What's the Best Mortgage Lender?
The best mortgage lenders should have excellent customer service, a wide range of mortgage products, in-depth expertise, and competitive rates and fees.
Each of our top 10 lenders excel in all of these areas.
But remember, our top picks won't necessarily be yours. You need to get quotes from multiple lenders to make sure you get a good deal.
Find a Mortgage Lender (June 29, 2021)
Average customer rating (out of 5) 1Minimum Credit Score Best position (s) 2Guild Mortgage Co.5.0600Lowest Average Prices, Best Customer Service (Tie) Movement Mortgage5.0580Best customer service (tie) Homebridge5.0620Best customer service (tie) Cross-country mortgage 4.9580Excellent customer service, low average pricesNew American funding4.9620Excellent customer service, low average pricesHighest lending4.9620-640Lowest Average Borrowing Cost Bank of America4.6620 Scholarships and Programs for First Time Home Buyers Home point4.8580 Flexible creditworthiness requirements Citizens Bank4.7620 Programs for First Time Home Buyers Guaranteed price4.6620 Low average prices
Editor's Note: The Mortgage Reports may be compensated by some of these lenders if you choose to work with them. However, this does not affect our ratings. Check out our full editorial information.
In this article (continue to …)
To find the best mortgage lenders in 2021, we started with a list of the top 25 high-volume home buyers. Then we have narrowed the selection down according to:
Customer serviceAverage interest ratesVarious credit optionsMinimum creditworthinessSpecial perks for homeowners
The following lenders are among the best in the nation. But they are far from the only good ones out there.
So use this list as a starting point – but don't be afraid to explore other lenders based on your needs, home buying or refinancing goals, and local recommendations.
Find a Mortgage Lender (June 29, 2021)
The 10 best mortgage lenders for 2021
1. Guild Mortgage Co.
It's no surprise that Guild ranks our # 1 as Best Mortgage Lender.
In 2020 – the latest data available – Guild offered the lowest average 30-year mortgage rate on this list: just 3.15%.
And it ranks first with two other lenders for the best customer service ratings, with a near-perfect score.
There's a lot more to like about Guild Mortgage. For example, it offers many types of mortgages, including some that others don't – like USDA and home renovation loans, as well as those for prefabricated homes.
Guild also enjoys working with deposit support programs, which are essential for many first-time buyers.
You can choose how you want to get in touch with Guild. The elegant website has all the features you need to create and track your application online.
However, if you prefer, credit counselors are available over the phone or at the branch offices (in most states) to explain your credit options and to hold your hand throughout the process.
As for the cons? Well, Guild's average cost of borrowing in 2020 was higher than most of the others on our list. And you will likely need a credit score of 600 for an FHA loan while many accept 580.
2. Movement mortgage
Movement Mortgage had slightly higher average mortgage rates (3.24%) than Guild in 2020. However, the median cost of borrowing this year was more than $ 500 lower. That could be good news for borrowers who are short of prepayment.
Movement also says it can approve FHA, VA, and USDA loans for applicants with a score as low as 580. And that is important for many borrowers.
The company says its "goal is to have underwriting results within six hours of receiving an application, process loans in seven days, and close in one day." But this is not always possible in every case, especially in difficult ones.
In order to achieve such quick results, Movement relies on innovative technologies. And these are available to customers who want to apply via the website.
However, Movement also has 650 stores in all 50 states. So it could also be a great choice for those who prefer the personal touch.
3. Homebridge Financial Services
Homebridge does particularly well when it comes to customer service reviews from borrowers.
The company's goal is to "make the complicated mortgage loan experience simple, easy and transparent for everyone involved". And the proof lies in the almost perfect customer satisfaction values.
In addition to great customer support, Homebridge offers a wide range of mortgage loan products. These include some harder-to-find options like USDA loans, jumbo loans, and second home and investment property loans.
There are downsides, including the fact that Homebridge had one of the highest average mortgage rates in 2020 (3.27%) and borrowing costs on our list. But we're talking about very narrow areas here. And the dollar differences between the highest and lowest value may not be as great as you think.
More importantly, unless you request a quote, you don't know how low these prices and costs could be for you personally. But you will likely need a credit score of 620 or higher even if you want an FHA loan.
4. Cross-Country Mortgage
CrossCountry ranks second on the lowest average 30-year mortgage rate in 2020 (3.17%).
