what are the top 10 mortgage companies ?

A mortgage is a loan from a bank or other lender used to buy or refinance a home.

Mortgages are secured loans: The property acts as collateral as you repay the loan in monthly installments, including interest, often over 15 to 30 years. If you fail to pay, the lender can foreclose on your home.

Once you reach the milestone of paying off your mortgage, you can contact your local secretary of state or county recorder of deeds to make sure your creditor has released the lien on your property. Your mortgage lender should also return the original promissory note to you.


NerdWallet’s star ratings for mortgage lenders are awarded based on our evaluation of the products and services each lender offers to consumers who are actively shopping for the best mortgage. The five key areas we evaluated include the variety of loan types and products offered, online conveniences, online mortgage rate information, and the rate spread and origination fee lenders reported in the latest available Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data. To ensure consistency, our ratings are reviewed by multiple people on the NerdWallet Mortgages team.

To recap our selections…what are the top 10 mortgage companies

Best Mortgage Lenders of November 2021

  • Better: Best for refinancing
  • Quicken Loans: Best for customer satisfaction
  • New American Funding: Best for nontraditional credit histories
  • NASB: Best for overall mortgage experience, first-time home buyers and veterans
  • Guaranteed Rate: Best for online experience and refinancing
  • Chase: Best for first-time home buyers and jumbo loans
  • Connexus: Best for home equity lines of credit
  • Alterra: Best for FHA loans
  • PrimeLending: Best for FHA loans
  • Flagstar: Best for jumbo loans
  • Navy Federal: Best for VA loans
  • Wells Fargo: Best for online experience

U.S. News Survey: Vast Majority of Americans Hoping to Buy a Home Face Rising Prices

According to a May 2021 U.S. News survey of prospective homebuyers, 83.7% of respondents are facing significantly higher prices in the locations they are hoping to buy.

In today’s market, homes are scarce and prices keep rising. When considering affordability and availability, 37% of respondents were more concerned about finding a home they could afford than finding a home they liked, while 26.9% of respondents were more concerned about finding a home they liked. A large group of respondents (35%) was concerned about both affordability and availability.

To have a better chance of successfully purchasing a property, many buyers are being proactive: 51.2% of respondents are saving to make an extra-large down payment, while 39.3% are getting preapproved for a mortgage so they can make an offer quickly. top 10 worst mortgage companies

Additional survey insights include:

  • Almost two-thirds of respondents (64.9%) hope to spend $400,000 or less on their homes.

  • 48.2% of respondents are still waiting to make an offer on a home; 6.7% of respondents have had an offer rejected in the past month.
  • The most common reason that people are looking to buy a house (31.9%) is for personal or familial reasons.
Methodology: U.S. News selects the Best Loan Companies by evaluating affordability, borrower eligibility criteria and customer service. Those with the highest overall scores are considered the best  top 10 worst mortgage companies.

To calculate each score, we use data about the lender and its loan offerings, giving greater weight to factors that matter most to borrowers. For mortgage lenders, we take into account each company’s customer service ratings, interest rates, loan product availability, minimum down payment, minimum FICO score and online features.

The weight each scoring factor receives is based on a nationwide survey on what borrowers look for in a lender.

To receive a rating, lenders must offer qualifying loans nationwide and have a good reputation within the industry. Read more about our methodology.

For the vast majority of respondents, home prices have risen significantly in the area where they are looking to buy.

Respondents are most concerned about finding a home they can pay for.

Prospective homeowners are doing many things to prepare for their home purchases; almost two-thirds of respondents are saving for a down payment.

To give themselves a greater chance of successfully buying a home in today’s competitive market, more than half of respondents are saving to make a competitive offer with an extra-large down payment.

 top 10 worst morwhat are the top 10 mortgage companiesmpanies

Of the prospective homebuyers surveyed, just less than half are still waiting to make an offer on a home.

Even though interest rates have been historically low recently, that was only the third-most-common reason why people are looking to buy a house. More people are moving for personal or familial reasons.

About an equal percentage of respondents plan to buy a home that costs $200,000 and under or a home between $200,001 and $400,000.

The most important factor when it comes to evaluating mortgage lenders is interest rates and fees.

