Home loan provider rating methodology

What goes into our editorial rating for home loan providers.

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When weighing your lender options for a home loan, tracking down information from providers can be tricky. Many lenders aren’t upfront about interest, fees and terms. It can take some digging to track down important information, without having to sit down and fill out an application.

Our loan rating system is designed to help you compare a lender’s overall performance and not just its costs. When rating our mortgage providers, our researchers consider three distinct factors: interest rates and fees, its products and mortgage types and overall borrower experience.

Our star rating system provides you with a starting point to help you determine what’s best for your situation. After you’ve narrowed down lenders you’re interested in, dive into the details with our provider reviews before applying for a loan.

Our ratings

We rate loans using a system of one to five stars.

★★★★★ — Excellent

★★★★★ — Good

★★★★★ — Average

★★★★★ — Subpar

★★★★★ — Poor

How we rate interest rates and fees

When we analyze interest rates and fees, we look at a lender’s average interest rates and origination charges on completed loans from the previous year. These reports come from reputable sources such as the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA).

We weigh those rates and fees against other lenders in the market. So when lenders charge fees like commitment, application, rate-lock or other “junk” fees, its ratings can fall.

How we rate mortgage types and products

When we look at a mortgage provider’s selection of loan types and available products, we consider its lending options to meet a borrower’s needs.

We look for conventional and government-backed mortgages, as well as home equity options. Providers that offer additional products outside of the norm, reaching more kinds of borrowers can score higher in this area.

How we rate borrower experience

We look at perks that improve a borrower’s overall experience when applying for and repaying the loan. For example, we consider whether a provider’s services are available both in-person and online, and the states the provider’s licensed in.

We like perks that include mobile apps, online dashboards, online chat features and mobile-responsive websites. Multiple ways to contact customer service can boost a provider’s score.

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