2016-2017 RANKING OF MORTGAGE LENDERS FOR FIRST TIME BUYERS
Intro: 1st Time Home Buyer Loan Guide & Ranking of The Best Mortgage Lenders for First-Time Buyers
Regardless of where you might be in your life or your career, the decision to buy your first home is undoubtedly one of the most significant and exciting decisions you will make in your lifetime.
Before you can start shopping with your real estate agent and looking for that perfect property, whether it’s a starter house or your forever home, it’s essential that you research home loans for first-time buyers.
Not every bank or lender is going to offer ideal 1st-time home buyer loans, which is why it’s important to do your research and then start looking to find those mortgages for first-time buyers that offer advantages and favorable terms, specific to your situation.
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It’s also important to understand that when you’re searching for a first-time home buyer loan, it’s an intensive, in-depth process, and it can require that you gather a lot of paperwork and financial documentation.
Because of the lengthy and complicated nature of obtaining a first-time home buyers loan, not only do you need to shop for a lender that’s going to offer a strong product well-suited to your needs, but also a company with a reputation for excellent customer service, transparency, and ethical lending practices.
The following ranking and review of the best mortgage lenders for first-time buyers is designed to provide not just the names of the best lenders, but also to highlight what to look for in loans for first-time home buyers.
List of the Best Mortgage Lenders for First-Time Buyers
This list is sorted alphabetically (click any of the above names to go directly to the detailed review that mortgage lender).
Best Mortgage Lenders for First-Time Buyers | 2016-2017 Ranking
Bank of America
Wells Fargo Mortgage
What Are the Financial Benefits of Owning a Home?
If you’re considering looking for a first-time home buyer mortgage, but you’re nervous or cautious about taking on that level of responsibility, it is important to realize home ownership comes with many financial benefits. While obtaining a first-time home buyer loan can be an intimidating process, purchasing a home is still an excellent investment in most instances.
Some of the financial benefits of homeownership include:
- If you continue renting as opposed to exploring home loans for first-time buyers, you’re paying a significant amount of money each month with nothing to show for it. On the other hand, if you do find a first-time buyer mortgage that works for your personal situation, the money you pay toward that loan becomes equity in your home. This is one of the best long-term investments you can make in most cases.
- Real estate value often goes up as well, which might not necessarily be the case with many other investments. This applies in particular if you buy in a high-value market. While real estate may go through occasional declines, it almost always rebounds and ends up being worth more than what you paid for it.
- Taxes are an inevitable part of life, but there are tax breaks for homeowners. For example, after you get that first-time home buyer mortgage, the interest you’re paying is deductible from your income tax. Also, when you sell a home, if the value increases by less than a certain amount, you may not have to pay capital gains taxes when you sell it.
These are just a few of the financial reasons it can be smart to start exploring your options in terms of home loans for first-time buyers.
Tips for First-Time Home Buyers (Loan & Mortgage Guide)
When you start your search for the ideal loans for first-time home buyers, it’s important that you’re prepared and understand what you’re looking for, as well as know how to get the best terms.
The first thing you can do before starting to identify the best mortgage lenders for first-time buyers is to clean up your credit. Before you ever step into a lender’s office or apply online for pre-qualification, pull your own credit report. Look for any possible errors, and then try to correct anything that could be a red flag to a lender. This is the best way to get the best possible deal on home loans for first-time buyers.
Along with looking at your credit report, take an objective look at your assets versus your liabilities. This ratio is what lenders use to determine whether or not you’re creditworthy, so it’s best to go into your search for a first-time home buyers loan without any surprises. Make sure all of your payments are up-to-date, and that you’re in a strong position to buy a home. If you have high-interest debts, consider consolidating them before you start looking for 1st-time home buyer loans.
The next thing to understand is what type of loan will be best for you. If you’re planning to use your first-time home buyer loan to purchase a starter home where you’ll only live for a few years, a fixed-rate, 30-year mortgage doesn’t make much sense.
On the other hand, you may potentially qualify for some government-sponsored home loan programs, so check on these as well. Government-backed loans tend to have more flexible lending requirements and may allow you to pay a significantly lower down payment than you would with a conventional option.