Survey methodology:

  • U.S. News ran a nationwide survey through PureSpectrum Insights in May 2021 with a sample size of 1,304 people.
  • The survey was configured to be representative of the general American population.
  • The survey was screened to only include people who were planning to buy a home within the next year.
  • The survey asked eight questions relating to homebuying.

How Does the Mortgage Loan Process Work?

The mortgage process looks different depending on whether you are purchasing or refinancing a home. Here are some of the basic steps involved in buying a house:

  • Submit your mortgage application. Most lenders offer an online mortgage application process for home loans. You will complete a full application and provide documentation to the lender. You might also be able to get preapproved for a mortgage before officially applying .
  • Review your loan estimate. You will get a loan estimate within three business days after the lender receives your application. This document will include your estimated interest rate, monthly payment and closing costs.
  • Schedule a home inspection. You’ll want the inspection done as soon as possible to give you enough time to negotiate with the seller if the inspection reveals any problems.
  • Pay for a home appraisal. Your lender orders the appraisal, but you’ll typically have to pay for it.
  • Purchase homeowners insurance. This insurance is required before your loan can be approved.

  • Budget time for mortgage processing and the underwriting process. Mortgage processing prepares your loan for underwriting. Then an automated underwriting system typically reviews mortgage applications, with manual underwriters intervening if the system finds a red flag. The underwriting part of the process can take anywhere from a couple of days to more than a week. This is mostly a waiting period.
  • Review the closing disclosure. You should receive this document at least three business days before you sign the mortgage documents. Be sure to compare the disclosure with the most recent home loan estimate from your lender so you don’t miss any big changes.
  • Close the loan. This is when you and all the parties in the mortgage transaction sign the necessary documents. You will typically pay your down payment and closing costs.

How Does Mortgage Interest Work?

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Your mortgage interest rate is the annual cost of your loan amount, expressed as a percentage of the total loan amount. A 3.11% interest rate on a mortgage means you will pay 3.11% of your loan’s balance in interest each year. Your mortgage also has an annual percentage rate that reflects your interest rate plus other charges, such as closing costs, discount points and origination fees.

Mortgage interest rates can be fixed or adjustable.

Fixed rate: A fixed-rate mortgage keeps the same interest rate throughout the entire loan term, and your monthly mortgage payment stays the same. You don’t have to worry about costs going up, but you can’t benefit if market rates fall unless you refinance.

The monthly payments on a fixed-rate mortgage are typically higher than the initial monthly payments on an adjustable-rate mortgage because the lender can’t increase your interest rate later.

Adjustable rate: The interest rate on adjustable-rate mortgages can change over time. After an initial period during which your rate is set, your monthly payments can rise or fall based on market rates. Adjustable-rate mortgage interest rates depend on a benchmark rate, such as the prime rate.

When benchmark rates go up or down, so does your interest rate – and your mortgage payment. Adjustable-rate mortgages can make sense when you plan to sell or refinance your home before the rate increases, or if you expect market rates to decrease.

Whether a fixed-rate mortgage or an adjustable-rate mortgage is best can depend on market conditions, your finances and how long you plan to keep your mortgage.

Types of Mortgages  top 10 worst mortgage companies

The right mortgage for you will depend on your finances, plans and preferences. Here are common types of mortgages:

Conforming loans. They adhere to government loan limits and other guidelines required for purchase by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Nonconforming loans. These include jumbo loans, which don’t meet Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s criteria for purchase. Jumbo loans exceed conforming loan limits and have stricter qualification standards because of the risk to lenders.

Conventional mortgages. These mortgages are not guaranteed by the federal government and are funded by private lenders. Conforming and nonconforming loans are both types of conventional loans. You may need a minimum credit score of 620, a debt-to-income ratio of 43% at the most and a down payment of at least 3% to qualify for a conventional loan. However, you will generally need to buy private mortgage insurance anytime your down payment is less than 20%.

Government-backed loans. These include Federal Housing Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs and U.S. Department of Agriculture loans, which are less risky for lenders because the government agency insures the loan. You may have more success getting a government-backed loan if you can’t qualify for a conventional loan.

Most lenders require a credit score of at least 580 and a down payment of 3.5% for an FHA loan, but you could qualify with a credit score between 500 and 579 and a down payment of 10%.

