Want to buy a home in Florida? We’ve outlined how to choose the best mortgage lenders in the Sunshine State. Here’s more information you need to know about the mortgage process and how to find the best lender for you.
Get a Mortgage in Florida
Tip: compare 2-3 lenders
The Best Mortgage Lenders in Florida:
- Best for Low Credit Score: Keller
- Best for First Time Home Buyers: Wells Fargo
- Best for Government-Backed Loans: Bank of America
- Best for Quick Closing: PennyMac
- Best for Refinancing: Quicken Loans
- Best for VA Loans: Veterans United
First, it’s important to learn about different mortgage types and term options available to you. A mortgage type relies on several components, including interest rates and length of your loan. Your mortgage term is the length of time you’ll repay your loan. Here are some of the most common mortgage types.
Conventional loans are your standard loan option. This mortgage type is generally the most accessible option for borrowers. Lenders offer conventional loans and they’re not backed by the federal government. For this reason, conventional loans have fewer eligibility requirements.
FHA loans are a mortgage type managed by the Federal Housing Administration. If you are unable to make a large down payment or if you have a lower credit score, FHA loans may be a good option for you. This mortgage type offers down payments as low as 3.5%. Lenders often need to see a credit score of 580 or above for an FHA. But some lenders will accept lower credit scores if you can make a down payment of 10% or more.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs backs VA loans for military members. To qualify for this mortgage type, you must serve as an active member of the military for 90-181 days. Or you may be eligible for a VA loan if you have 6 years of experience as a member of the National Guard or Reserves. VA loans offer borrowers to finance 100% of your home purchase. If you qualify for a VA loan, you’re not required to make a down payment on your home.
A 30-year fixed mortgage term is a steady and reliable option for most borrowers. The interest rate on 30-year fixed mortgages is set at the start of your loan term. You can expect monthly payments that stay the same over the 30-year repayment term.
The interest rate on a 15-year fixed mortgage is also set at the start of the loan. A 15-year mortgage term offers the benefit of paying off your mortgage sooner. Your monthly payments will be higher than with a 30-year mortgage term. But you can expect to pay less over time with a 15-year mortgage term.
A 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgage offers the benefit of both fixed and adjustable mortgage terms. You can expect a fixed interest rate for the first 5 years of your repayment term. After the first 5 years, your interest rate will fluctuate each year for the rest of your mortgage term. The 5/1 ARM is one of many hybrid mortgage terms you may come across. Other common hybrid mortgage terms are 3/1, 7/1 and 10/1 ARMs. Here’s how to understand the meaning of these numbers.
The first number represents how many years you pay a fixed mortgage rate. The second number represents how often your mortgage rate will fluctuate after your fixed-rate term ends. The number 1 in this instance represents an annual change in interest rate.
Which Mortgage Lender is Best for You?
There are many lenders that we could add to a list of best mortgage companies. Contact a few lenders before deciding which one is the best lender for your situation. You’ll want to find a mortgage lender who can offer the mortgage type and terms that’s best for you. Beyond that, you will want to look for these traits in your mortgage lender:
- Customer service: Look for top-notch customer service. You’ll want to ensure that the lender will be there to help when you have a question. Test out a lender’s customer service by contacting it via phone and email. Ask questions about your lender’s mortgage lending process. Do you feel comfortable with the lender’s service? It’s a good sign that the lender will be reliable if you choose that company.
- Personalization: Be sure your lender gives you personalized attention. If a lender and its loan officers are willing to work with you to discuss your mortgage options, this is a good sign. A good lender should be willing to answer any questions you have and point you in the right direction. You might want to look for a new lender if you’re getting the same canned answers to every question you ask.
- Resources: A lender should offer many resources on its website. Many lenders offer resources — mortgage calculators, answers to FAQs and other helpful tips. Check to see if your lender offers first-time homebuyer education resources.
Lender Credit Score Minimums in Florida
Lenders take a close look at your credit score when they consider whether to approve you for a mortgage. Your credit score is the number on your credit report that tells a lender how reliable you are when you repay your debts. If your score is too low, lenders may not approve your application.
Your credit score may be well above the minimum requirements — lenders may be able to offer you a lower mortgage rate.
|Lender||Minimum Credit Score Required|
|Bank of America||620|
Current Mortgage Rates in Florida
Mortgage rates fluctuate, much like stocks on the stock market do. Mortgage-backed securities and traded like stocks. The current state of the economy drives the housing market.
