If you’re planning to buy a home in a rural area, or even in a suburb, a USDA loan may be an option for you. The U.S. Department of Agriculture offers these zero-down-payment loans to home buyers who qualify. The property must be in an eligible area of the country, and borrowers must meet certain income requirements. The USDA issues some loans itself and guarantees USDA loans offered through other lenders, such as those listed below.
» MORE: Lower your debt load
NerdWallet has picked some of the best USDA mortgage lenders in a variety of categories to help you decide which is the right lender for you.
Best USDA mortgage lenders for borrowers with weaker credit
These USDA lenders help borrowers with limited credit histories, weak or damaged credit or a nontraditional credit profile.
- Uses manual underwriting to evaluate borrowers, which allows flexibility in loan approvals
- Offers full online mortgage application, rate quotes, document upload and loan tracking
- Charges a flat, low origination fee instead of the 1% of the loan amount you often see
- New American Funding review
- Specializes in loans to borrowers with lower credit scores.
- Considers alternative credit data, like bank statements and rent payments.
- Free rate locks.
- Vylla Mortgage review
USDA mortgage lenders with the best online experience
These lenders offer a fast, automated mortgage process that borrowers can complete via computer or mobile phone.
- The largest lender, by volume in the U.S., now offering USDA loans
- You can get a mortgage decision online in just minutes
- Its Rocket Mortgage app is particularly appealing to tech-friendly users
- Quicken Loans review
- Licensed in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands
- Operates as a mortgage marketplace that gives you access to multiple lenders in one place
- Has a robust, mobile-enhanced website that automates the mortgage application process
- Costco mortgage review
Best overall mortgage lenders for USDA loans
These USDA lenders are highly rated by NerdWallet and their customers, offer accessible customer support and provide easy-to-use websites with online mortgage applications and tools.
- Full online application process, secure document uploads and digital signature acceptance
- Boasts a 95% customer satisfaction rate
- Has more than 3,400 employees in 205 offices across the country for in-person service
- Guaranteed Rate review
- Offers borrowers assistance at every point during the mortgage process
- Website offers educational materials and a streamlined loan process
- Provides customer service in its physical locations, online and via chat or phone
- SunTrust mortgage review
USDA mortgage lenders with the best customer service
These lenders are ideal for USDA loan borrowers who want help from a human during the mortgage process and easy access to customer service.
- 24/7 customer service via call center, mobile app and email
- No application, origination or other lender fees
- Online application and loan tracking service
- Fairway Independent Mortgage review
- Loan officers guide you through the process
- Has a full online application and a mobile app that allows loan tracking for all parties involved, plus communication with your loan officer
- Lends to borrowers with nontraditional credit, employment or income sources
- Alterra Home Loans review
Best traditional USDA lenders
These traditional USDA mortgage lenders have branch locations nationwide for in-person service.
- The leading originator and servicer of residential mortgages for 24 out of the past 25 years
- You have to apply in person or on the phone but you can track your mortgage progress online
- Minimum credit score of 620, though alternative credit data may be considered for certain loan products
- Wells Fargo mortgage review
Best USDA mortgage lenders: summary
- Best for Weaker credit: Vylla
- Best for Weaker credit: New American Funding
- Best for Online experience: Costco
- Best for Online experience: Quicken Loans
- Best overall for USDA lenders: Guaranteed Rate
- Best overall for USDA lenders: SunTrust
- Best for customer service: Fairway Independent Mortgage
- Best for customer service: Alterra Home Loans
- Best for traditional: Wells Fargo
- Best for traditional: PNC Mortgage