True, the upfront cost of borrowing has been more competitive than the lowest. However, CrossCountry could be a strong competitor if your focus is on value for money – especially given the high levels of customer satisfaction.
And CrossCountry's creditworthiness thresholds are low. You can be approved for an FHA loan if your FICO score is 580 or higher, although you will likely need 620 for other types including USDA, VA, and conventional loans.
The CrossCountry website also talks about Lender-Paid Mortgage Insurance (LPMI).
It says, “If you can't pay the full 20% down payment, we may be able to pay your mortgage insurance for you. However, your interest rate will be slightly higher to cover these costs. ”This is a unique program that not all lenders offer.
However, a higher interest rate can cost you more in the long run – so make sure you research the numbers to find the best loan option for you. You can get a custom quote from CossCountry to see how your savings pile up.
5. New American funding
New American Funding is another mortgage lender with extremely low average mortgage rates (3.18%) in 2020.
Yes, the average cost of borrowing this year was higher than the average for our list. But not much. And customer service is excellent according to online reviews.
New American Funding can approve conventional loans with a credit score of only 620. However, other types of credit may require a higher score.
However, the company promises to consider each loan application on a case-by-case basis. So if there's a good, historical reason your score is lower than what is normally required, New American Funding may still be trying to find ways to approve you.
New American Funding also has its own notable product called I CAN. You can choose any loan term between eight and 30 years.
Most home buyers and refinancers opt for a 30 year loan that spreads out your monthly payments and keeps each one down. However, if you can afford higher rates over a shorter term, you can save a lot on mortgage interest.
6. Highest lending
At 3.20%, Supreme Lending was in the middle of our list for low 30-year mortgage rates in 2020. However, the total cost of credit was by far the lowest. They were less than half of the highest cost lenders on our list.
We are talking about serious savings potential here. If you are concerned that you will run out of cash on the deal, Supreme could win a spot on your shortlist.
And you don't have to worry about compromising customer service to save a dollar. Supreme is the fourth best customer satisfaction on our list according to online reviews.
But remember – closing costs vary widely from one borrower to the next. So, you need a custom loan estimate from Supreme Lending to see your actual fees.
Supreme Lending, on the other hand, tends to have higher credit score thresholds than most of the others.
7. Bank of America
Well here is a name that you know well. Bank of America is one of the best-known US financial institutions. And for good reason: in our study, it has a good reputation for customer service, as well as prices and fees.
In terms of average mortgage rates (3.19%) and borrowing costs in 2020, BofA compares well with the other leading mortgage lenders.
And there are even a few grant programs out there to help first-time buyers cover their down payments and closing costs.
America's Home Grant Program may offer up to $ 7,500 in credit for certain closing costs, including rebate points. And the down payment grant can offer up to 3% of the purchase price of the home up to a maximum of $ 10,000.
BofA also has a deposit center that can help you find other deposit support programs in your area. Please visit the lender's website for details and terms.
Even if you're in love with the idea of free money, you need to compare what Bank of America has to offer to some other lenders. In the end, you might find an even better deal elsewhere.
HomePoint does well on average mortgage rates (3.18% in 2020) and ranks third for the lowest on this list.
HomePoint is also a very respectable third of the average loan costs this year. And that's good for customer service too.
That makes HomePoint sound like a solid all-rounder. And it is. But there is more to it than that.
First of all, HomePoint is accessible to people with difficult finances. The creditworthiness thresholds are as low as any other: 580 for FHA and VA loans, and 620 for conventional and USDA loans.
Borrowers with lower credit scores typically pay higher mortgage rates. And that could have skewed HomePoint's averages for prices and costs. So get a quote because this could easily turn out to be one of your best deals.
9. Citizens Bank
Citizens Bank appears to be offering its own version of the lender-paid mortgage insurance that CrossCountry offers. You can buy with a down payment of 3% of the purchase price and do not have to pay private mortgage insurance (PMI).
If you and your new home meet certain eligibility requirements, you can also apply for Citizens Bank's own down payment assistance program.
However, you will likely need a decent credit score to qualify for a Citizens Bank mortgage. It looks for a minimum of 620, even for FHA loans.
The average cost of borrowing in 2020 did not do badly at all. In fact, it was second best on our list for them.
But the bank did not do well on its average mortgage rates this year. However, as mentioned earlier, the choice among the best mortgage lenders has been limited. And you may get a below average price by requesting a quote.
