The Best Mortgage Lenders of 2019

Top10.com StaffByTop10.com StaffNov. 25, 2019

The American mortgage industry is extremely competitive, with around 12,000 institutions offering home loans at last count. With so much choice, it can be hard to know where to begin your mortgage comparison. But compare you must, because even seemingly small differences in rates and fees can have a big impact on your monthly payments or how much you’ll pay over the duration of the home loan.

We’ve reviewed the best mortgage lenders to make it easier for you to compare. Read on to find out who we’ve judged the 10 best mortgage companies.

Comparing any type of lender with one form
Purchase loans
An easy online process
Excellent customer service
Debt consolidation using home equity
Veterans and their families
Existing Chase Bank customers
Comparing top lenders at once
Marketplace
Direct lender
Direct lender
Direct lender
Direct lender
Direct lender
Direct lender
Marketplace
Conventional, jumbo, FHA, VA, and more
Conventional, jumbo, cash-out refinance, more
Conventional, jumbo, cash-out refinance, more
Conventional, jumbo, FHA, VA, USDA, refinance
Conventional, refinance, home equity, more
Conventional, jumbo, FHA, HARP, USDA, more
Conventional, jumbo, FHA, VA, HELOC, more
Conventional, jumbo, FHA, HEL/HELOC, more
500-620depending on the loan type
500-620depending on the loan type
500-620depending on the loan type
580-640depending on the loan type
620
500-620depending on the loan type
500-640depending on loan type
500-620depending on the loan type
0% for VA, 3.5% for FHA, 20% for most loans
0% for VA, 3.5% for FHA, 20% for most loans
0% for VA, 3.5% for FHA, 20% for most loans
0% for VA, and as low as 3% for other loan types
Varies based on loan type
0% for VA, 3.5% for FHA, 20% for most loans
0% for VA, 3.5% for FHA, 20% for most loans
0% for VA, 3.5% for FHA, 20% for most loans
10- to 30-year loans
15- to 30-year loans
15- to 30-year loans
10- to 30-year loans
10- to 30-years
15- to 30-year loans
10- to 30-years
10- to 30-year loans
None, though some lenders may have fees
Origination fee of about 0.5%
Origination fee of ~0.5%, refundable deposit
No origination fee options
No origination fees, or closing costs
No points, no hidden fees
Transparent closing disclosure document
None, though some lenders may have fees

The Top Mortgage Companies: A Closer Look

  • 1

    LendingTree

    Banks compete for your business
    LendingTree
    • Best forComparing any type of lender with one form
    • Minimum credit score500-620depending on the loan type
    • Minimum down payment0% for VA, 3.5% for FHA, 20% for most loans

    LendingTree is the premiere loan comparison marketplace. It collects your details through a survey and runs the information by its hundreds of lenders to find your personalized rates for almost any type of mortgage loan. The website is super easy to navigate, and you can even find your credit score if you don’t already know it, as well as a wealth of financial planning articles and calculators. It has a wide range of loans and credit scores accepted because of the array of lenders, making it a great choice for any unconventional borrower. There’s no user fee and you’ll get multiple loan offers in just minutes, with only one convenient online form. LendingTree won’t impact your credit score and offers loan terms from 10 to 30 years. Uncertain what you’re looking for? Browse around the site to learn more about every kind of mortgage, mortgage refinance, or home equity loan. 

    You can decide the amount you want to put down, the repayment terms that work for you, and LendingTree does the rest.

