Best Mortgage Lenders of December 2023CASAPLORERTrusted & Transparent
Some lenders excel in customer service or offer a smooth application process, while others feature low interest rates or no down payments. Choosing a mortgage lender can be tricky, which is why Casaplorer has created a guide that lists some of the best mortgage lenders in various categories. Here are some of the best mortgage lenders of December 2023.
Summary of Best Mortgage Lenders of December 2023
Best for Low Mortgage Rates: Freedom Mortgage
Best for Low Down Payment: PennyMac
Best for First-Time Homebuyers: Alliant Credit Union
Best for Mortgage Refinancing: PNC
Best for Convenience: Guaranteed Rate
Best for Online Mortgages: Better Mortgages
Best for Poor Credit: Carrington Mortgage Services
Best for VA Loans: Navy Federal Credit Union
Best National Bank: Wells Fargo
BEST MORTGAGE LENDER FOR LOW MORTGAGE RATES
Why we chose Freedom Mortgage: The Mortgage Reports has ranked Freedom Mortgage as having the lowest average mortgage rate offered in 2020, with their average 30-year rate at 2.92%. That's below the 3.03% average that Better Mortgage offered and the 3.05% average from Citibank.
Freedom Mortgage claims to be the #1 VA lender and the #1 FHA lender in the United States, and prides itself in finding low mortgage rates for their customers. Freedom Mortgage also offers conventional mortgage loans as well. While Freedom Mortgage does have an A+ rating by the Better Business Bureau, they did have 1,156 customer complaints on BBB over the last 3 years and 419 complaints over the last year. You also won’t be able to find their mortgage rates online on their website, which can make it less convenient for borrowers looking to shop around for the best mortgage rate.
Freedom Mortgage is confident in providing low mortgage rates, and it goes as far as providing a variety of guarantees. Freedom Mortgage's Low Rate Guarantee means that if Freedom Mortgage can't match a competing lender's rate, then Freedom Mortgage will pay you $250. They also have a closing guarantee, where if your mortgage doesn't close on time, you will get up to $1,000. Freedom Mortgage's Eagle Eye Program also sends out text alerts for when mortgage rates drop, letting you know when you can get a better deal on your mortgage.
Runner Ups for Low Mortgage Rates
According to The Mortgage Reports, Better Mortgage had the second lowest mortgage rates on average, with Citibank coming in at third place.
BEST MORTGAGE LENDER FOR LOW DOWN PAYMENT
Why we chose PennyMac: For conventional loans, PennyMac allows a minimum down payment of as low as 3%. While you will need to pay for private mortgage insurance (PMI), being able to get a mortgage with a low down payment helps make it easier to purchase a home for those that can’t save up enough money for it now. Besides conventional loans, PennyMac also offers FHA loans with a minimum down payment as low as 3.5%, and even VA loans with no down payment required at all.
PennyMac is the second largest mortgage lender in the United States, and funded over $197 billion in mortgage loans in 2020 alone. Other products that PennyMac offers include investment home loans with down payments as low as 15%, FHA streamline refinance and cash-out refinance. PennyMac also sells foreclosed homes and Real Estate Owned (REO) properties for homebuyers looking to purchase a home for below market value.
PennyMac offers the following low down payment options for a variety of mortgage products:
- 3% minimum down payment for conventional loans
- 3.5% minimum down payment for FHA loans
- 0% minimum down payment or VA loans
- 15% minimum down payment for home investment loans
Having low minimum down payment requirements makes PennyMac a flexible choice for borrowers looking to purchase a home, but have limited savings.
Runner Ups for Low Down Payment
Other lenders that offer low mortgage down payments include Navy Federal and PNC Bank.
BEST MORTGAGE LENDER FOR FIRST-TIME HOMEBUYERS
Alliant Credit Union
Why we chose Alliant Credit Union: With the Alliant Advantage Mortgage, first-time homebuyers can get a mortgage with no down payment required, and mortgage insurance isn’t required either. First-time home buyers looking to get an Alliant Advantage Mortgage can borrow up to $500,000 with no down payment with an adjustable rate mortgage. Non-first-time home buyers will need to make a minimum down payment of at least 5%.