10. Guaranteed price
Someone had to be last on our list. And this year that was the guaranteed rate. But remember, we pick the best of the best here. And this lender is excellent in many ways.
For example, it ranked second in 2020 with the low 30-year average mortgage rates. And his average borrowing costs that year were lower than any of the top 5 mortgage lenders listed above.
So if value for money is your primary concern, then the guaranteed price should be at the top of your shortlist. But you will likely need a credit score of 620 or better to successfully apply for any of the mortgages.
If the guaranteed price is so good, how come it comes in 10th place? Well, unfortunately, online customer reviews have let it down. If it weren't for this, it would be at the top of the list.
How to Shop for a Mortgage Lender
You may find that our picks for the best mortgage lenders are all large corporations.
These great lenders are available to most people and are large enough to be rated by government agencies. This enables us to objectively examine mortgage lenders.
But there are also plenty of local lenders, credit unions, and mortgage brokers worth checking out.
So how do you know which mortgage lender is best for you?
Find a lender who is right for your situation
Different lenders tend to specialize in different types of borrowers.
One might be the best at helping "top-notch" homebuyers (those with great credit scores, big down payments, etc.) while another might offer much better rates and programs for those with weaker uses.
That means there is likely a mortgage company out there waiting for you a lot.
The catch? You won't know which one it is until you compare loan offers side by side.
Compare loan estimates to find the best deal
Allow a few hours to fill out mortgage applications before you know which company is really best for you. We recommend checking with at least three or four lenders.
According to the law, every lender is required to submit a standard loan estimate after submitting an application. This document lists all of the information you will need to compare mortgage loans side by side, including:
Mortgage Interest Annual Percentage (APR) Estimated Closing Costs Monthly Mortgage Payments Loan Terms and Loan Type
These estimates can help you find a lender that meets your priorities: for example, the lowest interest rate or the lowest up-front fees.
Don't forget to look for lenders who offer services that you find valuable.
For example, when you find a lender that offers down payment assistance, you may not care that much about rates and fees. This can be a turning point for first-time home buyers.
Find a Mortgage Lender (June 29, 2021)
What are the mortgage rates today?
Mortgage rates in 2021 are moving away from the record lows seen in late 2020 and early 2021.
Many experts believe they will rise even higher for the rest of the year.
Home prices also skyrocketed as this was written.
So if you want to take out a mortgage, act ASAP. Because home ownership gets more expensive – if these experts are right – when mortgage rates rise.
How to Get the Best Mortgage Rates
Your mortgage rate depends on how “good” your application looks to the lender. To get the lowest interest rate, you need a high credit score, a solid down payment, few debt, and other characteristics that will make you look like a responsible borrower.
With that in mind, there are a few steps you can take in advance of your mortgage application to ensure you are getting the best possible interest rate:
Make a purchase with at least 3-4 lenders Compare loan offers carefully Check your credit report and dispute errors in your credit history to improve your score Your limit Watch out for closing costs, especially the lending fee, which varies widely by lender you are considering buying rebate points to lower your interest rate if you have extra cash upfront
Some lenders are secretly reducing the prices they put on their listings, assuming you will be buying discount points. Others don't.
There is nothing wrong with discount points if you want them. But you need to compare prices on an equal footing. So make sure that your credit estimates take into account the same number of points.
Find and lock a low mortgage rate (June 29, 2021)
Choosing the right type of loan
Just as important as choosing the right lender is choosing the right type of home loan.
Your loan type will help you determine your eligibility as well as your interest rate.
Here's a quick rundown of the top five types of mortgage loan:
Minimum. depositMinimum. credit-worthinessMortgage insurance required if <20% defaultSpecial admission requirementsCompliant loan3% 620YesNoFHA loans3.5% 580YesNoVA loan0% N / A (Often 620) No Must have military service experienceUSDA loan0% 640YesMust be bought in a rural areajumbo loan10-20% 680-700Yes Loan Amount Above Compliant Credit Limits
Finding the right type of loan is personal.
You need to consider your own goals; For example, would you like the lowest possible down payment? The lowest monthly payment possible? Do you have a lower credit score and need extra flexibility?
For more information on each loan type and help with choosing one, please see our complete guide to home loan types.
Get a Mortgage Loan (June 29, 2021)
Frequently asked questions about the best mortgage lenders
Who is the number one mortgage lender?
