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The best mortgage lenders don’t just cater to one type of homeowner. So if you struggle to qualify for a traditional mortgage, you still have plenty of options. Maybe you don’t have the best credit or much of a down payment saved — either way, there’s a mortgage for almost every situation.

We did the work to help you narrow down your choices. Here are the best lenders for home loans in 2024.

Best mortgage lenders

Why trust our mortgage experts

Our team of experts evaluated hundreds of mortgage products and analyzed thousands of data points to help you find the best fit for your situation. We use a data-driven methodology to determine each rating. Advertisers do not influence our editorial content. You can read more about our methodology below.

  • 18 mortgage lenders reviewed.
  • 180 data points analyzed.
  • 6-stage fact-checking process.

Our top picks for mortgage lenders in 2024

Compare the best mortgage lenders

LENDERMINIMUM RATEMAX DTI RATIOTIME TO CLOSE
Ally
Below national average
50%
Few weeks to a few months
Better
Below national average
50%
30 to 45 days
Bank of America
Below national average
No maximum
4 to 6 weeks
ӣƵA
Below national average
Up to 50%
30 to 45 days
Veterans United
Below national average
Does not disclose
40 to 50 days
New American Funding
Below national average
Up to 45%
14 to 30 days
Chase
Below national average
43%
3 weeks
SoFi
Below national average
Up to 50%
Usually within 30 days
Navy Federal Credit Union
Below national average
Does not disclose
30 to 45 days
Wells Fargo
Below national average
Does not disclose
30 to 90 days

Methodology

Our expert writers and editors have reviewed and researched multiple lenders to help you find the best mortgage. Out of all the lenders considered, those that made our list excelled in areas across the following categories (with weightings):

  • Loan cost: 30%
  • Eligibility and accessibility: 20%
  • Customer experience: 20%
  • Application process: 30%

Within each major category, we considered several characteristics, including minimum APR, maximum allowed DTI ratio, minimum credit score requirements and applicable fees. We also evaluated each provider’s customer support options, borrower perks and features that simplify the borrowing process — like time to close and preapproval time.

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Current mortgage rates

Mortgage rates are constantly fluctuating, so it’s a good idea to check them regularly when you’re preparing to take out a mortgage. Here are the current mortgage rates to give you an idea of what to expect as you compare your options.

Mortgage rates forecast for 2024

As a result of the Federal Reserve hiking the federal funds rate — which has been between 5.25% and 5.50% since July 2023 — mortgage lenders have increased their rates to generational highs. With current 30-year mortgage rates closing in on 8%, the purchasing power of both first-time and repeat homebuyers has been impacted.

Experts expect mortgage interest rates to peak near 8% in 2024 before gradually trending lower — possibly landing between 5% to 6% before the end of the year. However, what will happen will ultimately depend on the future actions of the Fed and how fast rates might drop if the Fed’s current trend of higher-for-longer rates reverses.

Here’s how mortgage rates have trended over time and where they stand currently:

What is a mortgage and how does it work?

A mortgage finances a home purchase and is repaid over a specified number of years through monthly payments. Most home loans have a repayment period from 10 to 30 years and a fixed interest rate.

Your interest rate depends on several factors including your loan term, mortgage type, credit history and debt-to-income (DTI) ratio. You will keep the same rate, term and monthly payment unless you decide to apply for a mortgage refinance and replace your existing loan.

Borrowers with a fixed-rate mortgage enjoy the same monthly payment amount for the life of the loan. As the remaining loan balance decreases, more of the payment reduces the principal as less interest accrues.  

Longer-term mortgages, such as a 30-year term, have the lowest monthly payments but your total interest costs are higher than shorter terms as it takes longer to pay off the loan. In contrast, shorter terms, like a 15-year mortgage, usually have less total interest and better interest rates although your monthly payment is higher due to the more aggressive payoff date.

Different types of mortgages

While some lenders specialize in certain kinds of loans, many of the best home loan lenders provide several types of mortgages that you can apply for. In many cases, you can also choose between a fixed- or adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM).

