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Best Mortgage Lenders of 2016

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Best Home Loan & Mortgage Companies

Before you go hunting for the house of your dreams (or at least the best house your budget can support) there is something else you must first shop for. There is no doubt that a mortgage is one of the most important long-term investments that most people make.

If you are going to be paying for a mortgage for 15 to 30 years you will need to get the best mortgage rates you possibly can, which can be a challenge in an ever-changing market. In fact, more people over 50 have mortgage debt than in the past. However, rates are not your only consideration when you are shopping for a reputable mortgage lender. Unlike most other big purchases or investments, the mortgage lender you are looking at will be scrutinizing you just as much as you are investigating them.

Mortgage Brokers: What to Consider

With such a difficult decision, it makes sense to compare trusted mortgage lenders and use every tool that you have at your disposal. When you are choosing the right mortgage lender there are several things to look at and you will want to find the right features that can help you find that information.

Fixed or Variable Rate? First you need to choose a mortgage with a fixed or a variable rate. Fixed rates mean that the amount of interest you pay is always the same while a variable rate can fluctuate with the market. If you are looking for a long term mortgage, you will most likely want a fixed rate so you aren't caught by surprise. A variable rate can cause you to pay more than you anticipated if interest rates move up, but you could also pay less if interest rates unexpectedly fall.

The Size of your Down Payment - You should also pay attention to the size of the down payment which can depend on the value of the property. If you are refinancing a mortgage you should expect to see higher interest rates than when you are purchasing for the first time. If you are purchasing your first home, consider if you can manage to put at least 20% of the purchase price of the property down as a down payment. For a traditional mortgage this would be ideal.

If you can't afford to put 20% down, you may still qualify for a mortgage. However, you will also have to pay private mortgage insurance (PMI), which can cost you thousands of dollars extra over the life of your loan. However, as a first time home buyer, you can secure an FHA loan and put as little down as 3.5% of the purchase price while avoiding costly insurance. If you do get stuck paying PMI on your mortgage, consider refinancing in the future.

Best Mortgage Refinance Rates

Meet the Best Mortgage Companies

Searching for the right mortgage company or loan servicer can be a tedious and time-consuming process when you consider all the factors listed above. When it comes to your mortgage, you want to take your time and carefully weigh all the pros and cons before making a final decision.

To help assist you in your search, we've created extensive reviews on some of the industry's top mortgage providers. Here's a brief summary of the top 5 choices.

Quicken Loans Mortgages Review

  • Pros
  • Simle application process
  • No hidden fees
  • Innovative programs
  • Cons
  • May charge an application fee

Quicken Loans is a direct lender offering a wide variety of mortgage and refinancing services to customers. The company offers a mortgage plan to suit anyone's needs whether you're looking for a home for your family or an investment or business property. They offer jumbo loans for expensive properties up to $3 million and FHA streamline loans for current FHA homeowners who wish to refinance. Quicken Loans offers competitive rates that may vary based on your debt-to-income ratio along with a streamlined application process that allows you to close hassle-free.

SoFi Mortgages Review

  • Pros
  • Flexible debt to income limits
  • No hidden fees
  • Interest only mortgage option
  • Cons
  • Need to put down at least 10%

SoFi stands for 'social finance' and while the company is best known for their student loan refinancing options, they also specialize in mortgages as well. SoFi is best for potential homebuyers who are willing to put at least 10% down on the purchase price of their home in order to receive some of the benefits the company offers. For starters, as long as customers put down at least 10% on their home, they can avoid having to pay PMI. SoFi also has flexible debt-to-income limits, no hidden fees and a unique interest-only mortgage option that allows you to only pay the interest on your mortgage for the first 10 years.

Sindeo Mortgages Review

  • Pros
  • Wide variety of loan programs
  • Dedicated mortgage advisors
  • Excellent data encryptions
  • Cons
  • Only for residential properties

Sindeo is a paid mortgage originator with access to more than 40 different lenders and over 1,000 different loan programs. While they are only licensed to help provide loan in 10 U.S. states, their reach is steadily growing as they increase their coverage area and they specialize in offering a personalized and unbiased process. They have access to specialty financing solutions to help borrowers in various different situations and customers receive a dedicated mortgage advisor to help walk them through the process and answer any questions. Since Sindeo's mortgage advisors are not paid by commission and are compensated based on a guaranteed salary and customer satisfaction, they're able to provide authentic and unbiased advice and guidance that can help homeowners save an average of $20,000 over the life of their loan.