Alliant Credit Union is a federally insured credit union based in Chicago. Alliant Credit Union has won awards including Best Credit Union, Best Mortgage Lender, and Best Bank for Online Experience. There's no mortgage application fee, and you can lock in a mortgage rate for up to 45 days for new purchases, 60 days for refinances, and 120 days for new construction loans. With the Alliant Home Rewards program, you can even receive cash back when you purchase a home with Alliant's partnered real estate broker: HomeStory Real Estate Services. You can get up to $6,500 cash back when purchasing or selling a home with Alliant. Besides mortgage loans, Alliant Credit Union also offers banking services, credit cards, investment accounts, and insurance.
First-time homebuyers can get a mortgage with a 0% down payment and no PMI. However, Alliant doesn’t offer FHA loans or VA loans. For current homeowners, Alliant's home equity line of credit (HELOC) lets you borrow up to $250,000 without any closing costs or appraisal fees. You can also make interest-only payments for the first 10 years of the HELOC.
Runner Ups for First-Time Homebuyers
Bank of America has low down payment options that can be helpful for first-time home buyers. This includes the Bank of America Affordable Loan Solution, which offers a minimum down payment of just 3% with no PMI required. Chase also has a similar program, called the DreaMaker mortgage program, which allows down payments as low as 3%.
BEST MORTGAGE LENDER FOR REFINANCING
Why we chose PNC: PNC has a variety of refinancing options for every type of situation. You can refinance your mortgage to get a lower interest rate, to consolidate debt, to change your loan term length or rate type, or to even refinance into a specialized mortgage program.
You can refinance a fixed rate mortgage for up to $548,250 with flexible terms from 10 years to 30 years, or refinance into a jumbo loan for up to $5 million. If you qualify for a FHA loan, you can refinance your existing mortgage for up to a 97.75% loan-to-value (LTV), or up to 100% LTV with a FHA streamline refinance. You can also get up to a 100% LTV when refinancing a VA loan.
PNC also offers a home equity line of credit (HELOC) which can be a great alternative to refinancing your mortgage. You can choose between a variable rate or a fixed rate, and you can switch between a variable or fixed rate through PNC's HELOC Fixed Rate Lock. This allows you to transfer your variable rate balance into a fixed rate at any time, and you can request it online. Plus, you can even get 0.25% off your HELOC rate when you make automatic payments from your PNC checking account.
Refinance your conventional loan for up to $548,250, or get up to a 97.75% LTV with a FHA loan refinance or 100% LTV with a VA loan refinance. PNC also offers a flexible HELOC that lets you lock in rates while giving a rate discount if you make automatic HELOC payments.
Runner Ups for Refinancing
Mortgage lenders that have good mortgage refinancing programs include US Bank and Better.com.
BEST MORTGAGE LENDER FOR CONVENIENCE
Why we chose Guaranteed Rate: A quick and easy mortgage application process takes the stress out of applying for a mortgage. With Guaranteed Rate, you can apply for a mortgage online in as little as 10 minutes. Guaranteed Rate also offers fully virtual e-closings, which means that from start to finish, you won’t ever need to meet someone in person. That makes it a great option for those that can’t easily make it out to a physical branch, and makes it very convenient as you can easily apply for a mortgage and then later close from anywhere.
With Guaranteed Rate's e-closing, you just need a webcam when signing the electronic documents. A remote notary will also be with you virtually. You can also choose to use their FlashClose option, which mixes both a virtual signing of documents with an in-person notary.
Besides the convenience of a fully digital mortgage application process, Guaranteed Rates also offers another convenient option: interest only mortgages. With an interest only mortgage, you are able to make low monthly mortgage payments without any principal payments required. This frees up your money for other uses by reducing your monthly housing costs.
Apply online for a mortgage and be able to have a completely virtual mortgage closing with Guaranteed Rates. A variety of mortgage products are also available, including interest only mortgages, which provides flexibility to borrowers.
Runner Ups for Convenience
Online mortgage lenders allow for a convenient mortgage process. Runner ups for convenience include Ally, and Better Mortgage.
BEST MORTGAGE LENDER FOR ONLINE MORTGAGES
Why we chose Better Mortgage: Better Mortgage aims to provide a “simple” online mortgage for those that want an easy application process, quick approval times, and 24/7 customer service. Better Mortgage claims that they can close up to 10 days faster than average and that you can get pre-approved for a mortgage in just 3 minutes. You can also see how much it would cost to purchase mortgage points to reduce your mortgage rate. Plus, they don't charge any application or origination fees to borrowers.
With Better Mortgage, you can get an instant loan estimate. You can also lock-in a mortgage rate online. However, Better Mortgage does not offer completely electronic or remote closings. Instead, they offer a hybrid e-closing, where documents are signed electronically, with a required in-person meeting with a notary. Hybrid e-closings are only available for customers that are refinancing their mortgage with Better Mortgage. For new homebuyers, hybrid e-closing is not available with Better Mortgage.
