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 small but growing lenders. We also considered lenders with significant online search volume and those that specialize in serving various audiences across the country. Some of the providers are NerdWallet partners, but this did not influence our selection of the winner.

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 (20%). The winner must also offer: FHA and VA mortgages (20%), 3%-down-payment loans (20%), low origination fees (20%) and a customized rate form that takes location and credit score into account (20%). In the result of a tie, the winner(s) must target first-time home buyers through proprietary programs/assistance, participate in state first-time home buyer programs, and have the lowest origination fees.

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 2019 HMDA data for origination fee and share-of-product data.