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Best mortgage lenders of 2024

Explore lenders with no fee options, lower rates, or quick closings.

Buying a new home is an exciting time at any stage of life. But amid a multitude of mortgage lenders and a housing market with high interest rates and low inventory, choosing the right loan can be a challenge.

According to Finder’s Consumer Confidence Index, 19% of those surveyed struggle to make mortgage payments. But with mortgage payments averaging almost $500 less per month than what participants pay in rent, deciding to buy a home might make financial sense.

If that’s true for you, consider these mortgage lenders, which may offer the funding you need.

7 best mortgage lenders

Best for first-time buyers

Rocket Mortgage

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Rocket is the largest mortgage lender in the US and is known for having a fast and easy process. First-time homebuyers can follow the straightforward online application to get a conditional prequalification in less than 10 minutes. Rocket boasts that a majority of its loans close within a week, and there's no penalty for paying your loan off early.

Best for veterans

Veterans United

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To thank veterans for their service to our country, the US government has established exclusive programs that help members of the military purchase homes. Several mortgage lenders specialize in these programs, but among them all, Veterans United is the best. Its specialists can walk you through every step of the process. The lender also has low rates, earns an impressive rating of 4.9 out of 5 on Trustpilot and offers approval with no down payment to qualified veterans.

Best for quick closings


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AmeriSave is a competitive lender, offering a standard suite of mortgage products and an intuitive online application. Its track record of quick closings and its fully online process has won the lender high ratings in customer reviews. If you prequalify, AmeriSave locks your rate for up to 90 days while you shop around for a house — many mortgage companies only lock your rate for 30 to 60 days. Great customer reviews and a Certified Closing Promise make this lender stand out.

Best for low rates

Guaranteed Rate

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When it comes to mortgage rates, a difference of just 1 percentage point can translate to tens of thousands of dollars over the life of your loan. Guaranteed Rate offers some of the lowest mortgage rates in the industry, online prequalification only takes a few minutes and the company is committed to transparency when it comes to calculating rates.

Best for low fees

PenFed Credit Union

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PenFed offers competitive rates and fast approvals, but where it really stands out is its offering of loan products that don’t require an origination fee. Avoiding the fee, typically 2% to 4% of the loan value, may come with a higher interest rate. So, you’ll need to decide whether you’ll still save money in the end or if paying the fee would be a smarter move.

Best for refinancing


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Plenty of mortgage lenders offer refinancing loans, but few are as impressive as Better. Better is a direct lender that doesn't charge origination fees. Plus, the company price-matches competitors if you find a better deal elsewhere. Better's loan officers don't earn commissions on loans, so you don't have to worry about pressure to pick options you're not interested in.

Best lending marketplace


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This San Francisco–based company was founded in 2012 with a focus on student loans. Today, it can help you secure a mortgage as well. Yet unlike traditional mortgage lenders that loan out their own capital, marketplace lenders like Credible act as brokers that match borrowers with investors. Credible's loan officers aren't commissioned, so they won't try to upsell you on options you're not interested in. Plus, the excellently rated marketplace doesn't charge fees and offers higher lending limits than many competitors.

Methodology: How we chose the best mortgage lenders

We chose these lenders based on several criteria, including fees, loan amounts, interest rates and eligibility requirements. We also considered customer reviews from sites such as Trustpilot and the Better Business Bureau (BBB).

Our lending experts researched hundreds of home loan providers to narrow down the best lenders. We found lenders suited to a wide range of needs, including those that offer multiple mortgage products, get high customer ratings and offer the best rates and low fees.

We weigh lenders against 11 key metrics:

  • Rates
  • Fees
  • Application process
  • Lender reputation
  • Eligibility requirements
  • Credit score minimums
  • Mortgage products offered
  • Minimum and maximum loan amounts
  • Service footprint
  • Specialty loan products
  • Rate discounts

How do I choose the best mortgage lender?