In 2020 – the latest data available – Quicken Loans and Wells Fargo were the largest mortgage lenders by volume. But naming the number one mortgage lender for quality is less straightforward. Which lender is right for you depends on your goals. We recommend considering the ten lenders listed in this review, as well as local banks and credit unions.
Which banks have the best mortgage rates?
In a recent study, we found that the banks with the best mortgage rates are Freedom Mortgage, Citibank, Guild Mortgage Company, and the American Financial Network. This was based on 30-year fixed mortgage rate data filed for 2020 under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act. Your own mortgage rate depends on your circumstances, so there is a good chance you can find a lower rate with another lender.
What's the lowest mortgage rate ever?
30-year mortgage rates hit their all-time low in January 2021 and fell to 2.65 percent during the coronavirus pandemic. But they have risen since then and are currently closer to 3 percent or a little above. Of course, these are still extremely low rates by historical standards.
Is It Better To Go Through A Bank Or A Mortgage Lender?
There are all types of mortgage lenders, including well-known banks, credit unions, online lenders, and mortgage brokers. Which one is right for you depends on your needs and desires. For example, a large bank may have more local branches where you can meet with a loan officer. However, if you want convenience, online lenders often have a simple application process and relatively quick closings. If you're not sure where to start, you can find lender recommendations online, from friends and family, or from your real estate agent.
How do you shop for a mortgage?
When buying a mortgage, you must obtain pre-approval for the loan from a number of different lenders. Then you can compare interest rates and fees to see which one offers the best deal. It's a four step process: 1. Decide on the type of mortgage you need. 2. Complete the application process with at least three lenders. 3. Compare your offers carefully. 4. Choose the offer that suits you best.
Can I take out a mortgage with no money?
Both VA loans and USDA loans allow you to get a no money mortgage. Other low down payment loans require a 3 percent minimum. If that's a little more than you can afford, then you should look around the country for Down Payment Assistance (DPA) programs that can help fund your down payment with grants or soft loans.
Do I have to pay for private mortgage insurance?
Many homebuyers have to pay for mortgage insurance, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. The PMI is typically required for mortgages less than 20% lower. However, be aware that some of the lenders listed above state that they will pay your mortgage insurance for you. That being said, PMI is a good thing in the sense that it can help you buy a home much sooner than you would otherwise be able to do. And it is possible to refinance into a loan later without a PMI.
Should I get a Fixed Rate Mortgage or a Variable Rate Mortgage?
Most home buyers opt for a fixed rate mortgage (FRM) over an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM). Fixed-rate mortgages have the same interest rate and payment for the life of the loan, so there are no surprising costs. Variable rate mortgages have a fixed rate (usually 5-7) for the first few years, then your rate can move up or down with the markets. An ARM could be good if you plan to sell in a couple of years. Otherwise, there is a risk that your mortgage rate and your payment will eventually go up.
Where can I get a Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac loan?
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are not mortgage lenders. Rather, they help regulate the "compliant" loan programs offered by almost every private lender. So, you can apply for the Fannie and Freddie loan programs with almost any lender you want.
How do I get a lower interest rate?
Due to the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on the overall economy, home loan interest rates hit a record low in January 2021. However, they have risen since then. To access the lowest interest rates in the market, you need a strong credit rating (think 720+), a decent down payment, and a lender whose strengths match your specific home buying or refinancing needs.
Summary: The 10 Best Mortgage Lenders
To recap, here are our tips for the top ten mortgage lenders in 2021:
Guild Mortgage Co. – Lowest average prices, best customer service (tie)Movement Mortgage – Best customer service (tie) Homebridge – Best customer service (tie) Cross-country mortgage – Excellent customer service, low average pricesNew American funding – Excellent customer service, low average pricesHighest lending – Lowest average borrowing cost Bank of America – Grants and programs for first time home buyers HomePoint – Flexible creditworthiness requirements Citizens Bank – Programs for first-time home buyers Guaranteed price – Low average prices
Remember that mortgage rates change daily.
So once you've found a lender that you like, keep an eye out for low interest rates and be ready to lock in.
You can get a head start by requesting personalized price estimates below.
Confirm your new price (June 29, 2021)
1Average customer ratings from LendingTree.com, Zillow.com, Bankrate.com, and J.D. Powers most recent primary mortgage satisfaction survey, if available to each lender
2Average interest rates and loan fees based on the latest self-reported data that all lenders are required to submit under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA)