The Best Mortgage Rates Among New Jersey Lenders
Shopping for mortgages by interest rate can be an easy way to rank lenders in terms of cost, but you shouldn't completely ignore the other factors that have long-term consequences on your borrowing experience, such as customer service and upfront fees. To help you better evaluate lenders in these areas, we selected mortgage lenders based 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 of their products, as well as service features provided during the origination process.
Best Mortgage Lender for First-Time Homebuyers: PNC
We found that PNC Bank is the most accessible mortgage lender for first-time homebuyers who find it important to meet with a real person to guide them through the homebuying experience. With over 296 branch locations, no other bank has a larger branch network in the state of New Jersey. Regardless of whether you live in Middlesex or Essex County, there's bound to be a PNC near you.
PNC's main strength as a mortgage lender lies in its variety of products and accessibility to branch services throughout the state. If you already have an active checking or savings account with PNC, it's easy 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 can be sure that you’ll get support from a professional who's familiar with your neighborhood and finances.
Best Mortgage Lender for Refinancing: TD Bank
Of all the New Jersey lenders we evaluated, TD Bank had the most comprehensive selection of refinancing options. No other home loan company offered the same combination of competitive rates and term variety, which are useful regardless of whether you want to lower your monthly payments or cash out on your home equity.
TD Bank's fixed-rate refinancing options come with lower underwriting fees than some of its larger in-state competitors. The bank also offers the widest selection of adjustable-rate mortgage terms, making it just as convenient for homeowners who plan to sell in a few years and want the lowest possible rates. Besides standard 5/1 and 7/1 ARMs, TD Bank offers 10/1, 15/1, 3/1 and even 1/1 ARMs, which are rarely seen at other mortgage lenders. These present you with plenty of options to fine-tune your mortgage payments.
Finally, TD's home equity loans give you an ideal way to cash out on your home equity without the need for a full cash-out refinance. With a TD home equity loan, you can choose loan terms anywhere between five and 30 years. The mortgage lender also provides home equity lines of credit at rates below prime for customers with qualifying TD checking accounts. This makes the lender extremely hard to beat for existing customers looking for a HELOC, as almost all lenders fix their rates above the prime rate.
Best Online Mortgage Lender: Guaranteed Rate
Guaranteed Rate is the best online mortgage lender in New Jersey, combining a user-friendly digital application with cheaper rates and lower fees overall than competitors like Quicken Loans. While its FHA offerings aren't as strong as those offered by Quicken Loan's Rocket Mortgage, Guaranteed Rate delivers better value for people in need of conventional mortgages.
Guaranteed Rate's convenient online tools show that its closing costs are among 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 interest rate figures start off low enough, that even after adding lender credits, your final rate could be equal to or lower than rates received from competing lenders.
Aside from 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 a seamless experience.
Best VA Loan Lender: USAA
Thanks to its low mortgage rates and strong customer satisfaction ratings, USAA takes the top spot in our comparison of New Jersey's VA loan providers. USAA was one of the first financial institutions to focus on serving veterans, and the lender's mission is clearly reflected in the strong quality of its VA loan offers. It doesn't hurt that USAA is J.D. Power top-ranked mortgage servicer among lenders specializing in VA loans.
USAA consistently places among the top-rated U.S. companies in terms of consumer satisfaction, and our analysis of the company's mortgage rates seem to confirm that reputation. USAA's VA loan rates were among the lowest of any lender operating in New Jersey, while its closing costs revealed a good deal of flexibility in discount points and financing options. If you're a current or former service member, USAA's affordability and quality of service make it a safe bet for funding your home purchase or refinancing your existing mortgage.
Best Mortgage Lender for Poor Credit: Homebridge Financial Services
Homebridge Financial Services ranks No. 1 on our list of New Jersey lenders for homebuyers with bad credit, as the lender underwrote more FHA loans over the past five years than any other lender in the state, with the exception of Quicken Loans. As a result, you’re more likely to find loan officers knowledgeable in FHA lending at Homebridge than elsewhere in New Jersey.
