Best Mortgage Lenders for Bad Credit of 2019

BySarah BadaniFeb. 24, 2019
It is possible to get a mortgage even when you have a bad credit
While it used to be difficult to get a loan when you had poor or fair credit, lenders today are more open to the idea of approving loans for people with low credit scores. The right lender can give you competitive terms, low rates, and an easy process all around.

It probably won’t come as a shock to you, but having a low credit score can make it tougher to refinance your mortgage. Lenders will tend to see you as more of a risk and act accordingly. That said, too many people seem to assume that average or bad credit is a deal breaker, and this couldn’t be further from the truth.

Lenders allow for refinances in some circumstances with credit in 580 range, so even with a poor credit rating you’re not totally shut out of the game. Keep in mind though, if you do refinance it can be to some extent bad for your credit, though the impact tends to be minor.

Once you’ve figured out the path to better credit and/or a refinance, find a lender who will approve you, and most importantly - a refinance deal with conditions that are actually better and will pay off for you in the end.

Let’s take a dive now and see which mortgage lenders are the best for people with bad credit.

Best Mortgage Companies for Bad Credit

LenderLoan TypeGet an Offer
LendingTreeFHA, VA, USDA, ConventionalView Rates
Quicken LoansFHA, VA or the USDA, ConventionalView Rates
Rocket MortgageVA, FHA, HARP, ConventionalView Rates
First Internet BankVA, FHA, HARP, USDA, ConventionalView Rates

1. LendingTree

Minimum credit score: 500+ for 10% down payment, 580+ for 3.5% down payment

Minimum down payment: 3.5% for FHA loans

  • Multiple lenders to easily compare offers
  • Mortgage loan calculator
  • Sleek mobile app

LendingTree is a well-known name in the finance industry, and it's a name people like. That's because, with one application, you instantly get access to a huge network of lenders all competing for your business. And, as LendingTree's slogan goes, "When banks compete, you win!" LendingTree partners with some major players in the lending world such as Discover Card. Additionally, because this company partners with so many lenders across the spectrum, you can find just about any type of loan, terms, and options. That means you are more likely to find a suitable loan option that works for your situation and needs.

LendingTree also has helpful online tools like loan and mortgage calculators to help you estimate what price range you can afford to buy a house in, and how much your monthly payments will be based on your inputted information. These are invaluable tools that really give consumers a more educated perspective on buying a home. Learn more about LendingTree’s easy online process.

Best for: National loan programs and financial assistance 

Biggest Perk: Widest variety of lenders with a single application

LendingTree LendingTree Get Rates

2. Quicken Loans 

Minimum credit score: 620+ for conventional mortgages

Minimum down payment: 3%

  • Plenty of home loans for buying or refinancing
  • Excellent personalized phone service
  • Loan repayment terms ranging from 8 to 30 years

Quicken Loans is a huge non-bank lender that offers a variety of loans including FHA, VA, USDA, and jumbo loans. You’ll find a huge range of repayment terms here, making it easy to find the repayment plan that works for you. A neat feature that Quicken Loans supports is purchasable discount points. You can buy these points to lower your interest rate, saving money in the long run.

Quicken Loans also has another benefit: personalized customer service. While many other lenders offer customer service via the phone or online contact form, Quicken Loans makes it a top priority to speak directly to each of its customers. This is a fabulous service because it ensures that you understand all the terms, get all your questions answered, and are never in doubt about any part of your home loan. For someone just starting out or unfamiliar with the loan industry, this is an invaluable service. See what else Quicken Loans can do for you.

Best for: Calculating your budget and monthly payments

Biggest Perk: Personalized service

Quicken Loans Quicken Loans Get Rates

3. Rocket Mortgage

Minimum credit score: 500+ for 10% down payment, 580+ for 3.5% down payment

Minimum down payment: 3.5% based on qualifying credit

  • Tech-based banking method for faster, easier results
  • Sleek mobile app
  • Pre-approval in minutes

Rocket Mortgage is the glam child of Quicken Loans. If you balk at the more traditional, old-school phone call methodology Quicken Loans subscribes to, then Rocket Mortgage may be your best choice. This modern-day home loan lender processes your entire loan completely online. Everything from the application form to approval, making offers, comparing rates, and finalizing the deal is done directly through the polished application. It gives borrowers even with bad credit the ability to access and process loan applications with the touch of a button.