Big Mistakes First-Time Home Buyers Make
Now can be a very good time to obtain loans for first-time buyers because of the low interest rates and lending requirements that are loosening slightly, but it’s important that new buyers are aware of potential pitfalls that could create a negative buying experience for them.
The first mistake is opting to buy when you’re not ready, or when you’re planning on moving within a few years. If you even think that moving could be a possibility in the next two to four years, it might be best to wait on buying a home. Homeownership is a good long-term investment, but depending on your situation, may not be ideal in the short-term.
The next issue is that first-time buyers may not realize that the market is competitive, and that can be especially true for lower-priced homes. It’s important for first-time buyers to save as much as they reasonably can for a down payment and have a pre-approval letter before they start shopping for homes.
Finally, if you’re planning on obtaining a first-time home buyer loan in the immediate future, you should probably put off the other large purchases, including a new car. Your asset-to-debt ratio is one of the primary determining factors in whether or not you’ll get that first-time home buyer mortgage, so if you make a big purchase before trying to buy a home, it can derail your plans.
Methodology for Selecting the Best Mortgage Lenders for First-Time Buyers
What methodology does AdvisoryHQ use in selecting and finalizing the companies, services, and products that are ranked on its various highly-rated lists?
Please click here to see “AdvisoryHQ's Ranking Methodologies,” a detailed review of AdvisoryHQ’s selection methodologies for ranking companies, products, and services.
Detailed Review—The Best Mortgage Lenders for First-Time Buyers
After carefully considering home loans for first-time buyers, we compiled the following list of the six best mortgage lenders for first-time buyers. As you continue reading, you’ll find detailed reviews of each of our picks, as well as an outline of the factors used in the decision-making process.
A retail mortgage lender working with consumers in 49 states as well as Washington D.C., AmeriSave offers a range of mortgage products, many of which are excellent options for first-time house buyers. Some of the products available to borrowers include VA loans, fixed and ARM mortgages, non-conforming loans, and FHA loans.
AmeriSave is an excellent resource for obtaining a first-time home buyer mortgage because they do each step of the lending process in-house, including processing, underwriting, closing, and funding.
Key Factors That Enabled This to Rank as One of 2016’s Best Mortgage Lenders for First-Time Buyers
Factors leading to the inclusion of AmeriSave on this list of the best lenders for first-time buyer mortgage products are detailed below.
For many first-time house buyers, one of the most important considerations when working to obtain a first-time home buyer loan is how streamlined and efficient the lending process is.
AmeriSave excels at not just offering excellent options for 1st-time home buyer loans, but also for having a very fast, easy process. Buyers can use the AmeriSave website to search the rates and products and determine what’s best for them. They can then submit an online application.
At that point, they can download their loan documents, sign them, and mail them to AmeriSave Mortgage Corporation, who then processes and underwrites the loan. The loan is reviewed and subject to a sales contract, appraisal, and title review.
If all initial criteria are met, then the borrower receives a Pre-Approval Certificate so they can begin shopping for a home.
One of the exclusive offerings available from this provider of loans for first-time home buyers is called AmeriSave Advantage. This free program is available to not only buyers but also sellers.
With AmeriSave Advantage, borrowers have access to a network of highly experienced real estate agents. They also work with a trusted adviser for guidance throughout the process, which can be particularly helpful for first-time house buyers.
Finally, AmeriSave offers a rewards program, which provides anywhere from $250 to $4,500, given to the borrower at the end of a transaction.
Mortgage Rate Alerts
If you’re in the process of searching for a first-time home buyer loan with the most favorable terms, AmeriSave offers a unique tool. This rate alert tool is available on the AmeriSave website, and users can enter the loan amount they hope to obtain, the property value of what they want to buy and the property location, type of loan, and their credit score.
Borrowers then enter their contact information, and AmeriSave will monitor interest rates on applicable first-time home buyer mortgage products for that individual.
The borrower will receive customized alerts if the mortgage they’re considering goes down in price because of lower interest rates.
Many first-time house buyers may not realize how essential excellent customer service is when searching for mortgages for first-time buyers. Customer service should actually be a high consideration because when you’re working to secure a first-time home buyer mortgage, it’s important that you’re working with people who are accessible, readily available to answer questions, and who can provide the necessary guidance you might require.
According to reviews on LendingTree, 98% of customers would recommend AmeriSave as a lender. They also ranked on the highest 10 list for customer satisfaction for Q4 2015, as well as Q1 2016.
