Cons

  • Does not offer home improvement mortgages.

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

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NBKC
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at NBKC

NBKC: NMLS#409631

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
NBKC

Min. credit score

620

Min. down payment

3%
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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

  • 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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Veterans United
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at Veterans United

Veterans United: NMLS#1907

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Veterans United

Min. credit score

620

Min. down payment

0%
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at Veterans United


Why we like it

Good for: veterans, active-duty service members and eligible reservists looking for VA or non-VA loans.

Pros

  • Offers 24/7 customer service over the phone.

  • Has online application and pre-qualification.

  • Offers a free credit counseling service.

  • Employs advisors from each branch of the armed forces.

Cons

  • Doesn’t offer home equity loans or HELOCs.

  • Veterans United has physical branch offices in only 17 states.

  • Information on FHA, USDA and conventional loans is harder to find on its website.

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Guaranteed Rate
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at Guaranteed Rate

Guaranteed Rate: NMLS#2611

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Guaranteed Rate

Min. credit score

620

Min. down payment

3%
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at Guaranteed Rate


Why we like it

Good for: borrowers seeking conventional or government-backed loans, and a totally online experience.

Pros

  • Offers the ability to securely upload and digitally sign loan documents.

  • Displays detailed sample rates for many of its loan products.

Cons

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

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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.

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Northpointe
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at Northpointe

Northpointe: NMLS#447490

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Northpointe

Min. credit score

620

Min. down payment

3%
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at Northpointe


Why we like it

Good for: those seeking an abundance of loan offerings, including a no-down-payment mortgage that helps accelerate home equity accumulation.

Pros

  • A full slate of loan offerings.

  • Offers a no-down-payment loan with a shorter repayment term that helps accelerate home equity accumulation.

  • A mobile app provides a number of customer conveniences.

  • Serves all 50 states plus Washington, D.C.

Cons

  • You’ll need to provide contact information or speak to a loan officer for customized mortgage rates.

  • Origination fees are on the high side, according to the latest data.

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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

660

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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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.

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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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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.

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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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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.

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State Employees Credit Union: NMLS#430055

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
State Employees Credit Union

Min. credit score

640

Min. down payment

3%

Why we like it

Good for: North Carolina government employees and other eligible borrowers interested in conventional loans with low down payment options.

Pros

  • No private mortgage insurance required, even with a down payment less than 20%.

  • First-time home buyers may borrow up to $400,000 with no down payment required.

  • No fees for applications or credit reports.

  • Offers mortgage credit certificate and down payment assistance programs.

Cons

  • Does not have government-backed loan options.

  • Membership eligibility is highly limited, and loans are available only for properties located in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.

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US Bank: NMLS#402761

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
US Bank

Min. credit score

620

Min. down payment

3%

Why we like it

U.S. Bank gets high marks for its loan offerings and online customer conveniences — and has competitive fees and mortgage rates.

Pros

  • Offers a full line of conventional and government loan products.

  • Provides home equity loans and lines of credit.

  • Allows borrowers to apply and track their loan's progress online.

Cons

  • No personalized mortgage rates available online.

  • Published mortgage rates assume an above-average credit score.

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Wintrust Mortgage: NMLS#449042

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Wintrust Mortgage

Min. credit score

620

Min. down payment

3%

Why we like it

Wintrust Mortgage offers a variety of loan products, including home equity lines of credit and even home-improvement loans, and provides a number of online conveniences, such as loan process updates. But you won’t find rates posted online.

Pros

  • Online application and progress tracking are available.

  • Offers specialty loans, such as construction and renovation loans.

  • Participates in some first-time home buyer assistance programs.

Cons

  • Sample rates for some loan products are available only by contacting a loan officer.

  • Physical locations aren't available in all states.

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 February 28, 2022

Methodology

The star ratings on this page reflect each lender's overall star ratings. Read more about how we determine those ratings. The lenders on this page are chosen using this methodology:

NerdWallet reviewed nearly 60 mortgage lenders, including the majority of the largest U.S. mortgage lenders by annual loan volume (lenders had to have at least a 1% market share), lenders with significant online search volume and those that specialize in serving various audiences across the country.

All reviewed mortgage lenders that offer programs for first-time home buyers were evaluated based on (1) the portion of their business dedicated to FHA and VA lending, (2) their ability to offer conventional loans with a down payment as low as 3%, (3) their origination fees, (4) their proprietary first-time home buyer loans or assistance (e.g. grants or loans to cover down payment and closing costs), (5) mortgage rate transparency, and (6) the ease of their online application. The highest scoring lenders appear on this page.

NerdWallet solicits information from reviewed lenders on a recurring basis throughout the year. All lender-provided information is verified through lender websites and interviews. We also utilized 2020 HMDA data for origination volume, origination fee, rate spread and share-of-product data.

To recap our selections...

NerdWallet's Best Mortgage Lenders for First-Time Home Buyers in 2022

Frequently asked questions