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Best Conventional Mortgage Lenders of 2019

Finding the Right Mortgage, Mortgages
NerdWallet adheres to strict standards of editorial integrity to help you make decisions with confidence. Some of the products we feature are from partners. Here’s how we make money.
We adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity. Some of the products we feature are from our partners. Here’s how we make money.
NerdWallet offers financial tools and advice to help you understand your options and make the best possible decisions. The guidance we offer and information we provide are deeply researched, objective and independent. We spent over 400 hours reviewing the top mortgage lenders before selecting the best for our readers.

For home buyers with strong credit, solid income and at least a 3% down payment, a conventional mortgage may be the perfect fit. But which lender should you choose?

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

» MORE: Conventional mortgage FAQs

Best conventional mortgage lenders for first-time home buyers

These lenders offer conventional loans with low down payments and flexible credit requirements.

Quicken Loans
4.5 NerdWallet rating
  • The largest FHA lender in the nation.
  • Has a full complement of mortgage products for buying and refinancing.
  • Offers a technology-friendly loan process with access to mortgage advisors.
  • Quicken Loans review
4.0 NerdWallet rating
  • Offers a full line of purchase mortgages, including FHA and VA loans.
  • Has low-down payment-options that don’t require private mortgage insurance.
  • Available in all 50 states.
  • CitiMortgage review

Best conventional mortgage lenders for a refinance

You’ll have multiple options for refinancing into a conventional loan with these lenders.

4.0 NerdWallet rating
  • Offers refinance mortgages with no origination fees or broker commissions.
  • Minimum 620 credit score qualification.
  • Automated suggestion engine will determine if there are steps you can take to lower your rate.
  • Lenda review
3.5 NerdWallet rating
  • Offers customers a variety of refinance options.
  • Provides fixed, adjustable, jumbo, FHA, VA and Home Affordable Refinance Program loans.
  • You can apply online, in a branch or by phone.
  • Chase Mortgage review

Best online conventional mortgage lenders

Enjoy a fast, convenient and fully automated mortgage process with these lenders.

Rocket Mortgage
4.5 NerdWallet rating
  • The biggest online mortgage lender in the U.S.
  • Fully automated process that imports employment and income data, credit scores, property information and more.
  • Provides a loan decision in minutes.
  • Rocket Mortgage review
4.5 NerdWallet rating
  • Has hundreds of high marks and positive reviews on sites such as the Better Business Bureau and Yelp.
  • Boasts a more than 95% customer satisfaction rate.
  • Provides a completely digital mortgage platform for both refinance and purchase customers.
  • Guaranteed Rate review

Best conventional mortgage lenders for borrowers with weak credit

These lenders specialize in loans for those with low credit scores or nontraditional credit histories.

4.5 NerdWallet rating
  • Uses manual underwriting to evaluate borrowers, which allows more flexibility to approve loans.
  • Offers a broad range of loans, including FHA, fixed-rate and adjustable-rate mortgages; minimum score 580.
  • Offers multiple down payment assistance and grant programs.
  • New American Funding review
4.5 NerdWallet rating
  • Specializes in loans to borrowers with lower credit scores; minimum score 500 in some cases.
  • Offers down payment assistance programs through housing authorities in some states.
  • Free rate locks.
  • Vylla review

Best conventional mortgage lenders for face-to-face service

Want a human to answer questions and provide updates? Try these lenders.

4.0 NerdWallet rating
  • One of the largest banks in the world with thousands of branches across the U.S.
  • Offers a range of products, including fixed, adjustable, jumbo, FHA and VA loans.
  • Create an account to upload documents, download loan disclosures, e-sign and more.
  • Bank of America review
4.0 NerdWallet rating
  • Offers full line of purchase mortgages, including FHA and VA loans.
  • Has low-down-payment options that don’t require private mortgage insurance.
  • Has nearly 700 branches across all 50 states.
  • CitiMortgage review

Best conventional mortgage lenders: summary

Conventional mortgage FAQs

Conventional mortgages typically conform to loan limits set by the Federal Housing Finance Agency, and aren’t guaranteed or insured by the federal government.

» MORE: Understanding conventional mortgages

Some lenders offer conventional mortgages with a down payment of as little as 3%. You’ll typically need to put down at least 20% to avoid private mortgage insurance, however.

» MORE: Use our down payment calculator to see if you’ve saved enough

Qualifying for a conventional loan is generally harder than qualifying for FHA and other government home loans. In addition to down payment funds, you’ll need a solid income and credit history. Credit score requirements for conventional mortgages vary by lender, but 620 is typically the minimum. You’ll need a score of around 740 to get the best rates.

» MORE: Get your credit score for free

Unlike conventional mortgages, FHA loans are guaranteed by the Federal Housing Administration. FHA mortgages have more relaxed income and credit score requirements than conventional mortgages, but they typically require a 3.5% down payment and mandatory mortgage insurance for the life of the loan.

» MORE: FHA vs. conventional home loans

The best conventional mortgage lenders offer the right combination of competitive rates, attractive loan terms and low closing costs. Finding a lender that excels at customer service and your preferred style of communication is also essential.

» MORE: 5 tips for finding the best mortgage lender

 

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.

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