Reviews.com is a great resource that researches and reviews everything under the sun, including a range of financial products. It’s a great place to start when contemplating any major (or minor) life changes.
Below is an excerpt of an article that originally appeared on Reviews.com. For the complete version visit: http://www.reviews.com/mortgage-companies/
Of course rates are going to matter on a home-sized loan. Even a fraction of a percentage point can easily mean tens of thousands of dollars over the course of a mortgage. But, our panel of experts reiterated again and again that you shouldn’t just pick the first low rate that comes along. The best mortgage companies are going to be able to get you a screaming deal, and also be available to help you close by a specific date — or give you advice on a Saturday morning.
How We Found the Best Mortgage Companies
-We started with a list of 181 lenders, banks, and credit unions — and ditched the brokers.
-We opted for widespread availability.
-We checked for regulatory actions and cut repeat offenders.
-We evaluated each institution on how easy it was to get started.
-Then, we got pre-approved.
-Finally, we looked for low rates and fees.
-Why wasn’t cost the most important factor?
What you’re paying matters, absolutely. And we did cut the companies with the highest rates. But in the world of real estate, those rates can vary widely and are dependent on the individual. Factors like your location, credit score, down payment, and how much you’re borrowing can all affect what you’ll pay in the end.
Our Picks for the Best Mortgage Companies
Quicken Loans is a well-rounded lender that can help with any loan product you might need. They offered a wide range of available loan options, fair rates, a lot of learning tools, and great navigation on their website. The knowledge center broke down the different loan types in a chart so we could quickly scan for “Easier Qualification” or “Lower Money Down.” When we wanted more specific advice, the online chat feature made it easy to get an answer, and we reached a person over the phone in less than five minutes.
When it came time to pull the trigger, the online pre-approval form took less than 15 minutes and asked questions we could actually answer. It only took the company another 15 minutes to get in touch with us after hitting “apply.” End-to-end, we were pre-approved in under 30 minutes. Best of all, we weren’t inundated with emails and phone calls after our initial conversation — if you’re in the shopping-around phase, this company knows when to give you space.
Best for First-Time Buyers:
Alliant Credit Union combined low rates with solid customer service — two factors that are especially important for first-time home buyers. Their rates started at 3.625 percent, and they had one of the lowest projected monthly payments of our final contenders. Alliant was much more of a “hand-holding lender,” offering resources and information that is pertinent for first time homeowners who may be hesitant or concerned. While the company employee pool may be smaller at Alliant than at a mega-bank, but you’ll get a tailored level of customer service, something first-time buyers may be grateful for when the about-to-close-on-my-first-house panic sets in.
Best for Repeat Buyers:
For fair rates, fast approval times, and a mortgage company that has the manpower and resources to keep the process running smoothly, we recommend Citibank.
If this isn’t your first stack of mortgage paperwork, you’re likely past the hand-holding phase and are well into the let’s-just-get-this-done phase. Citibank is an excellent choice because they offer below-average interest rates (3.625 percent), low closing fees ($3,094), and a low estimated monthly payment for our fictional $150,000 mortgage.
If you do run into a problem, Citibank can handle it. You can reach a representative via live chat, get answers through an impressive knowledge center database, shoot off an email, or call in when it fits your schedule.
Best for Bad Credit
New American Funding doesn’t require a pre-pre-approval analysis with a hard pull on your credit score, which sets them apart. Instead, they have an additional step before the standard pre-approval that’s great for anyone with less-than-stellar credit: the Upfront Credit Approval.
Upfront Credit Approval is a no-obligation analysis that will show you where you’re at without submitting your Social Security number or taking the credit hit for a hard pull on a new application. Plus, when we called, a loan officer walked us through some steps we might need to take if we had past credit problems. All in all, super helpful.
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- While I do strive to only write accurate information and dispense valuable advice, I am not a licensed financial adviser. All information is based solely on my personal experience and personal research and should be treated as such. Find out more.