Choosing the right lender can be a challenge if you’re not sure what to look for. A few features to compare while you’re shopping around are:

  • Types of loans. There are several types of mortgages — including jumbo, conventional, fixed rate, adjustable rate and government insured. Not all lenders offer all types, so knowing which kind you want can help narrow down your options.
  • Mortgage rates. Generally speaking, the lower the rate on a home loan, the less you’ll pay over time.
  • Down payment requirement. If the amount you can put down on a home is limited, the lender’s requirements based on your financial situation can make or break your purchasing power.
  • Cost and fees. Some lenders aren’t transparent on loan costs. So, you’ll need to comb through the fine print and ask about all the fees involved.
  • Prepayment penalties. If you plan on paying off your mortgage ahead of time, look for a lender that won’t charge you a fee for it.
  • Credit score flexibility. Each lender has specific requirements when it comes to credit scores, and some are stricter than others. Knowing where your score stands can help you find the lenders most likely to approve you.
  • Face-to-face service. Many modern digital lenders lack brick-and-mortar branches. If in-person service is important to you, a more traditional lender might be a better fit.

Can a broker help me find the best mortgage?

Mortgage brokers take your financial information and try to connect you with the best mortgage to match your location and needs. You’re basically paying a fee to have an expert compare mortgage products for you — a fee that can range from 0.5% to 3.0% of your loan principal.

This can save you a tremendous amount of time and money if you find a better rate than you could have on your own. But, similar to using a lender marketplace, you’re limited to lenders the broker is familiar with and lenders that work with brokers. Not all lenders do.

How to get the best rate on a mortgage

Your financial history and the amount of your down payment are the two most important determinants of your mortgage rate, regardless of lender. But there are other factors that can help you get the best rate available to you.

With interest rates high now but expected to come down in the coming months, this may be a great time to follow our suggestions to get a better interest rate on your mortgage.

  1. Work on your credit score. Clearing any false or incomplete information from your credit report can go a long way to increasing your score. Other solutions may take longer, but it may be worth the work before you start shopping for a mortgage.
  2. Reduce your debt. Debt-to-income (DTI) ratios are also part of the qualification process when getting a mortgage. Paying off as much debt as possible and closing zero-balance credit accounts can help.
  3. Save for a higher down payment. You can get a loan with as little as 3% down, but saving more can lower your rate. If you can save toward a 20% down payment, you can get a better rate and won’t have to pay private mortgage insurance (PMI).
  4. Pay down interest with points. Mortgage points are an upfront fee that some lenders charge to reduce your interest rate. Typically, a point can reduce your interest by 0.25%, and each point costs you 1% of your mortgage value. For example, if your loan is for $500,000, each point would cost $5,000. So, for $10,000, in addition to your down payment, you may be able to lower your rate by 0.50%.
  5. Check special programs and specialty mortgages. Lenders sometimes offer special mortgage products for borrowers who work professional jobs (such as medical, legal or accounting), borrowers who work civil occupations (such as firefighters, police and teachers) and low-income borrowers buying in certain areas. These programs come with discounted fees, lower eligibility requirements and sometimes lower rates.
  6. Compare lenders. Get free quotes from your top few lenders to make sure you’re getting the best deal possible. Just be sure that its preapproval or prequalification processes don’t require a hard credit pull, which could affect your score.

Types of mortgages

Each lender has different mortgage products on offer, which is why it’s important to compare and understand all the loans you have to choose from.

Conventional or conforming loans

These are loans that meet the federal guidelines set by Fannie Mae (FNMA)/Freddie Mac(FMCC). The requirements include:

  • Minimum credit score: 620
  • Maximum loan limits (set by county): $548,250 in most areas
  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio (DTI): 43%
  • Minimum down payment required: 3%

Any loan with requirements outside these is considered non-conforming.

