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We spent over 400 hours reviewing the top mortgage lenders before selecting the best for our readers. We’ve picked at least two lenders in several "best of" categories to help you find a lender that meets your needs.
Even if you have a low credit score or bad credit, getting a mortgage doesn’t always have to be out of reach. You may have to look around for an appropriate lender, and you could end up paying more for your home loan. But with the right lender, you may be able to find a mortgage that meets your financial needs and doesn’t bust your budget.
» MORE: Improve your credit score
NerdWallet has picked some of the best mortgage lenders for borrowers with low credit scores in a variety of categories so you can quickly decide which one is right for you.
Best overall mortgage lenders for borrowers with low or bad credit scores
These lenders have programs to help borrowers with low credit scores find a mortgage and buy a home.
- Specializes in loans to borrowers with lower credit scores; minimum score 550 in some cases
- Offers down payment assistance programs through housing authorities in some states
- Requires online education course for borrowers
- Carrington Mortgage review
- 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
Best online mortgage lenders for borrowers with low or bad credit scores
These lenders offer a smooth and convenient mortgage experience for borrowers with low credit scores looking for the fastest, most automated way to get a home loan.
- Provides full online service, including a mobile app, for application and loan tracking
- Automated verification of income and other financial details cuts time and effort from the process
- Gives a loan decision in minutes.
- Rocket Mortgage review
- Offers conventional, jumbo, FHA, VA, USDA and ARM loans
- FICO score minimums: FHA loans – 580; VA loans – 600; conventional loans – 620
- Loan origination fee: $795
- J.G. Wentworth Mortgage review
Best mortgage lenders for buyers with a low or bad credit score who want customer support
Getting a mortgage is a complicated process, and sometimes borrowers need help. These lenders can help those with low credit scores who want the human touch.
- Carries broad selection of purchase and refinance loans, including FHA, VA and USDA
- Offers online experience backed by comprehensive customer support setup
- Charges no lender fees
- Network Capital Funding Mortgage review
- Offers fixed- and adjustable-rate mortgages, conventional, jumbo, FHA, VA, USDA, reverse mortgage and renovation loans
- Minimum credit score: 550 for government-backed loans
- Licensed in all 50 states; branch locations in 30 states
- HomeBridge Financial Services review
Best refinance mortgage lenders for borrowers with low or bad credit scores
If you’re considering a refinance, these lenders offer access to a variety of loans and programs.
- The largest FHA lender in the nation
- Has a 1% down payment program for qualified buyers
- Minimum credit score of 620; 580 for FHA loans
- Quicken Loans review
- A national lender with nine branch locations in four states
- Get a no-hassle mortgage comparison by filling out an online form. A loan officer will respond within two days.
- Considers alternative credit data when underwriting
- Connexus Credit Union review
Best mortgage lenders for buyers with low or bad credit scores who have a low down payment
The down payment is one of the biggest roadblocks for all mortgage borrowers. These lenders offer low down payment mortgages and can help people with a low credit score.
- Offers 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
- Provides full array of mortgage loans and services
- Uses underwriting model that allows greater loan flexibility
- Requires some affiliation with armed forces or Defense Department, or membership of a relative
- Navy Federal Mortgage review
Summary: best mortgage lenders for borrowers with low or bad credit scores
- Rocket Mortgage: Online experience
- J.G. Wentworth: Online Experience
- Carrington: Overall
- New American Funding: Overall
- Network Capital Funding Mortgage: Customer Support
- HomeBridge Financial Services: Customer Support
- Quicken Loans: Refinance
- Connexus Credit Union: Refinance
- CitiMortgage: Low down payment
- Navy Federal Credit Union: Low down payment
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.