On Zillow, AmeriSave also has a nearly perfect customer rating.
Bank of America Review
Based in Charlotte, NC, Bank of America has a long history serving the needs of consumers in the United States. This full-service financial institution is not just an excellent option to obtain a first-time buyer mortgage, but they also provide a range of other products and services for individuals and businesses.
Bank of America offers government-backed loans, as well as specific products for first time home buyers, and buyers who may be low- to moderate-income, or want to pay a lower down payment than the standard 20%.
Key Factors That Led Us to Rank This as One of 2016’s Best Mortgage Lenders for First-Time Buyers
When ranking home loans for first-time buyers and the best mortgage lenders for first-time buyers, below are some reasons Bank of America is a leader.
If you’re already a Bank of America customer and searching for the best first-time home buyers loan products, you may be eligible for the Preferred Rewards program. This program is designed to offer loyalty rewards for customers because of their Bank of America and Merrill Lynch investment accounts.
The Preferred Rewards program includes three tiers. The tier you qualify for is based on 3-month average combined balances in your banking and/or Merrill Lynch investment accounts.
If you are eligible and enroll in the program, you may get not only benefits like credit card bonuses and no-fee banking, but you can also save on your mortgage origination fee with a Bank of America loan.
Often what’s ideal in terms of a first-time home buyer loan is an adjustable-rate option. This is because many first-time house buyers are only planning on staying in their starter home for a few years, and an adjustable-rate mortgage typically offers fixed interest rates for a period of a few years.
This means during the introductory interest rate period the interest rate is typically lower, so during this time, the borrower’s monthly payments will be lower.
Bank of America offers competitive adjustable-rate first-time home buyer mortgage options.
Home Loan Navigator
One of the best aspects of working with Bank of America to find home loans for first-time buyers is their Home Loan Navigator. This advanced online platform is perfect for first-time house buyers because it’s a convenient way to always know what’s going on with the application and lending process.
Many times first-time buyers can feel like they’re in the dark when it comes to their loan’s progress and what’s expected of them. This is completely eliminated with the Home Loan Navigator. The Home Loan Navigator is something borrowers use along with the guidance of their loan specialist throughout the process for obtaining a first-time buyer mortgage.
They can log on to not just see the status of their application, but there’s also a to-do list feature. The to-do list lets borrowers see what they need to do to keep their loan application moving along quickly.
The Navigator can also be used to sign and manage documents securely and quickly.
Affordable Loan Solution
Many of the names on this list of the best mortgage lenders for first-time buyers will offer signature loan products that are aimed at the needs of first-time buyers. At Bank of America, an excellent first-time home buyer mortgage product is the Affordable Loan Solution Mortgage.
This is designed to help buyers who want to make a purchase, but also need a lower down payment. The down payment with this loan may be as little as 3%, making buying a home more affordable for many.
The Affordable Loan Solution Mortgage also features competitive interest rates, no mortgage insurance requirement, and it can be ideal for qualified borrowers seeking 1st-time home buyer loans.
CitiGroup leads the way in the financial industry as one of the most recognizable banks in the world. CitiGroup as a whole serves more than 200 million customers in 160 countries, through their extensive range of consumer, business and institutional products and services. Citi bases its services on the idea of progress and innovation, strong leadership and responsible finance.
In terms of being one of the best mortgage lenders for first-time buyers, CitiMortgage offers an extensive portfolio of loan products, and also excellent homeowner support, which were important reasons it’s included on this list of the best sources for mortgages for first-time buyers.
Key Factors That Enabled This to Rank as One of the Best Mortgage Lenders for First-Time Buyers
Based on considerations important to consumers when searching for mortgages for first-time buyers, the below list represents some key reasons CitiMortgage was included in this ranking.
Government Loan Options
When searching for the best first-time home buyers loan products, many consumers will opt for a government-backed loan, perhaps because they meet certain qualifications or are looking for something for low- to moderate-income buyers.
Citi offers two of the most common government-sponsored loan products, which are the FHA Loan and the VA Loan.
With the FHA Loan, the Federal Housing Administration backs the loan, and there are fewer restrictions in terms of down payments and qualifying credit scores, as compared to traditional loans.