    Pros
    • Get loan offers within minutes
    • Check your credit
    • One form for many lenders
    Cons
    • High number of phone calls and emails
    • Rates only shown after entering your Social Security number
    Read LendingTree Full Review
  • 2

    Quicken Loans

    Affordable mortgages with award winning service
    Quicken Loans
    • Best forPurchase loans
    • Minimum credit score500-620depending on the loan type
    • Minimum down payment0% for VA, 3.5% for FHA, 20% for most loans

    As America’s largest mortgage lender, Quicken Loans boasts that it has a simply better mortgage experience without complications. It offers a large range of loans and allows you to compare loan rates for different terms and loan types, so you can decide based on the rates you know you’ll be offered. It’s possible to calculate what your monthly payments will look like for 10-, 15-, 20- or 30- year purchase loans, as well as refinance, VA, FHA, USDA, Jumbo loans, reverse mortgages, and a specialty customized mortgage called YOURgage. Quicken will update you with your loan status online 24/7, so you won’t wonder what’s happening. The online process is simple and easy, and available on your mobile phone. If you want to talk to a person, it has that too, with home loan experts available on the phone. RateShield Approval means you can lock your offered interest rate for up to 90 days, giving you time to look around and compare.

    Pros
    • Fast, easy application
    • Many loan options
    • Best customer service
    Cons
    • No FAQ section on the site
    • Live chat isn’t 24/7
    Read Quicken Loans Full Review
  • 3

    Rocket Mortgage

    A simpler, quicker mortgage
    Rocket Mortgage
    • Best forAn easy online process
    • Minimum credit score500-620depending on the loan type
    • Minimum down payment0% for VA, 3.5% for FHA, 20% for most loans

    Rocket Mortgage is ready, 24/7, to help your mortgage become a reality. The faster, younger offspring of Quicken Loans, Rocket does everything online, making the entire loan process smooth and easy. You can use the RateShield Approval rate lock while you browse around, protecting your low rates from rising, and saving your data, so you don’t have to fill out forms multiple times. The online document and asset retrieval streamlines the mortgage application process, so once you’re ready to upload paperwork, you can always save it for later. Rocket Mortgage is a J.D. Power award winning provider, with 9 consecutive years of the highest customer satisfaction in the US. Looking for a mortgage refinance? It has that too. Use the web portal to make payments online and make your mortgage or refinance loan work for you. Missing the human touch? You can still chat with a home loan expert online.

    Pros
    • Many loan options
    • Fast advanced platform
    • Real-time rates
    Cons
    • Rates and terms are only available with registration
    • Financial info needs to be imported
    Read Rocket Mortgage Full Review
  • 4

    Amerisave

    Accurate quotes, no estimates.
    Amerisave
    • Best forExcellent customer service
    • Minimum credit score580-640depending on the loan type
    • Minimum down payment0% for VA, and as low as 3% for other loan types

    Amerisave is an established mortgage lender operating in 49 states and DC, with over $52 billion in home loans funded. The company’s reputation speaks for itself—it’s no startup tech brand, but the online process is smooth, fast and simple for many types of mortgage loans. Closing happens when and where it works for you, so there’s no need to head into a branch but you’ll still get customized service and attention of live people. It offered fixed and adjustable loans, as well as government-backed FHA, VA and USDA loans. There are refinance loans and cash out refinancing, though no home equity loans or HELOCs at this time. Pre-qualify and close your loan in as little as 25 days with complete confidence. There are home buying guides to ensure that you understand the process and understand where your money is headed and the customer service has some of the top ratings in the industry.

    Pros
    • Apply and submit forms directly online
    • Company originates and underwrites all loans
    • Low rates
    Cons
    • No second mortgage products
    • No loans for manufactured homes
    Read Amerisave Full Review
  • 5

    Discover

    Feel right at home with a Discover loan.
    Discover
    • Best forDebt consolidation using home equity
    • Minimum credit score620
    • Minimum down paymentVaries based on loan type

    The more you understand your home loan, the easier it is and the more confident you’ll feel. Discover home loans educates borrowers first, so you’ll know exactly what you’re getting and why it works for you. It walks users through pre-approval on the loan choices that might work, with virtual mortgage loan tours and affordability calculators. There are FAQs, a homebuying blog, mortgage calculators and articles of all sizes to clarify what you’re getting. Discover offers almost every type of home loan, including conventional purchase loans, FHA, VA, cash out refinance, HARP refinance, home equity loans and HELOCs. It pays your closing costs for you, so you won’t be hit with any large fees before you can get your keys. Apply and prequalify online.

