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

  • Offers a program allowing qualifying buyers to make cash offers.
  • Makes it easy to see customized mortgage rates.
  • Average interest rates are on the low end compared to other lenders, according to the latest federal data.

Cons

  • Doesn’t offer USDA loans.
  • VA loans are not available in every state.
  • Doesn't offer home equity loans.
Read full review
Min. Credit Score

620

National / regional

National

Pros

  • Offers a program allowing qualifying buyers to make cash offers.
  • Makes it easy to see customized mortgage rates.
  • Average interest rates are on the low end compared to other lenders, according to the latest federal data.

Cons

  • Doesn’t offer USDA loans.
  • VA loans are not available in every state.
  • Doesn't offer home equity 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

  • Displays detailed sample rates for many of its loan products.
  • Offers a wide variety of loans, including jumbo and interest-only products.
  • Offers low rates compared with other lenders, according to the latest federal data.

Cons

  • Doesn't offer home equity loans.
Read full review
Min. Credit Score

620

National / regional

National

Pros

  • Displays detailed sample rates for many of its loan products.
  • Offers a wide variety of loans, including jumbo and interest-only products.
  • Offers low rates compared with other lenders, according to the latest federal data.

Cons

  • Doesn't offer home equity loans.
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

  • Displays detailed sample rates for many of its loan products.
  • Offers a wide variety of loans, including jumbo and interest-only products.
  • Offers low rates compared with other lenders, according to the latest federal data.

Cons

  • Doesn't offer home equity loans.
Read full review
Min. Credit Score

620

Min. down payment

3%

Pros

  • Displays detailed sample rates for many of its loan products.
  • Offers a wide variety of loans, including jumbo and interest-only products.
  • Offers low rates compared with other lenders, according to the latest federal data.

Cons

  • Doesn't offer home equity loans.
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

  • Sample rates clearly posted for various loan products.
  • Offers a wide variety of loan types and products.
  • Mortgage rates tend to be on the low side compared with other lenders, according to the latest federal data.

Cons

  • Home loans business is broadly focused on bank customers.
  • Doesn’t offer home improvement loans, or home equity loans or lines of credit.
  • Scandals and government actions have damaged consumer trust in recent years.
Read full review
Min. Credit Score

620

Min. down payment

3%

Pros

  • Sample rates clearly posted for various loan products.
  • Offers a wide variety of loan types and products.
  • Mortgage rates tend to be on the low side compared with other lenders, according to the latest federal data.

Cons

  • Home loans business is broadly focused on bank customers.
  • Doesn’t offer home improvement loans, or home equity loans or lines of credit.
  • Scandals and government actions 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)

Min. Credit Score

620

Min. down payment

3%

Pros

  • Carries a wide variety of mortgage types and products, including DreaMaker and Standard Agency mortgages, with down payments as low as 3%.
  • Offers low rates compared with other lenders, according to the latest federal data.
  • Offers a customizable mortgage calculator for personalized rate and payment estimates.

Cons

  • Doesn't offer home improvement loans, such as FHA 203(k) and HomeStyle.
  • You have to speak with a home loan adviser to complete the application.
  • Home equity lines of credit (HELOC) are currently unavailable.
Read full review
Min. Credit Score

620

Min. down payment

3%

Pros

  • Carries a wide variety of mortgage types and products, including DreaMaker and Standard Agency mortgages, with down payments as low as 3%.
  • Offers low rates compared with other lenders, according to the latest federal data.
  • Offers a customizable mortgage calculator for personalized rate and payment estimates.

Cons

  • Doesn't offer home improvement loans, such as FHA 203(k) and HomeStyle.
  • You have to speak with a home loan adviser to complete the application.
  • Home equity lines of credit (HELOC) are currently unavailable.
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)

Min. Credit Score

620

Min. down payment

3%

Pros

  • Devotes much of its business to serving military families with VA loans.
  • Offers a mortgage tailored to self-employed borrowers.
  • Offers low rates and fees compared with other lenders, according to the latest federal data.

Cons

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

620

Min. down payment

3%

Pros

  • Devotes much of its business to serving military families with VA loans.
  • Offers a mortgage tailored to self-employed borrowers.
  • Offers low rates and fees compared with other lenders, according to the latest federal data.