VA Loans are designed for veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces, or surviving spouses of servicemembers. They are guaranteed by the Department of Veterans Affairs, and benefits include lower down payment requirements and lower interest rates. VA loans also feature lower closing costs and fees, in contrast to conventional loans.
Citi is unique from many of the other names on this list of the best places to obtain home loans for first-time buyers because they have thousands of branch locations throughout the country, which makes them ideal for buyers who want face-to-face interactions with a loan officer.
At the same time, they offer convenient online tools, one of which is a free evaluation. Consumers can complete a brief form online, and it includes information about their home buying goals. After that, they’ll receive a free mortgage evaluation from a Citi representative.
This is an excellent tool during the search for home loans for first-time buyers because it’s no obligation, and it can give you a good idea of what you can afford and what you should be looking for.
OWN is a signature program offered by CitiMortgage that may be appealing if you’re looking for 1st-time home buyer loans. This program was designed to offer not only low down payment options for borrowers but also flexible credit requirements for low- and moderate-income borrowers, who are buying a home in low- and moderate-income areas.
This mortgage program is geared toward borrowers who earn 80% or less than the Area Median Income and are planning to buy in a particular area.
The interest rates are comparable to conventional loans, down payments are as low as 3%, and the credit guidelines are flexible. It also features the stability of a fixed-rate loan.
Citigold is a preferred customer program that rewards loyalty. As customers grow their accounts and deposits with Citi, they gain special benefits through this program. Some of these advantages include bonus reward offers on credit cards, ThankYou points on checking accounts, and waived monthly service fees.
Also if you’re looking for a better deal on loans for first-time home buyers, and you’re a Citigold member, you can receive benefits on your mortgage.
The main advantage is a tiered interest rate on a mortgage, and you get benefits applied toward your closing costs.
Many consumers searching for the ideal first-time home buyer loan are millennials, and loanDepot tends to offer a non-bank lending model they appreciate. Founded in 2010, this e-commerce style lender features a unique marketplace approach to 1st-time home buyer loans. loanDepot was built on the concept of fair and ethical lending practices, which is something else that’s widely appealing, including to younger home buyers and those consumers looking for the best first-time buyer mortgage options.
loanDepot offers a broad range of loan products and is licensed in all 50 states. In addition to their online marketplace, they also feature 150 loan stores and employ more than 1,700 licensed loan officers.
Key Factors That Allowed This to Rank as One of 2016’s Best Mortgage Lenders for First-Time Buyers
Key reasons loanDepot is included in this ranking of the best mortgage lenders for first-time buyers and one of the best places for a first-time home buyer loan are detailed below.
When you initially begin your search for the best loans for first-time home buyers, you will quickly realize that not all loans are created equally, and what might be good for one consumer isn’t necessarily going to be ideal for another. That fact underscores the importance of choosing a lender with a variety of loan products.
While loanDepot represents a unique model regarding obtaining loans for first-time home buyers, primarily because technology drives it, they still offer an extensive portfolio of products borrowers can choose from.
loanDepot features options for the traditional fixed-rate mortgage, which they say is their most popular option for refinancing or buying a home. Also popular are ARM Loans, designed to reduce the cost of a mortgage. Other options from loanDepot include the government-backed VA and FHA loans, as well as Jumbo mortgage programs, which provide the opportunity to borrow a larger amount and buy a higher-priced property.
If you’re a buyer primarily interested in convenience and an easy experience when you’re searching for a first-time home buyers’ loan, loanDepot is a great option. This online marketplace lets you shop for and customize your loan online.
Additionally, you can get on the loanDepot website and not only browse available mortgages, interest rates, and options, but you can also apply to receive an instant rate quote.
The instant rate quote tool requires only that you enter the type of home loan you want, the price range of homes you’ll be shopping for, and your credit score, and then within just a couple of minutes you’ll have a quote.
This can help in the process of getting a first-time buyer mortgage and figuring out where to start your search for the perfect home.
No Steering Policy
loanDepot is the only name on this ranking of the best mortgage lenders for first-time home buyers that has a unique policy they call the “No Steering Policy.”
This is a safeguard and a business practice that was put in place by loanDepot to ensure customers and people searching for first-time home buyer loans aren’t pressured into taking on a mortgage they can’t afford.