    Pros
    • No application, origination or appraisal fees
    • US Based personal banker
    • Borrow up to 95% loan-to-value
    Cons
    • No live chat
    • Application process isn’t entirely online
    Read Discover Full Review
  • 6

    Freedom Mortgage

    Favorable rates and terms
    Freedom Mortgage
    • Best forVeterans and their families
    • Minimum credit score500-620depending on the loan type
    • Minimum down payment0% for VA, 3.5% for FHA, 20% for most loans

    Freedom mortgage is an ultra-convenient mortgage lender with easy online or phone application, as well as in-person branches. It’s a leading lender in refinance loans, to lower your rates or terms, cash out refinance to pay off debts or make a large purchase, or loans to purchase a new home. There’s an affordability calculator and a refinance calculator, and this lender is licensed in all 50 states, DC, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands, so there’s really something for everyone. Dedicated loan specialists will guide you from eligibility and pre-approval through closing, giving you the freedom to focus on your home. With loan types across the spectrum of possibilities, like VA, Conventional and Jumbo, FHA, and USDA loans, you can compare several choices and find the right fit.

    Pros
    • Government-backed loans
    • Simple online application process
    • Many loan options
    Cons
    • No live chat support
    • No HELs or HELOCs
    Read Freedom Mortgage Full Review
  • 7

    Chase Bank

    Get the tools, advice, and rates you need
    Chase Bank
    • Best forExisting Chase Bank customers
    • Minimum credit score500-640depending on loan type
    • Minimum down payment0% for VA, 3.5% for FHA, 20% for most loans

    Chase is 1 of the 4 largest banks in the US, with over 5,100 branches throughout the country and a reputation for excellent personal banking of any kind. It features mortgage options to purchase a new home or refinance an existing one. Chase’s home equity line of credit lets you use your home equity to pay for home improvements or other expenses. You can get started online or speak directly with a Chase home lending advisor on the phone or in a brick and mortar branch. There are online tools to help you figure out how much home you can afford, and you can pre-qualify online or get mortgage rate quotes. Refinance to get lower rates or to access cash, or get a HELOC for a bit more flexibility from your home’s value. Chase already serves nearly half of American households, so you’re in good company.

    Pros
    • $1,000 closing guarantee
    • 75,000 Ultimate Reward points
    • Low down payment options
    Cons
    • Some fees are higher than competitors
    • Little pricing available
    Read Chase Bank Full Review
  • 8

    Credible

    Honest rates comparison
    Credible
    • Best forComparing top lenders at once
    • Minimum credit score500-620depending on the loan type
    • Minimum down payment0% for VA, 3.5% for FHA, 20% for most loans

    Credible is an online loan marketplace with personalized offers from multiple approved lenders. It’s always free for you, and the information is clearly explained. There’s no commitment, one simple form, and rates in as little as 3 minutes. See how much home you can afford and generate a pre-approval letter instantly online. The process is completely pain-free, and there are soft credit checks from all 3 credit unions. Your data is kept private, so you won’t be spammed by multiple lenders after submitting your details for a quote. Credible’s loan officers have over 30 years’ experience working with homebuyers and their customer service has an excellent (5 star) rating on Trustpilot. Need more info? There’s a comprehensive FAQ and Financial Education section so you’ll never be lost. If you’re looking to refinance, Credible offers great rates and the full process online from quotes to closing. Pay less interest and consolidate debt and pay for large expenses.

    Pros
    • Compare rates and fees across lenders
    • Digital application process
    • Entire origination process
    Cons
    • Available in only 39 states
    • Good credit required for most lenders
    Read Credible Full Review

How to Find the Best Mortgage Lender

Finding the right lender is an essential first step to finding the right home loan for your needs. Here are the main 5 things to look out for when comparing the best mortgage companies:

  1. Type of lender: There are marketplaces like LendingTree and Credible, direct lenders with online platforms and physical branches like Quicken Loans and Freedom Mortgage, and direct lenders that only operate online, such as Better Mortgage. Other types of lenders include traditional banks and credit unions. Each type of lender offers different pros and cons, so it’s important to know which category your chosen lender falls under.
  2. Speed: A quick application process offers certainty and stability, while a slow process could make your home purchase more expensive or cause you to lose your bid altogether. Therefore, only go with lenders that have a reputation for quick service, speedy pre-approval, and short closing times.
  3. Ease of use: These days, all the best mortgage lenders allow their customers to apply for home loans over the internet. Always compare lender websites and read lender reviews to understand which ones are easiest to use.
  4. Reputation: With thousands of lenders in the mortgage market, it’s fair to say that some are open and transparent about their service and others are not. These days, all it takes to find out if a lender is trustworthy is to read reviews.
  5. Customer service: For most people, taking out a mortgage is the biggest decision they’ll ever make in their lives. Therefore, home buyers deserve the absolute best customer service from their lender. All the mortgage lenders reviewed on this page are known for offering expert customer service, among other things.

Choosing The Best Mortgage Loan For You

Take a deep breath and kick back for a second. Signing a mortgage, especially if it’s the first time you’re buying a home, is one of the biggest financial decisions you can make in your life and it’s not something you should rush into. Relax, knowing that you’ve done your homework.  Compare how lenders perform. Here are some things to look out for when making your mortgage comparison:

Bigger payments or more interest: know your loan terms

One of the central questions when considering any mortgage is length of term versus size of payments. If you put down a bigger down payment and agree to bigger payments over a shorter loan term, you will pay less interest over the lifetime of the loan. That said, you will also have a higher monthly payment, so make sure this is something you can keep up with. The central question in this calculation is whether or not you’d prefer to pay less interest over the loan term, or would rather have somewhat more interest over a longer term, in exchange for a monthly payment that’s easier to make. This is a decision only you can make, and one that’s best done after taking a comprehensive look at your finances, long term plans and the mortgage lenders and rates available.

Fixed vs adjustable rate mortgages

With a fixed rate mortgage, the monthly payments are locked in for the entire loan term, which can help you plan your month-to-month expenses. A variable rate mortgage can adjust in keeping with changes in mortgage rates, potentially saving you money on the interest during the repayment period. Consider which is best for you, and don’t rush it.

Processing fees and penalties

Will you have to pay origination fees on the loan, and if so, how much? If you decide that you’d like to pay the mortgage off early, will there be a penalty fee? The sum cost of the interest, payments, and other fees forms what’s known as the annual percentage rate (APR), which is the total cost of the loan per year. Take a look at all of the fine print, and then you’ll get a clearer idea of the entire cost of the loan. Many will advertise advantages such as no origination fees, no lender fees, no commissions, or no closing costs. 

APR and interest rates

This is the annual percentage rate your lender collects for providing the mortgage, comprising interest rate and certain fees. The best lender for you is the one that can offer the best APR for your credit score and financial details, not the one that offers the lowest APRs in general.

Types of loans

If you have good credit, a conventional fixed-rate or adjustable-rate mortgage is probably best for you. But if you have poor credit or don’t have enough money for a 20% down payment, you may want to explore government-backed loans like FHA or VA loans. Not all lenders offer the exact same loan products, so shop around.

Down payment requirements

Most lenders require a 20% down payment for conventional loans. Occasionally lenders will accept less, although they may ask you to pay monthly private mortgage insurance until you reach 20% equity. Many other loan types will allow lower down payment options, and some lenders go lower on conventional mortgages too. 

How to Get the Best Mortgage Rate

Here are our top 5 tips for finding the best mortgage loan rates:

