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Best Mortgage Lenders in Tennessee in 2019

Known for its country music, barbeque and rolling hills, Tennessee is a great place to settle down and buy a home. However, you're going to need a reliable mortgage lender if you want the best deal possible on your home loan. Mortgage rates are especially important when compared to other loan types, due to the large sum of money at stake. The difference of a quarter of a percentage point could easily mean the difference of tens of thousands of dollars over the life of your home loan. Find out which lenders ranked the highest on our list or use our custom toolbox for a no-obligation rate quote.

The Best Mortgage Rates Among Tennessee Lenders

If you're shopping for a home in Tennessee, check out reviews below of some of the most competitive mortgage lenders in the state. It's important to consider each lender's record for customer service as well as their rates when shopping for home loans. An experienced, reputable lender can help close your home purchase in record time, while inexperienced lenders might very well disrupt your closing. We've reviewed each of the top mortgage lenders in Tennessee to help inform your shopping experience. Read on to find out which mortgage company best suits your needs.

Best Mortgage Lender for First-Time Homebuyers: SunTrust Bank

SunTrust
SunTrust

SunTrust Bank has over 120 branches located throughout Tennessee, making the bank one of the most accessible lenders in the state. This lender is also worth considering if you need a low down payment, as it offers both Freddie Mac HomePossible and Fannie Mae HomeReady loans to qualifying borrowers. Both programs offer specialized financing options to first-time homebuyers, which can reduce/eliminate your typical down payment and mortgage insurance; without the lifetime PMI payments required by an FHA loan.

According to S&P data, SunTrust Bank was the third-most active mortgage lender in Tennessee, between 2013 and 2018; this included over 32,860 home loans over that time. The average mortgage amount originated by SunTrust Bank was $151,944, which was lower than the amounts lent by its larger competitors Quicken Loans and Wells Fargo; this makes SunTrust an excellent choice for first-time homebuyers looking for a modestly priced starter home.

Best Mortgage Lender for Refinancing: Quicken Loans

Quicken Loans
Quicken Loans

Quicken Loans is our top lender pick for existing homeowners seeking to refinance, because of the expert guidance and flexibility it provides to borrowers. Quicken Loans refinanced more mortgage loans than any other lender in Tennessee over the past five years. It's also the most popular mortgage lender for new and existing home purchases, as well.

Quicken Loans has been consistently ranked as the top lender for customer satisfaction and mortgage servicing by J.D. Power, which may aleve some of the stress felt by first-time homebuyers who are hesitant to use an online lender. Quicken Loans services 99% of the loans that they fund, which isn't always the case with other lenders, who might originate their loans and outsource them to third-party servicers. Keeping all loans under one roof ensures that homeowners can expect the same quality of customer service regardless of whether they're applying for a new loan, or making payments on an existing mortgage.

For existing homeowners, Quicken Loans offers a unique YOURgage mortgage product, which allow you to refinance your existing mortgage into any term between eight to 30 years. This provides an excellent opportunity for borrowers seeking to optimize their monthly payments by shortening/lengthening their mortgage term. If you're unsure about the type of loan you'd like or what you'd qualify for, Quicken’s home loan experts can be reached seven days a week, online as well as by phone, regardless of whether you live in Columbia or Murfreesboro.

Best Online Mortgage Lender: Guaranteed Rate

Guaranteed Rate
Guaranteed Rate

If you're looking to finance your home with an online lender in Tennessee, we suggest using Guaranteed Rate for its low rates and quality service. Online lenders are becoming increasingly popular thanks to the convenience and fast approvals they deliver. Unlike banks, which may take a few days to evaluate your file, online lenders like Guaranteed Rate can pre-approve your application within a few minutes, entirely from the comforts of your own living room.

Guaranteed Rate works to give homebuyers the lowest rates possible. It offers multiple loan types to fit different borrowers, and can help you find the best loan for your unique circumstances through its knowledge center and customer service representatives. When you obtain a quote, you can compare multiple loans side by side through its intuitive online interface.

The main drawback of Guaranteed Rate is that the lender generally only funds mortgages for highly qualified borrowers with strong credit scores and income levels. To continue offering low rates, the lender wants to ensure that borrowers won't default on the loans. However, if you have a solid credit profile and want to make a quick no-hassle loan application from your desktop, Guaranteed Rate could be the right pick for you.

Best Mortgage Lender for VA Loans: USAA

USAA Mortgage
USAA Mortgage

USAA ranked as our top choice for VA loans in Tennessee due to its top marks for customer service and strong-veteran focus. The company doesn't offer the lowest rates, but it provides services that many banks won’t offer, including a comprehensive network of real estate brokers and cash-back opportunities for existing members.

When shopping for VA loans, it's helpful to talk to a lender who's experienced in serving the needs of active and former service members. If you qualify for USAA membership, you can localize all your finances in one place with USAA's broad selection of products, including checking and savings accounts. This makes it easier to keep track of your finances and mortgage payments. USAA is an excellent one-stop shop for any military personnel stationed at the Arnold Air Force Base.

USAA offers borrowers access to an exclusive real estate network of real estate agents trained to help military personnel find homes. Those who buy a home through the USAA Real Estate Rewards Network can qualify for up to $24,000 in rewards cash, depending on the cost of their home. Finally, USAA received top marks from J.D. Power in customer service, outperforming every major bank and mortgage company on its 2018 U.S. Primary Mortgage Servicer Satisfaction Study.

