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Best Mortgage Lenders for First-Time Home Buyers of 2019

Finding the Right Mortgage, Mortgages
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.


For first-time home buyers, finding the right mortgage is crucial. It can also be a big challenge.

You want to work with a lender who can give you the best rate, the right term and the lowest closing costs as quickly and efficiently as possible. You may also want a lender who participates in first-time home buyer assistance programs. Finding that lender — the one who will help you close your loan as quickly and efficiently as possible so you can move into your new home — is essential.

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.

NerdWallet’s best lenders for first-time home buyers

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at Quicken Loans

Min. credit score

620

Min. down payment

3%

Why we like it

Ideal choice for convenience and quick-response customer service. Quicken Loans provides just about all the services your neighborhood lender does — with online convenience.

 

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at SoFi

National / regional

Regional

Min. down payment

10%

Why we like it

Ideal for young professionals and self-employed borrowers looking for a lender that considers non-traditional income.

 

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at Chase

Min. credit score

620

Min. down payment

3%

Why we like it

Ideal for first-time home buyers who want to talk to a loan officer in person or on the phone, and for homeowners who want to refinance their mortgages in 60 days or less. Chase offers a full line of mortgage products and account management tools.

 

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at Vylla

Min. credit score

620

Min. down payment

3%

Why we like it

Ideal for first-time home buyers or credit-challenged borrowers who may have trouble qualifying for a mortgage.

 

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at New American

Min. credit score

620

Min. down payment

3%

Why we like it

Ideal for borrowers who need to be evaluated on the basis of nontraditional credit. New American Funding offers FHA and VA loans, works with down payment assistance programs, and seeks borrowers whose credit histories don't fit the mold of traditional banking.

 

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at NerdWallet

National / regional

National

Min. down payment

3%

Why we like it

Ideal for first-time home buyers or those with weaker credit. CitiMortgage, a large-scale lender with a full menu of home loan products, offers low down payment options and considers alternative credit data.

 

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at Bank of America

Min. credit score

620

Min. down payment

3%

Why we like it

Ideal for borrowers who prefer a traditional bank. Bank of America offers a wide array of mortgages and online account management tools. It also has first-time home buyer loans with low down payments and no mandatory mortgage insurance.

 

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at Navy Federal

National / regional

National

Min. down payment

0%

Why we like it

Ideal for military members and their families. Navy Federal Credit Union offers a wide range of mortgage products and low minimum loan amounts, and considers alternative credit data.

 

Min. credit score

620

Min. down payment

3%

Why we like it

Ideal for first-time home buyers, including those with little money saved for a down payment. SunTrust's online portal offers information and tools in English and in Spanish.

 

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at Flagstar

Min. credit score

620

Min. down payment

3%

Why we like it

Ideal for those who appreciate the full-service experience of a leading regional bank. Flagstar offers a full menu of fixed and adjustable home loans and mortgage refinancing, as well as jumbo loans and home equity financing.

Best mortgage lenders for first-time home buyers: summary

More from NerdWallet
Mortgage calculator
First-time homebuyer tips
Tips for finding the best mortgage lender

Best mortgage lenders for first-time home buyers: review

Lender
Best
for
Highlights
Minimum credit score*
Learn more
Quicken Loans
Overall for first-time homebuyers
Low down payments; top FHA lender
620
New American Funding
naf-logo-270x55
Low credit score as first-time homebuyer
Multiple down payment assistance and grant programs
620 (conventional) / 580 (VA/FHA)
SoFi
sofi-logo
Low-down-payment jumbo loans
Flexible underwriting model; no lender-imposed fees
N/A
Chase
chase-logo
Face-to-face service for first-time homebuyers
Apply to refinance online, in a branch or by phone
620 or 580 for FHA
Vylla
Low credit score as first-time homebuyer
Considers alternative credit data for some loans
550, with 500 in some cases
CitiMortgage
citimortgage
Overall for first-time homebuyers
Low down payments; many loan types
Varies by loan type
Bank of America
Bank-Of-America-Logo
Face-to-face service for first-time homebuyers
Many ways to apply, with specialists to assist in process
620 or 600 for FHA
Navy Federal
navy_federal_credit_union_logo-55x270
No credit history as first-time homebuyer
Flexible underwriting model, for armed forces or DoD
No minimum
SunTrust
SunTrust Private Student Loan Review
Low down payments for first-time homebuyers
Low down payment programs; efficient website
620
Flagstar
flagstar_logo-55x270
Low down payments for first-time homebuyers
Matching to programs for first-time homebuyers and income-limited households
620

* Minimum credit score on top loans; other loan types or factors may selectively influence  minimum credit score standards

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.