Best Mortgage Lenders for First Time Home Buyers in Oregon

Benzinga Money is a reader-supported publication. We may earn a commission when you click on links in this article. Learn more.

Before you buy your first home, it’s a great idea to familiarize yourself with mortgages to find out which mortgage type is right for you. We’ve put together this guide for first time home buyers in Oregon to help you get started.

Get a Mortgage in Oregon
Tip: compare 2-3 lenders

The Best Mortgage Lenders for First Time Home Buyers in Oregon:

The Housing Market in Oregon: An Overview

Understanding the housing market before you get started can help you find the best area to purchase your home. Here are some helpful statistics:

  • Total households: 1,333,723
  • Median list price: $359,000

3 most expensive cities in Oregon to buy a house:

  • Lake Oswego
  • Rivergrove
  • St. Paul

3 most affordable cities in Oregon to buy a house:

  • Baker City
  • Hermiston
  • Umatilla

Preparing for a Mortgage

It’s important to put together an accurate picture of your financial situation when you begin to prepare for a mortgage. Lenders will want to see a couple of financial numbers: 

  • Your credit score, a three-digit number that shows how reliably you’ve borrowed money in the past. Your credit score is affected by a number of factors, including your payment history and the amount of credit you have available. 
  • Your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio, which shows how much debt you have relative to your income. You can calculate your DTI ahead of time by dividing your current monthly debt payments by your gross monthly income. Most lenders require borrowers to have a DTI that’s at 43% or less.

You should also gather the documents you will need during your application process. These include:

  • Income information: You can expect lenders to ask for financial information that will prove that you can afford your mortgage payments. Be ready to show W-2 forms, tax returns and pay stubs from the past 2 years when you submit your application.
  • Information about assets: Lenders will also want to proof of other financial means. You can expect to submit statements from any bank accounts — checking, savings, retirement and investment accounts. You can also provide information about other valuable items that you own, including your vehicles.
  • Additional information: Depending on your situation, lenders may require additional documents beyond the basic income and asset information. If you receive or make payments not included in your financial documents, you’ll need to gather information about those. This includes court orders for alimony and child support payments.
LenderMinimum Credit Score Required
Quicken Loans620
Keller Mortgage600
Wells Fargo620
New American Funding620
guaranteed Rate620

Mortgage Options

It’s important to consider several different mortgage types before you decide which mortgage option is best for you. Remember, most lenders don’t offer all of these mortgage options. Be sure the lender you decide to work with offers the mortgage type you want to apply for.

  • Conventional loans: Conventional mortgages are one of the most widely available mortgage types. These mortgages are offered directly by lenders, so they typically have fewer eligibility requirements than government-backed mortgages. Conventional mortgages are offered in both adjustable and fixed mortgage rates. These mortgages can have terms that range from 5 to 30 years. Your lender will work with you to decide which repayment option is best for you if you decide to get a conventional mortgage.
  • FHA loans: The Federal Housing Administration offers a mortgage insurance program to qualified buyers. This mortgage type is an attractive option for many first-time buyers — you may be able to make less of a down payment on your home. Most lenders offer down payments as low as 3.5% of your home’s purchase price with FHA mortgages.
  • USDA loans: USDA mortgages are offered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to home buyers in qualified rural areas. Many lenders of USDA mortgages offer flexible minimum credit score requirements and lower-than-market interest rates. If you qualify for a USDA mortgage, you may also benefit from 0% down payments.
  • VA loans: VA loans are offered by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. To qualify, you must meet certain eligibility requirements. If you’re a veteran, you must have been enrolled in the military for a minimum period of time. You may also qualify if you are the spouse of a veteran who has passed away in the line of duty or due to a service-related disability. VA loans include 0% down payments. 
  • Jumbo loans: Jumbo loans are intended for buyers who are interested in a more expensive home or a home in a highly competitive market. The Federal Finance Housing Agency sets maximum financing limits each year, and lenders must abide by these guidelines when they lend money for mortgages. You’ll need to apply for a jumbo mortgage when you take out a loan that exceeds these limits. Most lenders will require you to have a higher credit score and income level than the standard requirements.

First Time Home Buyer Programs in Oregon

As a first-time home buyer in Oregon, you may be eligible for some of Oregon’s first-time home buyer programs. These programs include:

  • Down Payment Assistance Program: You may be eligible for assistance from this program if you have completed a homeownership education course. The benefits of this program include an award of up to $15,000. This money may be used toward your down payment and/or closing costs on your home.
  • Oregon Bond Residential Loan Program: Oregon Housing and Community Services runs this program to help Oregon residents buy their first home. Eligible borrowers have a choice between 2 options with this program. You can choose the cash advantage, which offers cash assistance equal to 3% of your loan amount to help with your closing costs. This option also comes with a low fixed interest rate. The other option is a rate advantage, which offers the lowest fixed rate possible to maximize your home purchasing power.