Homebuyers with bad credit are often turned away when applying for a conventional mortgage, but FHA mortgage loans feature generous credit requirements and require down payments of as little as 3.5%. Borrowers curious about FHA loans with Homebridge Financial Services only need to travel to their local Costco, where Homebridge is available as one of the suggested mortgage lender options. You may even qualify for underwriting discounts depending on your Costco membership.
How We Chose the Best Mortgage Lenders in New Jersey
In identifying the best mortgage companies in New Jersey, we looked at a variety of factors. Our selections took a consumer perspective and weighted the following criteria:
- Total Cost: interest rates, closing costs
- Product: terms, programs, specialty
- Servicing: transparency, complaint data, branch network
We evaluated lenders based on how competitive their rates were, variety of offerings and sum of their closing costs. While interest rates play a large role in lender selection, we also looked at the lender’s terms on a total cost basis, factoring in both closing costs and fees. Although each detail is important, your main focus when comparing mortgage lenders should be to take a bird's-eye approach that weighs all factors as part of a broad picture, rather than narrowing in on a single feature.
Many customers fail to distinguish between lenders on anything other than rates. However, customer service and experience play a huge factor in determining whether your closing goes smoothly. We therefore reviewed a number of qualitative factors including publicly available complaint data, the speed of closings and size of lender branch networks. For example, a borrower in Warren County, New Jersey may have access to fewer lenders than a borrower in Bergen County. We therefore focused on lenders with large branch coverage as well as reputable online lenders that offered high quality customer service, irrespective of where you live.
Finally, it's important to find the program that’s right for you. Most lenders offer conventional fixed-rate mortgages, but a smaller percentage of lenders are set up to do government-sponsored mortgage programs like FHA, VA and USDA loans. Whether these programs were available, and the lender’s relative expertise in these programs, also played a large role in determining the best in-class lender for each category.
Most Popular Home Loan Companies in New Jersey
Below are the top five most popular mortgage companies in New Jersey, ranked by number of mortgage originations. These lenders were selected based on the total number of residential mortgages originated within the past five years, based on data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence.
Top 5 Biggest New Jersey Residential Mortgage Lenders, 2013-2019
|Company||Mortgage Originations||Average Mortgage Amount|
|Bank of America||58,019||$243,829|
While these lenders were considered the most active mortgage originators in the state, they weren't necessarily selected in our top picks, which weighed a variety of factors in addition to origination volume. Borrowers looking for their best fit may wish to compare their selections with the lenders above.
Just because a company wasn’t included on our list doesn’t necessarily make them a bad lender. When mortgage shopping, it’s a good idea to compare your top choices by looking at their record for customer service, additional fees and unique offerings, in addition to their rates. There may be factors that are important to you which weren’t covered in this article.
Mortgage Brokers Near Me in New Jersey
Reputable mortgage brokers can help you shop for loan terms that fit your needs. They act as the liaison between you and the mortgage loan companies and can shop your loan across multiple lenders on your behalf. They differ from mortgage loan officers, who work on behalf of a single company and will only offer loans from their portfolio.
A licensed mortgage broker is helpful if you don't like shopping for lenders, as they take the legwork out of finding the loan that best works for you. Below, we've compiled a list of licensed mortgage brokers in your area.
|Real Estate Mortgage Network||499 Thornall Street, Edison NJ 08837||(732) 738-7100|
|PRMG||599 Morris Ave, Newfield NJ 08344||(856) 419-5559|
|Cornerstone Mortgage Group||8 Wood Hollow Rd. Plaza 2 Suite B, Parsippany NJ 07054||(973) 917-3158|
|Alpine Mortgage Services||201 W Passaic Street, Rochelle Park NJ 07662||(201) 488-8809|
|Annie Mac||43 Violet Court, Toms River NJ 08753||(908) 334-9213|
|Oak Mortgage Company||525 Route 73N, Marlton NJ 08053||(856) 988-8100|
|Tri State Mortgage Corporation||2160 North Central Road, Fort Lee NJ 07024||(800) 353-5114|
|Sierra Pacific Mortgage Inc.||301 Route 17 North, Rutherford NJ 07070||(201) 630-0334|
|Quattro Group||23 Pleasant View Way, Hillsborough NJ 08876||(908) 500-9955|
|Appraisal Links||4 Village Court, Hazlet NJ 07730||(732) 696-2905|