This No Steering Policy provides a concrete protection for loanDepot customers against unethical or predatory lending, as well as against trying to push a customer toward a loan for the lender’s own gain. It’s a safeguard that many people searching for loans for first-time home buyers will find comforting.
Unfortunately, there are some occasions when consumers take out loans for first-time home buyers, and they find themselves facing a difficulty or hardship that makes it challenging to make their payments on time.
loanDepot is one of the best mortgage lenders for first-time buyers because they do outline ways this can be handled.
Some of their options they may offer borrowers include:
- Repayment Plan: If a borrower is facing a temporary situation that’s led to past-due payments, they may be able to pay them back over an extended time period, while still making their regular payments as well.
- Forbearance: Temporary but long-term situations may require forbearance, which includes the ability to make either reduced or no mortgage payments for a specific time period while your situation improves.
- Loan Modification: Some loanDepot borrowers may be able to permanently modify their mortgage, creating a schedule and payment amount that is more manageable for them.
Other options may include a partial claim, short sale or a deed in lieu of foreclosure or mortgage release.
Sebonic Financial Review
Sebonic Financial is part of Cardinal Financial Company, which is a mortgage bank with a history dating back to 1987. Sebonic strives to take a different and innovative approach to home loans and the lending process, based on innovation, rapid execution, and technology.
The core concepts that define the Sebonic Financial business are “reliable,” “real-time,” and “reinvented.” This modernized concept of lending can be advantageous for those consumers that want a lender offering excellent home loans for first-time buyers, paired with convenience and a technologically driven platform.
Key Factors That Enabled Us to Rank This as One of 2016’s Best Mortgage Lenders for First-Time Buyers
Some of the factors that make Sebonic one of the best mortgage lenders for first-time buyers and a great option for first-time buyer mortgage products are listed below.
Regardless of whether you’re an experienced home buyer who’s ready to move on to something larger, or you’re just starting out and looking for the best loans for first-time home buyers, it can be incredibly important to feel like you really understand what your options are, what the terms and conditions are, and what the best loan is for you.
This is an area Sebonic excels in. A big part of their signature lending process is having loan consultants who take the time to help borrowers make the right decision when it comes to their loan.
When a Sebonic consultant is talking to a borrower about 1st-time home buyer loans, they won’t try to confuse them with jargon or technical language, and instead, will speak in a way that’s straightforward and will really provide them with everything they need to know.
Customized Requirement List
There are so many ways Sebonic is unique and is ranked as one of the best mortgage lenders for first-time buyers, and a lot of their differences are based on technology and a seamless, automated, and fast process.
Typically, when you’re shopping for home loans for first-time buyers, and you start the application process, you’ll be asked to submit documents based on a standardized list given to every borrower.
At Sebonic, instead of having a vague list with documents that might not even be required for your unique situation, you receive a custom-tailored document list that explains what you, specifically, need. It will help you make sure you everything is in line, which will in turn speed up the entire process.
Along with having a distinctive, largely automated application process, another way Sebonic differs from other providers of loans for first-time home buyers is their general approach to lending.
The core principles that set Sebonic apart in terms of providing not just the best first-time home buyers loan options, but also excellent service include:
- Quality: The loan experience is the product at Sebonic, so to make this smooth, there’s a focus on accuracy.
- Respect: Sebonic strives to treat the customer with the utmost respect in all areas, from respecting their time to their privacy. Technology, processes, and people at Sebonic all come together to ensure this happens.
- Efficiency: Sebonic includes collaboration with the borrower on their loan and automated processing also helps move the loan process along much more quickly as compared with other providers of mortgages for first-time buyers.
- Low Cost: The unique Sebonic approach lets the provider lower closing costs, payments, and overall costs for the entirety of the life of a loan.
- Simplicity: Rather than sticking with the concept that getting a home loan is complicated, Sebonic strives to make it simple by keeping borrowers up-to-date with what’s happening and explaining each step.
When you’re searching for the best lender to obtain a first-time home buyer loan, flexibility can be critical. You may change your mind after applying, or realize you could have done things differently, and at Sebonic, that isn’t a problem.
In fact, this is one of the biggest points of praise consumers have for the company on review sites like LendingTree.com, where Sebonic has a 4.7 out of 5 rating.