Aside from home equity loans/lines of credit, Rocket Mortgage provides every other type of home loan. You can find FHA, VA, USDA, as well as conventional loans to help you purchase or refinance your home. You can also choose between variable and fixed rates (though people with poor credit will generally be given fixed rates). Discover everything Rocket Mortgage has to offer now.

Best for: Borrowers who want a live chat options

Biggest Perk: Tech-based process for faster easier results

Rocket Mortgage Rocket Mortgage Get Rates

4. First Internet Bank

Minimum credit score: 500+ for 10% down payment, 580+ for 3.5% down payment

Minimum down payment: 3.5% based on qualifying credit

  • Varied repayment plans of 10, 15, 20, 25 or 30 years
  • Maximum closing time is within 40 days
  • Full online banking with mobile app

Most people like the convenience of doing things online. At the same time, for financial activities, many prefer the security of a more trusted institution like a bank. The First Internet Bank takes the best of both worlds and combines them for a unique experience that actually works really well. You’ll get the top of the line security and trusted reassurance of a traditional bank together with the faster, streamlined services of the internet.

First Internet Bank provides a wide variety of banking services including checking accounts, credit cards, and, more relevant to our topic, home mortgage loans and refinancing options. Choose from government loans, such as FHA and VA loans, to get better rates and easier terms. Additionally, you’ll enjoy instant account access via the convenient mobile app that lets you apply and approve loan offers, as well as keep track of mortgage payments. 

Best for: Phone on-the-go access

Biggest Perk: Full banking services in one place

First Internet Bank First Internet Bank Get Rates

Can I Get a Loan with Bad Credit?

The obvious question most people with bad credit have is “can I get a loan if my credit score is low?” The answer is a resounding yes; you simply need to know where to look. There are several reasons for having bad credit, including:

  • Never building your credit in the first place
  • Missing monthly payments or having outstanding debt or bills
  • Filing for bankruptcy

The former reason gives you a lot more leverage to work with since it means you haven’t been delinquent, just never established your own credit. This could be because you are too young (students), are/were serving in the armed forces, or simply never thought to take out a line of credit. In these cases, lenders are certainly more willing to work with you as you pose no high risk to them. The other 2 reasons are trickier, but you can still be approved for a loan, though the terms will generally vary from a typical loan. Lenders will also take into consideration just how low your score is before making an offer. That being said, the bad credit mortgage market has opened up over the past few years, making it more competitive and driving down the rates. These are all good things for you.

What Rates to Expect

Of course, having bad credit does come with some drawbacks, and that usually comes in the form of higher interest rates or monthly payments. The plus side here is that FHA, VA, and other government-regulated loans are required to charge lower interest rates, helping people with bad credit afford their loans. For the average 30-year fixed rate loan, borrowers with bad credit can expect to pay approximately 5.481% APR. However, FHA loans can run as low as 3.5% if you have a score of 580 or higher. Lower than that, and you might pay as much as 10% APR.

Rates will vary significantly, though, depending on your individual circumstances, loan terms, and lender. It’s a good idea to compare various offers from several lenders before signing on a loan. You can also get a better rate by paying a larger down payment. This initial payment will lower your loan amount and rates.

How to Choose a Bad Credit Mortgage Lender

The first step to finding your poor credit mortgage lender is to know your exact credit score. Depending on your score, you might qualify for FHA or VA loans, and each lender will have slightly different credit requirements and minimum credit scores. You can request a free credit score from any of the 3 credit bureaus. Each lender will also offer varying rates, so shop around to find the best rates for you based on your credit score, budget, pay-stubs and location. Consider any other requirements, such as the company's minimum down payment. You'll want to be sure you're borrowing from a credible lender, so check the company's Better Business Bureau rating and ask your friends and family for personal recommendations. 

Summary

Having a low credit score doesn’t mean that you can’t get a good loan--it just means you need to come to the right place. Look into the right government-backed programs, as well as into lenders with rates geared especially for getting a mortgage with bad credit. The best lenders for low credit will take into account your overall lifestyle when offering you rates so you can find a mortgage that works for you.