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|First-time home buyers||Wells Fargo||620|
|Refinancing||Bank of America||620|
|Online loans||Quicken Loans||620|
|Poor credit||Caliber Home Loans||580|
Getting your best mortgage in Florida means finding the lender who offers you the right mix of low interest rates, fast loan processing and reliable customer service. Read on to find out more about our top picks in the Sunshine State.
Best Mortgage Lender for First-Time Home Buyers: Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo nabs our top spot for first-time home buyers in Florida. Despite its past missteps, the lender has cleaned up its act in recent years as a result of federal and state oversight. Wells Fargo boasts the largest branch network in Florida, making it one of the most accessible lenders in the state.
If you're shopping for your first home, you might be feeling a little overwhelmed from all of the unfamiliar terms being thrown at you. Between closing costs, appraisals and APRs, many first-time home buyers agree that it's helpful to have an experienced loan officer guide you through the mortgage process. With 592 branches across Florida, Wells Fargo is an excellent pick if you're looking for face-to-face customer service.
Wells Fargo disbursed more than 162,000 mortgage loans across Florida over the past five years, making it the most popular bank in the state when it comes to home lending. New home buyers can estimate their rate with Wells Fargo's online Rate & Payment calculator, which allows you to factor in your credit score, loan amount and zip code and obtain a custom quote. Based on our study, we found that Wells Fargo was particularly competitive in their 30-year and 20-year fixed-rate mortgages. This makes them an ideal choice if you’ve got your eyes set on your dream home and want a competitive rate for the long run.
Some borrowers might find that Wells Fargo's offers for its government-backed FHA and VA loans aren't quite up to par in rates or fees. Those looking for USDA loans will need to search elsewhere, as Wells Fargo doesn't offer those, making it less than ideal for rural home buyers. If Wells Fargo doesn't have what you're looking for, try checking with some of our other recommendations for first-time home buyers.
Best Mortgage Lender for Refinancing: Bank of America
Bank of America is a top five contender for mortgage refinancing and tops the list in terms of the number of home equity loans issued to Floridians over the past five years. It also boasts the second largest branch network in the state.
If you're trying to refinance your home, you'll want to maximize the savings on your new loan by getting the lowest rate around. The rate quotes we received from Bank of America were among the lowest when it came to 15-year and adjustable-rate mortgages, while its closing cost estimates were competitive when compared to other lenders. You'll want to pay special attention if you already have an existing bank account with Bank of America or its brokerage affiliate, Merrill Edge, as existing clients may qualify for an additional $600 closing cost reduction through its Preferred Rewards program.
Bank of America also offers a cash-out refinance loan that allows you to obtain cash paid at closing, while refinancing your old debt at the same low rate, all packed into one neat monthly payment. To top that off, the bank also provides VA and FHA refinance loans, which allow for fast-convenient approvals with minimal credit checks.
Nevertheless, Bank of America registered a higher rate of complaints than many of its competitors with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Customers have reported varying experiences by branch. If you do decide to go with Bank of America, it's a good idea to meet your loan officer in person, and check online to see whether your particular branch has received an abnormal number of complaints before proceeding with a formal application.
Best Online Mortgage Lender: Quicken Loans
Quicken Loans was our No. 1 pick among online lenders in Florida. The lender offers the fastest, most convenient mortgage process around, and its record for customer satisfaction is legendary.
Mortgage applications often seem tedious, and the idea of having to compile paperwork and bring it to the bank to get pre-qualified can be a hassle for many. Luckily, Quicken Loans’ Rocket Mortgage program is one of the fastest and most convenient mortgage applications on the market and can get you pre-qualified for a home loan within minutes, literally from the comforts of your own living room.
Not only was Quicken Loans the No. 1 lender in Florida over the past five years, it also boasts the highest number of completed mortgage refinances, VA loans and FHA loans, making it a formidable option when compared to its brick-and-mortar competitors. The rate quotes that we obtained through its website were average at best, but the lender was able to compensate for these shortcomings with its rapid underwriting process and variety of loan options. Included among these is Quicken's exclusive YOURgage offering, which allows borrowers to structure their term into any timeframe inside of 8 to 29 years.
Finally, Quicken's online-only mortgage process cuts down on the legwork needed to a close on a loan and ensures you're getting the same quality of service whether you live in Daytona or West Palm Beach. If you’re looking to close your loan early and want one of the most flexible mortgage selections around, click on the link above to get a quick rate quote from Quicken Loans.
Best Mortgage Lender for VA Loans: USAA
USAA was our No. 1 lender for veterans and active-duty military in Florida, thanks to its impeccable record for customer satisfaction and a century of experience in helping military personnel achieve the dream of homeownership. USAA is the most popular military lender in Florida, having sold more than 16,600 VA loans over the past five years.
If you're a military service member who’s thinking of buying a home, it's worth checking in with USAA for a quick rate quote. This lender can help bring you up to speed on the best ways to take advantage of your VA benefits using a low-down-payment VA loan. One of the advantages of this program is that it allows you to buy a home with as little as no money down, and won't require you to make private mortgage insurance (PMI) payments, unlike its FHA cousin. Best of all, existing homeowners with VA loans looking to undergo a streamlined refinance can have their appraisal and VA funding fees covered by USAA at closing, saving you over $2,000 in the process.
