Mortgage refinancing is the process of negotiating a new mortgage contract while continuing to live in your existing home. Instead of moving, you have a closing with a lender that potentially grants you a lower rate or a longer or shorter term and could give you cash back as credit for the equity you’ve already paid into your former mortgage.
Like a new home purchase, there are administrative costs that could range from 2% to 6% of your new loan amount. With these expenses, refinancing is usually best done when you plan on staying in your existing home for several years in order to recoup your closing costs.
Because refinancing your mortgage could be a smart financial move—or a costly one—we reviewed 18 mortgage refinance companies to find eight that are the best fit based on different circumstances. Before deciding to refinance, review our best mortgage refinance companies closely to learn the finer points and hidden gems that can help you make the best refinance decision for you, with the right lender.
Best Mortgage Refinance Companies of 2021
Best Overall : Quicken Loans
Our best overall lender, Quicken Loans lends in all 50 states; refinances conventional, jumbo, and all government-guaranteed loans; and has a streamlined online process.
Accepts minimum credit score of 620, FHA minimum credit score of 580
Offers rate and term as well as cash-out loans
Conventional, jumbo, and government-backed loans
It doesn't look at alternative credit data such as employment and income data
It doesn't offer long rate locks in areas where shelter-in-place orders exist
Must use their sister company, Amrock, in order to use the eClosing option
Quicken Loans is a streamlined refinance lender with an “everywhere” reach and “everything” loan type offering that earned our best overall lender spot. It has a couple of ways to streamline the application process that include its online application through Rocket Mortgage and electronic loan closings. Quicken’s eClosing is an in-person/electronic hybrid of closing with either an in-person electronic notarization (IPEN) or a remote online notarization (RON), greatly reducing paperwork. It can be used in all 50 states, but customers must use Quicken's sister company, Amrock, as their title provider. Typically, closing costs run between 3% and 6% of the property loan.
Quicken is also known for its excellent customer service with personal assistance and an online chat that has live support. Reviews on Trustpilot average 4.4 starts (Excellent). Consumers Advocate gave Quicken 4.8 stars.
Quicken has an array of loan options including FHA, VA, conventional, HARP, jumbo, 15- and 30-year fixed, and adjustable-rate mortgages. Loans are available for almost any type of home in all 50 states, and Quicken will consider loans with a minimum 620 credit score for conventional loans and 580 for an FHA loan.
This longstanding Detroit, Michigan-based company was founded in 1985 and enjoys a top-rated reputation offering in-person customer service, online chat, and phone support.
Read the full Quicken Loans Review.
Best All-in-One Service : Nationwide Home Loans
As an in-house lender with loan types that span the real estate spectrum, custom term capabilities, and a best-rate guarantee, Nationwide Home Loans can’t be beaten for all-in-one service.
Best rate guarantee
Custom loan terms
Only operates in eight states: California, Colorado, Texas, Idaho, Washington, Oklahoma, Montana, North Dakota
Minimum credit score of 580
Nationwide Home Loans was a near-miss for best overall only because it operates in just eight states. As our best for all-in-one service, they guarantee the lowest rate. You’ll have a consultative experience, as they listen to your goals and design terms that fit your needs with rates and fees lower than anywhere else.
Most of their loans do not have origination fees or discount points. Some of their refinance loans do not have upfront closing costs either. This means, if you don’t have cash in hand to refinance, they can roll your closing costs into the loan, so you don’t lose the opportunity to save money on your monthly payment.
Nationwide Home Loans offers terms from five to 30 years, including terms specific to each client because they are an in-house lender. For example, if you owe 22 years on your loan, they can write a custom loan for a 22-year term.
It bases loan prices on a combination of interest, credit, loan-to-value (LTV), and debt-to-income ratio (DTI). As a result, the higher your credit score is, the lower your interest rate will be. If you are outside of this range, Nationwide will work with you to improve your credit score to get you qualified.
They provide free consultations to improve your credit so you can either reach the mark or qualify for a better rate.
Nationwide Home Loans defines excellent customer service as focusing on the customer and finding what works for each person’s unique goals. Additionally, its turn-times are much faster than the industry average.
For now, they operate exclusively in California, Colorado, Texas, Idaho, Washington, Oklahoma, Montana, and North Dakota.
Nationwide Home Loans has been around since the mid-90s and has received nothing but 5-star reviews. The company’s founder has been lending since the 80s and offers a rare product line that most lenders do not provide.
Best for Customer Service : AmeriSave Mortgage
AmeriSave offers a detailed rate quote for a variety of loan options, with low rates in a convenient online process that only takes a few minutes to complete, making it our favorite for customer service.
