BEST OF

Best Mortgage Lenders of May 2022

Before buying a home or refinancing a mortgage, shop around to find some of the best mortgage lenders for your circumstances.

Apr 5, 2022

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money.

When you buy a home or refinance your mortgage, it's a big financial decision, so it makes sense to find the best mortgage lender you can. To do that, shop for offers from at least three lenders.

Compare mortgage rates and other loan elements such as fees, terms, time to close, the availability of online application and loan tracking, and customer service offerings. Taking the time to make an informed decision can save you thousands of dollars over the life of your loan.

To help you choose a mortgage lender, NerdWallet’s business and editorial teams have picked some of the best out there in a variety of categories to help you get the home loan with the best mortgage rate, term and fees.

Best Mortgage Lenders From Our Partners

New American Funding
Learn more

at New American Funding

New American Funding: NMLS#6606

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
New American Funding

Min. credit score

620

Min. down payment

3%
Learn more

at New American Funding


Why we like it

Good for: borrowers who need to be evaluated on the basis of nontraditional credit and those interested in various down payment assistance programs.

Pros

  • Uses manual underwriting to evaluate creditworthiness, in some cases.

  • Offers full online mortgage application, rate quotes, document upload and loan tracking.

Cons

  • Mortgage origination fees tend to be on the high end, according to the latest federal data.

Read Full Review
NBKC
Learn more

at NBKC

NBKC: NMLS#409631

4.5

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

  • 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.

Read Full Review
Rocket Mortgage, LLC
Learn more

at Rocket Mortgage, LLC

Rocket Mortgage, LLC: NMLS#3030

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Rocket Mortgage, LLC

Min. credit score

620

National / regional

National
Learn more

at Rocket Mortgage, LLC


Why we like it

Good for: borrowers who appreciate convenience online and on the go for a fully digital home loan experience with consistently acclaimed customer service.

Pros

  • Caters to self-service users who want to apply for a home loan online and talk to a human only as necessary.

  • Estimates the loan amount you’ll qualify for within minutes.

  • Streamlines the online process with document and asset retrieval capabilities, including the ability to edit your preapproval letter.

Cons

  • Getting a customized interest rate requires a credit check, which can affect your credit score.

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

  • Lender fees are on the high side and the fees aren't offset by particularly low mortgage rates, according to the latest data.

Read Full Review
Veterans United
Learn more

at Veterans United

Veterans United: NMLS#1907

4.0

NerdWallet rating 
Veterans United

Min. credit score

620

Min. down payment

0%
Learn more

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.

Read Full Review
NASB
Learn more

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

  • 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.

Read Full Review
Pennymac
Learn more

at Pennymac

Pennymac: NMLS#35953

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Pennymac

Min. credit score

620

Min. down payment

3.5%
Learn more

at Pennymac


Why we like it

Pennymac excels in online capabilities and makes it easy to shop rates online. Average origination fees are higher than other lenders, and home equity lines of credit and jumbo mortgages were suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pros

  • Offers a full range of online capabilities, including e-signatures and online loan process tracking.

  • Displays custom rate quotes based on home value, down payment or equity, ZIP code and credit score range.

Cons

  • Origination fees are on the higher end, according to the latest federal data.

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

Read Full Review
Watermark Home Loans
Learn more

at Watermark Home Loans

Watermark Home Loans: NMLS#1838

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Watermark Home Loans

Min. credit score

620

Min. down payment

3%
Learn more

at Watermark Home Loans


Why we like it

Good for: borrowers looking for a decent selection of loan types with some not-so-standard options, such as reverse mortgages for seniors.

Pros

  • Offers reverse mortgages and interest-only loans for certain borrowers.

  • Online capabilities include a full application, as well as loan process updates.

Cons

  • Does not offer home improvement loans.

  • Fully customized mortgage rates not available without providing contact information.

Read Full Review
Ally Bank
Learn more

at Ally Bank

Ally Bank: NMLS#181005

4.0

NerdWallet rating 
Ally Bank

National / regional

National

Min. down payment

20%
Learn more

at Ally Bank


Why we like it

Ally Home offers online mortgage applications and loan tracking, with an emphasis on jumbo loans. But borrowers who want FHA or VA loans are out of luck.

Pros

  • Excels in online convenience, with document upload, loan tracking and e-signatures.

  • Offers good rate transparency; rate shoppers can see customized interest rates.

Cons

  • Limited variety of loan products: FHA, VA and USDA loans are unavailable.

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

Read Full Review
Guaranteed Rate
Learn more

at Guaranteed Rate

Guaranteed Rate: NMLS#2611

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Guaranteed Rate

Min. credit score

620

Min. down payment

3%
Learn more

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.

Read Full Review
Better
Learn more

at Better

Better: NMLS#330511

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Better

Min. credit score

620

Min. down payment

3%
Learn more

at Better


Why we like it

Good for: tech-savvy borrowers who prefer an online experience.

Pros

  • An online process with human help as needed.

  • Makes it easy to see customized mortgage rates.

