Finding What Works for You—A Review of the Best Loan Companies for Refinance

by HMLS

There’s an abundance of mortgage companies in the U.S., making it hard for an average borrower to select a suitable service provider. You may want to go for the refinance deal with the cheapest interest rate or the most attractive repayment terms, but the choice is not always about what’s on the surface.

We have carefully prepared a handbook on the best loan companies for refinance (refi) with the intention of educating borrowers and helping them strategize. Our experts have looked beyond generic terms to consider aspects like speed and convenience. We have also presented the following:

  • Intention-focused refi borrowing
  • Alternative refinancing options 

Best Refinance Loans—How To Evaluate

There are numerous refinance products on the market that cater to different needs. To search for lenders efficiently, you need a clear picture of your intent, which can be:

  • Switching to lower monthly payments—Having a lower monthly expense is the most common intent for refinancing. In that case, you’d probably be looking at lenders who:
    • Charge lower than your current rate
    • Require no mortgage insurance
    • Have low fees and closing costs
  • Locking in an interest rate—If your current home loan is on a floating rate, chances are your payments are going steeper every year. Your goal would be to find a lender offering the best fixed-rate interest loans
  • Tapping into home equity—Borrowers who have accumulated enough equity in their home can go for cash-out refinancing, which essentially gives them a mortgage bigger than their current one. The extra funds can be used for rehabbing, investing, or fulfilling personal obligations. If you’re looking for a cash-out refinance program, you may want to consider programs with lower closing cost percentages (because the principal is larger)
  • Shortening your loan’s term—Many savvy borrowers wish to shorten their refinance loan to pay less interest overall, improve their debt-to-income (DTI) ratio, or free up more investment-worthy cash. Hard money refinance programs are appropriate in these situations

Keep in mind that choosing from the best refinance loan companies requires the borrower to recognize the benchmarks that fit their situation. We present our recommendations to cover various categories of borrowers.

Source: RODNAE Productions

Best Places To Refinance a Home Loan

Most conventional lenders (banks, mortgage companies, and credit unions) offer refinance programs that are directly or indirectly backed by the U.S. government. The interest rates and entry rules are often not controlled by the bank but by the refinance route you want, such as a Fannie Mae, Federal Housing Administration (FHA), or Veteran Affairs (VA) program.

What lenders do control is the processing time, customer service, and other logistics, which form the primary consideration for our list. After examining dozens of refinance lenders, we find the following to be quality options:

Sl. NoRefinance LenderStellar FeatureAverage Funding Time
1Rocket MortgageFully online refinancingAbout 36 days
2loanDepotQuality customer service30–60 days
3TruistRefinance knowledge resources30–45 days
4New American FundingCommitment to servicing diversity groups30–35 days
5PenFed Credit UnionLow fees and closing costs (no lender fees)30–40 days
6Better.comQuick closing21–32 days
7Nationwide (partnered with AXOS Bank)Programs for self-employed borrowersInfo unavailable
8Zillow Home LoansMortgage loan marketplaceAround 34 days

Remember that the minimum credit scores and DTI ratios required for these options depend on the specific program you choose. Most banks want your minimum credit score to be 620, but if you’re seeking an FHA-backed refinance, you can apply with a score as low as 580–500.

Find further assistance with the crisp reviews of these lenders in the following sections.

#1 Rocket Mortgage

Rocket Mortgage (previously Quicken Loans) provides the best online home loan refinance experience, completely cutting down on the legwork and making the whole process super convenient. The company enables easy online verification of assets, credit scores, and income through features like syncing of bank accounts.

Rocket Mortgage’s services are available via its website or app. Besides the smooth digital experience, you can also contact a customer service representative 24/7 using the chat service. The company has a Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating of A+.

Rocket Mortgage offers five types of refinancing options:

  1. Conventional
  2. Adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM)
  3. FHA-backed
  4. VA-backed
  5. Jumbo

Some drawbacks of the company include limited disclosure of pricing (unless you apply for a loan) and complicated verifications for self-employed individuals.

Here are the pros and cons of Rocket Mortgage:

ProsCons
Completely online service
Multiple refinancing options
24/7 customer support
App available
Limited transparency of rates
Complicated processing for non-salaried applicants

#2 loanDepot

Like Rocket Mortgage, loanDepot offers a wide variety of refinance mortgages serviced online, but the company also operates about 200 branches in 43 U.S. states. You can use the streamlined digital platform from the application to close point or visit a branch if you want in-person support. The company’s BBB rating is A+.

loanDepot values customer loyalty for its refinance programs. According to the company’s Lifetime Guarantee program, you can secure fee waivers every time you refinance the same property. The refinance rates can be accessed by reaching out to customer service.

As far as downsides are concerned, certain refinance clients have found loanDepot’s processing to be extremely slow, with some even having to wait for six months.

