With over 1,600 mortgage lenders active in New Jersey, finding the right home loan has more to do with narrowing down the field than it does with seeking out the closest option. We looked at rates, fees and service options at some of the biggest mortgage lenders in the Garden State to identify the best set of choices for first-time homebuyers.
- Best Mortgage Rates in New Jersey
- Best Mortgage Lender for First Time Homebuyers
- Best Online Mortgage Lender
- Best Lender for In-Person Service in New Jersey
- Best Lender for a VA Home Loan
Best Mortgage Rates in New Jersey
The lowest mortgage rates for an average New Jersey home were mostly in line with the national average. As interest rates for home loans tend to be influenced by national economic trends, we didn't find any specific rate advantage for New Jerseyites relative to homebuyers in other parts of the country.
Lowest Mortgage Rates for New Jersey
|Garden State Home Loans||3.63%||3.64%||$1,240||$395|
|Mortgage Capital Associates||3.63%||3.65%||$1,240||$950|
|Poli Mortgage Group||3.63%||3.65%||$1,240||$970|
|Triumph Bank Home Loans||3.75%||3.75%||$1,260||$0|
Estimates on a 30-year fixed rate mortgage for $340,000 with 20% down payment and 740 credit score.
Among the lenders that quoted the lowest rates in New Jersey, loan fees represented the only major cost difference between offers. However, we were only able to find a limited amount of information on the various origination fees, commitment fees and third-party service fees projected by each lender. For a potential borrower, this makes it unclear whether lenders with the lowest rate actually deliver affordable financing.
Without a complete picture of the upfront costs required to close a mortgage, it's not possible to tell whether your monthly savings from the low rate will compensate for the premium you might pay on the front end of the loan. As a result, we chose to evaluate mortgage lenders on how well they matched up to borrower needs in areas that went beyond the estimated interest rate. Our criteria for evaluating the best lenders included the level of transparency about their products as well as the service features they provide in the origination process.
Best Mortgage Lender for First Time Homebuyers: Quicken Loans
When you're considering your first home purchase in New Jersey, Quicken Loans is a great source of both mortgage financing and important information about the homebuying process. In particular, Quicken's Rocket Mortgage program is an informative online tool that keeps you updated on your progress right up to closing.
First-Time Purchase Mortgages in New Jersey
|Lender||Rate||APR||Monthly Payment||Down Payment|
|Bank of America||3.75%||4.21%||$1,655||5.0%|
Estimates for a $340,000 loan amount with minimum down payment and 740 credit score.
Not only does Quicken offer lower mortgage rates than most banks in New Jersey, it does so by employing a leaner, online-only lending platform that allows the company to offer a better experience for users while also reducing costs. The loan estimates we collected from the state's largest banks couldn't match the combination of interest rate and minimal down payment that Quicken was able to quote on an FHA loan for first-time buyers.
Even people who are skeptical of online home lending may find Quicken easier to work with than a traditional mortgage lender. You won't ever be meeting your loan officer in person if you apply through Rocket Mortgage, but Quicken has maintained a strong reputation for customer service both during and after the initial application. This can be helpful if you're getting a home loan for the first time, since you'll need reliable professional partners to keep you informed about your choices and their potential impact.
Best Online Mortgage Lender: Guaranteed Rate
Guaranteed Rate is a strong online mortgage choice available in New Jersey, with lower rates and cheaper fees overall than similar companies such as Quicken. While its FHA offers aren't as strong as those from Rocket Mortgage, Guaranteed Rate delivers better value in a range of other loan products that work better for people who need conventional mortgages.
Guaranteed Rate Mortgage Loans
|Loan Type||Rate||APR||Monthly P+I||Lender Credits|
|30-Year VA Loan||3.63%||3.96%||$1,981||$100|
Estimates for a $340,000 purchase loan with 20% down payment and 740 credit score. The APR and monthly costs for ARMs can increase based on changes in the index rate.
Guaranteed Rate's convenient online tool makes it clear that its closing costs are some of the cheapest in the state, with most estimates actually offering lender credits to reduce rather than add to your upfront costs. Lender credits are typically included as compensation for accepting a higher mortgage rate. However, Guaranteed Rate's loan interest rate figures start off low enough that even with the addition of lender credits, the final interest rates are equal to or lower than rates we received from competing lenders.
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 loan 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 Lender for In-Person Service in New Jersey: PNC Bank
With over 160 branch locations serving New Jersey's 21 counties, PNC Bank is the most accessible mortgage lender for customers who find it important to meet with a real person as they negotiate their way through the home financing journey.
Mortgage Products at PNC Bank
|Loan Type||Rate||APR||Monthly Payment|
Estimates for a $340,000 purchase loan with 20% down payment and 740 credit score
PNC's main strength as a mortgage lender lies in the wide variety of its products and the convenient access to branch services throughout the state. If you already have an active checking or savings account with PNC, it's simple to begin a mortgage application at the same branch where you already bank. You may not find the sharpest deals by shopping for a mortgage at PNC, but you'll certainly ensure that you get support from a professional who's familiar with your neighborhood and finances.
Best Lender for a VA Home Loan: USAA
Thanks to its low mortgage rates and strong customer satisfaction ratings, USAA took the top spot in our comparison of New Jersey's many VA loan providers. Historically one of the first financial institutions to focus on serving veterans, USAA's mission is clearly reflected in the strong quality of its VA loan offers.
Best VA Lenders in New Jersey
|Lender||Mortgage Rate||APR||Monthly P+I||Estimated Points and Fees|
Fixed-rate estimates for a 30-year VA loan of $225,000 with 0% down payment, 2.15% VA funding fee and credit score of 740.
USAA consistently places among the top-rated U.S. companies in terms of consumer satisfaction, and our analysis of the company's offered mortgage estimates seem to confirm that high reputation. USAA's VA loan rates were among the lowest for any lender operating in New Jersey, while its closing cost options revealed a good deal of flexibility in regard to discount points and financing options. If you're a current or former servicemember, USAA's affordability and quality of service make it a safe bet for funding your home purchase or refinance.