Best Mortgage Lenders of September 2023
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach when choosing a mortgage lender. The best mortgage lenders vary depending on your home loan needs. You may prefer an all-digital loan experience or need a special homebuying program. LendingTree considered a number of factors to pick the best mortgage lenders of September 2023.
Best mortgage lenders
Best for refinance loans: Guaranteed Rate
- Minimum credit score: Not published
- Available refinance programs: Conventional cash-out refinance, FHA refinance, VA cash-out refinance, VA IRRRL, FHA 203(k) renovation refinance, Fannie Mae HomeStyle® and Freddie Mac renovation refinance and VA renovation refinance
- Additional loan products: Jumbo loans, interest-only mortgages and home equity loans
- LendingTree rating:
Best for VA loans: Rocket Mortgage
Best for jumbo loans: Ally Bank
Best overall online mortgage experience: Zillow Home Loans
Best for FHA loans: AmeriSave Mortgage
Best for home equity loans: BMO Harris
Best overall mortgage loan variety: Fairway Independent Mortgage
- Minimum credit score: 580 to 620
- Available loan programs: Purchase and refinance programs offered for conventional, FHA, VA, jumbo and USDA loans. Fixer-upper loans, which include the FHA 203(k) program, Fannie Mae HomeStyle® renovation loans and VA and USDA renovation loans
- Additional loan products: Reverse mortgage and physician home loans
- LendingTree rating:
How we chose our picks for the best mortgage lenders of September 2023
We reviewed data collected from 35 lender reviews completed by the LendingTree editorial staff to determine the best mortgage lenders in each category chosen in this roundup. It includes winners in the best overall categories awarded to lenders in our FHA, VA, home equity, refinance and jumbo “best of” roundups.
To determine the best overall loan variety category winner, we tallied the total number of standard and special loan programs offered by each individual lender.
Each lender is given a score between zero and five stars based on several features including digital application processes, available loan products and the accessibility of product and lending information. To be included in the “best of” roundup, lenders must offer mortgages in at least 35 states.
Current mortgage rates
Current mortgage interest rates forecast
The mortgage interest rates forecast for September 2023 is for higher rates in the short term, as investors grapple with fears of additional rate hikes to slow a surprisingly resilient economy in the face of persistent inflation.
Rates on 30-year fixed mortgages spiked to 7.18% — the highest level in more than 20 years — according to the Aug. 31, 2023, Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey®. Anyone looking to buy should save extra for a down payment and boost their credit scores, said Jacob Channel, senior economist for Lendingtree.
Despite the recent uptick, Channel said inflation should cool, bringing mortgage rates down. However, Channel added that dip may not happen until early 2024.
How does a mortgage work?
- Principal. This is the portion of your loan balance paid down with each payment. At first, the bulk of your payment is interest, but over time you pay more principal through a process called amortization.
- Interest. This part of your payment is charged monthly based on the mortgage interest rate you choose. The interest is based on a percentage of your loan amount. Most of your mortgage payment covers interest charges for the first several years. As your loan balance drops, the interest charges shrink.
- Taxes. Lenders collect one-twelfth of your annual property tax bill as part of your monthly payment. The money goes into an escrow account that your lender uses to pay your taxes when they’re due.
- Insurance. Lenders require homeowners insurance to cover losses from fire, theft or other damage to your home. The premium is divided by 12 and the monthly portion is deposited into your escrow account. Depending on your down payment or loan type, you may also pay monthly mortgage insurance to protect the lender if you default.
How to compare the best mortgage lenders
LendingTree studies consistently show that consumers save when they shop at least three to five lenders before choosing a mortgage company. Follow these tips to choose the best mortgage lender for your home loan needs:
→ Gather rate quotes on the same day. Rates change daily, and your loan estimates should feature the same date.
→ Compare estimates for the same loan type. Government-backed interest rates are typically lower than conventional mortgage rates, but they come with costs like FHA mortgage insurance or VA funding fees.
→ Talk to different types of mortgage lenders. A mortgage broker matches your financial profile to the rates and products of multiple lenders. Direct lenders approve and fund your loan in-house and usually have access to various down payment assistance programs. Your local bank or credit union may offer you a rate discount if you carry large deposits or agree to set up auto monthly payments for your mortgage.
Types of mortgage loans
Before you shop, pick the right type of mortgage loan for your finances. Below are highlights of the five most common mortgage loan programs:
The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) insures loans made by approved lenders with more lenient qualifying requirements than conventional loans. Borrowers with scores as low as 580 only need a 3.5% down payment, but pay expensive FHA mortgage insurance for the life of their loans. FHA loan limits are lower than conventional loans, with a current maximum of $472,030 for a one-unit home in most of the country’s counties.
See our current FHA rates
Home equity loan or home equity line of credit (HELOC)
Homeowners can convert some or all of their home’s equity to cash with a home equity loan or home equity line of credit. Home equity loans are popular with borrowers that need all the money at once and want the security of a fixed-rate monthly payment.
A HELOC works like a credit card with a balance that can be used, paid off and re-used for a set time called a draw period. Payments are based only on the outstanding balance, and interest-only options are common.
View our current home equity loan rates
Eligible military borrowers can get zero-down financing with a loan backed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). VA loans don’t require mortgage insurance and loan limits don’t apply. However, a VA funding fee may be required depending on the down payment and whether the veteran has used their VA benefit before.
Browse our current VA Rates
Conventional loans aren’t guaranteed by any government agency. Lenders follow rules set by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which tend to be more strict than government-backed loans. You’ll need at least a 620 credit score and a 3% down payment to qualify. Conventional loan limits for single-family homes are capped at $726,200 for most parts of the country.
A jumbo loan is a mortgage with a loan amount above the conforming loan limits set each year by the Federal Housing Finance Agency. You’ll likely need a jumbo loan if you’re buying a home in an expensive part of the country. You’ll need a higher credit score and down payment to qualify and typically pay a higher rate.