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Best Mortgage Lenders for First-Time Home Buyers of March 2024

Review Updated
Matt Frankel, CFP®
By: Matt Frankel, CFP®

Our Mortgages Expert

Many or all of the products here are from our partners that compensate us. It’s how we make money. But our editorial integrity ensures our experts’ opinions aren’t influenced by compensation. Terms may apply to offers listed on this page.

When it comes to buying your first home, the thought of getting a mortgage can seem even more intimidating than shopping and negotiating. But we've got you covered. Here's a look at some of the best mortgage lenders for first-time home buyers, and a primer on what you should know before you get started in the application process.

Award Icon 2024 Award Winner
Check Rates for Better

On Better's Secure Website.


Best for: No lender fees and online application

Rating image, 4.5 out of 5 stars.
4.5/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
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Bottom Line

Better has the right combination of features and perks, including no unnecessary fees, low mortgage rates, and a fast 100% application process. Better Mortgage does not charge lender fees such as those for origination, application, processing, and underwriting. As a result, Better states that new home buyers save $8,200 and customers who refinance save $8,200 over the life of their loans. In addition, Better states that applicants can get a personalized rate quote in under five seconds and a pre-approval in minutes. This can help homeowners cut their costs while saving time. The lender also offers $150 off closing costs when applying through The Ascent site.

Min. Credit Score

  • 620

Min. Down Payment

  • 3%

Key Features

  • One Day Mortgage. Lock a rate, get a Commitment Letter in 24 hrs. Terms apply.
  • Close 10-17 days faster than industry average
  • Apply 100% online, entirely on your schedule
  • $100 billion in online home loans
  • Better Price Guarantee: Better will match any valid competitor's offer, and credit you an extra $100. If Better can't, the $100 is yours to keep.

Loan Types

  • Conventional
  • FHA
  • Jumbo

Fixed Rate Terms

  • 10y, 20y, 30y

Adjustable Rate Terms

  • 10/6, 7/6, 5/6
Diverse loan terms

Best for: Diverse loan offerings and relationship discounts

Rating image, 5.0 out of 5 stars.
5.0/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
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Bottom Line

Bank of America is one of the largest banks in the U.S., offering a wide variety of financial products in addition to its mortgages. Few lenders can match the lineup of loan products and terms. Bank of America offers a Preferred Rewards program for borrowers who have bank accounts at the bank and investment accounts at Merrill. Borrowers can qualify for an origination fee or interest rate reduction based on their eligible tier at the time of application.

Min. Credit Score 620 FHA 620 Other mortgage products 640 Affordable Loan Solution® 680 Jumbo Loans

  • 620

Min. Down Payment 0% VA loans 3.5% FHA 3% Conventional loans, Affordable Loan Solution® mortgage, Freddie Mac Home Possible® mortgage 5% Other loans

  • 0%-3%

Key Features

  • Wide range of financial products
  • Preferred Rewards program
  • Ability to apply entirely online
  • No PMI offering
  • Loans up to $5 million

Loan Types

  • Conventional
  • FHA
  • VA
  • Jumbo

Fixed Rate Terms

  • 30y, 20y, 15y

Adjustable Rate Terms

  • 10/6, 7/6, 5/6

Award Icon 2024 Award Winner
Check Rates for Rocket Mortgage®

On Rocket Mortgage/Quicken Loans' Secure Website.


Best for: Loan options and online application

Rating image, 5.0 out of 5 stars.
5.0/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
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Bottom Line

Rocket Mortgage, originally known as Quicken Loans, led the transition to a full digital experience and online-only applications. Its seamless process is one reason why it has become the largest U.S. lender. It is consistently ranked No. 1 on J.D. Power’s customer service rankings and has a robust and high-quality app that makes it easy to use.