Customers can search interest rates and loan options without an obligation
No hidden fees
Quotes are accurate and aren't estimates
You must have a recent exterior and interior appraisal done
Manufactured or mobile homes are not allowed
Customers can't change jobs or make a large purchase during the loan process
The convenience and upfront transparency AmeriSave has built into its online features earn the lender our vote for best customer service.
In three steps, the customer can search interest rates, select the loan that suits them, and apply online or with a loan originator on the phone. There are no commitments or obligations to search for a loan—and no hidden fees. Agents will schedule a closing at a location and time convenient for you after they have underwritten the loan.
Loan options include fixed-rate, FHA, VA, USDA, cash-out, and adjustable mortgage rate (ARM) loans. Down payments can be as low as 3% for first-time buyers, and mortgage insurance is not required for those putting more than 20% down on a conventional loan. Those seeking loans must have at least a 580 credit score for FHA loans and must maintain their current job throughout the loan process. Also, those seeking a loan can't make other major purchases, such as a vehicle, during the process.
AmeriSave began in Atlanta and is licensed in all states except New York. It has funded more than $84 billion in loans and has financed more than 325,000 homes. Even during the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020, the company grew, hiring more than 2,000 new team members, a testament to its reliability and customer service performance.
Best Online Lender : LenderFi
LenderFi took the lead as our best online lender thanks to its online, no-hassle features where customers can search rates without handing over all their personal information, get instant online approval, and rate lock with no lender fees.
Customers can close on their loans within two weeks of applying
No lender fees
Keeps mortgage rates current for online application
Not available in Hawaii, Missouri, Nevada, New York, and Utah
No home equity loans
It doesn't offer information on minimum borrowing requirements without applying
With no lender fees, instant online approval, and the option to talk to a loan consultant by phone, LenderFi owns the best online lender title.
It offers many loan options for purchase and refinancing including conventional FHA loans. It currently does not offer jumbo, VA, or USDA loans due to COVID-19, but plans to in the future. LenderFi offers products for single-family homes, multi-family homes, condominiums, co-ops, townhouses, manufactured homes, and planned-unit developments.
LenderFi can close loans in as little as two weeks. It offers rate insurance where if LenderFi rates drop as little as 0.25% from your current rate, LenderFi will rewrite your loan at no additional cost for the life of the loan. The qualifying factor is you must make at least six current payments and this excludes prepaid interest.
LenderFi has been in business since 2006 and offers competitive fees for a variety of loan options nationwide except in Hawaii, Missouri, Nevada, New York, and Utah.
They are a non-bank lender that cuts costs by using an interactive online system to streamline expenses and eliminate unnecessary fees. Based in Florida, LenderFi can process loans from origination to closing using its own finances, so customers deal solely with one company from beginning to end.
Best Bank : Bank of America
With a robust suite of refinance loan options, Bank of America stands out as the best bank for refinancing.
Interest rates run from 2.625% for a 5/1 ARM to 3.250% for a 30-year fixed loan
Preferred Reward clients can qualify for up to a $600 reduction in the mortgage origination fees
Minimum credit score applies, but is not disclosed.
Can’t refinance your USDA mortgage
Closing fees are higher than other winners in our list
Bank of America is our best bank for refinancing because they can refinance many loan types and they have online, phone, and branch services.
Interest on refinancing for a 30-year fixed-rate loan is 3.250%, and 2.500% for a 15-year fixed-rate loan. A 5/1 ARM has an interest rate of 2.625%.
Current BOA customers can qualify for a reduction of up to $600 in closing fees when they refinance. The bank also offers online mortgage applications to get pre-qualified, pre-approved, and lock in your rate through either its website or mobile app.
Bank of America is a traditional bank option offered in all 50 states. Its interest starts at 2.500% and can go up to 3.250%. Since this is a traditional bank, customers can expect to produce much more personal documentation than alternative lenders. This can include employment information, tax returns, and other papers related to your current property. It is one of the world’s largest banks with an established reputation for stability.
Read the full Bank of America Review.
Best Credit Union : Alliant Credit Union
Alliant Credit Union can refinance your mortgage and waive the mortgage insurance that other lenders charge, making it our best choice for credit unions.
Will refinance non-warrantable condos
Shop rates online
Doesn’t refinance government-backed mortgages
Higher fees than other lenders in our list
No branches for in-person consults
When trying to refinance your loan saddled with mortgage insurance into a lower rate and payment, Alliant can help you maximize your savings by waiving the insurance, making it our favorite choice among credit unions.
