Best Mortgage Lenders for Missouri First Time Home Buyers

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Contributor, Benzinga
February 18, 2022

It’s important to understand the mortgage process before you buy a home in Missouri. Getting a mortgage can seem like an intimidating and daunting process, but it doesn’t have to be. Check out Benzinga’s guide to mortgages and 5 of the best mortgage companies for first time buyers so you’ll get the best one for you.

Best Mortgage Lenders in Missouri for First Time Home Buyers

Not all mortgage lenders are created equally. Here are some of our favorite lenders for first time buyers.

The Housing Market in Missouri: An Overview

Like most of the country, Missouri’s housing market is currently a competitive sellers’ market. But that doesn’t mean you can’t find a great deal! The first step is to get familiar with the neighborhoods you’re interested in buying in.

Total Households: 2,194,594

Median List Price: $184,900

3 Most Expensive Cities in Missouri to Buy a House:

  • Ladue
  • Warson Woods
  • Clayton

3 Most Affordable Cities in Missouri to Buy a House:

  • Bonne Terre
  • Park Hills
  • St. Ann

Preparing for a Mortgage

Applying for a mortgage can be a confusing and stressful process. You can make the process simpler by researching and preparing your application materials before you contact any lenders. Most lenders today aim to provide an easy and intuitive online application process.

Finding a lender that makes you feel comfortable throughout the process is one of the best ways to make the application less stressful for you.

First, you’re going to need to apply to get pre-approved or prequalified for a mortgage — a pre-approval is a letter from a lender that indicates how much of a loan you can qualify for after it reviews your financial history. A lender will pull your credit report and score, which they may not do for a prequalification. This will show sellers that a reputable lender has verified your finances.

Next, you’ll want to take your pre-approval letter to a real estate agent. Your pre-approval letter will help you determine the budget range for your home and allow your real estate agent to only show you homes within that range.

There are several documents you will need when you apply for a mortgage, including:

  • Income information: You will need to provide proof of income for each borrower to your lender. This includes copies of your W2, pay stubs and tax returns. You will also need to provide information about any debts you currently owe. Lenders will be able to calculate your debt-to-income ratio from this information.
  • Proof of assets: Lenders will want information about your assets to get a better understanding of your financial standing. You will need to provide a few months of bank statements that show the balance of all of your accounts. This includes checking accounts, savings accounts and any retirement or investment accounts. You can also provide information about any of your other valuable assets, such as vehicles and stocks.
  • Court orders and decrees: Are you divorced? You will need to provide your divorce decree — and you’ll need to provide a court order if you receive child support or alimony. Let’s say you make other payments or have received other settlements. Those documents will be required as well.

Lenders will also run a credit check for every borrower listed on the mortgage application. Your credit report will share information about your current debts, whether or not you make on-time payments and your credit score.

Lenders use this information to determine your reliability. Lenders may offer you a lower interest rate if you have a higher credit score.

LenderMinimum Credit Score Required
Rocket Mortgage®620
Wells Fargo620
PennyMac620

Mortgage Options

There are several mortgage types available to first time homebuyers in Missouri. Not sure which type is right for you? A loan officer at any lender should be able to help you decide which loan type makes sense.

Conventional: Conventional mortgage loans are a popular and accessible mortgage type. These mortgages are not backed by the federal government, which means lenders can set fewer eligibility requirements for these loans. Conventional loans are offered in several terms and repayment options and are ideal for first time buyers who want flexible terms.

FHA: The Federal Housing Administration offers a mortgage insurance program, commonly referred to as an FHA loan. FHA loans might be a good option for you if you’re struggling to come up with a 20% down payment. Most lenders of FHA mortgages require smaller down payments and have a lower minimum credit score requirement.

USDA: The U.S. Department of Agriculture offers USDA loans to eligible buyers who buy in a qualified rural area. Your adjusted household income cannot be more than 115% of the area’s median household income to meet the eligibility requirements for these loans. The home you purchase must also be purchased as a primary residence.

VA: The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs offers VA mortgages to military members and their families. Eligibility requirements apply to VA loans, and you must have served as an active member of the military or the National Guard or Reserves for a certain period of time. You’ll be able to finance 100% of your home purchase if you are approved for a VA mortgage.

Jumbo: Jumbo loans require higher incomes and credit scores from their borrowers. This mortgage type is intended to be used for luxury home purchases or home purchases in competitive housing markets. This will only be an option for you if the price of your home exceeds the limit set by the Federal Finance Housing Agency. This limit adjusts each year and can vary by state, so be sure to familiarize yourself with this information before considering a jumbo mortgage.

First Time Home Buyer Programs in Missouri

You may be eligible for some home buyer assistance programs. All of these programs are available to first time buyers in Missouri:

First Place Loan Program: Designed for first time homebuyers, this program allows buyers to receive financing for their mortgage. It offers affordable interest rates as well as cash assistance for your down payment and closing costs.

Mortgage Credit Certificate Program: This unique program allows income-eligible individuals an opportunity to reduce their federal income tax payments. The program will give you a non-refundable tax credit equal to 25% of the mortgage interest you paid on your home that year for each year you own and live in your first home.

Next Step Program: Available to both first time and repeat homebuyers, this program provides incentives for buyers to move into select areas in Missouri. If you purchase a home in one of these “opportunity areas,” you will receive a slightly better interest rate. This is a great option if you don’t fall within the income limits for the First Place Loan Program. Cash assistance is also available with this program, and it can be used combined with the Mortgage Credit Certificate Program.

Current Mortgage Rates in Missouri

Mortgage rates fluctuate on a regular basis, depending on the current housing market. When the economy is doing well and home purchases are on the rise, you can expect higher mortgage rates. You may be able to get a lower mortgage rate if the market isn’t competitive.

Either way, your specific mortgage rate will depend on your application materials and the mortgage type you select. The information in this chart is updated regularly to reflect the most recent data.

Loan TypeRateAPR
30-year fixed N/A N/A
15-year fixed N/A N/A
7/1 ARM (adjustable rate) N/A N/A
5/1 ARM (adjustable rate) N/A N/A
Rates based on an average home price of $162,464 and a down payment of 20%.
See more mortgage rates on Zillow

Closing a Mortgage

You’ll need to go through the closing process before you move into your new home. Once the seller of your home has accepted your offer, your financing will be secured and finalized. You will enter a negotiation phase with your seller, establish the condition the house will be in when you close as well as your closing date.

Before you can close on the home, you’ll need to arrange a home inspection, appraisal and final approval with your mortgage lender. You’ll also need to purchase homeowners insurance and perform a final walk-through to confirm the condition of the home, usually the day before closing.

Finally, on your closing date, the house will legally become yours and you’ll be free to move in!

LenderAverage Days to Close Loan
Rocket Mortgage®30
Wells Fargo90
PennyMac10

Your Next Steps

Congratulations! You’re ready to move forward in the home buying process. It’s time to start shopping around to narrow down your options and select the right mortgage lender for you. 

Not a first time buyer? You might consider this a good time to get a refinance quote to see if there’s an opportunity for you to lower your mortgage rate.

Get Ready for Take Off

Rocket Mortgage® is an online mortgage experience developed by the firm formerly known as Quicken Loans®, America’s largest mortgage lender. Rocket Mortgage® makes it easy to get a mortgage — you just tell the company about yourself, your home, your finances and Rocket Mortgage® gives you real interest rates and numbers. You can use Rocket Mortgage® to get approved, ask questions about your mortgage, manage your payments and more.

You can work at your own pace and someone is always there to answer your questions — 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Want a fast, convenient way to get a mortgage? Give Rocket Mortgage® a try.