Summary: Best Mortgage Lenders


We reviewed more than 50 mortgage lenders that do business both online and in-person throughout the U.S. The lenders we reviewed represent some of the largest mortgage lenders by volume, which include banks, credit unions and online lenders. Lenders that don’t publicly display their interest rates online are not eligible for review.

Forbes Advisor scores lenders based on criteria that have a meaningful impact on the cost of the mortgage, including borrower eligibility requirements, the variety of loan options and loan features that can impact the homebuying process.

The best lenders scored the highest based on the weighting in the following categories:

  • Interest rate: 20%
  • Down payment requirements: 20%
  • Credit score minimum requirements: 20%
  • Alternative credit data considered: 10%
  • Preapproval time: 10%
  • Closing timelines: 10%
  • Loan types: 10%
  • Lender discounts offered: 5 bonus points

Our focus on affordability, accessibility and key features that impact the homebuying process (like preapproval time and closing time) is what we consider reflective of consumers’ top priorities when comparing mortgage lenders.

To learn more about our rating and review methodology and editorial process, check out our guide on How Forbes Advisor Reviews Mortgage Lenders.

Current Conventional Mortgage Rates

Today’s current mortgage rates are as follows:

  • 30-year fixed: 7.12%
  • 15-year fixed: 6.55%
  • 30-year jumbo: 7.19%
  • 5/1 ARM: 6.04%
  • 7/1 ARM: 6.20%

Related: Compare Current Mortgage Rates

What Is a Mortgage?

A mortgage is a loan secured by property. Most Americans don’t have enough cash to pay for a home, so they take out a mortgage that lasts anywhere from a few years to 30 or more. In exchange, a lender has a lien on the property, meaning that if you fail to make payments, the lender can foreclose and take over the home.

Related: What Is A Mortgage?

How Does a Mortgage Work?

A mortgage works much like any other loan. Your lender gives you money to cover the full cost of purchasing a home, and you pay the money back over a set period of time (usually 15 to 30 years). During this time, you’ll pay back the principal (the original loan amount) plus interest (the fee your lender charges for borrowing).

Mortgages are secured loans, and your home acts as collateral. This means your lender has the right to seize the property—through an act known as foreclosure—if you default on your payments.

Types of Mortgages

There are six common types of mortgages used to purchase a home: conventional, jumbo, Federal Housing Administration (FHA), Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and 203(k).

1. Conventional Mortgage

Conventional mortgages are the most common type of home loan. They aren’t insured by any government agency; instead, they’re funded by traditional banks, mortgage finance companies and credit unions.

Conventional mortgages are often more difficult to qualify for than government home loans, like an FHA loan, but they typically cost less.

2. Jumbo Mortgage

A jumbo mortgage is a loan that exceeds the lending limits set by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA). They’re used to buy expensive properties and are often reserved for borrowers with strong finances and high credit scores. You’ll typically need to put down a larger down payment with a jumbo loan as well.

The FHFA limit for 2023 is $726,200, meaning you can use a jumbo loan to purchase a home worth more than that in many parts of the country. In high-cost areas, the FHFA limit rises to $1,089,300.

3. FHA Loan

FHA loans are insured by the Federal Housing Administration and issued by approved lenders. They’re intended for homebuyers with low income or those unable to qualify for a conventional loan.

The main benefit of FHA loans is that they have less stringent qualification requirements than conventional loans. Borrowers with a credit score of at least 580 can qualify with a down payment as low as 3.5%. If you have enough to put down at least 10%, you can qualify with a credit score as low as 500. However, depending on how much you put down, you’ll be required to pay mortgage insurance premiums for 11 years or the entire life of the loan.

4. VA Loan

If you’re an active-duty service member or a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces (or a spouse of one), you might qualify for a mortgage backed by the VA.

As long as you still have full entitlement, you won’t have to make a down payment on a VA loan. Those with remaining entitlement must abide by VA home limits.

Like FHA loans, the VA doesn’t issue these loans directly. You’ll need to go through an approved VA loan lender.

5. USDA Loan

USDA loans are intended for low- to moderate-income buyers in rural areas designated as eligible by the USDA. There are no down payment or private mortgage insurance (PMI) requirements, but you have to pay a one-time upfront guarantee fee and a recurring annual fee to cover the cost of the loan.

6. 203(k) Loan

A 203(k) loan is insured by the FHA and is intended for those buying a home in need of significant renovations and repairs. A 203(k) loan covers the purchase of the home and the improvements needed. You can’t buy a vacation home or investment property with this type of loan.

How To Get a Mortgage

Before you even look at applications, you should start the mortgage process by following these steps:

  1. Check your credit. Make sure there are no errors in your credit report and that everything is up to date. It might be a good idea to spend some time improving your credit.
  2. Pay down debt. You may also want to take some time to pay down existing debts, since mortgage lenders take into consideration how much debt you already have relative to your income.
  3. Prepare the paperwork. To apply, you’ll likely need your W-2s, tax returns, recent pay stubs and statements from accounts showing your assets and liabilities. Most lenders will ask for additional information, as well.
  4. Find a lender. When you’re ready, shop around for the best mortgage lender. You can start with lists like the one above. Consider getting one or more preapprovals to help make you a stronger buyer when you’re ready to start house-hunting.

Related: How To Get A Mortgage

Will 2023 Be a Good Time for a Mortgage Refinance?

Current mortgage rates are hovering near their 20-year highs from the fall of 2022, making many homeowners think twice about refinancing their homes. Roughly 85% of borrowers have a mortgage rate locked in below 5%, according to a Redfin report. Average 30-year fixed mortgage rates are now around 6% or more.

Considering the exceedingly low mortgage rates that many homeowners locked in during the historical lows in previous years, mortgage refinance rates would need to take a significant dip in 2023 before many homeowners elect to refinance.

But a refi could be the right move for some, depending on their financial situation and price difference with their current rate.

“The reason it would be a good idea to refinance in 2023 is because the majority of housing and mortgage industry economists are projecting that interest rates are going to be lower in 2023 than they were in 2022,” says David Lykken, founder and chief transformation officer of Transformational Mortgage Solutions. “The rule of thumb is that if you can lower your interest rate anywhere from 0.375 to 0.50, it makes economic sense to do a rate and term refinance.”

How To Choose a Mortgage Lender

You can get a mortgage from all kinds of financial institutions, including banks, credit unions and online lenders like Quicken and loanDepot. But you can also work with a mortgage broker, who will do the work of shopping around for the best rate and terms for you.

It’s probably a good idea to look for a lender just before you start house-hunting, so you have a better sense of how much you can afford and whether you’ll be preapproved. Compare multiple lenders rather than going with the first one you find.

Source: Forbes

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