The VA allows you to buy a home with no money down and sets no minimum credit score but requires a lender to review your full financial profile. You will need a Certificate of Eligibility, or COE, to show your lender that you qualify for the VA loan based on your service.

Most lenders require a credit score of 640 with no money down for USDA loans. You will need to meet income requirements and buy a home in eligible rural areas.

Fixed-rate mortgages. Interest rates and payments do not fluctuate with fixed-rate mortgages, which provides stability for budgeting. But if interest rates fall, you will have to refinance to take advantage of savings. Fixed-rate mortgages can be conventional or government-backed.

Adjustable-rate mortgages. These loans have interest rates and monthly payments that can rise and fall during the course of the loan. An adjustable-rate mortgage has lower rates and payments early in the term compared with a fixed-rate mortgage, but rates can dramatically increase over the life of the loan. Conventional mortgages, VA loans and FHA loans can have adjustable rates.

Balloon mortgages. These home loans feature lower monthly payments paired with a larger lump-sum payment at some point in the loan term. The lower monthly payment compared with a traditional mortgage may appeal to a buyer who plans to sell or refinance before the balloon payment is due.

Which Mortgage Term Is Best?

The right mortgage term for you will depend on your financial goals and circumstances. Short-term mortgages will save on interest and build equity faster, but long-term mortgages are more affordable month-to-month. Along with the length of your mortgage, you will need to select a fixed or adjustable rate.

Here is more about common mortgage terms to help you pick the best one:

30-year fixed-rate mortgage. This tends to be the most popular choice because monthly payments stay low over the loan’s life span.

15-year fixed-rate mortgage. This loan typically comes with a lower interest rate compared with a 30-year loan and even more interest savings because you pay it off in half the time.

5/1 or 5/6 adjustable-rate mortgage. Your initial rate is fixed for five years, and then the rate adjusts once a year or every six months until the loan is paid off. If you won’t be staying in a home long, this could be a good choice.

10/1 or 10/6 adjustable-rate mortgage. Your initial rate is fixed for 10 years, and then the rate adjusts once a year or every six months for the remainder of your loan term. If you plan to sell or refinance before the 10-year fixed period ends, this mortgage might work for you.

What Do Mortgage Lenders Consider When Reviewing Applications?

what are the top 10 mortgage companies
Mortgage lenders want to know the risk of lending you money. A lender will look at not only your credit score, but also your income, down payment and other key factors when reviewing your application.

Credit score: Your credit score is a major factor, but the minimum credit score can vary by lender and loan program. A conventional loan typically requires a minimum FICO score of 620, but some programs allow you to qualify with a lower credit score. You may be able to qualify with a lower score if the lender uses manual underwriting for your application.

Home price and loan amount: The larger your mortgage, the greater the risk for the lender. Lenders limit risk by following government loan limits. If you want to buy a property that costs more than these limits, you can apply for a jumbo loan.

Down payment: Your down payment is the amount you pay upfront for the property, while the mortgage covers the rest. A larger down payment leads to a lower interest rate on your mortgage. You’ll be borrowing less money, so lenders are taking on less risk.

Loan term: The longer the length of your loan, the higher the interest rate may be.

Loan type: Government-backed loans typically charge lower rates than conventional loans, but FHA loans can be more expensive once you factor in other fees, such as mortgage insurance.

How to Apply for a what are the top 10 mortgage companies

Before you begin to browse homes, you should start the mortgage preapproval process. Some sellers only work with preapproved buyers, plus preapproval allows you to make an offer as soon as you find a place you love.

If you are ready to apply for a mortgage, here are steps you can take:

1. Check and improve your credit. Review your credit history and fix problems with your credit report before you apply for a mortgage by contacting each of the three credit bureaus separately to dispute errors.

2. Gather documents. For your loan application, you will need documents such as pay stubs, tax returns and bank account statements.

3. Apply with a few lenders to allow for comparison shopping. Your credit score will not suffer as long as you contain this process to 45 days.

4. Compare offers. Each lender will provide you with a loan estimate showing your interest rate, monthly payment and other key details, such as closing costs.

