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Best FHA Lender for First-Time Buyers: Rocket Mortgage
We chose Rocket Mortgage by Quicken Loans as the best FHA option for first-time homebuyers. The company offers competitive rates, industry-leading customer satisfaction, and a digital platform that provides a convenient and educational mortgage experience. In terms of FHA options, Rocket Mortgage includes both FHA purchase loans and streamline refinancing, making it easier to eliminate your mortgage insurance premiums once you've paid off enough of your mortgage.
Rocket Mortgage FHA Loans
|Minimum Credit Score||580|
|Minimum Down Payment||3.5%|
|2017 J.D. Power Rank||1st|
The Rocket Mortgage app can be accessed via either desktop or mobile device, and it allows you to get a quote that's based on your responses to the app's brief questionnaire. While you must create a free account with Rocket Mortgage to use this function, it represents a more detailed and convenient means of getting a rate quote as opposed to calling a local lender for a verbal estimate. Rocket Mortgage also gives you an easy way to see the impact of a different down payment or the home's location. Each of these inputs can be changed in the app to load new estimates.
However, you will need to accept a hard pull on your credit report when using Rocket Mortgage to see your results. While Quicken claims this won't lower your credit score by more than three to five points, you should make sure you have all of your other mortgage applications ready to process in the same 45-day window. This ensures all the quotes you request will be treated as a single inquiry, which limits the impact to your credit rating.
Best FHA Lender for Streamline Refinances: Guaranteed Rate
If you're refinancing an existing FHA loan through the agency's streamline refinance program, Guaranteed Rate's quick quote comparisons make it a convenient place to begin considering your options. While not as well-known as Quicken and its Rocket Mortgage platform, Guaranteed Rate actually makes it easier for refinance applicants to see potential mortgage rates without having to submit personal information or submit to a credit pull.
Guaranteed Rate Refinance Quotes
|Loan Type||Rate||APR||Monthly P+I||Lender Credits|
|15-Year FHA Fixed||4.13%||5.11%||$1,215||$500|
|20-Year FHA Fixed||4.38%||5.49%||$1,019||$600|
Refinance estimates for a $200,000 home with $160,000 loan balance and 740+ credit score. "P+I" refers to principal and interest, and doesn't include the cost of taxes or insurance.
In addition to offering a convenient way to find mortgage rates, Guaranteed Rate enables applicants to submit documents and applications online. This lender also stands out thanks to the credits it provides to help cover the closing costs of a loan. Since closing costs represent the biggest fixed expense of refinancing, Guaranteed Rate's lender credits represent a significant advantage in cost savings.
Aside from giving borrowers lower closing costs, Guaranteed Rate also provides a good range of financing options that you won't necessarily find with other online mortgage lenders. It's an active participant in the VA and FHA programs, but most people will find more use for the affordable deals it offers on conventional and jumbo home loans. And, as with most online lenders, Guaranteed Rate allows each applicant to upload documents and communicate with professionals through an online interface that makes the mortgage process an on-demand experience.
Best FHA Lender for Bad Credit: Carrington Mortgage Services
Carrington Mortgage Services originates and services home loans for borrowers who have lower-than-average credit scores, and it also features FHA loans as part of its mortgage business. While it's not our most highly rated mortgage lender, it does stand as a viable option if you're finding it difficult to qualify for a favorable mortgage at other lenders because of your credit score.
Carrington Mortgage Services FHA Loans
|Minimum Credit Score||500|
|Minimum Down Payment||3.5%|
|2017 J.D. Power Rank||27th|
The primary strength of FHA loans at Carrington Mortgage Services is that they're relatively generous on underwriting requirements, something low-credit applicants typically struggle with. Carrington is willing to accept applicants with credit scores as low as 500—much lower than the FHA's own minimum of 580. While this may result in substantially higher rates and a more expensive mortgage, Carrington may be one of the only lenders willing to extend a loan at that range of credit scores.
Carrington's lower credit requirement goes hand-in-hand with the FHA loan program's other concessions to prospective borrowers. For instance, FHA loans allow people to pay 100% of their down payment using gift funds from an approved source. This is designed to assist families who require support from relatives or friends in paying for the initial mortgage process. FHA loans also allow applicants to list nonoccupant co-borrowers, who can help meet the debt-to-income ratio by adding their own incomes even if they don't plan to live in the house.
Best FHA Lender for Military Veterans: Navy Federal Credit Union
Navy Federal Credit Union's low interest rates and strong customer satisfaction ratings earned it the top spot among FHA lenders that cater specifically to military service members and veterans. While some military-focused banks and credit unions simply offer VA loans instead of FHA loans, Navy Federal gives members access to both mortgage programs.
FHA Loans at Navy Federal Credit Union
|Lowest Rate||Lowest APR||Discount Points||Monthly Payment|
|30 Yr FHA||3.75%||4.75%||1.25||$1,158|
|15 Yr FHA||3.38%||5.09%||0.63||$1,772|
|1 Yr FHA ARM||3.88%||4.95%||0.38||$1,176|
|3 Yr FHA ARM||4.63%||5.15%||0.38||$1,285|
Monthly payment based on principal and interest for a $250,000 loan balance. APR and interest rates may vary by date and credit score.
Navy Federal is fairly unique among military-oriented mortgage lenders in that it provides FHA loans as an alternative to VA loans. While the no-down-payment option available in the VA loan program makes it the preferred choice for many borrowers, those who either fail to qualify or have already exhausted their VA loan opportunities will appreciate the diversity of FHA products at Navy Federal. Each of these loans comes with a 1% origination fee, but Navy Federal allows you to waive this fee by accepting an increase of 0.25% to your FHA loan rate.
Navy Federal also places great emphasis on customer service. A quick look at its history of J.D. Power rankings shows that it's particularly successful in keeping its mortgage borrowers happy. The credit union also had one of the lowest ratios of complaints relative to mortgage volume, according to our analysis of customer comments from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Although you'll need to qualify for membership before accessing FHA loans at Navy Federal, the wide variety of deposit accounts and other loan products makes it an attractive choice overall.