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Best Zero and Low Down Payment Mortgage Lenders in 2018

Finding the Right Mortgage, Mortgages
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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. We’ve picked at least two lenders in several "best of" categories to help you find a lender that meets your needs.

If you’re like most home buyers, a down payment is the biggest obstacle between you and homeownership. Finding a lender with zero or low down payment loans could be the difference between buying a home now or having to wait months or years to become a homeowner.

There are a lot of ways to get a mortgage with a low or zero down payment, and there are obvious advantages to putting less money down. But there are disadvantages, too, and it’s important to understand your options before you buy a home.

» MORE: Save faster and confidently for a down payment.

NerdWallet has picked some of the best mortgage lenders with zero and low down payment programs in a variety of categories so you can quickly determine which one is right for you.

Best online experience

Borrowers who want a zero or low down payment and a fast, convenient experience can look to these lenders to speed them through the process online.

Rocket Mortgage 4.5-stars
  • Provides full online service, including a mobile app, for application and loan tracking
  • Automated verification of income and other financial details saves time and effort
  • Gives a loan decision in minutes.
  • Rocket Mortgage review
sofi_270x55 4.0-stars
  • Offers a full menu of refinance products, including innovative student loan-linked refi.
  • No application, origination or other lender fees.
  • Online application and loan tracking service.
  • SoFi Mortgage review

Best lenders offering zero or low down payment loans

For borrowers who have little or no money for a down payment, these lenders offer the best combination of loan options and flexibility.

quicken_logo-270 4.5-stars
  • Largest Federal Housing Administration lender in the nation. Also offers other low down payment mortgages.
  • Offers fixed-rate loans of 8-30 years plus 5/1, 7/1 and 10/1 adjustable rate mortgages
  • Minimum credit score of 620, or 580 for FHA loans
  • Quicken Loans review
flagstar_logo-55x270 4.5-stars
  • Offers a full menu of fixed and adjustable rate home loans and refinancing
  • Finds state bond programs for first-time home buyers and limited-income households
  • Embraces FHA-backed home loans
  • Flagstar Bank review

Best for low credit scores or nontraditional credit histories

A low credit score or a nontraditional credit history can hurt a borrower’s chances of getting a mortgage. These lenders have programs for people with damaged credit, including low down payment options.

carrington 4.0-stars
  • 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
navy_federal_credit_union_logo-55x270 4.0-stars
  • Provides full array of mortgage loans and services
  • Uses underwriting model that allows greater loan flexibility
  • Requires some affiliation with armed forces or Department of Defense, or a relative who’s a member
  • Navy Federal Mortgage review

Best traditional banks offering zero or low down payment options

For borrowers who want the familiarity of getting a mortgage from a traditional bank, these lenders offer a selection of low and zero down payment mortgages.

BOA-logo 4.0-stars
  • Provides an online tool that keeps you up to date on the status of your mortgage application
  • Mortgage specialists to assist in the loan process
  • Offers an online home value estimator
  • Bank of America Mortgage review
  • Considers nontraditional credit history such as rent payments
  • Easy-to-navigate website with plenty of explanatory articles and videos
  • Offers a comprehensive range of loans: fixed and adjustable rate, jumbo and conventional, plus home equity lines of credit
  • PNC Mortgage review

Best for first-time home buyers

These lenders offer a strong selection of zero and low down payment mortgages and assistance programs for first-time home buyers.

suntrust mortgage 4.0-stars
  • Offers full line of mortgage loan products, including FHA, Veterans Affairs and Agriculture Department loans
  • Has efficient website that offers educational materials and a streamlined loan process
  • Supports low down payment programs for loans backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
  • SunTrust Mortgage review
citimortgage 3.5-stars
  • 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


Best zero or low down payment mortgage lenders: Summary

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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.