Best Mortgage Lender for First-Time Home Buyers

How we picked the lenders to evaluate:

NerdWallet reviewed the majority of the largest U.S. mortgage lenders by annual loan volume (lenders had to have at least a 1% market share). We focused on lenders that offered the following loans: purchase, refinance, jumbo, FHA, VA and/or HELOCs. In addition, we reviewed online lenders and emerging and notable players. We also considered lenders with significant online search volume and those that specialize in serving various audiences across the country. Some of these are companies that NerdWallet partners with, some are not.

How we chose the winner:

We started by pooling all of our reviewed lenders that offer purchase-mortgage lending, especially to first-time home buyers. The winner(s) must offer at least four of the following online capabilities: full online application, document upload, loan-process tracking, e-signature and a mobile-responsive website and/or an app with mortgage functionality. The winner must also: offer fixed, adjustable, FHA and VA mortgages, offer 3%-down-payment loans, target first-time home buyers through national or proprietary loan programs on their website, have low origination fees, not require more than the common credit-score requirements for conventional, FHA and VA loans and/or accept alternative credit, and display mortgage rates with details on their website and/or provide a way for consumers to view customized rates.

How we verified our data:

NerdWallet solicits information from reviewed lenders on a recurring basis throughout the year. All lender-provided information is verified through lender websites and interviews. We also utilized 2018 HMDA data for origination fee and share-of-product data.