Best Mortgage Lenders in September 2021

There are many mortgage lenders out there, from banks and non-banks to credit unions and more. Some are fully online, with the application process managed digitally, while many are online and physical where you can personally consult with a loan officer or handle some parts of the process using your smartphone.



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A row of houses

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To identify the best mortgage lenders, Bankrate rated the lenders on a variety of criteria, including affordability (APR and fees); Expediency (approval and closing times); and experience (including customer service support). In general, the best mortgage lenders have a Bankrate Score of 4.7 stars or higher out of five stars. Based on those values, here are the top mortgage lenders as of September 2021.

Best mortgage lenders

1. Better.com

Better.com is an online mortgage lender available in 46 states and Washington, DC. Its loan products include:

  • Fixed and variable rate mortgages
  • Conventional Loans
  • Jumbo Loans
  • FHA loans
  • Refinancing (rate-and-term and cash-out)
  • Bridging loans

Better.com boasted some of the lowest mortgage rates among lenders who publish interest rates and were rated by Bankrate. With a 100 percent online process, Better can issue pre-approvals in three minutes and close deals in 21 days, with no commissions or fees which, according to lenders, average $ 3,500 in savings. By comparison, the average close took 49 days in June 2021, reports ICE Mortgage Technology.

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In addition to zero fees and a quick process, Better.com also offers the Better Price Guarantee. If you can find a lower interest rate, the lender will adjust it and give you $ 100 (and if they can’t match the interest rate, keep the money). However, the guarantee is only available to borrowers who apply directly through the lender.

If you’re looking to refinance at a lower interest rate, Better.com is also high on Bankrate’s lists of Best Refinance Lenders and Best Cash-Out Refinance Lenders. The lender also appears on the lists of Best FHA Lenders, Best Jumbo Lenders, Best No-Fee Lenders, and Bankrate’s Best Online Mortgage Lenders.

Better.com, on the other hand, doesn’t offer VA loans, USDA loans, home equity lines of credit (HELOCs), or home equity loans. So if you are in the market for any of these you will have to go elsewhere. If a personal experience is important, a fully online process may not be for you – although the lender has reliable online and phone support seven days a week for those who need it.

2. Navy Federal Credit Union

Navy Federal Credit Union is a credit union for members of the armed forces and their families with more than 10.7 million members worldwide. It has 346 branches worldwide and in the US and offers everything from debit and credit cards to loans. Mortgage products include:

  • Fixed and variable rate mortgages
  • Conventional Loans
  • Jumbo Loans
  • VA loan
  • HomeBuyers Choice Loans and Military Choice Loans (100 Percent Funding)
  • Refinancing (rate-and-term, cash-out, and VA)
  • Investment Real Estate Loans

Navy Federal ranks top of Bankrate’s list of Best VA Lenders and also a Best Jumbo Lender. Like the other lenders on this list, Navy Federal offers pre-approval in record time and does not charge an application fee. Depending on the loan product, a financing fee may be charged.

If you’re a member of the Navy Federal and looking for a loan, here are the benefits:

  • 24/7 support
  • Freedom Lock, which gives you two free installment locks
  • Mortgage Rate Match, where the credit union matches either a competitor’s rate or you get $ 1,000
  • RealtyPlus, a cash back incentive for working with an affiliated real estate agent

Some drawbacks, however: The credit union is limited to members and does not offer FHA loans or USDA loans. Home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) and home equity loans have also been suspended due to the pandemic, so you must currently seek those options with another lender.

3. Direct home loans

Direct Home Lending is a regional mortgage lender available both in person and online to borrowers in Arizona, California, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington. His loan offers include:

  • Fixed and variable rate mortgages
  • Conventional Loans
  • Jumbo Loans
  • FHA loans and VA loans
  • Refinancing (rate-and-term, cash-out, FHA and VA)
  • Investment Real Estate Loans
  • Reverse mortgages

Direct Home Lending values ​​service. If you are a homebuyer in any of the states the lender operates in, you can request a custom quote through their website and get a quick pre-approval (usually within 24 hours if you qualify); apply in just 15 minutes; and close in just two weeks – much faster than the typical schedule. If you are looking for investment property, the lender may connect you with a real estate agent in addition to financing.

Another highlight: if you want to finance a more expensive property, the lender can finance jumbo loans up to $ 10 million, a higher threshold than many other lenders.

