Finding the Best Mortgage Lenders in Florida
When it comes time to find a mortgage lender, there are a number of factors you’ll want to consider before making your decision. Maybe you’re looking for the lowest rates and fees, or perhaps you’re trying to find an online lender. SmartAsset narrows your choices to the best that Florida has to offer to make your search easier. Read on for the top mortgage options available in your home state.
How We Determine the Best Mortgage Lenders in Florida
SmartAsset found the best mortgage lenders in Florida after gathering a few dozen top lenders and analyzing each one on a number of points. Factors we ranked included loan availability and variety, physical presence in Florida, customer satisfaction and customer service, online bill pay and mobile app accessibility, fees and rates and overall transparency. Find the best lender for your situation below.
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Best Overall Florida Lender: Chase Bank
Chase Bank tops our Florida list for a number of reasons. For starters, the company has more than 60 mortgage centers around the state. It’s also one of the largest mortgage originators in the U.S., and has a low percentage of customer complaints. In addition to customer satisfaction, the bank has accessible customer service, competitive rates and fees, a well-functioning website and mobile experience and transparency for those looking to compare loan rates.
If you work with Chase, you get the benefit of working with a large banking organization. That means a well-designed app, online prequalification, lower fees and the option to have all your banking needs fulfilled by one institution. Chase offers credit cards, checking and savings accounts, retirement solutions, money management, personal loans and more. As for mortgage options, Chase offers conventional mortgages, jumbo loans, FHA loans, VA loans and the DreaMaker® Mortgage. This last mortgage offering is geared toward those with low incomes and limited down payment savings. The minimum down payment is just 3% and the loan is a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage.
You can prequalify for a loan online, over the phone or in-person. Chase offers about 92 hours of live phone support a week and you have the option to email, fax or visit a branch if you’d rather not call.
Where Chase falls short is in offering USDA loans. If you want to apply for that type of government-backed loan, you’ll have to turn elsewhere. Luckily, you’ll find USDA loans along with a number of additional government-backed loans at our No. 2 pick, SunTrust Bank.
Best Florida Mortgage Lender for In-Person Borrowers: SunTrust Bank
SunTrust Bank is one of the top mortgage originators in Florida and ranks No. 2 overall on our list. While it’s a close second to Chase Bank in a number of areas, it pulls ahead for in-person availability with more than 200 locations to Chase’s 60 retail locations. If you’d like to sit down with a local loan officer, you have that option with this bank.
SunTrust scored high in multiple areas, including customer satisfaction, accessibility and communication, transparency and usability. The bank offers a mobile app, online prequalification, email, phone and live chat support and a comprehensive website. First-time homebuyers will be pleased with the homebuyers guide that’s clear, informative and useful. There are mortgage calculators, infographics and articles that help you understand things like how much house you can afford and what to expect as a homeowner.
You can choose from conventional fixed-rate and adjustable-rate mortgages, jumbo loans, doctor loans, FHA loans, VA loans, USDA loans, HomeReady® loans and Home Possible® loans. This is one of the largest selections of loans we’ve come across, as SunTrust offers a number of options depending on your financial situation. HomeReady® and Home Possible® loans are Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac loans for borrowers with low credit or income and limited down payment savings.
Best Online Lender for Florida: Ally Bank
Ally Bank is an online-only financial institution known for offering high-interest savings accounts and, for low, mortgage rates. All around, it’s a terrific option for those trying to get the most bang for their buck. Another highlight is the price match guarantee that Ally offers customers. If you find better pricing at another lender, Ally will match the rate and terms as long as you have a complete loan estimate.
As an online-only bank, you can be sure Ally has a streamlined digital experience. The website is easy to navigate, and you can see current rates for eight loan terms, including fixed-rate and adjustable rate mortgages. There’s a mobile app, and Ally’s website is mobile-optimized as well.
While the company is transparent about loan offerings and rates, you can’t prequalify online without speaking to a representative over the phone. If you navigate to the prequalification tab, it’s a contact form. Another potential downside is that Ally doesn’t offer VA, FHA or USDA loans. That said, first-time homebuyers do have the option to apply for a HomeReady loan, a Fannie Mae program for those with limited down payment savings or other financial circumstances.
Overall, this lender is a good choice for homebuyers who want to find the lowest rates and fees and to work with an online lender. However, if you’re hoping to get a USDA, FHA or VA loan, you may want to try Guaranteed Rate or Quicken Loans.
Best Florida Mortgage Lender for Refinancing: Guaranteed Rate
Guaranteed Rate is a mortgage company that offers purchase loans and refinancing at some of the lowest rates you’ll find. This lender has many advantages, including Florida offices, a wide variety of loan refinancing options and an optimized online experience. If you’re looking for competitive rates, Guaranteed Rate may be your best option. Choose from conventional and jumbo loan refinancing as well as VA IRRRL and FHA and USDA streamline refinances.
You can apply online, over the phone or in person. The online prequalification is user-friendly and modern as well as optimized for mobile devices. In addition to a top-notch digital experience, Guaranteed Rate has excellent customer service and high marks for customer satisfaction. When SmartAsset called the lender, we reached a mortgage representative in less than a minute.
Positives aside, Guaranteed Rates does have some potential downsides. For one, some of the company’s fees are a bit higher than those of bank lenders, such as its origination fee. Additionally, if you want all your financials in one institution, you don’t have that option at this mortgage lender. It’s not attached to a larger financial institution. If you’re looking to bundle services, you’d be best served by Chase Bank or Ally Bank, two other top lenders on this list.