Sebonic Financial Mortgages Review

  • Pros
  • Free rate quotes
  • Privacy protection
  • Dedicated loan expert
  • Good customer service
  • Cons
  • Website is not as informative as others

Sebonic is licensed to provide mortgage loans in every state except Massachusetts. The company offers FHA loans and mortgage refinancing in addition to conventional loans. They also claim on their website to provide free rate quotes and low cost services thanks to their unique approach and application technology. Customers work one-on-one with a loan consultant to move swiftly through the application process and upload necessary documents securely online.

LoanDepot Mortgages Review

  • Pros
  • Available in all 50 states
  • Good customer service with live chat
  • Lifetime garuntee
  • Cons
  • Origination fee

loanDepot is another leading mortgage provider that has grown exponentially since the company's inception in 2010. loanDepot offers many different mortgage options along with money-saving refinancing options like HARP loans that save homeowners an average of $355 per month. They provide adjustable rate mortgages for homebuyers who plan on selling their homes in a few years and would like to enjoy lower payments during their short-term stay. loanDepot is licensed in all 50 states and offers a Lifetime Guarantee that helps waive the cost of an appraisal and other closing costs when refinancing. The guarantee is available to customers who obtained their initial mortgage through loanDepot and refinance it at least once.

Compare Mortgage Rates Quickly

Short on time? Check out our mortgage provider comparison tool so you can quickly compare the pros and cons of different providers in order to rule out the ones that don't appeal to you and narrow down the ones that do. If you've worked with a particular company in the past to obtain your mortgage or refinance, feel free to leave a customer review detailing your experience in order to help assist other potential and current homebuyers in their process

Mortgage Advice

Still need some more advice about mortgage providers and different types of mortgages in general? Check out our advice column so you can learn important factors that play into obtaining a mortgage and how to pay yours off.

Our experts have created helpful guides including how to work on your credit before obtaining a mortgage, what you need to know before closing, and everything you need to know about property appraisal.

One thing that lenders may not tell you is how you can get approved quickly and the first time without having to obtain several hard inquiries on your credit. Before you apply for a mortgage, it's best to repair your credit and maintain it by paying down as much debt as you can, avoiding financing anything new, and preparing certain personal documents ahead of time to stay organized and speed up the initial application process.

Our experts also discuss how to build equity in your new home with a 15-year mortgage along with the pros and cons of having one.

It's important to take advantage of free expert advice and learn everything you can about mortgages before you seek out a loan provider to work with. We encourage you to view our other mortgage advice articles for well-rounded helpful tips and insight to enhance your experience from the application stage through the closing process.


The main point is becoming prepared and knowledgeable about the industry and your needs. Owning a home can be a dream comes true, but it all starts with a great mortgage experience.

First, narrow down what you are looking for and what your needs are by considering all the factors that go into a typical mortgage. Then, you'll want to assess your situation and your means by comparing loans options and seeking out more information about the top contenders in your opinion. Be sure to utilize your detailed reviews and comparison tool to weigh the pros and cons between each provider.

Doing your research may sound like a big task to take one now, but it will pay off and most likely save you money on your mortgage in the long run.

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Questions & Answers About Best Mortgages

Can I get pre-approved for a mortgage before finding and buying a property?

Yes, you can apply for a mortgage loan before finding a house to buy. In fact, mortgage advisers generally recommend that route because it gives you and the lender more time to process the application so that funds are ready when you settle on your dream home. When you apply beforehand, the creditor typically gives you a pre-qualification letter that you can show to real estate brokers. That way, they can see that you have done your homework in advance and are prepared to fork over the money as soon as they find the right property.

In one sentence, being pre-qualified for a loan adds more weight to your property search and lends credibility to your case when you talk to sellers.

Do lenders charge a fee if I file my mortgage application online?

There are three distinct types of mortgage application fees. The primary mortgage application fee varies depending on the institution you work with but my reach rates up to $500 and is strictly enforced for working with the mortgagee. To the best of your ability try to determine if you'll be approved ahead of time because this fee may not be refundable. The property appraisal and credit report fee are the remaining two charges. A lender may charge a small fee-usually $10 or $15-to pay for your credit report. However, it is not uncommon to see a potential creditor waiving the fee. The benefit of filing online is that it removes human involvement in the initial process, so the lender does not incur administrative expenses.

What does a lender need to process my loan?