  1. Shop around: Make a mortgage comparison of at least 3-5 lenders to see how they all stack up against each other. Get quotes, and go back to them to ask for lower rates if you’ve gotten a lower quote elsewhere. 
  2. Improve your credit score: If poor credit is preventing you from getting decent rates, the good news is there are ways to repair your credit, like paying off all your debts or taking out a small personal loan and paying it off quickly. Keep paying off your credit card balance and student loans monthly.
  3. Have a history of employment: In addition to credit score, lenders look at a borrower’s overall financial profile including employment history. The longer you’ve been in a stable job, the better your chances of getting a good rate.
  4. Make a higher down payment: The more you pay down at the start, the less equity the lender will have in your new home and the lower the risk for the lender. In return for reducing the lender’s risk, you may be able to score yourself a better rate.
  5. Agree to an adjustable rate: Adjustable-rate mortgages, or ARMs, start with lower interest rates than fixed mortgages. However, they also carry more risk, because your rate can go up (or down) once the introductory period ends, whereas the rate on a fixed-rate loan stays the same for the duration of the mortgage. If you don’t plan to stay in this home a while or want to take the risk, this is a great way to get significantly lower rates.

How to Apply for a Mortgage

Think of a mortgage like this—it’s your chance to buy and own property that would be unattainable as an up front purchase and build equity and value in that home. You’ll need to show that you have the financial means necessary to make the payments, but you don’t need to pay the value of a home in cash, allowing you to afford the home of your dreams through financing.

Step 1: Choose a mortgage lender

When going through the application process, don’t limit yourself to just one lender. Speak to a number of lenders so that you can see who offers the best interest rates, terms and customer service that suits your needs. In addition, once you have an idea of what to expect from lenders, you’ll have a better idea if potential lenders are giving you a good deal or not.

Step 2: Show your sources of income by supplying these documents:

  • Bank statements, including any investment accounts
  • Private and business related tax returns
  • W2 tax forms from recent years
  • Your monthly pay stubs

Step 3: Prioritize the terms that work for you

Some people are most interested in keeping their monthly payments low, while others are interested in making sure their payments don’t fluctuate and they’ll know what to expect for the years to come. Still others look toward paying off their mortgage quickly and building equity in the home. Think about what you need and which terms might be to your advantage—interest rates are important, but not the only consideration.

What is Mortgage Refinancing?

Simply put, refinancing a mortgage is a way for you to get new mortgage rates and terms that work better for you. With a refinanced mortgage, the lender pays off your previous home loan completely and you are left with the refinanced mortgage.

In order to refinance, you will need to go through basically the same process as when you received the initial mortgage. You will need to have your home appraised, submit financial documents, and pay closing costs to complete the process.

Why do people refinance their mortgages? 

The main reason is to reach terms that are better for them. For instance, if your monthly mortgage payment is too high, then refinancing can be a way to get some relief. You can also refinance in order to switch from adjustable to fixed mortgage rates, or refinance in order to use your home equity to pay for other expenses in your life.

Understanding Mortgage Rates

The great news for prospective homeowners is that home loan rates are currently at one of the lowest levels in decades, hovering at below 4% for 30-year and 15-year-fixed rate mortgage loans. With additional options for 10-year mortgages and 20-year loans as well, and mortgage rates at their current low, this may be a great time to lock down a fixed rate option. Ask the best mortgage companies for their rates through online quote calculators or customer service agents.

Regulations

There are a number of laws and regulations in place in the US to protect borrowers which all reputable mortgage companies will follow. On the federal level, these include a series of laws such as the Truth in Lending Act—which establishes disclosure requirements for lenders—and the Fair Housing Act, which bans discrimination based upon age, race, gender, religion, or nationality. Federal and state regulations are meant to uphold fairness in the lending process, and also to safeguard the financial information of home loan borrowers.

Before taking out a loan, it is important for you to know the relevant state and federal regulations that apply to it and that your mortgage lender adheres to them. These laws protect and help the borrower know their money and property are secure.

Important Mortgage Information

Regardless of the length, 10-, 15- or 30-year mortgages all require repayment. Once you’ve bought your home, that property and its equity value are yours to borrow against, sell for profit, renovate, or pass to your children. A home loan gives borrowers ownership opportunities, so take a look at the best mortgage lenders to find the mortgage rates and terms that work for you and your dream home.

Top10.com StaffByTop10.com StaffJun. 18, 2019
Our editorial staff is comprised of writers who are knowledgeable about financial services. We specialize in simplifying the process of choosing the right mortgage lender for your needs.