Min. Credit Score 580 FHA 620 other mortgage products

  • 580 - 680

Min. Down Payment 0%-3.5% (FHA & VA loans) 3% (conventional loans)

  • 0% - 3.5%

Key Features

  • Online-only
  • High allowable debt-to-income
  • Low down payment options
  • Opportunities to get cash towards closing
  • High customer satisfaction ratings

Loan Types

  • Conventional
  • FHA
  • VA
  • Jumbo

Fixed Rate Terms

  • Customizable (8 -30 years)

Adjustable Rate Terms

  • 10/6, 7/6
Diverse loan terms

Best for: First-time home buyers

Rating image, 4.5 out of 5 stars.
4.5/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
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Bottom Line

The diverse set of loan products and terms and relationship discounts make it a top pick, particularly for first-time home buyers and people interested in FHA loans. The high customer satisfaction ratings are the cherry on top.

Min. Credit Score 580 FHA 620 other mortgage products

  • 580 - 620

Min. Down Payment

  • 0%-3%

Key Features

  • No PMI mortgage
  • High customer satisfaction
  • Available in all 50 states

Loan Types

  • Conventional
  • FHA
  • VA
  • Jumbo

Fixed Rate Terms

  • 30y, 15y

Adjustable Rate Terms

  • 10/1, 7/1, 5/1

Best for: No income requirement offering

Rating image, 4.0 out of 5 stars.
4.0/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
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Bottom Line

First-time homebuyers will benefit from the no income requirement loan product and access to FHA loans.

Min. Credit Score 580 FHA 620 other mortgage products

  • 580 - 620

Min. Down Payment

  • 3%

Key Features

  • No income loan offering
  • Uses expanded credit criteria
  • Diverse terms and loan products

Loan Types

  • Conventional
  • FHA
  • VA
  • USDA
  • Jumbo

Fixed Rate Terms

  • 30y, 15y

Adjustable Rate Terms

  • 10/1, 7/1, 5/1

Best for: Customer service

Rating image, 4.0 out of 5 stars.
4.0/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
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Bottom Line

SunTrust earns top honors for customer service and the entire approval process can be done over the Internet, however it only has physical branches in 12 states and charges a 1% one-time guarantee fee.

Min. Credit Score 580 FHA 620 other mortgage products

  • 580 - 620

Min. Down Payment 0% for USDA loans and VA loans 3.5% for VA loans (minimum 580 credit score) 3% for conventional loans

  • 0% - 3.5%

Key Features

  • Customizable fixed terms
  • Streamlined online application process with the option for in-person help
  • Top ratings for customer service.

Loan Types

  • Conventional
  • FHA
  • VA
  • USDA
  • Jumbo

Fixed Rate Terms

  • Customizable (10 - 30 years)

Adjustable Rate Terms

  • 10/1, 7/1, 5/1
Award Icon 2024 Award Winner
PNC Mortgage

Best for: Diverse loan offerings

Rating image, 4.0 out of 5 stars.
4.0/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
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Bottom Line

PNC is a large bank with a wide range of financial products. It offers an online tool called Home Insight Planner to help borrowers find a home that fits their budget and needs. It then matches a borrower to its diverse loan products and terms. PNC can accommodate many borrowers, including those looking for mortgage options with no PMI.

Min. Credit Score 580 FHA 620 other mortgage products

  • 580-620

Min. Down Payment 0% VA and USDA 3% conventional 3.5% FHA

  • 0% - 3.5%

Key Features

  • 3% down no PMI offering
  • HELOCs
  • Home equity loans
  • Considers nontraditional credit history

Loan Types

  • Conventional
  • FHA
  • VA
  • USDA
  • Jumbo

Fixed Rate Terms

  • 30y, 25y, 20y, 15y, 10y

Adjustable Rate Terms

  • 10/1, 7/1, 5/1

Best for: Diverse offerings and home buyers building credit

Rating image, 4.5 out of 5 stars.
4.5/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
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= Excellent
= Good
= Fair
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Bottom Line

New American Funding is one of the largest privately owned direct mortgage lenders in the country. The lender offers competitive rates and a wide variety of loans and customizable loan terms. The lender also has a highly efficient lending process that allows for quicker closing times. What's more, New American can be a good solution for people building credit and wanting a good mortgage. It focuses on lending to underserved communities.

