MORTGAGE
WINNERS for 2021

First-time home buyer? Looking to refinance to get some more breathing room? Need an FHA or VA loan? If your goals involve home, our list of winners — some of which are our partners — can help you tackle your mortgage goals. While many of the winners are our partners, this didn't influence our decisions or opinions. Our opinions are our own.

Best-Of Awards > Mortgages

Best Mortgage Lender for Refinancing (TIE)

Better

at Better

Min. Credit Score

620

National / Regional

National

Pros

  • An online process with human help as needed.
  • Makes it easy to see customized mortgage rates.
  • Offers an "underwriter reviewed" preapproval letter in as little as 24 hours.

Cons

  • Doesn't do VA or USDA loans.
Read full review
Min. Credit Score

620

National / Regional

National

Pros

  • An online process with human help as needed.
  • Makes it easy to see customized mortgage rates.
  • Offers an "underwriter reviewed" preapproval letter in as little as 24 hours.

Cons

  • Doesn't do VA or USDA loans.
Read full review
Why this LENDER made the list

Better.com makes it easy to compare customized rates for all loan products and offers a fully digital refinance process, all without charging origination fees.

Read our methodology

Best Mortgage Lender for Refinancing (TIE)

Guaranteed Rate

at Guaranteed Rate

Min. Credit Score

620

National / Regional

National

Pros

  • Offers the ability to securely upload and digitally sign loan documents.
  • Displays detailed sample rates for many of its refinance loan products.

Cons

  • May charge an application fee.
Read full review
Min. Credit Score

620

National / Regional

National

Pros

  • Offers the ability to securely upload and digitally sign loan documents.
  • Displays detailed sample rates for many of its refinance loan products.

Cons

  • May charge an application fee.
Read full review
Why this LENDER made the list

Guaranteed Rate delivers customized refinance rates in seconds and a fully digital application process via its website, while charging low origination fees.

Read our methodology

Best Mortgage Lender for Online Loans (TIE)

Guaranteed Rate

at Guaranteed Rate

Min. Credit Score

620

Min. Down Payment

3%

Pros

  • Offers the ability to securely upload and digitally sign loan documents.
  • Displays detailed sample rates for many of its loan products.

Cons

  • Doesn't offer home equity loans or lines of credit.
Read full review
Min. Credit Score

620

Min. Down Payment

3%

Pros

  • Offers the ability to securely upload and digitally sign loan documents.
  • Displays detailed sample rates for many of its loan products.

Cons

  • Doesn't offer home equity loans or lines of credit.
Read full review
Why this LENDER made the list

Guaranteed Rate offers multiple digital conveniences, including instant rate quotes and online preapproval, and its fees are highly competitive.

Read our methodology

BEST MORTGAGE LENDER FOR ONLINE LOANS (TIE)

Min. Credit Score

620

Min. Down Payment

3%

Pros

  • Provides numerous online conveniences, including loan application and process updates.
  • Current rates clearly posted for various loan products.
  • Offers a wide variety of loan types and products.

Cons

  • New applications for home equity lines of credit suspended during COVID-19 crisis.
  • Government actions and scandals have damaged consumer trust in recent years.
Read full review
Min. Credit Score

620

Min. Down Payment

3%

Pros

  • Provides numerous online conveniences, including loan application and process updates.
  • Current rates clearly posted for various loan products.
  • Offers a wide variety of loan types and products.

Cons

  • New applications for home equity lines of credit suspended during COVID-19 crisis.
  • Government actions and scandals have damaged consumer trust in recent years.
Read full review
Why this LENDER made the list

Wells Fargo offers a slew of loan options, has an online mortgage application process, publishes easy-to-shop rates and charges competitive fees.

Read our methodology

Best Mortgage Lender for First-Time Home Buyers (TIE)

Chase

at Chase

Min. Credit Score

620

Min. Down Payment

3%

Pros

  • Allows electronic submission and tracking of loan documents.
  • Carries a wide variety of mortgage types and products.
  • Generally offers good rates and charges reasonable fees.

Cons

  • Doesn't offer home improvement loans, such as FHA 203(k) and HomeStyle.
  • You have to speak with a home loan advisor to complete the application.
Read full review
Min. Credit Score

620

Min. Down Payment

3%

Pros

  • Allows electronic submission and tracking of loan documents.
  • Carries a wide variety of mortgage types and products.
  • Generally offers good rates and charges reasonable fees.