Borrowers can work on different loan terms or options even after they’ve applied, and if the applicant does decide they’d like something else, it won’t derail their entire loan process, since flexibility is welcomed at this pick for one of the best mortgage lenders for first-time buyers.
Wells Fargo Review
With a long history in the United States spanning back to the mid-1800s, Wells Fargo is one of the oldest names on this ranking of the best mortgage lenders for first-time buyers and the best places to go for a first-time home buyer mortgage. Wells Fargo is not just a lender providing loans for first-time home buyers, but they are also a stable full-service financial provider, offering banking and deposit accounts, investments, and business banking.
Some of the Wells Fargo mortgage products include government-backed loans, as well as options for small down payments, and even loans designed specifically for buying fixer-upper properties.
Key Factors That Enabled Us to Rank This as One of 2016’s Best Mortgage Lenders for First-Time Buyers
When reviewing the best options for borrowers looking for a first-time home buyers’ loan, below are some reasons Wells Fargo was included in this ranking.
Wells Fargo is a unique name on this list of the best mortgage lenders for first-time buyers because they have a specifically designated first-time buyer mortgage called yourFirst Mortgage.
yourFirst Mortgage is a home loan that requires as little as a 3% down payment. It features a low down payment and low out-of-pocket costs, making it a great option for a first-time home buyer mortgage—and the down payment can also come from gift funds.
Other reasons the yourFirst Mortgage can be ideal as a first-time buyer mortgage is because qualification can come from rental income or from having someone who lives with you but isn’t a borrower.
Credit history can also come from sources including rent, tuition, and utility payments, and there are no area median income requirements.
If you’re like many first-time house buyers, you may want to explore mortgages for first-time buyers that offer the opportunity to purchase a property that needs work or improvements. This can often be difficult, but Wells Fargo offers a mortgage specifically for those fixer-upper properties. This loan is called the Purchase & Renovate loan.
The program lets the borrower finance the cost of renovations and improvements, so the amount of the loan is based on the home value post-improvements. Since the cost is spread throughout the entire loan term, the monthly payment is likely going to be lower than it would be using other methods of financing renovations, and this opens up the field of homes a borrower can look at.
This is also an excellent first-time buyer mortgage because it speeds up the time it takes to get improvements done since work can start immediately after closing.
New Construction Loans
Another option available to borrowers at Wells Fargo seeking mortgages for first-time buyers is a new construction loan. Not every lender is going to offer this loan option, and it can be valuable for borrowers that want to have this available to them.
Wells Fargo offers the Builder Best Extended Rate Lock program that protects borrowers with new construction loans from changes in interest rates. It locks interest rates and safeguards borrowers while their home is being built.
The advantages of choosing this option as a first-time home buyer loan are that the borrower can fully customize their home, and there could be incentives offered from the builder, such as paying the closing costs.
Online Loan Tracker
When you’re in the process of obtaining a first-time home buyer loan, one of the most important things is feeling like you’re kept in the loop and that you’re ahead of what’s happening in the process, as well as what’s needed and expected from you.
Wells Fargo is one of the best mortgage lenders for first-time buyers because they offer an online platform to help applicants manage their loan throughout the process.
Called yourLoanTracker, this tool is accessible from a computer or mobile device, and it delivers progress reports on your loan as they happen, and you’ll also receive alerts when a milestone is achieved.
YourLoanTracker includes a to-do list that clearly outlines everyone’s next steps, and documents and disclosures can be uploaded, reviewed, and signed online.
Conclusion— The Best Mortgage Lenders for First-Time Home Buyers (Loan and Mortgages)
Unfortunately, there are many situations where first-time house buyers discover the experience isn’t what they expected or what they wanted it to be. This is often because they chose the wrong loan, felt blindsided by unclear terms or conditions, or they didn’t feel like they had guidance during the process of obtaining a first-time buyer mortgage.
It’s for those reasons that it’s so essential to choose only the best mortgage lenders for first-time buyers. A good lender who has experience with 1st-time home buyer loans is going to understand how important it is to match the borrower with the right product and make sure they’re clear on even the smallest details from the start.
Each of the names on this list of the best mortgage lenders for first-time buyers and the best places to obtain a first-time home buyers loan excels in these area and combines expertise with high levels of customer satisfaction and ethical lending practices.