USAA features its own network of real estate agents, specialized in finding homes for veterans, which can be especially helpful if you're in the early stages of home shopping. Purchasing a home through USAA's real estate agent network can qualify you for up to $24,000 in cash-back, to be awarded after closing. While you'll need to be a USAA member to qualify for a mortgage, joining is easy, as membership is available to all veterans and members of the U.S. military and their families. Membership also qualifies you to apply for its other products, including banking, insurance and even credit cards. Click on the USAA link above for a quick rate quote today.
Best Mortgage Lender for Poor Credit: Caliber Home Loans
Caliber Home Loans is our top choice for struggling home buyers, thanks to its participation in the Florida Housing Finance Corporation's home buyer assistance programs and wide selection of government-backed mortgage programs.
If you're having trouble qualifying for a conventional mortgage loan, a mortgage backed by the Federal Housing Administration could be the answer for you. FHA loans are meant to help low- to moderate-income home buyers achieve the dream of homeownership, accepting down payments as low as 3.5% and credit scores as low as 580. Caliber Home Loans offers a number of FHA-backed loans under its umbrella, including the FHA 203(b) home mortgage loan, FHA 203(k) renovation loan and even FHA's streamline refinance for home buyers and existing FHA borrowers.
As a participating lender under the Florida Housing Finance Corporation's home buyer assistance program, Caliber Home Loans is authorized to provide closing cost assistance for eligible home buyers in certain designated areas. If you qualify, you can secure a low-interest mortgage loan with minimal down payment requirements and a fixed monthly payment, regardless of what your credit score might be, making this one of the best deals around for first-time home buyers.
While Caliber has a mixed record when it comes to customer satisfaction, this likely comes with the difficulty of underwriting borrowers who struggle with credit issues, as not everyone is guaranteed to get approved. Caliber's main strength is derived from the sheer number of borrower assistance programs it offers, with over a dozen different mortgage types to choose from which few competitors can match. Click on the link above to see if Caliber has the right mortgage program to fit your needs.
Most Popular Mortgage Lenders in Florida
We've listed the five most popular mortgage lenders in Florida below, based on the total number of residential home loans sold over the past five years.
Top 5 Residential Mortgage Lenders in Florida, 2013–2018
Change in Vol.
|3||Bank of America||138,712||17%|
While these lenders are the most popular choices for home buyers in Florida, not all were selected as a "best option" in our study. If you're just beginning your search for a mortgage, consider getting a quote with one of the lenders above as a starting point, as they'll set the average market rates in the state. You can also use our toolbox at the top of the page for a customized rate quote.
How We Chose the Best Mortgage Lenders in Florida
While interest rates played a large role in our decision, we also reviewed each lender's terms and conditions. Lenders who otherwise offered the same rates often quoted fees that were thousands of dollars apart. Customer reviews of companies with poor records for customer service revealed that errors committed during the mortgage process resulted in delayed closings and inadvertent defaults. Due to the complexity of these mortgage products, we evaluated the following criteria.
- Total cost: interest rates and closing costs
- Product: terms, programs and reputation
- Servicing: transparency, complaint data and branch network
We highlighted any terms that weren't commonly offered. For example, certain lenders specialized in products like VA and FHA loans, and were found to offer superior service in those categories. On the other hand, other lenders offered their own incentives in the form of rate discounts and cash back rewards. Experience, market share and growth rates were also taken into account when comparing each company against its peers.
We looked at customer complaint data obtained through the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau over the past five years. We then compared rates of complaints across lenders to forecast the likelihood of problems arising during the origination and servicing process. Third-party ratings from consumer-advocate platforms like J.D. Power were also factored into our review of the overall borrowing experience.
Finally, we determined how a lender's branch network compared to its peers. Lenders who were spread out geographically or maintained larger branch networks were found to be more accessible across the state. For both online lenders and banks, we also reviewed each lender's web experience, taking into account whether borrowers had the ability to apply online, obtain rate quotes independently, and the presence of any mortgage tools or useful guides.
Local Mortgage Brokers Near Me in Florida
If you're in the market for a home loan but can't find the right lender, one option is to hire a local loan broker who specializes in mortgage lending. Loan brokers differ from loan officers, as they're able to offer loans from multiple lenders rather than a single company. They're also usually familiar with the biggest local lenders, so they'll be able to find you deals you wouldn't normally find on your own. Check out the chart below for a list of mortgage brokers near you.
|Wheeler Mortgage Corporation||665 SE 10th St Suite 102, Deerfield Beach, FL 33441||(954) 422-9400|
|Progress Capital LLC||6308 Grant St #200, Hollywood, FL 33024||(954) 534-7745|
|Manhattan Mortgage Corporation||232 Lithia Pinecrest Rd, Brandon, FL 33511||(813) 699-5522|
|First Florida Financial Group LLC||8250 College Pkwy #101, Fort Myers, FL 33919||(877) 424-4562|
|Silver Star Mortgage||8810 Commodity Circle, Suite 17, Orlando, FL 32819||(321) 234-8811|
|VanDyk Mortgage Corporation||13577 Feather Sound Dr, Clearwater, FL 33762||(888) 572-7759|
|Sovereign Mortgage Investments Inc.||2578 Enterprise Rd # 362, Orange City, FL 32763||(386) 516-0862|
|American Mortgage Loan Services, LLC||100, 330 5th Ave, Indialantic, FL 32903||(321) 723-6206|
|Loan Solutions Team, LLC||1500 Gateway Blvd #220-102, Boynton Beach, FL 33426||(561) 577-5776|
|Bliss Mortgage LLC||244, 5331 Primrose Lake Cir, Tampa, FL 33647||(813) 966-1888|