Alliant offers several mortgage loan options with personalized service from one of their mortgage experts. This includes free customized quotes and rate locks for 90 days on refinancing. Alliant offers mortgage financing nationwide.
Founded in 1935 in Chicago, Illinois, Alliant Credit Union now carries $12 billion in assets for 500,000 customers. It has grown to be one of the largest credit unions in the country. Alliant Credit Union serves its customers completely online. They have live phone representatives available 24/7 and have 80,000 fee-free ATMs across the country.
Best for Fees : Better.com
Better.com is a game-changer in the mortgage industry and our top choice for the best mortgage refinance company for low fees.
Lowest cost loans
Can add title or homeowners insurance
Close within three weeks
No jumbo refinance
620 credit score required
No branches to meet in person
Deservedly our best for fees, Better.com has a quick, easy mortgage refinance process that offers you the lowest closing costs, with three-minute pre-approvals and three-week closings. You will save on costs because there's no application, underwriting, or origination fees. It offers instant loan estimates and transparency. Online approval can take as little as three minutes. Better.com also offers title and homeowners insurances.
Its refinance rates range from 2.5% to 3.75% on a 30-year fixed, and 1.875% to 2.625% on a 15-year fixed. You’ll need to buy points to hit the lowest rates, however. Their refinance products do not include adjustable-rate products, FHA, or other government-backed mortgage programs.
Better.com refinances in every state as long as you meet their minimum 620 credit score requirement.
Better.com started in 2014 and partnered with California originator Avex Funding, which specialized in both prime and jumbo mortgages. Better.com acquired Avex Funding in 2015 and began offering digital loans. It is approved as a Fannie Mae seller and servicer, can offer FHA loans, and has relationships with 17 top mortgage investors like Goldman Sachs, American Express, and Citibank, making it easy to offer several different products for its customers. Since acquiring Avex, Better.com dropped jumbo mortgage servicing to concentrate on loans aimed for low- to median-income customers.
Best for Veterans : Navy Federal Credit Union
Benefits like their rate match guarantee, their Military Choice program for veterans who have exhausted their VA loan benefit, and their free rate lock are just a few of the reasons why NFCU is the best mortgage refinance company for veterans.
Military Choice program for those who have used their VA loan benefit
Rate lock protects against rising rates
They do not sell their loans
Rate match guarantee
Must be a member of NFCU
Rates for refinance loans where the existing lender is not NFCU are subject to a 0.750% higher rate
One of the top VA loan lenders, Navy Federal Credit Union (NFCU) can do so much more for veterans who want to refinance their mortgage than simply offering the VA loan program. With programs like Military Choice, rate match guarantee, and rate lock, Navy Federal is our favorite choice for veterans.
Their Military Choice program provides similar rates and terms to the VA loan program for those who have used their VA loan benefit. Rate lock keeps your rate the same during the application if rates rise. If rates fall, you have 60 days to relock at the lower rate.
Their VA loans carry interest rates as low as 2.250%, APRs as low as 2.718%, with 10- to 30-year terms. These rates require a 1% loan origination fee, but that can be waived for a 0.25% increase in interest rate if you choose. A $250,000 VA loan refinanced to 15 years at 2.250% interest and 2.718% APR will have a monthly principal and interest payment of $1,637.
Their Military Choice program has interest rates as low as 4%, APRs as low as 4.276%, and 16- to 30-year terms. While not as low as the VA loan, this is a very competitive refinance program for veterans who have exhausted their VA loan option.
You need to be a member of Navy Federal Credit Union to qualify for their refinance programs. You can qualify to join NFCU if you fall into one of these categories:
- Active duty, retired, or veterans of any branch of the U.S. armed forces
- Families and members of those individuals' households (includes grandparents and grandchildren)
- Department of Defense employees, contractors, retirees, and annuitants
NFCU performs thorough underwriting, so they consider everything from earnings and debt to loan repayment history. While they do not have a set credit minimum, the lowest mortgage interest rates are reserved for applicants with a credit score of at least 740 and a debt-to-income ratio (DTI) below 36%.
Most home types qualify, including mobile and manufactured homes. There are a few minimum requirements on the latter for NFCU to refinance:
- Home must be permanently fixed to the land, wheels, axels, hitches removed
- Permanent water and sewer connections
- The land and home must be taxed together
- Must be built after June 15, 1976, and be a minimum of 600 square feet
Customer service options include 24/7 phone support, online chat and social media, secure email, and in-person at a branch. NFCU lends in 50 states and has branches worldwide wherever there is a military installation.