  • Offers an "underwriter reviewed" preapproval letter in as little as 24 hours.

  • Appraisal guarantee promises the loan won’t change even if appraisal is lower than expected.

Cons

  • Doesn't offer home equity loans or HELOCs.

  • Doesn't do VA or USDA loans.

  • Appraisal guarantee is limited to borrowers who use Better real estate agents.

Read Full Review
Chase
Learn more

at Chase

Chase: NMLS#399798

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Chase

National / regional

National

Min. down payment

20%
Learn more

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
BNC National Bank
Learn more

at BNC National Bank

BNC National Bank: NMLS#418467

4.0

NerdWallet rating 
BNC National Bank

Min. credit score

640

Min. down payment

3.5%
Learn more

at BNC National Bank


Why we like it

BNC National Bank offers a robust variety of loans, but you have to reach out to a loan officer to get customized interest rates.

Pros

  • Wide variety of loan types and products.

  • Improved online capabilities, and robust iOS and Android apps.

  • Considers alternative credit data, like cell phone payments.

Cons

  • Limited number of physical mortgage offices.

  • Limited rate information is available without starting an application or speaking with a loan officer.

Read Full Review
Bank of America
Learn more

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
Learn more

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.

Read Full Review

NerdWallet's editorial picks for the best mortgage lenders

Best for nontraditional credit histories

Best for refinancing

Best for first-time home buyers and VA loans

Best for digital convenience

Best for digital convenience

Best for overall mortgage experience

Best for first-time home buyers and jumbo loans

Best for refinancing

Best for rate transparency

Best for rate transparency

Best for jumbo loans

Best for variety of loan types

Explore our lender roundups

How does a mortgage work?

A mortgage is a loan to purchase a home. The loan is repaid with interest in monthly payments over a certain number of years, such as 15, 20 or 30. If the mortgage isn't repaid, the borrower may lose the home in a multistage process known as foreclosure.

Banks, credit unions and other lenders offer mortgages. To apply, fill out an application and provide documentation about your finances. Lenders consider your income, debts and credit score to decide whether you qualify and the terms to offer.

Types of mortgages

There are a variety of mortgages and home loan programs. Here are some of your choices.

Fixed vs. adjustable rates

There are fixed-rate and adjustable-rate mortgages. The interest rate stays the same for the entire loan term of a fixed-rate mortgage. With an adjustable-rate mortgage, or ARM, the interest rate stays the same for a certain period, up to 10 years, and then adjusts at a specified interval, usually every six months.

15-, 20- and 30-year mortgages

The most popular mortgage term is 30 years, but 15- and 20-year mortgages are also available. Mortgage payments are spread out monthly through the term. At the end, the loan is paid off and the borrower owns the property free and clear.

Government-backed mortgages

These loans are backed by the federal government:

FHA mortgages are backed by the Federal Housing Administration. They allow down payments as low as 3.5% and have more lenient credit score requirements than other loan programs. Borrowers must pay for mortgage insurance.

USDA mortgages, backed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and meant for rural home buyers, do not require a down payment, but borrowers must pay an upfront and annual guarantee fee, similar to mortgage insurance for FHA loans.

VA loans, backed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, are for veterans and active military members. VA mortgages require no down payment, but borrowers pay a one-time VA funding fee, which can be rolled into the loan.

Conventional loans

Conventional loans are mortgages that are not backed by the federal government. Some conventional loans have down payment requirements as low as 3% — but typically, borrowers must pay for private mortgage insurance if they put down less than 20%.

Conventional mortgages can be conforming or nonconforming. Conforming conventional mortgages fall within certain dollar amount limitations set every year by the Federal Housing Finance Agency. They also meet underwriting guidelines set by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-sponsored entities that buy conforming loans.

Nonconforming loans don’t abide by those limits and guidelines. For example, jumbo loans are conventional mortgages that exceed the conforming loan limits. They also typically have stricter criteria for approval than other mortgages.

What’s the credit score needed for a home loan?

The credit score needed to buy a home depends on the type of loan and the lender. Most borrowers have scores in the high 600s to 700s. FHA loans generally have the most lenient credit score requirements.

How to compare mortgage rates

You can check current mortgage rates to see the average of what lenders are offering. Then get initial quotes online from some lenders based on your location, loan term, purchase price, down payment amount and other factors.

To get a firm quote, you'll need to apply for preapproval. During the preapproval process, the lender will check your credit and verify your financial information, such as income, assets and debts.

How to shop for a mortgage lender

The time to shop for a mortgage lender is before you start house hunting. Getting preapproved for a mortgage will show real estate agents and sellers that you're a serious buyer. It's smart to get preapproved and then get Loan Estimates from more than one lender. The Loan Estimate provides details about the loan terms, monthly payment and estimated closing costs. With those pieces of information, you can compare offers and choose the best deal.

More from NerdWallet:

Last updated on April 5, 2022

Methodology

NerdWallet's content team selected its list of lenders based on the following 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 of May 2022

Frequently asked questions