A mortgage lender typically needs things like your most recent W-2 form, bank statements, and social security number along with your address and other bio data-such as first name, last name, and date of birth. Most lenders have an effective underwriting system that cross-checks data you submit with information contained in other public or semi-public databases. For instance, they may check with databases such as those maintained by credit bureaus like Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. The verification process can go even faster if you already have an account with the institution at which you are applying for a mortgage loan.

What type of income does a lender consider when evaluating my application?

A lender would consider as part of your income your regular earnings along with bonuses, overtime, and commissions that you regularly receive. In other words, any item that is not recurrent would be excluded because the creditor wants to see a historical pattern in your income before considering it during the application review process. Windfalls or other one-time events that leave you with extra cash typically wouldn't be taken into account. The lender may ask you to provide things like W-2s, recent pay stubs, and tax returns for the last two or three years, so that your earnings, and their historical pattern, can be verified.

What are differences between a home equity loan and a home equity line of credit?

Both home equity loans and home equity lines of credit use your home as collateral. However, the home equity line of credit is accessible to draw upon over a long term while a home equity loan disburses all funds at once. Home equity lines of credit are revolving loans that allow you to borrow when you need it. A home equity line of credit loan has a variable interest rate while a home equity loan's interest is set at a fixed rate.

What are the typical types of mortgages?

Fixed and adjustable rate mortgages are the most common home-lending instruments. Fixed-rate mortgages feature regular monthly payments which are made over a specific term. Adjustable-rate-mortgages (ARM) offer the borrower a lower initial interest rate with payments that are generally lower than standard fixed-rate mortgages. They are ideal for buyers who don't expect to stay in their home for a long time. Fixed rate mortgages are considered safe and stable and are convenient for budgeting because the payments are always the same.

What is an FHA mortgage?

FHA loans are insured by the Federal Housing Agency, a division of the U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Borrowers who obtain FHA loans must purchase mortgage insurance to protect lenders against losses incurred from home mortgage defaults. FHA loans are an excellent option for first-time buyers because they can offer low down payments and closing costs. Home buyers must qualify for FHA loans by meeting specific guidelines based on debt-to-income ratios. While the FHA insures the mortgage, it is not a lender. Therefore, borrowers are required to obtain their loans through an FHA-approved lender.

What is an escrow account?

An escrow account is a separate account that holds extra funds from the borrower in order to pay bills such as homeowner's insurance and property taxes. The amount added into the escrow account each month equals 1/12th the yearly total of these bills. The lender collects the funds to be deposited into the account each month along with your monthly payment and then pays the property tax and insurance bills when they come due. For some loans, escrow accounts are a requirement.

What is a VA Loan?

A VA loan is a flexible, government-backed loan available since 1944 to veterans and their surviving spouses (unless the surviving spouse remarries). VA loans are issued by approved lenders such as the Veterans United Home Loans. They are guaranteed by the federal government. VA loans feature attractive benefits such as no down payment or mortgage insurance requirements. VA loans also offer competitive mortgage rates.

What is Private Mortgage Insurance?

Private mortgage insurance (PMI) is a type of mortgage insurance that protects the lender of conventional loans if the borrower stops making loan payments. The lender makes the arrangements with a private insurance company to obtain the PMI. In most cases, PMI will be required if a borrower makes a down payment that is less than 20% of the loan.

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Advertiser Disclosure

In order for MoneySavingPro to remain a consumer free service, many of the companies covered in our industry reviews compensate MoneySavingPro for new sign ups.

However, the results of our comparison tools, the rankings of the providers and the information presented is not affected by compensation. Indeed, many of these companies approach us for an advertising partnership after we have already written a published their reviews.

While we try to research and review as many providers as possible in the 100+ industries we cover, we have not reviewed every company available.

Our rating system is independent of compensation and reflects our true understanding of the industry and the company based on a variety of factors. The companies that receive the highest rating will always be the providers that we believe offer the best value to the consumer.

Advertiser Disclosure

In order for MoneySavingPro to remain a consumer free service, many of the companies covered in our industry reviews compensate MoneySavingPro for new sign ups.

However, the results of our comparison tools, the rankings of the providers and the information presented is not affected by compensation. Indeed, many of these companies approach us for an advertising partnership after we have already written a published their reviews.

While we try to research and review as many providers as possible in the 100+ industries we cover, we have not reviewed every company available.

Our rating system is independent of compensation and reflects our true understanding of the industry and the company based on a variety of factors. The companies that receive the highest rating will always be the providers that we believe offer the best value to the consumer.