Any of these loans can help you buy a home, but there are different borrower requirements and fees. Here are the different types of mortgages:

  • Conventional mortgage: A conventional mortgage is a non-government loan issued by a private lender. This loan can have lower fees than federally-backed loans. Additionally, most are conforming loans with county-specific loan limits set by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) and have lower interest rates than non-conforming loans. 
  • Jumbo loan: A non-conforming loan to buy properties exceeding the conforming loan limit. This option is more common in high-cost housing markets. The interest rate for jumbo loans is usually higher than conforming loans.
  • FHA loan: Backed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), these loans have more lenient credit and down payment requirements than conventional mortgages. Lenders may only require a minimum 580 credit score and a 3.5% down payment. However, mortgage insurance premiums can apply for the entire repayment period.
  • VA loan: The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) insures home loans to eligible service members, veterans and spouses. A VA-backed purchase loan doesn’t require a down payment or mortgage insurance, although a one-time funding fee applies.
  • USDA loan: Available to borrowers in qualifying rural areas, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) may not require a down payment. However, income requirements apply along with annual mortgage insurance fees.   

First-time homebuyer tip: You might be eligible for reduced down payment requirements of 3% or less on conventional loans. These specialized programs may not require private mortgage insurance (PMI) although your interest rate can be higher than putting at least 20% down. Lenders and government agencies might also offer down payment or closing cost grants and assistance to first-time homeowners.

  • Home equity loan: This is a second mortgage for existing homeowners to receive a lump-sum distribution of their available equity. It’s an alternative to a cash-out refinance as it leaves the original mortgage intact and has a fixed interest rate.
  • HELOC: With a home equity line of credit (HELOC), current homeowners can tap their available equity with multiple draws as cash is needed. Interest-only payments are required during the draw period and principal payments start when the draw period closes and the repayment period begins. HELOC rates are almost always variable.
  • Construction loans: Finance building a new home from the ground up with multiple draws to minimize borrowing costs. You may be able to convert a construction loan into a permanent mortgage once your house is move-in ready.
  • Interest-only mortgage: Only pay interest during the initial portion of the repayment period. Principal and interest payments are due after the introductory period ends.
  • Balloon mortgage: A loan with low ongoing monthly payments yet requires a significant final lump-sum payment. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau rarely considers this loan type a qualified mortgage due to its high level of risk.
  • Piggyback loan: A second mortgage that helps cover the down payment so the loan-to-value ratio is 80% or lower for the first mortgage. As a result, the buyer doesn’t need to make private mortgage insurance premiums.

How to apply for a mortgage

Following these steps can help you qualify for a home loan:

  1. Review your credit history. Check your credit score to determine which mortgage programs you can be eligible for initially. Conventional home loans usually require a minimum 620 credit score while government-backed mortgages can be as low as 580 or even 500. 
  2. Collect supporting documentation. Gathering your recent pay stubs, two years of income tax returns, two months of bank statements and government-issued ID cards can help you save time when it’s time to apply.
  3. Compare lenders. Applying for mortgage preapproval requires a hard credit check, but you can receive a personalized rate and loan limit for conventional and government-backed programs. Get rate quotes from several lenders to find the best home loan offer.   
  4. Apply for a loan. After a seller accepts your offer, it’s time to apply for a mortgage through your desired lender. A loan officer can help compare your loan and down payment options to get the best rate and monthly payment.
  5. Complete the underwriting process. The application-to-close process usually takes 30 to 45 days. During this time, the lender will review your credit and income history and request supporting documentation as needed. Your new home will also be appraised to calculate your loan-to-value (LTV) ratio and minimum down payment.
  6. Sign closing documents. At the loan closing, you will sign the final documents to confirm the repayment agreement. Any upfront fees are due at this time. You can move into your home and will start making monthly payments. 

Ready to buy your first home? Compare the top mortgage lenders for first-time buyers

Tips for choosing the best mortgage

These practices can help you find the best mortgage lender and loan type:

  1. Know how much house you can afford. A home affordability calculator estimates the monthly payment you can comfortably afford. Having a maximum purchase price in mind can also make it easier to get preapproval if you can find a house for less than your maximum borrowing power.
  2. Compare home loan options. Several of the best home mortgage lenders offer a variety of loan types — and the right one for your needs will depend on a variety of factors. For example, your credit score, annual income and geographic area may help you qualify for government-backed FHA, VA or USDA loans. These loans can have more lenient borrower requirements than conventional loans.
  3. Consider down payment requirements. First-time homebuyers may only have to put 5% down or less. These loans can be easier to qualify for than a traditional conventional loan, but you may consider a 20% down payment to avoid private mortgage insurance.
  4. Choose a mortgage term. Opting for a 15-year or a 20-year fixed-rate mortgage instead of a 30-year term lets you qualify for a lower interest rate if you can afford a higher loan payment and pay less interest overall. Be sure to estimate your monthly mortgage escrow payments to calculate your housing costs accurately.  
  5. Compare several lenders. Prequalify with multiple lenders to compare mortgage rates and fees which can vary widely for a similar loan amount and repayment period. In addition to your upfront closing costs and monthly payment, see if the lender offers other perks such as waived lender fees if you refinance later.