The table below outlines loanDepot’s pros and cons:

ProsCons
Digital and in-person servicing options
Multi-state availability
Fee waivers for loyal customers
Quality customer support
Limited online info on rates
Slow processing

#3 Truist

Truist was formed in 2019 after a merger between SunTrust Mortgage and BB&T. The bank extends mortgage services in most states. You can choose between rate-and-term and cash-out refinance options, and the application can be initiated online or at a branch. The pre-approval for refinancing programs is quick and often executed within a day. You also have the option to track your application 24/7 if you apply online.

Truist has an A+ BBB rating, with many customers praising the comprehensive learning resources offered by the bank on topics like homeownership and debt reduction. That being said, many clients have noted that Truist’s refinancing service is the best in North Carolina—the state of the bank’s headquarters—as compared to what’s offered in other states. Customer service can be reached via phone but is only available Monday through Saturday during standard work hours.

Source: Kampus Production

Let’s summarize Truist’s pros and cons:

ProsCons
Online and branch-based servicing
Quick pre-approval
Online application tracking
No uniformity of service across states
Limited customer support availability

#4 New American Funding

New American Funding (NAF) is one of the leading refinancing lenders, with the company’s cash-out and reverse mortgage refinance programs being the most popular. NAF has dedicated refinance programs for marginalized or underserved communities, allowing them access to funds with relaxed eligibility criteria.

Besides enjoying an A+ rating, the company has also secured the 2019 BBB International Torch Award for Ethics due to its efforts toward bridging the racial wealth gap. As far as refinance logistics are concerned, NAF facilitates quick pre-approval, but the company’s origination fees can be higher than competitors’. Most clients have found the customer service here to be kind and professional.

The following table recapitulates the pros and cons of New American Funding:

ProsCons
Reverse mortgage refinance available
Popular choice for underserved communities
Quick pre-approval
Good customer service
High origination fees

#5 PenFed Credit Union

PenFed Credit Union provides refinancing options to members only. While the membership is free and open to everyone, you need to open a bank account with the organization to qualify. Your initial deposit can be as low as $5.

PenFed is a great option if you’re looking to save more money. You don’t have to pay lender fees throughout the refinancing process—only third-party fees related to the credit report, property appraisal, and title work. The credit union is not BBB accredited but still holds good service ratings.

PenFed doesn’t do FHA refinance loans. They currently have conventional and VA programs, but you cannot have a credit score of less than 620 if you want to apply.

Here are the pros and cons of PenFed Credit Union:

ProsCons
No lender fees
Decent service ratings
Free membership
No FHA refinance
Requires membership

#6 Better.com

Better.com is similar to Rocket Mortgage in terms of operational convenience. You can get pre-approved, drop an application, and close the loan online—the customer service is available on-site and via phone. The company offers one of the fastest closing times on our list. If you have an uncomplicated refinance deal, you can get funded within three weeks once you lock in a rate.

Like PenFed, Better.com also doesn’t charge lender fees, so you get to reduce your out-of-pocket costs. The company is relatively new (founded in 2014), but it has largely positive reviews on Trustpilot.

Here’s a snapshot of Better.com’s pros and cons:

ProsCons
Fully online servicing
Fast closing time
No lender fees
No physical branches
Considerably new vendor

#7 Nationwide (Partnered With AXOS Bank)

All the options we have discussed up to this point serve employed individuals better. Being self-employed changes the rules of the game, causing the screening process to become extra strict and laborious. We have included Nationwide (managed by AXOS Bank) on our list because it has special refinancing programs geared towards self-employed and low-credit folks.

The company offers fully serviced online refinancing loans with modest checking requirements. Further details of their refinancing services are not available to the public, so you must apply to get relevant support.

While Nationwide reviews are hard to find, AXOS Bank seems to have an A+ BBB rating and mixed customer reviews.

Source: Mikhail Nilov

Refer to the table below for the pros and cons of Nationwide:

ProsCons
Options for self-employed individuals
Low credit ratings may be tolerated
Online servicing
No online transparency about programs

#8 Zillow Home Loans

Zillow has a good reputation as a real estate marketplace, but the company offers similar services for home loans. You can refinance with Zillow Home Loans directly or use its marketplace to connect with banks, credit unions, and mortgage brokers from across the U.S. 

Users can compare rates and engage with various lenders via an organized channel, but the pricing tends to be above the national average. You also have the option to shop anonymously while requesting customized refinancing quotes. Keep in mind that the available lenders are the ones who have specifically requested to be advertised on the platform.

