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Your first thought might be to visit your local bank or broker, but think again. Why? You're not likely to get the very best rates and terms there. True, you might get a promo or slightly lower interest rate for being a current customer, but will your financial institution shop around to find you the ideal loan for your situation?
More than likely, they'll fit you with whichever mortgage is convenient (or profitable) instead of working to get you a home loan with the best possible terms. With interest rates constantly fluctuating, it's never a bad time to start looking into your financing options if homeownership is your goal. Even if you're just curious to see how much you can ultimately afford when the time comes, that will help you start budgeting and saving to have enough to secure your new home when you're ready.
Saturday, February 4th
You won't find another online lender that can match Better for home loans. This service is completely transparent with rates and fees, gives you plenty to choose from in loan types and terms, and provides exceptional customer service from prequalifying to closing and beyond. Thousands of happy homeowners say that Better deserves a perfect score for offering a streamlined mortgage process with interest rates that are much lower than average - and with no commissions or lender fees. Better earns our highest recommendation among providers of home loans.
Formerly known as Quicken Loans, Rocket Mortgage can help you close your home loan in record time - or just provide you with helpful tools as you begin your research into financing a home purchase. As the nation's largest mortgage lender, this company is an expert in providing excellent service from start to finish, earning awards for customer satisfaction for eight consecutive years. Rocket Mortgage is one of the most hassle-free ways to apply for a home loan online.
loanDepot has been in business since 2010, and they're one of the biggest home loan providers on the market. Their mortgage rates are competitive and their service is legendary, earning thousands of five-star reviews from clients across the country. Give loanDepot a look when you're ready to find a mortgage that fits your needs.
New American Funding is a family-owned lender with all of the traditional home loan options you need and even a way to make a cash offer that converts to a mortgage: a fantastic strategy during a seller's market. Although their online application process could use some improvements (like making it easier to get personalized rate quotes early on), tens of thousands of clients have rated NAF and its agents with a perfect five stars. This is a good lender to consider for your home loan.
AmeriSave comes in as "just average" among providers of home loans. They've got an "A+" and accreditation from the BBB and have funded over 390,000 home loans in 49 states plus Washington DC. However, a non-refundable application fee of $500 plus a recent downturn in client feedback prevented AmeriSave from outranking many of their rival mortgage lenders.
LendingTree works as a referral service to match you with offers from up to five different home loan providers in their network. You should be aware upfront that once you've provided LendingTree with your contact information, it will be shared with many lenders - which will likely mean emails, calls, and texts that could last for months, even if you're just seeing what your mortgage rates might be. Plus, even if LendingTree matches you with the perfect loan, you'll still have to take the time to vet the lender and complete their application process. While we like the idea behind LendingTree, it's not our favorite resource for researching home loans.
SoFi offers a variety of financial products, ranging from home loans and refinancing to credit cards and more. They openly post their typical mortgage rates on their website and update them daily, but you'll need to create an account to see your personalized offers. Unfortunately, SoFi is not very transparent with closing costs and fees until much later in the process, and numerous client complaints about hard-to-reach customer service and late delivery of funds for closing have kept SoFi from earning our recommendation.
Freedom Mortgage has time on its side: this lender has been around for over 30 years and has over a million customers nationwide. You can use their site to prequalify for a mortgage, learn about various loan types, and get a better understanding of the home loan process. That's about all we'd recommend you do, though: despite an "A+" from the BBB, this company has over a thousand complaints that frequently mention how Freedom has dropped the ball with paperwork, payment processing, and so on. We suggest checking out our higher-rated home loan providers instead.
When BB&T and SunTrust merged, they became Truist, with 2700 branch locations in 15 states and Washington DC. Their website is easy to use, but not very informative when it comes to home loans: unless you're ready to jump right into an application, getting prequalified leaves you waiting for a Truist mortgage professional to reach out. Thousands of people say that the service here has gotten horrible since the merger, and unless you already have a satisfactory relationship with this bank, you're probably not going to be impressed with their home loan service.
Ally gets off to a good start by using a top-rated partner for home loan processing, and by not charging any lender fees on mortgages. They're also a step ahead by offering customizable rate quotes right on the website without requiring personal information. That's why we were so disappointed to see the bad reputation this financial institution has when it comes to actually servicing home loans. Ally gets our lowest ranking among mortgage lenders.
Some mortgage terms stipulate that the funds can't come from a last-minute gift or contribution from a well-meaning family member, so plan ahead!
The easiest way to know how much you can borrow is by shopping for a home loan online. While some lenders require you to enter your personal information to show you their rates, others post sample rates online or let you choose your credit score range and other details to preview a more personalized quote. Be mindful that there's a difference between a "soft pull" on your credit - usually used to prequalify you, and only uses your address and phone number to verify your identity - and a "hard pull" that will impact your credit history.
The latter usually happens only when you've got a home under contract and you're ready to secure a mortgage, but pay attention to the fine print when you're checking out a lender's rates. You don't want to be "just browsing" and find out that your credit score took a nosedive with an unintentional hard inquiry on your report!
With many lenders interested in your business, how can you decide which one to use for your mortgage? Here are a few factors to look at before you complete a loan application:
To help you finance the home of your dreams, TopConsumerReviews.com has evaluated and ranked today's most popular mortgage lenders. We're confident that this information will be useful on your journey to home ownership. Congratulations!
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