Navy Federal Credit Union was formed in 1933 and has grown to 10 million member-owners. The not-for-profit company was rated the Most Reputable Company in Financial Services for 2019 by Reputation Institute and ranked number one for Customer Experience Among Multi-Channel Banks and Credit Unions in Forrester's 2019 U.S. Customer Experience Index survey.
Read the full Navy Federal Credit Union Review.
Refinancing your home carries potential pros and cons, so it should be based on your current financial and life situation balanced with your future goals. Refinancing could lower your payment and give you a check at closing to use for whatever you want. It also may move you into a fixed rate and consistent payments. Shortening the term may enable you to pay off your home faster.
On the other hand, refinancing does set a new time clock, so if you refinance a loan with 22 years left on it into a new 30-year term, you’ll pay off your home later than the original mortgage. If you shorten your term by refinancing from a fixed-rate 30-year term into a fixed-rate 15-year term, it could raise your monthly payment because your new note is spread across fewer months. There are some closing costs when you refinance, so it’s probably not worth doing if you plan on moving within a few years anyway.
We recommended Quicken Loans over the other winners on this list because they offer a variety of rates, terms, and loan types designed to suit people with different savings, equity, credit scores, and home types.
|Best Mortgage Refinance Companies|
|Lender||Why We Picked It||Where They Lend|
|Quicken Loans||Best Overall||Nationwide|
|Nationwide Home Loans||Best All-in-One Service||California, Colorado, Texas, Idaho, Washington, Oklahoma, Montana, North Dakota|
|AmeriSave Mortgage||Best for Customer Service||Nationwide except New York|
|LenderFi||Best Online Lender||Nationwide except Hawaii, Missouri, Nevada, New York, and Utah|
|Bank of America||Best Bank||Nationwide|
|Alliant Credit Union||Best Credit Union||Nationwide|
|Better.com||Best for Fees||Nationwide|
|Navy Federal Credit Union||Best for Veterans||Nationwide, worldwide wherever there is a U.S. military installation|
What Is Mortgage Refinancing?
Mortgage refinancing occurs when a homeowner applies to a lender for a new mortgage on their existing property. At the closing for the refinance, the new lender pays off the debt owed to the former lender. The homeowner now has a new mortgage note with the new lender.
There are two types of mortgage refinances. One is called cash-out, the other rate-and-term. If the homeowner qualifies for a cash-out refinance, the new lender is giving them cash back at their closing based on the equity they had already built up in the former mortgage balance. A rate-and-term refinance allows the homeowner to get into a new mortgage that has a lower rate and a new term length compared to their previous contract.
Is Mortgage Refinancing a Good Idea?
Mortgage refinancing is a good idea under many circumstances, such as if you have an adjustable-rate mortgage and a lender gives you the opportunity to move into a fixed rate so that you have a predictable principal and interest payment for the life of the loan. In addition to predictable payment, you’ll most likely refinance if it lowers your monthly payment, too.
Another reason is that you may want to pay off your home faster. If so, a refinance could move you from a mortgage that has, say, 24 years remaining on its term, into a new 15-year mortgage. With all of these upsides to a refinance, it’s considered a good financial move to refinance your home to either get rid of a HELOC you may have or, if you specifically do a cash-out refinance, you can use that cash from your equity to fund a home improvement project.
What Costs Are Involved in Refinancing My Mortgage?
The costs involved in refinancing your mortgage typically include application, origination, and processing fees, as well as an appraisal to verify the value of your home, which affects the size of your new mortgage and the potential amount of cash you can take out. These fees are either paid out of pocket or they may be rolled into your new loan. If they are rolled into your new loan, these fees will be deducted from the cash-out you were expecting.
It’s important to compare refinance lenders because they set most of their own fees, so it is worth your time to shop around. There are lenders who don’t charge application, lender, and origination fees, so don’t accept them as a standard cost everywhere you go.
How We Chose the Best Mortgage Refinancing Companies
We reviewed 18 refinance companies to select these best seven. We made sure their rates were competitive and we preferred lenders with lower fees than the competition. Except in a few cases, we favored lenders who were licensed nationwide. The lenders that we awarded as best-in-class in a category but don’t lend nationwide made our list because they had an offering that really set the bar high.
We wanted our best refinance lenders to offer a variety of term lengths, fixed and variable rate choices, accepted lower credit score minimums, and financed several types of homes. To be determined as one of the best, they need to be inclusive of homeowners with different financial situations and home types. As always, customer service ratings, convenience, and reputation needed to be stronger than the competition to win one of our categories.