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Best Zero and Low Down Payment Mortgage Lenders in 2018

May 5, 2017
Finding the Right Mortgage, Mortgages
At NerdWallet, we adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity to help you make decisions with confidence. 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. 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’s best lenders for zero and low downpayment loans

 

Learn more

at Rocket Mortgage

Min. credit score

620

Min. down payment

3%

Why we like it

Ideal for prospective first-time buyers aiming for app-level convenience. With Rocket Mortgage, you'll find out in minutes what your loan terms will be — and be able to adjust the fees and corresponding interest rate.


National / regional

Regional

Min. down payment

10%

Why we like it

10% down is a really low down payment requirement on a jumbo loan. Also, SoFi doesn't require you to pay mortgage insurance even if your down payment is less than 20%.


Min. credit score

620

Min. down payment

3%

Why we like it

Ideal for low down payment borrowers looking for an excellent online experience. Quicken Loans is known for being a leading technology company with a strong emphasis on first-time homebuyers.


Min. credit score

550

Min. down payment

3%

Why we like it

Ideal for those with nontraditional credit histories. About 95% of the mortgages Carrington makes are FHA, VA or USDA.


Min. credit score

620

Min. down payment

3%

Why we like it

Ideal for low down borrowers who appreciate face-to-face service. With community-based loan officers in so many parts of the country, Flagstar reps are familiar with low-down-payment state bond programs for first-time home buyers and income-limited households.


Learn more

at Bank of America

Min. credit score

620

Min. down payment

3%

Why we like it

Ideal for first-time home buyers. Bank of America's Affordable Loan Solution mortgage requires only a 3% and no mortgage insurance premium.


Min. credit score

620

Min. down payment

3%

Why we like it

Ideal for those seeking a traditional bank. PNC offers FHA mortgages with downpayments as little as 3.5%. Sellers may kick in up to 6% of purchase price toward the closing costs.


Min. credit score

620

Min. down payment

3%

Why we like it

Ideal for home buyers who have little saved for a down payment, and thus prefer to get an FHA, VA or USDA mortgage.


National / regional

National

Min. down payment

3%

Why we like it

Ideal for borrowers on a tight budget. CitiMortgage's HomeRun loan program allows for a down payment as low as 3% without private mortgage insurance.


National / regional

National

Min. down payment

0%

Why we like it

Ideal for servicemembers, veterans, DoD civilians and military family members who want options. Navy Federal Credit Union offers not one but three different $0 down payment mortgage options for military and related personnel.


 

Best zero or low down payment mortgage lenders: Summary

Best zero or low down payment mortgage lenders: Detail

Lender
Best
for
Highlights
Minimum credit score*
Learn more
Rocket Mortgage
Online experience
Simple and fast online application
620 (conventional) or 580 (FHA)
SoFi

sofi_270x55
Online experience
Online application and loan tracking service
Not disclosed
Quicken Loans
Overall for zero and low down payment home buyers
Largest FHA lender; offers other low down mortgages
620 (conventional) or 580 (FHA)
Carrington Mortgage

carrington
Low credit score or nontraditional credit history
Down payment assistance programs through housing authorities in some states
550
Flagstar Mortgage

flagstar_logo-55x270
Overall for zero and low down payment home buyers
Finds state bond programs for first-time buyers and limited-income households
620 (conventional) or 580 (FHA)
Bank of America
Bank-Of-America-Logo
Traditional bank
Mortgage specialists to assist in the loan process
620 (conventional) or 600 (FHA)
PNC Mortgage
pnc_black
Traditional bank
Comprehensive range of loans; easy-to-navigate website
620
SunTrust Mortgage
suntrust mortgage
First-time home buyers
Full line of mortgage loan products
620
CitiMortgage
citimortgage
First-time home buyers
Low down options that don't require private mortgage insurance
Not disclosed
Navy Federal
navy_federal_credit_union_logo-55x270
Low credit score or nontraditional credit history
Underwriting model that allows greater loan flexibility
Not disclosed

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* 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.