Min. Credit Score 580 FHA 620 other mortgage products

  • 580 - 620

Min. Down Payment 0%-3.5% (FHA and VA loans) 3% (conventional loans)

  • 0% - 3.5%

Key Features

  • Fast service
  • One of the top lenders to Hispanic and Black borrowers.
  • Offer customizable loans, including home addition loans
  • High customer satisfaction, A+ BBB rating

Loan Types

  • Conventional
  • FHA
  • VA
  • USDA
  • Jumbo
  • Interest Only
  • Reverse

Fixed Rate Terms

  • Customizable (8 - 30 years)

Adjustable Rate Terms

  • 10/1, 7/1, 5/1

Ratings methodology

The mortgage market is crowded and competitive, which is great for consumers. Keeping that in mind, we take our ratings and picks very seriously. While it’s impossible for us to rate and review every offer on the market, we canvas as far as we can. Our five-star rating system takes into account how competitive rates and fees are for a certain lender, the online experience and customer support, as well as how versatile a loan is including repayment terms, availability, downpayment options, and more.

What types of loans are available for first-time home buyers?

Many first-time home buyers don't have excellent credit histories, and many others don't have large down payments available. Some have served in the Armed Forces and can access VA loans, while others might be able to explore USDA financing if their homes are in certain rural areas.

With that in mind, here's a quick overview of the four major mortgage types first-time home buyers can use.

Conventional mortgages

The majority of purchase mortgage loans in the United States are known as conventional loans. This is a broad term that refers to loans that aren't guaranteed by a government agency. The lack of a guarantee means that conventional mortgages generally have stricter qualification requirements than the other loan types listed here. But they could still be excellent options for first-time buyers with strong credit scores. There are several conventional mortgage programs for first-time buyers that allow for down payments as low as 3% of the purchase price.

FIND OUT MORE: Guide to Buying Your First Home

FHA loans

FHA mortgage loans are guaranteed, or insured, by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). Because of this guarantee, credit requirements are generally looser than other types of mortgages, and down payments can be as low as 3.5%, even with a relatively low credit score. What's more, most closing costs can be rolled into the loan, further reducing your out-of-pocket cash requirement. While there are a few drawbacks to FHA loans, especially when it comes to costs, they can be a great way for buyers who don't have stellar qualifications to become homeowners.

Compare lenders: Best FHA Lenders

Compare rates: Today's FHA Mortgage Rates

VA loans

A VA loan is a mortgage that is backed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and these are available to certain military members, both past and present. VA loans have no down payment requirement, low interest rates, and flexible credit qualifications, and are generally designed to help qualified veterans purchase a property, so they are definitely worth looking into if you qualify.

Compare lenders: Best VA Loan Lenders

Compare rates: Today's VA Loan Rates

USDA loans

A USDA loan is a mortgage that is guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. To qualify, a home must be in an eligible rural area, and the borrower's income must be below certain limits. If both borrower and property qualify, USDA loans don't require any down payment whatsoever.

It's also important to mention that in addition to these types of loans, many lenders have their own proprietary mortgage products, and some are specifically designed for first-time home buyers. For example, some lenders offer low-down-payment conventional loans with no mortgage insurance requirement. So it could also be a great idea to research the options offered by some of the best mortgage lenders as well as your local and regional financial institutions.

Compare lenders: Best USDA Mortgage Lenders

How do I qualify as a first-time home buyer?

There aren't any specific requirements that only apply to first-time buyers (unless a particular loan product has a separate credit or down payment requirement for first-timers). For the most part, first-time buyers are subject to the same general requirements that all mortgage applicants face.

Having said that, first-time buyers are less likely to know what to expect than seasoned homeowners. So here are the general categories of information your mortgage lender will consider when you apply for a mortgage for your first home.

