With median home values slightly higher than the rest of the country, North Carolina has no shortage of mortgage lenders to choose from when you buy a new property or refinance your current loan. We went through the most active lenders to find those that fit best in a number of different mortgage scenarios.
- Best Mortgage Rates in North Carolina
- Best Mortgage Lender for First Time Homebuyers
- Best Online Mortgage Lender
- Best Lender for In-Person Service in North Carolina
- Best Lender for a VA Home Loan
Best Mortgage Rates in North Carolina
North Carolina's mortgage rates are pretty similar to those in the country as a whole. On a typical 30-year home loan, a number of lenders were neck-and-neck in for the best interest rate offer in the state. However, the APR for each estimate shows how differences in mortgage fees affect the final cost of a mortgage in NC.
Lowest Mortgage Rates for North Carolina
|GSF Mortgage Corp||3.75%||3.75%||$741|
Estimates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage for $200,000 with 20% down payment and 740 credit score
With most of the top lenders offering very similar interest rates, making your final choice of lender depends on other factors. The first thing to consider is the role of discount points, and how many you must purchase to access the lender's advertised rate. If your points cost more than you can afford to pay upfront, your only option would be to accept a higher interest rate. You can avoid falling into this trap by comparing a mortgage rate with the corresponding APR. A big gap between the two numbers means that the lender charges higher loan fees.
If interest rate is the first priority in your mortgage shopping, it's best to think about how your location, credit score and down payment percentage will affect the range of estimates you receive. Most lenders follow the same standards in assessing your financial profile, and they'll often end up giving you offers with fairly similar interest rates. In such cases, you should look to the cost of the lender's fees and third party services to find the most affordable option. Another factor to consider is the local market you're buying in. A mortgage for property that's close to a metropolitan area like Raleigh or Charlotte may have higher rates than in the rest of the state.
Best Mortgage Lender for First Time Homebuyers: Quicken
As in many other states, Quicken Loans provided the best combination of qualities as a mortgage lender for first-time homebuyers located in North Carolina. Its interest rates on the FHA loan make it the most affordable of the major mortgage lenders in the state, and it excels in delivering an informative and responsive customer service experience.
FHA Loans in North Carolina
|Bank of America||3.75%||4.32%||$894|
Estimates for a $200,000 FHA purchase loan with minimum down payment and 740 credit score
Quicken's Rocket Mortgage program outperformed traditional banks in keeping rates and down payments low on the same mortgage. While a smaller down payment typically leads to a higher mortgage rate, Quicken's online estimate for an FHA loan means that you pay 3.5% down and still have access to competitive interest rates. We weren't able to get similar rates at Bank of America or either of the other major banks without adding expensive discount points to our estimate.
Quicken is also a good choice because the savings on your rate doesn't come with any drawbacks in customer service. In fact, Quicken has consistently scored higher in JD Power's annual consumer satisfaction surveys in both mortgage origination and mortgage loan servicing. This means that the company generally does a better job before and after you sign your mortgage than a traditional bank. However, keep in mind that as an online lender with few offices in North Carolina, you'll be relying on the phone or Quicken's website to manage your home loan.
Best Online Mortgage Lender: J.G. Wentworth
Quicken isn't the only online lender available in North Carolina: we found that J.G. Wentworth delivers the best value on a conventional mortgage among the online-based options we reviewed.
J.G. Wentworth Mortgage Loans
|Loan Type||Rate||APR||Monthly P+I|
Estimates for a $200,000 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
J.G. Wentworth's conventional loan estimates for North Carolina were the most competitive among the handful of online-only mortgage lenders available in the state. While J.G. Wentworth is a smaller company than Quicken or Guaranteed Rate, this mortgage lender's 30-year fixed rate estimates beat those from both of its larger competitors. And while many lenders base their origination fee on a percentage of your loan amount, J.G. Wentworth charges a flat $795 regardless of how much you borrow.
For veterans, J.G. Wentworth is also a good place to consider getting a VA loan. The company focuses heavily on the VA loan program, and you'll find it easy to compare those rates through J.G. Wentworth's online tools. Overall, we recommend J.G. Wentworth to anyone whose first priority is to find an online service that can reduce their mortgage rate and loan fees at the same time. However, people who want to make sure they get the best available customer service may want to choose a larger, more established lender.
Best Lender for In-Person Service in North Carolina: Bank of America
Headquartered in Charlotte, Bank of America is the most widely available lender in North Carolina for borrowers who prefer to talk to a real person about their mortgage. While it isn't the most cost-effective or an outstanding provider of great customer service, Bank of America has a huge network of branch locations and a large selection of home loans that make it an accessible choice in-person mortgage servicing.
Mortgage Loans at Bank of America
|Loan Type||Rate||APR||Monthly P+I||Discount Points|
Estimates for a $200,000 purchase loan with 20% down payment and 740 credit score
Bank of America's two greatest strengths as a mortgage lender are its overwhelming geographic presence and the depth of its product line. You can reliably find almost any type of home loan to fit your needs at Bank of America, with access to a loan officer wherever your closest branch happens to be. While you're less likely to find outstanding value in any of the bank's mortgage offerings, going with Bank of America at least ensures that you'll be getting the market rate from an established lender that's unlikely to bungle the process.
If you're already a customer with Bank of America, then it makes even more sense to go with the bank for your mortgage. Not only will this let you link payments and manage all your balances in one mobile app, it may give you access to preferential interest rates as a relationship bonus for existing clients. Of course, deepening your relationship with a single bank has its own risks, as Wells Fargo customers found out recently. If your banker seems intent on getting you to sign up for more loans or accounts, you should stop and think about whether such products fit into your financial plans.
Best Lender for a VA Home Loan: USAA
In the estimates we collected for a VA loan for North Carolina, the best deal among the biggest mortgage lenders came from USAA. While USAA's membership is limited to veterans and active servicemembers, the company's outstanding reputation for customer satisfaction cements its position at the top of our list of VA lenders in North Carolina.
Best VA Lenders in North Carolina
|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
Among the four largest VA lenders in North Carolina, USAA delivered the best balance between monthly payments and loan fees. This was mostly due to the company rolling the VA funding fee into the loan balance, a practice that's more common among smaller direct lenders. By financing the funding fee, USAA allows borrowers to drastically cut their upfront expenses—which are further reduced by USAA's low origination fee of 0.5%.
Adding that funding fee to your loan balance does increase your monthly mortgage payments at USAA, especially when compared to Navy Federal's lower rate estimate. We found that the increased monthly cost of the VA loan offered at USAA was worth taking over the much higher upfront fees involved in Navy Federal's estimate. As for non-military banks and lenders like Quicken and Wells Fargo, USAA's consistently high marks in meeting customer needs confirms its position as one of the best VA loan options for a qualifying veteran.