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PREVIOUS RANKING | 2015 – 2016 REVIEW OF MORTGAGE LENDERS FOR FIRST TIME BUYERS
Best Mortgage Lenders for First-Time Buyers (1st-Time Home Buyer Loans)
Unlike families that are looking to refinance their home or buy a second or third home, first-time home buyers are faced with a deluge of new information and a lot of questions.
If you are a first-time home buyer, getting the right answers to all of your questions is very important for finding the right first-time home buyer program that meets your specific needs.
This review article presents an overview of the best mortgage lenders for 1st-time home buyers. In addition we provide a high level overview of the home buying process, and the various components that go into buying your first home.
Key Questions for First-Time Home Buyers
Some key questions that you’ll need to consider before buying your first home include:
- What are the best first-time home buyer loans available?
- What are the best types of mortgages for first-time buyers (e.g., FHA, fixed-rate or jumbo loans)?
- Which companies are the best mortgage lenders for first-time buyers?
1st-Time Home Buyers – What Determines Your Loan Type?
Buying a home for the first time is a big step, but it doesn't have to be painful, especially if you know how the process works ahead of time.
See the below image for the application steps to buying a house (home buying process).
As a first-time home buyer, the type of mortgage loan you get will be determined by the property type (e.g., single, multi-family, condo/townhouse or mobile), value of the home, loan amount, whether you or your spouse are military personnel or veterans (VA loans), and a wide range of other factors.
If you are just starting out on your search for a home and have not decided on a property yet, then a pre-approval will be something you’ll want to get lined up.
In general, sellers look favorably on potential 1st-time home buyers that have a pre-approved letter from a bank or mortgage lender.
Click here for additional information on the pre-approval home buying process.
What About Your Interest Rate?
As a first-time home buyer, the interest rate on your loan will be based largely on your credit score (low, mid, high, very high or excellent), whether you’ve had a bankruptcy or foreclosure in the last 7 years, and how much you are willing to put down as a down payment.
The interest rate on your first-time mortgage will also be determined based on whether you go with an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) or a fixed-rate mortgage loan.
Debt-to-Income (DTI) Ratio
In addition to the rate and loan approval factors referenced above, your debt-to-income ratio, as well as your job stability and history, will be a key factor considered by lenders in their approval criteria.
Your debt-to-income ratio is simply how much of your monthly income (before taxes) goes towards paying off your debt (e.g., credit card payments, car loans, student loans, and alimony payments).
Click here for additional information on why lenders consider your DTI ratio to be very important.
Best Mortgage Lenders for First-Time Buyers
Although there is a mountain of information that you’ll need to be aware of as you prepare to buy your first home, there are also plenty of resources available to help guide you along the way.
This review and comparison article is a key example.
AdvisoryHQ News (the fastest-growing review and ranking site for the financial industry) has compiled a list below of the best mortgage lenders for first-time buyers.
We hope this list can be used as a great starting point in your search for the mortgage lender that best meets your needs.
List of 2015–2016’s Best 10 Mortgage Lenders for First-Time Buyers
- Quicken Loans
- Sebonic Financial
- Wells Fargo Home Mortgage
- Bank of America
- U.S. Bank
- HomeServices Lending
- PHH Mortgage
- SunTrust Mortgage
- Nationstar Mortgage
These mortgage lenders have been selected based on their well-defined, streamlined, and detailed mortgage origination, processing, and closing processes for first-time buyers.
These firms offer a variety of affordable first-time home loan options, highly competitive interest rates, and an easy online application process.
They also provide you with mortgage loan consultants who will work with you every step of the way, answering all of your loan-processing questions and making it easy for you to relax and focus on finding that first home to call yours.
The lenders also offer a broad array of first-time home buyer programs including:
- Adjustable-rate loans: An ARM loan can offer lower rates in the initial years of your mortgage, with the rate and payment then adjusting over the remaining term.
- Jumbo loans: These are loans that exceed the "conforming limit," which is the maximum loan amount that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will buy.
- USDA: USDA loans are generally offered to first-time home buyers that are looking to buy rural properties.
- FHA (Federal Housing Administration) loans: FHA loans are loans that are insured by the federal government.
- VA loans: These are lower and fixed-rate options that are offered to qualified US military personnel, veterans and/or their spouses.
We hope that you’ve found this quick guide very helpful.