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The homebuying process is notoriously stressful and can be confusing, especially if you’ve never applied for a mortgage before and don’t know how to wade through the seemingly endless pool of lenders.
One name you might have heard in the real estate realm, however, is Rocket Mortgage. The company is an established household name when it comes to shopping around for a loan and is one of the largest mortgage lenders in the U.S. Plus, it’s a standout option for those homebuyers with lower credit scores. While most mortgage lenders look for a minimum credit score of 620, Rocket Mortgage accepts applicants with scores at 580.
To make your mortgage search easier, Select reviewed Rocket Mortgage and took a closer look at some of its home loan options, considering factors such as interest rates, down payment minimums, term lengths and other perks in the process. You can read more about our methodology below.
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Annual Percentage Rate (APR)
Apply online for personalized rates
Types of loans
Conventional loans, FHA loans, VA loans and Jumbo loans
8 – 29 years, including 15-year and 30-year terms
Typically requires a 620 credit score but will consider applicants with a 580 credit score as long as other eligibility criteria are met
Minimum down payment
3.5% if moving forward with an FHA loan
While mortgage interest rates can fluctuate quite often, the rate you receive will depend heavily upon your location, credit score and credit report. Take a look at each lender’s website to get a better idea of the kinds of interest rates they charge, but keep in mind that they’ll vary by your location and creditworthiness. Either way, it’s important to provide the necessary information to check your personalized rate.
Rocket Mortgage offers conventional loans — 30-year and 15-year fixed loans — as well as adjustable-rate mortgages, FHA loans, VA loans and jumbo loans, but not USDA loans. This lender also does not offer construction loans, designed for those to build a brand new custom home, or home equity lines of credit, also called HELOCs.
Down payment minimums
For anyone who isn’t eligible for Rocket Mortgage’s VA home loan, they can make a down payment as low as 3%, as long as they’re proceeding with its 30-year-fixed-rate or 15-year-fixed-rate mortgage options. Note that both of these loans require having a credit score of at least 620 in order to qualify.
If you’re planning on moving forward with a jumbo loan (over $647,200), keep in mind that the typical down payment amount for these types of loans across lenders is usually 10%. Rocket Mortgage requires a credit score of at least 680 to be approved for one of these.
Rocket Mortgage offers flexible loan repayment terms that range from eight to 29 years, including standard 15-year and 30-year terms. You’ll also have a choice between fixed-rate and adjustable-rate mortgage terms.
Options include a 7/6 adjustable-rate mortgage (a fixed-rate period of seven years followed by a rate that changes every six months), a 10/6 adjustable-rate mortgage (a fixed-rate period of 10 years followed by a rate that changes every six months), an FHA adjustable-rate mortgage and a VA adjustable-rate mortgage.
Homebuyers can contact Rocket Mortgage home loan experts by calling Monday through Saturday during business hours or by using the live chat feature on its website. Customers can also opt in to receive text messages from Rocket Mortgage about managing their payments.
Rocket Mortgage will provide you with a Prequalified Approval Letter and a Verified Approval Letter, which state that Rocket Mortgage has already verified your income, assets and creditworthiness upfront so you can stand out to home sellers — and potentially give you a competitive edge over other homebuyers who have been pre-approved for a loan but haven’t had their income and assets approved yet.
Rocket Mortgage can also order an appraisal on your behalf, which is necessary to assess the fair market value of the home and the property taxes you would have to pay. The lender even offers a Fresh Start program, which is aimed at helping potential applicants boost their credit score before applying.
Rocket Mortgage is a long-time industry contender with solid loan options to fit many financial needs. Its Fresh Start program and Verified Approval Letter are two standout resources offered by this lender, each aimed at assisting homebuyers in a consistently competitive housing market.
Those who desire a more involved customer service presence throughout the homebuying process might gravitate toward other lenders since Rocket Mortgage’s standard chat and telephone hours may not be as appealing. A good option is Chase Bank, which matches customers to a Home Lending Advisor near them who can cater to their needs and simplify the homebuying process. Home Lending Advisors are also there to ensure they’ve filled out all the necessary documentation and can even connect homebuyers with home inspectors, real estate agents and other professionals they’ll need to interact with during the process.
To determine which mortgage lenders are the best, Select analyzed dozens of U.S. mortgages offered by both online and brick-and-mortar banks, including large credit unions, that come with fixed-rate APRs and flexible loan amounts and terms to suit an array of financing needs.
When narrowing down and ranking the best mortgages, we focused on the following features:
- Fixed-rate APR: Variable rates can go up and down over the lifetime of your loan. With a fixed rate APR, you’ll lock in an interest rate for the duration of the loan’s term, which means your monthly payment won’t vary, making your budget easier to plan.
- Types of loans offered: The most common kinds of mortgage loans include conventional loans, FHA loans and VA loans. In addition to these loans, lenders may also offer USDA loans and jumbo loans. Having more options available means the lender is able to cater to a wider range of applicant needs. We have also considered loans that would suit the needs of borrowers who plan to purchase their second home or a rental property.
- Closing timeline: The lenders on our list are able to offer closing timelines that vary from as promptly as two weeks after the home purchase agreement has been signed to as many as 45 days after the agreement has been signed. Specific closing timelines have been noted for each lender.
- Fees: Common fees associated with mortgage applications include origination fees, application fees, underwriting fees, processing fees and administrative fees. We evaluate these fees in addition to other features when determining the overall offer from each lender. Though some lenders on this list do not charge these fees, we have noted any instances where a lender does charge such fees.
- Flexible minimum and maximum loan amounts/terms: Each mortgage lender provides a variety of financing options that you can customize based on your monthly budget and how long you need to pay back your loan.
- No early payoff penalties: The mortgage lenders on our list do not charge borrowers for paying off their loans early.
- Streamlined application process: We considered whether lenders offered a convenient, fast online application process and/or an in-person procedure at local branches.
- Customer support: Every mortgage lender on our list provides customer service that is available via telephone, email or secure online messaging. We also opted for lenders with an online resource hub or advice center to help you educate yourself about the personal loan process and your finances.
- Minimum down payment: Although minimum down payment amounts depend on the type of loan a borrower applies for, we noted lenders that offer additional specialty loans that come with a lower minimum down payment amount.
After reviewing the above features, we sorted our recommendations by best for lower credit scores, flexible down payment options, no fees, flexible loan options and for saving money.
Note that the rates and fee structures advertised for mortgages are subject to fluctuate in accordance with the Fed rate. However, once you accept your mortgage agreement, a fixed-rate APR will guarantee interest rate and monthly payment will remain consistent throughout the entire term of the loan, unless you choose to refinance your mortgage at a later date for a potentially lower APR. Your APR, monthly payment and loan amount depend on your credit history, creditworthiness, debt-to-income ratio and the desired loan term. To take out a mortgage, lenders will conduct a hard credit inquiry and request a full application, which could require proof of income, identity verification, proof of address and more.
Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.