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Get a mortgage preapproval

Get preapproved for your mortgage before you start home shopping to prove you are a serious buyer.

A mortgage preapproval letter can put you head and shoulders above other buyers who may be interested in the same home as you. Getting preapproved will help you find a mortgage lender who can work with you to find a home loan with an interest rate and other terms suited to your needs.

NerdWallet has researched the major national mortgage lenders to help you quickly find the best one. We recommend comparison shopping with at least three lenders to get a complete picture of your options.

Get started with NerdWallet's top picks

Rocket Mortgage
  • Quicken Loans is the largest FHA lender in the nation
  • Has a 1% down payment program for qualified buyers
  • Rocket Mortgage, Quicken's new offering, allows you to complete the process entirely online and gives a loan decision in minutes
  • Available in all 50 states and Washington DC
  • Read our Rocket Mortgage review
Get Started on Quicken's website
sofi_270x55
  • SoFi offers an all-digital lending platform with online application and loan tracking
  • Offers a variety of mortgage products, including jumbo and interest-only loans
  • No application, origination or other lender fees
  • Available in 27 states and DC (see full list below)
  • Read our SoFi Mortgage review
Get Started on SoFi's website
carrington
  • Specializes in loans to borrowers with lower credit scores, as low as 500 in some cases
  • Offers down payment assistance programs through housing authorities in some states
  • Requires online education course for borrowers
  • Available in all states except AK, MA, ND, and VT
  • Read our Carrington Mortgage review
Get Started on Carrington's website

Not sure which lender is right for you?

Consider working with a mortgage broker who can shop across multiple lenders, saving time and reducing hassle. Connect with our recommended expert to get preapproved for the home loan that just’s right for you.

Why should I shop multiple lenders?

In a 2015 report, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau found that 77% of consumers apply to only one lender when seeking a mortgage. By shopping just three different lenders, borrowers could save more than $3,500 in just the first five years, according to the CFPB’s research, and, in one example, enjoy payments that are nearly $60 less per month.

By applying to several lenders rather than just one, you can compare all-in costs and get the best deal.

What is a mortgage preapproval and why does it matter?

A mortgage preapproval letter shows that a lender has evaluated your financial history and figured out how much of a loan you can qualify for. Consulting with a lender early in the home buying process is important so you can get a sense of your true budget, talk about different loan options and spot any potential issues with your credit profile in time for you to course-correct. Once you know your budget it will be easier for you to shop within your means and find a home you can afford.

A preapproval letter shows you’re a serious buyer and can be the key to closing on your new home because when you’re ready to make an offer, the seller knows you have financing ready and you’ll be able to go through with the sale, which makes you a much more attractive buyer.

Learn more about getting preapproved and why it’s important.