Let’s go over the pros and cons of Zillow Home Loans:

ProsCons
Marketplace platform
Rate transparency
Anonymous quote request option
Relatively expensive
Limited lender options

Other Mentions

Our list is niche-focused, so you still have many other refinance options you can consider—it’s all about getting the best deal, depending on where you live. If you’re looking beyond specific service niches, here are some other traditional refinance providers that can work for you:

  • Caliber
  • SoFi
  • Avant
  • AmeriSave
  • Magnolia Bank

When To Consider Alternative Refinancing Options

We have recommended traditional refinancing options with the expectations of an average borrower in mind, but they may not work for you in several situations, such as:

  • Having a credit score below the 620–680 range
  • Displaying a DTI ratio higher than 36%
  • Needing funds urgently
  • Being unable to produce the qualifying paperwork
  • Having your home tied up with a divorce lien or similar restriction
  • Showing a record of bankruptcies or financial delinquencies in the past

The alternative refinancing market caters to anyone left out of the traditional options. Your choices are limited, though. If you want to refinance quickly in a competitive scenario, choosing a reputable hard money lender is your best bet.

Hard money lenders are semi-regulated but not backed by any government organization. They offer refinancing facilities based on the hard value of the asset. They have lower barriers in terms of credit score and existing debt, which automatically reduces the paperwork and funding time. Hard money loans can have 1.15 to 3 times higher interest rates than traditional refinancing loans because the lenders accept risk-heavy deals.

Hard Money Loan Solutions Provides the Best Home Loan Refinancing on the Alternative Market

If you have obstacles in your refinancing route, reach out to Hard Money Loan Solutions (HMLS) for a reliable and direct lending service. The group is headquartered in Delray Beach, Florida, and provides a seamless refinancing and cash-out refinancing experience for:

  • Residential properties (single/multi-unit)
  • Commercial units
  • Land
  • Business assets
  • Investment properties
  • Rental units
  • Special-use properties

Source: Gustavo Fring

Having worked with homeowners, investors, and self-employed borrowers for decades, HMLS lenders possess unparalleled experience in the real estate lending scene. Check out the six features that make them the ultimate choice for refinancing:

  1. Relaxed eligibility criteria—HMLS lenders are tolerant of low credit scores and high DTI ratios. They lend according to the market value and equity component of the property, so aspects like nationality status, race, or job stability are irrelevant
  2. Speed—You can access HMLS funding within 3–14 days of talking to a lender, making it one of the most time-conscious refinancing options in the U.S.
  3. Short-term refinancing—Hard money loans at HMLS are short-term, usually issued for 1–3 years, so they work well if you want to settle quickly or need a bridging solution
  4. Reasonable expenses—HMLS operates in the highly competitive Florida market. The lenders keep the fees and interest rates at manageable levels so that the borrower never feels burdened
  5. One-on-one guidance—The HMLS team is backed by veteran investors and entrepreneurs who are open to offering financing advice to applicants
  6. 5-star customer service—Clients have rated HMLS 5/5 stars on Google, praising the group’s ability to:
    1. Fund complicated deals
    2. Be transparent
    3. Communicate promptly
    4. Deliver timely funding

HMLS Refinance Loans Are Tailor-Made for Every Client

The lending atmosphere at HMLS is quite different from what you see at banks. Once you apply for a refinancing loan at HMLS, you get personalized services—a lender analyzes your circumstances and recommends a package customized to your needs. You can ask questions and negotiate the terms as well.

Source: Google Reviews

Here’s a snapshot of the various borrowing parameters at Hard Money Loan Solutions:

ParametersHMLS Terms
Interest rates9.99%–12%
Tenure1–3 years
Interest rate typeFixed
Lending range$100,000–$50,000,000
LTVUp to 70% of the current purchase price or appraised asset value (whichever is lower)
Origination fee2 points or 2%
Closing time3 days to 2 weeks
AmortizationInterest only
Down paymentNot required

HMLS cash-out refinancing is a client-favorite option if you want extra funds for home improvement, debt consolidation, or credit score correction. You can also enjoy funding services for other goals, such as:

HMLS Refinancing—Online Application and Other Logistics

The refinancing process at HMLS is enabled online and via phone calls. You get to interact directly with lenders—no middlemen or trainees. Here’s how a typical refinancing deal takes shape:

  1. You submit a loan application online
  2. A lender calls you shortly to verify your interest in the loan
  3. You have a friendly discussion with the lender about:
    1. Specifics of your situation
    2. Property in question
  4. The lender proceeds to appraise the property (if your deal sounds serviceable)
  5. After formal approval, you’re presented with a tailored loan package
  6. Once you relay your acceptance, the team prepares to fund by getting the legal documents in order

You can access HMLS loans from the comfort of your couch. If you refinance with a traditional loan down the line, you don’t have to worry about any penalty as long as the repayment is done six months after the closing date.

Source: Karolina Grabowska

Hard Money Loan Solutions has several online resources—you can check out the website’s learning center with informative pieces on personal financing and real estate investing. If you’re budgeting for a loan, don’t forget to use on-site HMLS calculation tools as needed.

Featured image source: Jason Goodman

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