5. Choose a mortgage lender. Select the best option after you have evaluated the features of each home loan lender.

6. Respond promptly to requests during loan processing and underwriting. Expect questions and document requests.

7. Clear to close. The lender must send you the closing disclosure, which will show your final mortgage costs, at least three business days before your scheduled closing date. Compare the closing disclosure with your most recent loan estimate to check whether any fees have changed and, if so, why.

8. Close. Plan to pay your down payment and closing costs, which range from 2% to 5% of the purchase price. You will sign a heap of documents to complete your purchase. Congratulations!

How to Choose the Right Mortgage Lender for You

You can evaluate mortgage companies based on four key factors:

  • Interest rates. Interest can vary by lender and by product, so when you shop around and compare mortgage rates, you could find a better deal.
  • Closing costs. When you factor in closing costs, which can include application, appraisal and loan origination fees, the lender with the lowest rate may not offer the best overall mortgage costs. Compare costs between lenders using the APR.
  • Product offerings. Look for a lender that is licensed in your state with options that work for you, whether that’s a 30-year fixed-rate loan, a VA loan or something else.
  • Customer service reviews. Use customer service feedback to research lender performance. Lenders should not only offer great loan rates, but also treat customers well.

What Can You Do if You Can’t Make Your Mortgage Payments?

If you’re in a tough financial position and can’t make your mortgage payments, you need to move quickly to protect your home. Whatever the reason you’re struggling to make payments, reach out to your mortgage servicer right away to discuss your options if you can’t keep up with your mortgage payments.

If you can’t make payments, you may be able to set up a forbearance agreement. You can also modify your loan to make monthly payments more manageable


what are the top 10 mortgage companies

PrimeLending is a Dallas-based mortgage lender with several mortgage loan options, including conventional loans, jumbo loans, government-backed loans and refinance loans. The lender is a subsidiary of PlainsCapital Bank.

Before You Apply

Mortgage types: Conventional, Fixed Rate, ARM, Refinancing, FHA, VA, Jumbo, USDA

    Minimum FICO credit score: 620

    Minimum Down Payment: 0.03

    Better Business Bureau rating: A+

Best Features

Homebuyers can choose from a variety of mortgage products.

    Home loans are available nationwide.

    Down payment and closing cost assistance is available.

Axos Bank

U.S.News Rating

Axos Bank, founded in 2000, is a digital financial services company based in San Diego. The full-service online bank is insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and offers everything from persona; and business savings and checking accounts to auto and home loans.

Before You Apply

  • Mortgage types: Conventional, FHA, VA, Fixed-Rate, ARM, Jumbo, Home Equity Loans, HELOC, Refinancing
  • Minimum FICO credit score: 620
  • Minimum Down Payment: 5%
  • Better Business Bureau rating: A+

Best Features

  • Earn 3% annualized cash back — 0.25% monthly — if you have an Axos Bank checking account and use it pay your mortgage.

  • Reduce or eliminate the $995 lender fee with an Axos Bank checking account.O

  • n-time closing is guaranteed for buyers of single-family homes.Access mortgage lona consultants to discuss your home financing needs.

PNC Bank what are the top 10 mortgage companies

U.S.News Rating

PNC Bank is one of the largest U.S. banks, serving more than 9 million customers in all 50 states. PNC offers most types of mortgages.

Before You Apply

  • Mortgage types: Conventional, Fixed Rate, FHA< VA, ARM, Jumbo, HELOC, Refinancing
  • Minimum FICO credit score: 620
  • Minimum Down Payment: 3%
  • Better Business Bureau rating: A+

Best Features

  • Multiple types of mortgages are available.

  • PNC supplies an online home ownership cost tool.

  • Some mortgage options require no or low down payments.

When you buy a home or refinance your mortgage, it’s a big financial decision, so it makes sense to find the best mortgage lender you can. To do that, shop for offers from at least three lenders.

Compare mortgage rates and other loan terms such as fees, time to close, the availability of online application and loan tracking, and customer service offerings. Taking the time to make an informed decision can save you thousands of dollars over the life of your loan what are the top 10 mortgage companies

To help you choose a mortgage lender, NerdWallet has picked some of the best out there in a variety of categories to help you get the home loan with the best mortgage rate, term and fees.

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