Cons

  • Doesn't offer home improvement loans, such as FHA 203(k) and HomeStyle.
  • You have to speak with a home loan advisor to complete the application.
Read full review
Why this LENDER made the list

Chase offers first-time buyers a variety of low-down-payment loans with competitive fees, and participates in community-specific housing assistance programs.

Read our methodology

Best Mortgage Lender First-Time Home Buyers (TIE)

NASB

at NASB

Min. Credit Score

620

Min. Down Payment

3%

Pros

  • Devotes much of its business to serving military families with VA loans.
  • Considers nontraditional income sources, in some cases.
  • Offers competitive rates and origination fees.

Cons

  • No online loan process updates or tracking.
  • No home improvement mortgages or home equity loan products.
Read full review
Min. Credit Score

620

Min. Down Payment

3%

Pros

  • Devotes much of its business to serving military families with VA loans.
  • Considers nontraditional income sources, in some cases.
  • Offers competitive rates and origination fees.

Cons

  • No online loan process updates or tracking.
  • No home improvement mortgages or home equity loan products.
Read full review
Why this LENDER made the list

NASB offers multiple loans for first-time home buyers who might need flexible down payment or credit score requirements, and charges competitive fees.

Read our methodology

Best Mortgage Lender for Jumbo Loans (TIE)

Chase

at Chase

National / Regional

National

Min. Down Payment

20%

Pros

  • Allows electronic submission and tracking of loan documents.
  • Carries a wide variety of mortgage types and products.
  • Generally offers good rates and charges reasonable fees.

Cons

  • You have to speak with a home loan advisor to complete the application.
Read full review
National / Regional

National

Min. Down Payment

20%

Pros

  • Allows electronic submission and tracking of loan documents.
  • Carries a wide variety of mortgage types and products.
  • Generally offers good rates and charges reasonable fees.

Cons

  • You have to speak with a home loan advisor to complete the application.
Read full review
Why this LENDER made the list

Chase originates a significant volume of jumbo loans, offers jumbo loans for various property types and charges low origination fees.

Read our methodology

Best Mortgage Lender for Jumbo Loans (TIE)

Min. Credit Score

N/A

Min. Down Payment

10%

Pros

  • Has a full suite of online conveniences.
  • Does well with rate transparency, and monthly payment estimates add mortgage insurance, when applicable.

Cons

  • Availability of some loan products may be geographically limited.
Read full review
Min. Credit Score

N/A

Min. Down Payment

10%

Pros

  • Has a full suite of online conveniences.
  • Does well with rate transparency, and monthly payment estimates add mortgage insurance, when applicable.

Cons

  • Availability of some loan products may be geographically limited.
Read full review
Why this LENDER made the list

Flagstar allows down payments under 20% on jumbos, offers conveniences like an online application and document uploads and has competitive origination fees.

Read our methodology

Best Mortgage Lender Overall

NASB

at NASB

Min. Credit Score

620

Min. Down Payment

3%

Pros

  • Devotes much of its business to serving military families with VA loans.
  • Considers nontraditional income sources, in some cases.
  • Offers competitive rates and origination fees.

Cons

  • No online loan process updates or tracking.
  • No home improvement mortgages or home equity loan products.
Read full review
Min. Credit Score

620

Min. Down Payment

3%

Pros

  • Devotes much of its business to serving military families with VA loans.
  • Considers nontraditional income sources, in some cases.
  • Offers competitive rates and origination fees.

Cons

  • No online loan process updates or tracking.
  • No home improvement mortgages or home equity loan products.
Read full review
Why this LENDER made the list

NASB offers a wide variety of loan types — including harder-to-find options — a fully digital loan application with preapproval and competitive rates and fees.

Read our methodology

Best Mortgage Lender for VA Loans (TIE)

NASB

at NASB

Min. Credit Score

640

Min. Down Payment

0%

Pros

  • Devotes much of its business to serving military families with VA loans.
  • Considers nontraditional income sources, in some cases.
  • Offers competitive rates and origination fees.