However, unlike other free technology-minded lenders, Direct Home Lending charges fees depending on the type of loan, such as: It also doesn’t offer USDA loans, home equity lines of credit (HELOCs), or home equity loans, which won’t help some borrowers.

4. Ally home

Ally Home is Ally Bank’s mortgage business available to borrowers in more than 35 states and Washington, DC that of other lenders:

  • Fixed and variable rate mortgages
  • Conventional Loans
  • Jumbo Loans
  • Refinancing (rate-and-term and cash-out)

Ally Home was offering very competitive rates at the time of Bankrate’s review, even though the rates weren’t the lowest of any rated lender. Another bright spot: the bank recently removed fees, so you pay fewer closing costs overall.

As an online bank, Ally’s website is packed with information and resources for borrowers and, unlike your experience with other lenders, you don’t need to first consult a loan officer to consider your options. You can see up-to-the-minute rates and monthly payment estimates and get pre-approval in just three minutes, all online, and the bank’s app gives you access to your loan so you can easily manage payments when they are closed.

Aside from the amenities, Ally Home doesn’t offer FHA, VA, or USDA loans, which excludes some borrowers. Even so, Ally Bank was voted the best online bank by Bankrate this year. So if you are looking for a new bank and home loan, it is a worthwhile contender. (Just make sure the bank has mortgages in your state.)

5. LowRates.com

LowRates.com, also known as LowRates, is a stationary and online mortgage lender operated by Sun West Mortgage Company and available to borrowers in 48 states, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands.

LowRates offers a wide variety of mortgage products to suit all types of needs including:

  • Fixed and variable rate mortgages
  • Conventional Loans
  • Jumbo Loans (One of Bankrate’s Best Jumbo Lenders)
  • FHA loans, VA loans, and USDA loans
  • Refinancing (rate-and-term, cash-out, FHA, VA, and USDA)
  • Home Equity Lines of Credit (HELOCs) and Home Equity Loans
  • Construction Loans (one of Bankrate’s best construction lenders)
  • Investment Real Estate Loans
  • Renovation loans
  • Reverse mortgages

In addition to its depth of offering, LowRates certainly had some of the lowest interest rates among lenders that Bankrate achieved. For first-time home buyers, LowRates also offers down payment support programs to help cover costs. (The lender even earned a spot as one of Bankrate’s top lenders for first-time home buyers.)

To speed up borrowing, the lender also offers the “TRU Approval” process, which completes the underwriting in 24 hours or less and speeds the closing down to just 20 days.

However, the Sun West Mortgage Company offices cover approximately 20 states. So if you are looking for personal assistance, it may not be available in your area.

6. Costco mortgage program

The Costco Mortgage Program, while not a mortgage lender, is a digital marketplace that allows borrowers to compare loans from lender partners and take advantage of exclusive discounts for Costco members. As of September 2021, lenders in the marketplace included ConsumerDirect Mortgage, CrossCountry Mortgage and NBKC Bank and offered products including:

  • Fixed and variable rate mortgages
  • Conventional Loans
  • Jumbo Loans
  • FHA loans and VA loans
  • Refinancing (rate-and-term and cash-out)
  • Investment Real Estate Loans

Despite being a comparison tool, the Costco marketplace ranked on Bankrate’s list of top refinancing providers thanks to its reduced fees: just $ 250 for Executive Costco members and $ 550 for non-executive or Gold Star members. For senior members, Costco estimates that this could save over $ 9,700. (If you’re considering refinancing, the number one factor in the equation is the size of the cost.)

However, unless you are a Costco member, you will not have access to these savings (and if you choose to become one, it will come at your own cost). Additionally, the pool of lenders participating in the market is somewhat limited – less than 10 at the time of this writing.

How to Compare Mortgage Lenders

Your first step in finding the best mortgage lender is through a comparison shop. Borrowers who do more research in advance tend to save more money than those who choose the first lender they find. It is best to get quotes from at least three lenders so that you know your options based on your credit and financial situation. As prices fluctuate frequently, it is best to receive these offers on the same day so that you have an accurate basis for comparison.

When comparing loan estimates, look at the Annual Percentage Rate (APR) and the interest rate reported by each lender you are interested in. Also think about what is important to you from experience. For some, how quickly a lender can process a pre-approval letter or complete a loan is crucial. If you have specific needs – an FHA loan, for example – you may also want to search for the best mortgage lenders who specialize in these products.

Once you have established your needs and preferences, first compare the mortgage rates and use Bankrate to find a lender near you.

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