You may want to watch mortgage rates to know when to commit to a mortgage rate. Benzinga monitors mortgage rate fluctuations and updates current mortgage rate charts.
|Loan Type||Current Mortgage Rate|
|5/1 ARM (adjustable rate)||3.63%|
Average Days to Close on a Loan
Once a seller accepts your offer, the closing process will begin. The first part of the closing process is the negotiation stage. A home inspection and appraisal determine any issues with the home. Once you and the seller have settled on any changes, you will move onto the paperwork stage of the process.
Finalize financing with your lender, make the necessary payments and sign closing documentation. Once this is complete and the house title transfers, you’ll know when you can move into your new home.
The 6 Best Mortgage Companies in Florida
There’s a mortgage lender for every borrower and situation. Whether you’re looking for a lender for first time home buyers or for a government-backed loan, here’s a great list of lenders.
1. Keller Mortgage: Best for Low Credit Score
Keller Mortgage is one of the few lenders that has a minimum credit score requirement under 620. This lender is also a great option for personalized customer service and in-house programs that will benefit you.
Keller Mortgage’s ZeroPlus program offers low mortgage rates with 0 origination or lender fees. This program can also help you qualify for $1,000 at closing to use for 3rd party closing costs.
2. Wells Fargo: Best for First-Time Buyers
Wells Fargo offers plenty of resources — it’s a great option for first-time buyers. It also offers unique programs to further assist first-time buyers. Wells Fargo offers a First Mortgage loan program for low-to-moderate-income first-time buyers.
You can spend as little as 3% on a down payment and receive assistance with your closing costs. You can access Wells Fargo through its branch locations, phone and online customer service teams.
3. Bank of America: Best for Government-Backed Loans
Bank of America offers convenient online mortgage options combined with in-person assistance. Government-backed mortgages tend to have more eligibility requirements than other mortgage types.
Chances are, you can find a Bank of America branch location nearby.
If you prefer to get your answers online, Bank of America’s email and chat options are also available.
4. PennyMac: Best for Quick Closing
PennyMac is one of the largest direct mortgage lenders in the country.
It offers several mortgage types, including fixed and adjustable-rate mortgages, FHA, VA, USDA and jumbo loans.
It also offers flexible qualification guidelines to fit the needs of most borrowers. PennyMac’s average time to close a loan is only 10 days. It’s a great lender if you need to close on a new home soon.
5. Quicken Loans: Best for Refinancing
Quicken Loans is a great lender for internet-savvy borrowers who want a digital mortgage application experience.
This lender can also offer you a quick personalized refinance quote on your home.
This process can help you get an idea of the potential savings you could have if you decide to refinance. Quicken Loans also offers excellent customer service.
6. Veterans United: Best for VA Loans
If you’ve logged some time in the military, Veterans United’s loans will likely be the best deal. Unlike other veteran-marketed loan programs, Veterans United only accepts active duty and veteran military members.
In addition to no-down-payment loans, you’ll also eliminate the private mortgage insurance you’ll have to pay with other mortgages.
Veterans United is also more forgiving of lower credit scores. Interest rates are lower than average.
Your Next Step to Home Ownership
Now that you’ve got all the information, you’re ready for the next step. Get a purchase quote from several lenders to compare mortgage rates and types. From there, you will be able to narrow down lenders until you can select the right one for you.
Don’t forget, your relationship with your lender will last for years to come. Be sure to choose a lender who can help make the mortgage process as seamless as possible.
Frequently Asked Questions
1) Q: How do I get pre-approved?
First, you need to fill out an application and submit it to the lender of your choice. For the application you need 2 previous years of tax returns including your W-2’s, your pay stub for past month, 2 months worth of bank statements and the lender will run your credit report. Once the application is submitted and processed it takes anywhere from 2-7 days to be approved or denied. Check out our top lenders and lock in your rate today!
2) Q: How much interest will I pay?
Interest that you will pay is based on the interest rate that you received at the time of loan origination, how much you borrowed and the term of the loan. If you borrow $208,800 at 3.62% then over the course of a 30-year loan you will pay $133,793.14 in interest, assuming you make the monthly payment of $951.65. For a purchase mortgage rate get a quote here. If you are looking to refinance you can get started quickly here.
3) Q: How much should I save for a down payment?
Most lenders will recommend that you save at least 20% of the cost of the home for a down payment. It is wise to save at least 20% because the more you put down, the lower your monthly payment will be and ultimately you will save on interest costs as well. In the event that you are unable to save 20% there are several home buyer programs and assistance, especially for first-time buyers. Check out the lenders that specialize in making the home buying experience a breeze.