Credit

Before verifying any of your other qualifications, lenders will typically run a credit check. Virtually all mortgage lenders use the FICO credit scoring model, and most will pull your scores from all three major credit bureaus and use the middle number for qualification purposes. Federal Housing Administration (or FHA) loans require a minimum 580 FICO® Score for a 3.5% down payment, while conventional loans have a minimum of 620.

Down payment

Unless you're using a VA or USDA loan to finance your home, you'll need a down payment. FHA and conventional loans have low down payment options, and funds can usually come from a gift. But you'll need to document what funds you have for your down payment and where they came from, as well as how you plan to pay for any closing costs.

Debt-to-income ratio

Simply put, lenders want to make sure you'll be able to afford your mortgage payments, so they'll look at your debt obligations as a percentage of your income, a metric known as your debt-to-income ratio, or DTI ratio. Methods of calculating DTI and lending standards can vary, but a good rule of thumb is that your total monthly debt obligations (including your new mortgage payment) should be no more than 45% of your pre-tax income. However, there are exceptions, and borrowers have different costs of living to deal with, so if you feel you can comfortably afford to have a higher DTI ratio, don't be discouraged. In fact, FHA lenders will allow you to have a DTI as high as 57% in some cases!

Employment

Lenders want to know that not only can you afford your mortgage payments for now, but that you'll also be able to keep paying your mortgage year after year. Most mortgage lenders want to see at least two years of steady employment in the same field (but not necessarily with the same employer). There are exceptions, however -- such as if you graduated from college less than two years ago.

Assets/reserves

Depending on the mortgage loan you select, as well as your other qualifications, your lender is likely to require a certain amount of money in reserves. This can be as little as two months' worth of mortgage payments. The point is that you typically can't end up with a zero balance in your bank account after closing on your home and paying any closing costs.

Before you apply for a mortgage, it makes sense to ensure each of these are as good as possible. For example, taking some time to raise your credit score and save a higher down payment could help you snag a better interest rate, which will save you money in the long run.

Choosing the best lender for first-time home buyers

The first step in choosing the best mortgage lender for your first home purchase is to get a good understanding of how home loans work. Then you'll need to narrow down a short list of a few (say, three or four) lenders with products and resources that meet your needs and that have strong customer service. Our best first-time mortgage lender list on this page is a good place to start, but it could also be a smart idea to check out your local and regional banks or credit unions so that you can compare mortgage rates. If you're looking for a digital application process, be sure to check out our list of the best online mortgage lenders.

Once you have a short list, apply for a mortgage with all of them to compare the specific loan terms and fees that you get offered. It won't hurt your credit score to do this, as all mortgage-based credit inquiries that take place within a typical shopping period are counted as just a single inquiry. You'll see a range of interest rates, fees, and APRs from different lenders, and you'd be surprised at how much this can save or cost you over the life of a 30-year mortgage loan.

Lender Best For Next Steps
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Better
Rating image, 4.5 out of 5 stars.
4.5/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
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Rating image, 4.5 out of 5 stars.
4.5/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
= Best
= Excellent
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Best For

No lender fees and online application

Check Rates for Better

On Better's Secure Website.

Graphic of Bank of America Mortgage
Rating image, 5.0 out of 5 stars.
5.0/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
= Best
= Excellent
= Good
= Fair
= Poor
Rating image, 5.0 out of 5 stars.
5.0/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
= Best
= Excellent
= Good
= Fair
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Best For

Diverse loan offerings and relationship discounts

Award Icon 2024 Award Winner
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Rocket Mortgage®
Rating image, 5.0 out of 5 stars.
5.0/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
= Best
= Excellent
= Good
= Fair
= Poor
Rating image, 5.0 out of 5 stars.
5.0/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
= Best
= Excellent
= Good
= Fair
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Best For

Loan options and online application

Check Rates for Rocket Mortgage®

On Rocket Mortgage/Quicken Loans' Secure Website.