How does it work? What is an adjustable-rate mortgage and is it right for you?

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Conventional loans require a minimum 620 credit score. Depending on the down payment amount, FHA loans require a 500 or 580 credit score. 

Regarding VA-backed home loans, the Department of Veterans Affairs doesn’t have a minimum score requirement, although lenders typically require a score above 620.

Similarly, the USDA loan program doesn’t have credit score requirements, although many USDA lenders insist upon having a minimum 640 score to apply.

Typically, online mortgage lenders offer lower rates and fees and have faster closing times. However, if you have an existing relationship with a bank you might qualify for special financing or loyalty discounts that could make a bank a better deal. That’s why it’s always important to compare your options instead of just going with the first lender you consider.

Finding the best rates depends on several factors, including your banking relationship and if you want to qualify for a specialized loan program, such as a first-time homebuyer program or one with a low or no down payment.

Online mortgage lenders are more likely to charge lower lender fees for traditional home loans than brick-and-mortar locations as they have fewer operating expenses. However, you should still compare your loan APR and total estimated borrowing costs from multiple lenders.

Keep in mind that going with a big bank can be the better option if you’re eligible for a specialty program that offers low down payment requirements or income-based homebuyer grants. You may also qualify for a relationship discount if you’re a current banking customer.

Find out more about how to get a mortgage with a competitive rate.

FHA loans can be the easiest to qualify for as the minimum credit score is either 500 or 580 and has flexible down payment requirements. The down payment is 3.5% with a minimum 580 credit score and 10% with a score as low as 500.

A 30-year fixed interest rate could be a good option for many borrowers as it offers the lowest monthly payment and secures the same rate for the longest period. However, this term usually has higher interest rates than shorter loan terms and more lifetime interest costs.

If you can afford a higher monthly payment, a 15-year term can be an excellent option since you can qualify for a lower rate. You’ll also pay off your mortgage in half the time compared to a 30-year mortgage.

They can be. You can reach out to your lender and ask about reducing:

  • Application fees.
  • Discount points.
  • Origination fees.
  • Title insurance.
  • Underwriting fees.

However, choosing a lender with lower origination fees and discount points in the first place can be more effective than asking for a fee reduction during the mortgage application process.

If you’re buying a home, see if the seller will pay a share of the closing costs. Your realtor can assist with this negotiation process.

Editor’s Note: This article contains updated information from previously published stories:

Blueprint is an independent publisher and comparison service, not an investment advisor. The information provided is for educational purposes only and we encourage you to seek personalized advice from qualified professionals regarding specific financial decisions. Past performance is not indicative of future results.

Blueprint has an advertiser disclosure policy. The opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Blueprint editorial staff alone. Blueprint adheres to strict editorial integrity standards. The information is accurate as of the publish date, but always check the provider’s website for the most current information.

Josh Patoka

BLUEPRINT

Josh became a full-time personal finance writer in 2015 after serving as a transportation operations supervisor for seven years. He draws from his own money management experience of saving for long-term goals, paying off debt, and career changes. His writing has been regularly featured in Forbes Advisor, Fox Business, and several award-winning personal finance websites.

Jamie Young

BLUEPRINT

Jamie Young is Lead Editor of loans and mortgages at ӣƵ Blueprint. She has been writing and editing professionally for 12 years. Previously, she worked for Forbes Advisor, Credible, LendingTree, Student Loan Hero, and GOBankingRates. Her work has also appeared on some of the best-known media outlets including Yahoo, Fox Business, Time, CBS News, AOL, MSN, and more. Jamie is passionate about finance, technology, and the Oxford comma. In her free time, she likes to game, play with her two crazy cats (Detective Snoop and his girl Friday), and try to keep up with her ever-growing plant collection.