Best Mortgage Lender for Poor Credit: Mortgage Investors Group

Mortgage Investors Group
Mortgage Investors Group

Homebuyers in Tennessee who have trouble meeting down payment and credit requirements should consider applying for a home loan through Mortgage Investors Group. This is a regional mortgage company that caters exclusively to residents and homebuyers in the state of Tennessee, and it is headquartered in Knoxville. This makes Mortgage Investors Group well-versed in the Tennessee real estate market.

Those seeking homebuyer assistance will have plenty of options with Mortgage Investors Group, as it offers almost every kind of national assistance program available, including FHA loans and the home affordable refinance program (HARP). Mortgage Investors Group was also named the No. 1 lender in the state by the Tennessee Housing Development Agency (THDA). As a THDA-approved lender, Mortgage Investors Group helps Tennessee homebuyers qualify for lucrative tax credits and subsidized financing that is unavailable through other national lenders.

How We Chose the Best Mortgage Lenders in Tennessee

We evaluated the following traits while comparing mortgage lenders.

  • Total cost: interest rates and closing costs
  • Product: terms, programs and specialty
  • Servicing: transparency, complaint data and branch network

While interest rates played a large role in our decision, we also reviewed each lender's unique terms and fees. When interest charges, fees and closing costs were viewed side by side, lenders who otherwise offered the same rates ended up thousands of dollars apart. We evaluated lenders on the basis of total cost rather than comparing interest rates alone.

We highlighted any unique terms that a lender offered that were not common in the industry. For example, while almost every mortgage company offers conventional fixed-rate mortgages, fewer companies specialize in niche financing programs, like VA or FHA loans. These lenders were often better-equipped and better-experienced to handle these programs than other more generalized lenders.

We reviewed customer service records and complaints to forecast the likelihood of issues arising during the mortgage origination process. We summed up each lender's total number of customer service complaints and divided them against the total number of loans it closed over the past five years. We then sorted and ranked the resulting ratio in order of magnitude, which helped us identify where shoppers were more likely to encounter difficulties.

Finally, we mapped out the size of each lender's branch network, which helped us measure accessibility to borrowers. Borrowers in less-populated regions like Morristown and Gallatin may have access to fewer choices than their counterparts in densely populated regions like Clarksville or Franklin. We chose to rank these companies by how accessible they were across the state.

Most Popular Home Loan Companies in Tennessee

Here are the five most popular mortgage companies in Tennessee, based on the total number of residential home loans originated over the past five years.

Top 5 Biggest Tennessee Residential Mortgage Lenders, 2013–2019

RankCompanyMortgage originationsAverage mortgage amount
1Quicken Loans41,067$162,814
2Mortgage Investors Group Inc.36,563$178,329
3SunTrust Bank32,861$151,944
4Wells Fargo28,843$183,718
5Pinnacle Financial Partners24,401$275,016

If you're shopping for home loans in Tennessee, it might be a good idea to use these companies as a point of comparison. Although these lenders issued the most mortgages in the state, they may not have made our top picks, as we evaluated each lender holistically and not solely based on their relative popularity or market share.

It's important to review each lender by comparing its records for customer service, closing costs and unique terms in addition to interest rates. There also might also be other factors that matter to you that weren't covered in our review. You should compare your options based on the points that matter most to you.

Mortgage Brokers Near Me in Tennessee

Mortgage brokers can save you time and money when it comes to shopping for home loans. These professionals help you compare home loans from multiple lenders using a single loan application. They can simplify the mortgage selection process on your behalf and are an excellent choice for homebuyers unfamiliar with homebuying.

Keep in mind that mortgage brokers will typically charge a fee for their services or receive third-party payments for referrals. While they're still a good option for homebuyers who are uncomfortable loan shopping on their own, you may wish to check your broker's background to verify their impartiality. One of the main advantages to a mortgage broker is that they may be able to qualify you for a home loan that you wouldn't have otherwise obtained on your own.

Take a look at the table below to find a licensed mortgage broker near you.

NameAddressPhone number
Atlantic Home Loans6238 Ringgold Rd, East Ridge, TN 37412(423) 280-9585
American First Financial Services, LLC141 N Martinwood Rd, Knoxville, TN 37923(865) 755-0890
The Wendy Thompson Lending Team6489 N Quail Hollow Rd #106, Memphis, TN 38120(901) 461-8858
Accurate Mortgage Group1321 Murfreesboro Pike #200, Nashville, TN 37217(615) 833-0456
American Mortgage Group, LLC5302 Main St, Spring Hill, TN 37174(931) 499-7165
Mortgage South6576 E Brainerd Rd, Chattanooga, TN 37421(423) 624-3878
Keystone Mortgage Group1508 Coleman Rd # 103, Knoxville, TN 37909(865) 909-0211
Volunteer Home Mortgage Inc.1033 W Broadway Ave, Maryville, TN 37801(865) 238-7500
Tennessee Home Mortgage445 Marilyn Ln, Alcoa, TN 37701(865) 984-5350
Crosscountry Mortgage Inc109 W Market St, Kingsport, TN 37660(423) 246-2126

Comments and Questions

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, statements or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.