Graphic of Citi Mortgage
Rating image, 4.5 out of 5 stars.
4.5/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
= Best
= Excellent
= Good
= Fair
= Poor
Rating image, 4.5 out of 5 stars.
4.5/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
= Best
= Excellent
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Best For

First-time home buyers

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Graphic of Navy Federal Credit Union Mortgage
Rating image, 4.5 out of 5 stars.
4.5/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
= Best
= Excellent
= Good
= Fair
= Poor
Rating image, 4.5 out of 5 stars.
4.5/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
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Best For

No mortgage insurance option

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4.0/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
= Best
= Excellent
= Good
= Fair
= Poor
Rating image, 4.0 out of 5 stars.
4.0/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
= Best
= Excellent
= Good
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Best For

No income requirement offering

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4.0/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
= Best
= Excellent
= Good
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= Poor
Rating image, 4.0 out of 5 stars.
4.0/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
= Best
= Excellent
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Best For

Customer service

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4.0/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
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Best For

Diverse loan offerings

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4.5/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
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= Excellent
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Rating image, 4.5 out of 5 stars.
4.5/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
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= Excellent
= Good
= Fair
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Best For

Diverse offerings and home buyers building credit

FAQs

  • First-time home buyers should shop around to find the best lender for their mortgage. Look for the most competitive rates, loan terms, down payment requirements, and fees. Buyers should also look to see what types of loans a lender offers, who they will be working with, the average loan processing time, and customer service ratings.

  • First-time home buyers can get loans through different programs. The federal government offers low down payment loans through the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), Veteran Affairs (VA), and The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). First-time home buyers can also get a low down payment conventional loan through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. In addition, many states and local governments offer first-time home buyers loans. Non-profit organizations, certain employers, and other financial institutions also offer first-time home buyer loans.

  • There are many different types of loans you can get as a first-time home buyer. There are loans to assist with the down payment, down payment assistance (DPA) grants, government-backed loans, conventional loans offered through financial institutions, as well as loans through charities, non-profits, and employer-sponsored loans.

  • It depends on the buyer, but if you don't have a large down payment or you don't have an established credit history, a FHA loan could be the best way to get into your first home. FHA loans require just 3.5% down for borrowers with credit scores of 580 or higher, and have lower credit scoring requirements than any other major home loan type.

  • Depending on your circumstances, you might be able to get a loan for your first home with little or no money down. USDA and VA loans both have no down payment requirement, and some banks offer their own first-time buyer loans with 0% down. FHA loans require 3.5% down for most borrowers, and it's possible for first-time buyers to get a conventional mortgage with as little as 3% down.

    Having said that, a higher down payment can reduce your monthly mortgage payments and, depending on your loan type can either reduce or eliminate your private mortgage insurance expense.

  • For most buyers, an FHA loan is the easiest to get approved for. Borrowers with 10% down payments can get approved with credit scores as low as 500, and the down payment requirement drops to 3.5% for borrowers with FICO® Scores of 580 or higher. These are the lowest credit scoring requirements for the major types of mortgages. On the other hand, if you have a high credit score or have served in the Armed Forces, a conventional or VA loan can be just as "easy" to get.

Our Mortgages Expert

Mortgage lenders we evaluated for consideration on this page include: United Wholesale Mortgage, Alliant Credit Union Mortgage, Redfin, Axos Bank Mortgage, Fairway Independent Mortgage, AmeriSave Mortgage Corporation, Flagstar Bank Mortgage, Guild Mortgage, PNC Mortgage, SoFi Mortgage, Realtor.com, Homesnap, Trulia, Zillow, LoopNet, Veterans United, Veterans United, Alterra Home Loans, Guaranteed Rate Mortgage, NASB Mortgage, Mr. Cooper Mortgage, Chase Mortgage, Citi Mortgage, The Loan Store, Rocket Mortgage®, Bank of America Mortgage, Churchill Mortgage, USAA Bank Mortgage, U.S. Bank Mortgage.