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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 for five 'best of' categories to help you find the lender that best meets your needs.
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.
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 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.
- 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
- 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 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.
- 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
- Offers a wide range of mortgage products, including jumbo loans
- No application, origination or other lender fees
- Online application and loan tracking service
- SoFi 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.
- 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
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.
- 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
- 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 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.
- 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
- 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 zero or low down payment mortgage lenders: Summary
- Quicken Loans: Overall for zero and low down payment home buyers
- Flagstar Mortgage: Overall for zero and low down payment home buyers
- Rocket Mortgage: Online experience
- Sofi: Online experience
- Bank of America: Traditional bank
- PNC Mortgage: Traditional bank
- SunTrust Mortgage: For first-time home buyers
- CitiMortgage: For first-time home buyers
- Carrington Mortgage: Low credit score or nontraditional credit history
- Navy Federal: Low credit score or nontraditional credit history
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