Cons

  • No online loan process updates or tracking.
Read full review
Min. Credit Score

640

Min. Down Payment

0%

Pros

  • Devotes much of its business to serving military families with VA loans.
  • Considers nontraditional income sources, in some cases.
  • Offers competitive rates and origination fees.

Cons

  • No online loan process updates or tracking.
Read full review
Why this LENDER made the list

NASB originates a significant volume of VA loans, charges low fees and offers online conveniences like a digital application and document uploads.

Read our methodology

BEST MORTGAGE LENDER FOR VA LOANS (TIE)

National / Regional

National

Min. Down Payment

0%

Pros

  • Offers a wide range of affordable mortgage products designed for military members.
  • Has an online application for preapproval.
  • Offers low rates compared with most lenders.

Cons

  • Website does not provide customized mortgage rates based on credit score or other factors before you apply.
  • Credit union membership is limited to veterans and current military members, their families, and certain federal employees, retirees and contractors.
Read full review
National / Regional

National

Min. Down Payment

0%

Pros

  • Offers a wide range of affordable mortgage products designed for military members.
  • Has an online application for preapproval.
  • Offers low rates compared with most lenders.

Cons

  • Website does not provide customized mortgage rates based on credit score or other factors before you apply.
  • Credit union membership is limited to veterans and current military members, their families, and certain federal employees, retirees and contractors.
Read full review
Why this LENDER made the list

Navy Federal originates a high volume of VA loans, offers veterans a variety of VA purchase and refi loans and charges low origination fees

Read our methodology

Best Mortgage Lender for FHA Loans (TIE)

Min. Credit Score

580

Min. Down Payment

3.5%

Pros

  • Full online application includes document uploads and automated loan updates.
  • Offers a "float-down" interest rate lock.
  • Offers a proprietary closing-cost assistance program.

Cons

  • No online mortgage rates — you have to contact the lender for info.
Read full review
Min. Credit Score

580

Min. Down Payment

3.5%

Pros

  • Full online application includes document uploads and automated loan updates.
  • Offers a "float-down" interest rate lock.
  • Offers a proprietary closing-cost assistance program.

Cons

  • No online mortgage rates — you have to contact the lender for info.
Read full review
Why this LENDER made the list

PrimeLending offers a variety of FHA loans for purchase and refinance, including 203k renovation loans, and has a full online application process.

Read our methodology

Best Mortgage Lender for FHA Loans (TIE)

Min. Down Payment

3.5%

National / Regional

Regional

Pros

  • Offers an ITIN qualification path for undocumented borrowers.
  • Has a digital application process.
  • Offers several mortgage options for low- to moderate-income borrowers.
  • Borrowers can qualify with income from self-employment and other nontraditional sources.

Cons

  • No mortgage rates published online.
  • No home equity loans or lines of credit.
  • Generally has higher rates and fees than other lenders.
  • Branch offices not available in all states.
Read full review
Min. Down Payment

3.5%

National / Regional

Regional

Pros

  • Offers an ITIN qualification path for undocumented borrowers.
  • Has a digital application process.
  • Offers several mortgage options for low- to moderate-income borrowers.
  • Borrowers can qualify with income from self-employment and other nontraditional sources.

Cons

  • No mortgage rates published online.
  • No home equity loans or lines of credit.
  • Generally has higher rates and fees than other lenders.
  • Branch offices not available in all states.
Read full review
Why this LENDER made the list

Alterra originates a high volume of FHA loans and has a wide variety of options. It offers flexible credit and income requirements, and a digital application.

Read our methodology

Best Mortgage Lender for Home Equity Lines of Credit

National / Regional

National

Pros

  • Offers both traditional and interest-only HELOCs.
  • Displays sample rates for its entire array of loan products, and you don't need to provide personal information to get a custom rate quote.

Cons

  • Lacks document upload and online loan tracking capabilities.
Read full review
National / Regional

National

Pros

  • Offers both traditional and interest-only HELOCs.
  • Displays sample rates for its entire array of loan products, and you don't need to provide personal information to get a custom rate quote.

Cons

  • Lacks document upload and online loan tracking capabilities.
Read full review
Why this LENDER made the list

Connexus offers multiple HELOC options with no prepayment penalties, offers discounts for existing customers and charges low origination fees.

Read our methodology

Disclaimer

NMLS Consumer Access: NerdWallet Compare, Inc. NMLS ID# 1617539

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