Current Mortgage Rates in Oregon

Your mortgage rate is the interest rate that you will pay on your mortgage. Your lender will offer you a mortgage rate based on many factors, including your credit score and the mortgage type you select.

There are 2 main mortgage rate types. A fixed-rate mortgage means that your mortgage rate will be decided when you finalize your loan and will not change. An adjustable-rate mortgage means that the mortgage rate you start with is not set in stone. Your mortgage rate may fluctuate many times throughout the lifetime of your loan. 

Mortgage rates change frequently. If the housing market is competitive, interest rates may increase. If the housing market is moving slowly, you may be able to find lower interest rates.

Benzinga routinely monitors current mortgage rates and updates this chart to reflect the most recent data.

Loan Type Current Mortgage Rate
30-year fixed 3.63%
15-year fixed 3.161%
5/1 ARM (adjustable rate) 3.48%
Rates based on an average home price of $361,970 and a down payment of 20%.
See more mortgage rates on Zillow

Closing a Mortgage

You’ll enter the closing process once you’ve found your home. This starts when the seller accepts the offer you’ve made on the home. You should then arrange a home inspection and appraisal. The inspection will identify any potential issues and the appraisal will help you understand the home’s value. After these are completed, you can negotiate with the seller to decide if there are any home repairs or updates that need to happen before you finalize your purchase. 

Next, you’ll secure and finalize your mortgage financing with your lender. Make the required payments, including your down payment on the home. 

Before your closing date, you will perform a final walkthrough to confirm that the home is in the condition you and the seller agreed upon. On your closing date, the home will officially become yours!

LenderAverage Days to Close Loan
Quicken Loans30
Keller Mortgage30
Wells Fargo90
New American Funding30
guaranteed Rate30

6 Best Mortgage Lenders in Oregon for First-Time Buyers

When you start the mortgage process, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the best mortgage companies. The lenders mentioned below are some of our top picks for first-time buyers.

1. Best Overall: Quicken Loans

Quicken Loans is a digital lender that offers a quick, easy online application process.

This is one of our favorite lenders for first-time buyers because its website offers a wide range of resources to answer common questions and guide you through the mortgage process.

Quicken Loans is also known for its responsive and helpful customer service — a must-have for first-time buyers.

2. Best for Low Credit Score: Keller Mortgage

Keller Mortgage offers the benefit of a lower minimum credit score requirement than most lenders. This can be especially helpful for first-time buyers who may not have a long credit history.

Keller Mortgage also offers agents who can help you find the best programs to help you save money on your mortgage. Its exclusive ZeroPlus program offers low rates with no origination or lender fees.

You may also receive $1,000 at closing that can go toward your closing costs. 

3. Best for First Time Home Buyer Programs: Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo is a popular mortgage option if you’re more comfortable with an in-person mortgage process.

Wells Fargo also offers programs specifically for first-time buyers on a low-to-moderate income. Its First Mortgage loan program offers the opportunity to spend as little as 3% of your home’s purchase price on your down payment.

If you complete a home buyer education course, this program may also offer you a $750 credit toward your closing costs.

4. Best for Flexible Requirements: New American Funding

New American Funding is a great lender to contact if you’re unsure whether you meet the standard mortgage requirements. Its mortgage application process includes the opportunity to submit a personal statement to explain your financial history.

You can use this to explain why you may not meet the standard requirements and let the lender know that you will be a reliable borrower. This can be a helpful option if you’re self-employed or haven’t had the time to build up a stable credit history. 

5. Best for FHA Loans: guaranteed Rate

Online lender Guaranteed Rate has several office locations throughout Oregon.

We recommend this lender for FHA loans because it can be helpful to receive in-person assistance when you apply for government-backed loans.

Guaranteed Rate offers low rates and down payments as low as 3.5% on its FHA loans. 

6. Best for VA Loans: Veterans United

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

Take the Next Step Toward Home Ownership

Now that you’re familiar with mortgage types and some of your lender options, it’s time for you to get a purchase quote or refinance quote. After you’ve done this, you can move onto your preapproval process with the lender of your choice.

Frequently Asked Questions

1) Q: How do I get pre-approved?

1
1) Q: How do I get pre-approved?
asked
1

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!

answered

2) Q: How much interest will I pay?

1
2) Q: How much interest will I pay?
asked
1

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.

answered

3) Q: How much should I save for a down payment?

1
3) Q: How much should I save for a down payment?
asked
1

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.

answered