Better Mortgage also offers a variety of other real estate services, such as title insurance, homeowners insurance, and real estate agent matching. If you purchase a home with a Better Mortgage real estate agent, you can get up to 1% of the purchase price back as a real estate commission rebate. While Better Mortgage does offer a variety of conventional and FHA loans, they do not offer VA or USDA loans.
Get pre-approved for a mortgage in minutes, be able to contact a live customer support agent 24/7, and lock-in a mortgage rate online. With Better Mortgage, you’ll be able to complete most of the mortgage application process online. However, their closing process isn’t completely virtual.
Runner Ups for Online Mortgages
Some of the other best online mortgage lenders include SoFi, Reali, and nbkc bank.
BEST MORTGAGE LENDER FOR POOR CREDIT
Carrington Mortgage Services
Why we chose Carrington Mortgage Services: Having poor or bad credit can make it very difficult to qualify for a mortgage with other lenders. With Carrington Mortgage Services, you can qualify for a mortgage with a credit score as low as 500 for FHA loans, USDA loans, VA loans, and adjustable rate mortgages. While Carrington does require a minimum credit score of 620 for their conventional loans, they also offer a Carrington Flexible Advantage home loan for those with a credit score of at least 550. With this home loan, you can qualify even if you have recently declared bankruptcy, had a short sale or foreclosure, or have missed payments in the past. Additionally, there is an expanded debt-to-income offering that lets you qualify with a DTI up to 50%.
You can also refinance your mortgage with a minimum credit score of 500 for FHA, VA, and ARM loans. The Carrington Flexible Advantage refinance loan lets you cash-out refinance for up to $250,000 with a credit score as low as 550. Self-employed borrowers can also provide bank statements as proof of income instead of IRS tax documents.
Get a mortgage with a minimum credit score of at least 500 for FHA, VA, and ARM loans. You can also qualify for a mortgage even if you have had a recent bankruptcy or foreclosure, missed payments, or are unable to verify your income with IRS tax documents, such as for self-employed borrowers.
Runner Ups for Poor Credit
New American Funding and Navy Federal Credit Union offer flexible mortgage options for borrowers with bad credit.
BEST MORTGAGE LENDER FOR VA LOANS
Navy Federal Credit Union
Why we chose Navy Federal Credit Union: Aimed at providing services to military members, Navy Federal Credit Union has a wide network of physical branches that makes it a convenient option for those looking for in-person service. You can get a VA loan with no down payment required, plus you have the possibility of locking in a lower mortgage rate through their Freedom Lock feature that allows you to get a lower rate of as much as 0.50% lower before closing. Navy Federal also gives you cash back if you use a Navy Federal real estate agent through Realty Plus. You can also purchase title insurance with Navy Federal Title Services.
As a full-service credit union, Navy Federal also offers bank accounts, car loans, student loans, HELOCs, and credit cards. Besides having your home loan with Navy Federal, you can also have your entire banking with Navy Federal. This makes them a convenient provider for banking services for military members.
No down payment or mortgage insurance is required for VA loans. Plus, as a full-service credit union, you can have access to a variety of other banking products all in one place.
Runner Ups for VA Loans
Other best VA loan lenders include USAA, Veterans United, and Veterans First.
BEST MORTGAGE LENDER FOR NATIONAL BANK
Why we chose Wells Fargo: Borrowers that prefer in-person service will require a mortgage lender that has a strong nation-wide network of physical branches. Wells Fargo has 4,900 retail branches in most states across the country, making it accessible for borrowers no matter where they are. Besides a large number of branches, Wells Fargo is also one of the largest traditional banks in the United States. From banking to credit to investing to retirement, Wells Fargo has products and services that fit the needs of all customers.
In addition to being accessible, Wells Fargo also offers competitive mortgage rates for their mortgage loan products. Not to be left behind by online mortgage lenders, you can also apply for a Wells Fargo mortgage online. In some states, you may also have a mail away closing, which allows you to sign the closing documents without visiting a branch.
4,900 branches across the country makes Wells Fargo easily accessible in most states. Backed up with a hefty line-up of traditional banking products and services with competitive mortgage rates, Wells Fargo stands out as the best national bank for home loan borrowers.
Runner Ups for National Bank
Other best national banks for mortgage loans include Bank of America, Chase, and US Bank.