Cons

  • Doesn’t offer home improvement mortgages.
  • Doesn't offer home equity loans or lines of credit.
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)

National / regional

National

Min. down payment

20%

Pros

  • Carries a wide variety of mortgage types and products, including DreaMaker and Standard Agency mortgages, with down payments as low as 3%.
  • Offers low rates compared with other lenders, according to the latest federal data.
  • Offers a customizable mortgage calculator for personalized rate and payment estimates.

Cons

  • Doesn't offer home improvement loans, such as FHA 203(k) and HomeStyle.
  • You have to speak with a home loan adviser to complete the application.
  • Home equity lines of credit (HELOC) are currently unavailable.
Read full review
National / regional

National

Min. down payment

20%

Pros

  • Carries a wide variety of mortgage types and products, including DreaMaker and Standard Agency mortgages, with down payments as low as 3%.
  • Offers low rates compared with other lenders, according to the latest federal data.
  • Offers a customizable mortgage calculator for personalized rate and payment estimates.

Cons

  • Doesn't offer home improvement loans, such as FHA 203(k) and HomeStyle.
  • You have to speak with a home loan adviser to complete the application.
  • Home equity lines of credit (HELOC) are currently unavailable.
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

  • Offers a wide range of loan types and products, including FHA, VA and USDA.
  • Borrowers can apply and track loan status online.
  • Offers customized online rate quotes with monthly payment estimates, including mortgage insurance, when applicable.

Cons

  • Home equity loans are geographically limited.
  • Origination fees are on the high side compared with other lenders, according to the latest federal data.
Read full review
Min. Credit Score

N/A

Min. down payment

10%

Pros

  • Offers a wide range of loan types and products, including FHA, VA and USDA.
  • Borrowers can apply and track loan status online.
  • Offers customized online rate quotes with monthly payment estimates, including mortgage insurance, when applicable.

Cons

  • Home equity loans are geographically limited.
  • Origination fees are on the high side compared with other lenders, according to the latest federal data.
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

Min. Credit Score

620

Min. down payment

3%

Pros

  • Devotes much of its business to serving military families with VA loans.
  • Offers a mortgage tailored to self-employed borrowers.
  • Offers low rates and fees compared with other lenders, according to the latest federal data.

Cons

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

620

Min. down payment

3%

Pros

  • Devotes much of its business to serving military families with VA loans.
  • Offers a mortgage tailored to self-employed borrowers.
  • Offers low rates and fees compared with other lenders, according to the latest federal data.

Cons

  • Doesn’t offer home improvement mortgages.
  • Doesn't offer home equity loans or lines of credit.
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)

Min. Credit Score

580

Min. down payment

0%

Pros

  • Devotes much of its business to serving military families with VA loans.
  • Offers a mortgage tailored to self-employed borrowers.
  • Offers low rates and fees compared with other lenders, according to the latest federal data.

Cons

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

580

Min. down payment

0%

Pros

  • Devotes much of its business to serving military families with VA loans.
  • Offers a mortgage tailored to self-employed borrowers.
  • Offers low rates and fees compared with other lenders, according to the latest federal data.

Cons

  • Doesn’t offer home improvement mortgages.
  • Doesn't offer home equity loans or lines of credit.
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, including 0% down payment loans, designed for military members.
  • Offers HELOCs and home equity loans.
  • Offers low rates compared with most lenders, according to the latest federal data.

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, including 0% down payment loans, designed for military members.
  • Offers HELOCs and home equity loans.
  • Offers low rates compared with most lenders, according to the latest federal data.

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 government-backed mortgage and refinance options, including FHA, USDA and VA loans.

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 government-backed mortgage and refinance options, including FHA, USDA and VA loans.

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 borrowers ineligible for Social Security numbers.
  • Has a digital application process.
  • Offers government-backed mortgage options for low- to moderate-income borrowers.

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 borrowers ineligible for Social Security numbers.
  • Has a digital application process.
  • Offers government-backed mortgage options for low- to moderate-income borrowers.

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

Min. Credit Score

640

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

Min. Credit Score

640

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

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