Jumbo loans

Obviously, the loan limits of conforming loans make financing difficult in areas like Silicon Valley or NYC, where housing costs are high. Large loans create a big risk for the lender, which is why jumbo loans usually require large down payments and higher financial stability and carry higher APRs.

Government Backed Loans

For people who can’t qualify for a conventional loan, there are government programs that can help keep things affordable. These are all backed by a government authority and come with a set of requirements listed on the appropriate government websites.

  • VA loans. These offer a 0% down payment with no PMI required, lower rates and discounted lender fees. VA loans require a certificate of eligibility (COE) based on the length of service and the housing entitlement of service members, veterans and surviving spouses.
  • FHA loans. These require a 3.5% down payment for those with FICO scores of 620 or higher —10% for those with lower scores. FHA loans come with a lower interest rate and can be easier to qualify for, which makes them popular with first-time home buyers. Borrowers are required to pay mortgage insurance on these loans for 11 years, even if the home’s equity exceeds 20%.
  • USDA loans. If the property is in a designated rural area, low- to mid-income borrowers may qualify for a USDA loan. These typically have no down payment and lower interest rates, and the borrower can apply for a grant to improve the property.

Specialty loans

There are many specialty loans to choose from, the most common include:

  • Construction loans. These allow you to finance the building or massive renovation of your home and the home’s mortgage with either one or two closing periods, depending on what works best for your circumstances.
  • Professional loan (doctors/lawyers/CPAs, etc.). Lenders often have loans available for newer professionals who come out of school with big student loans but have larger income potential. These may require no down payment on financing up to $2 million, no personal mortgage insurance and no prepayment penalty.
  • Community heroes loans. Similar to professional loans, these are designed to target certain professions, such as firefighting, rescue, education, law enforcement and the military. The perks are usually discounted fees or streamlined paperwork and can typically be tied to a local government grant or program.
  • Interest-only and extended-term loans. For those who want to get into a home today but whose income won’t be higher for some years, these loans can provide interest-only payments up front, followed by a balloon payment down the line when the buyer can afford it. Other loans offer extended terms, up to 40 years, to lower mortgage payments overall.
  • Multiple property loans. Borrowers who already own more than two properties can have a hard time getting financing for additional properties. So, a lender that will finance additional properties has to offer a specialty loan.
  • Alternate-credit loans. Some lenders allow borrowers with low credit scores to use alternate ways to show an ability to repay, such as a history of paying bills, income and employment info and access to your consumer banking data.

Where to get a mortgage

Get to know the different lenders who offer mortgages.

  • Banks. This is the most traditional choice but includes giant international institutions as well as small regional banks. You may also see banks and credit unions referred to as “retail lenders” in the mortgage space.
  • Credit Unions. These are non-profit financial institutions that require you to be a member to borrow. You can typically get a lower interest rate from a credit union, because they don’t have all the financial overhead of a more traditional bank.
  • Online lenders. If you don’t want to work with a lender that requires you to visit a physical branch location, fintech lenders typically focus solely on loan products and can have a fully online or a hybrid process of starting your application online, then meeting at the bank or loan center for closing. Some have you meet at an attorney’s office or title office to close. They are often attached to a major bank.
  • Rent-to-own and home equity services. You may come across services that work outside the normal mortgage process. But these programs are often sketchy, if not outright predatory. Before you buy into promises of an alternative way to get into a house, make sure you research thoroughly and crunch the numbers to be sure you aren’t paying more than you should for something you don’t need.

Is a mortgage worth it?

Buying a house is the largest purchase most people will ever make. If you are ready financially and know you’ll continue to be stable for the next three to five years, buying a house can be a good investment. Regardless of current rates, every year you spend in the home builds equity you can use down the line to borrow against or buy your next home. And because the loan’s term is so long, you can choose to refinance when interest rates come down.

But if you’re not quite ready, waiting can also be the right call. House values will continue to rise, but you may find you’re able to spend more on a house after you take the time to raise your credit score and save more of a down payment.

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