The Best Jumbo Mortgage Lenders of 2019
Jumbo mortgages are conventional mortgages with loan amounts that exceed limits set by government-sponsored entities Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Their loan limits vary in different parts of the country and tend to rise and fall based on home prices.
For most of the country, jumbo loans are used for a loan amount that’s higher than $484,350. In certain high-cost areas usually located near larger cities, that high-balance threshold can increase to $726,525 before crossing into “jumbo loan” territory.
LendingTree reviewed data from hundreds of lenders that offer 30-year fixed-rate jumbo purchase mortgages to come up with the top five lenders of 2019. Our ratings are based primarily on the interest rate terms offered to borrowers on LendingTree over the last 12 months. Then, we take into account the quality of information each lender provides on their websites. You can read up on our full methodology below.
Here are the top five lenders for 30-year fixed rate jumbo purchase loans in 2019:
| Rocket Mortgage
Rocket Mortgage was introduced in 2015 as a completely online mortgage platform for Quicken Loans. Quicken Loans was founded in 1985 under the original name of Rock Financial, and is headquartered in Detroit.
Rocket Mortgage offered a median 30-year fixed-rate jumbo purchase mortgage rate of 4.49% on the LendingTree platform.
The homepage of the website provides a variety of different tabs with helpful homebuying and mortgage application tips. The Mortgage Resources tab features homebuying articles, loan type information, mortgage basics and refinancing tips.
The FAQ section provides answers to questions consumers are most likely to have regarding the mortgage application process. There are no mortgage calculators, but the “Apply online” button is easy to find, and there are chat options available by clicking on the “Talk to us” tab on the homepage.
| The Federal Savings Bank
The Federal Savings Bank is a federally chartered bank with the ability to finance mortgages in all 50 states. In addition to home loan programs, the bank offers deposit products such as checking, savings, CDs and money market accounts.
The Federal Savings Bank offered a median 30-year fixed jumbo purchase rate of 4.50% on the LendingTree platform.
The bank’s website provides detailed mortgage product information on the homepage, with even more info available by clicking through to each type of loan program offered. Consumers can also find many informational articles under the mortgage section of the website.
The Federal Savings Bank also provides a wide array of mortgage calculator options, as well as investment calculator options for topics as unique as how to save a million dollars. These tools provide additional value to a customer who might be searching for information on how to save for a down payment.
There is no “Apply now” button, but the “Get started” button takes the consumer to an online mortgage application portal.
| Citizens Bank
Citizens Bank was established in 1871 as Citizens Savings Bank. Citizens Bank is headquartered in Providence, R.I., and offers retail and commercial banking products as well as mortgage loans.
Citizens Bank offered a median 30-year fixed jumbo purchase rate of 4.52% on the LendingTree platform.
The mortgage options for Citizens Bank are featured under the Home and Personal Lending tab on the homepage of the website. It takes a few clicks to get to the loan products Citizens Bank offers — they are featured under the “Buy a home” and “Refinance a home” sections of the website.
Mortgage calculators and basic mortgage information can also be found on these pages. There is an “Apply now” button on the homepage, but this is not for mortgage applications. The “Get started” button appears on the Buy a Home and Refinance a Home pages, allowing a consumer to fill out a contact form, where a “Citizens Bank chat specialist” inquires about your needs.
| James. B. Nutter & Company
James. B. Nutter & Company was founded in 1951, and is headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri. The company offers mortgage loans in all 50 states.
James B. Nutter offered a median 30-year fixed jumbo purchase rate of 4.52% on the LendingTree platform.
The homepage features information about loan programs and types under the Home Loans tab, with informative explanations about which loans are the best for specific lending needs. The homepage has three helpful categories covering the basics of purchasing, refinancing and a very informative and detailed section specifically covering VA loans.
While there are no mortgage calculators on the site, the informational guides and FAQs cover a wide variety of topics to aid consumers in understanding the pros and cons of the different loan types. There is an “Apply to purchase” and “Apply to refinance” tab on the homepage that is easy to find.
| CrossCountry Mortgage, Inc.
CrossCountry Mortgage, Inc. started doing business in 2003 and is headquartered in Brecksville, Ohio. The company has branches across the United States.
Their website provides some of the best informational content and customer tools of any site reviewed. Customers looking for detailed information about programs, terms and specialized programs like home equity conversion loans (better known as reverse mortgages) and FHA 203(k) loans (also known as renovation loans) will find well-written, detailed articles about these programs to help them make an informed decision about viable mortgage options for them.
The Mortgage Resource tab includes mortgage articles, videos, mortgage calculators and a glossary of terms covering a wide range of mortgage and homebuying or homeownership-related topics. The “Apply now” button is easy to find for a customer wanting to take the next step and fill out an application online.
How we choose our “best” lenders
Our “best” winners aren’t chosen based on rate alone, but also with a unique rating developed by our editorial staff called “Online Information Quality,” or OIQ. We’ve taken extra time to review the information you can access online, including how easy it is to access loan product information and mortgage tools like mortgage calculators, and to fill out a loan application.
To determine the best 30-year fixed jumbo purchase lenders, we analyzed data from actual loan terms offered by lenders to borrowers on LendingTree. We chose the top five lenders by rate for the last 12 months. Then we selected for lenders that originate mortgages in at least 25 states. From that list, we gave each lender an OIQ rating based on answers to the following when accessing the lender’s main website. One point was given for each yes answer.
Is there general product information on the website?
If the website features both basic terms of the loan (30-year, 15-year, adjustable rates) and program offerings (FHA, Conventional, FHA, VA), it scores a full point.
Is the general home loan information easy to find?
If the information is available within two clicks on the homepage, it scores an extra point, since a consumer will be able to get the information easily without having to search extensively through the site.
Are there any education tools (e.g., loan calculators) on the page or at least one click away from the homepage?
Mortgage calculators, home value estimators and other tools help consumers to make educated decisions, so landing pages that feature them score an additional OIQ point.
Is it easy to find the “apply now” button?
Mortgage users in the digital age want a quick online way to apply for a mortgage, so if the “Apply now” button is easy to find on the homepage, it will be easy for a consumer to apply once they have the information they need to proceed to the next step in the mortgage process.
Tips for shopping for a 30-year fixed jumbo purchase mortgage
Unlike conforming loans, jumbo loans don’t have set underwriting guidelines. Some lenders may specialize in alternative income verification loans, or loans that are based purely on the amount your total assets are worth. Down payments requirements may be as low as 10%, while others may require more depending on your credit score and type of documentation you are providing for approval.
If you have complex tax returns with multiple business streams, you may want to opt for a jumbo loan that only requires bank statements to calculate your income, rather than business and personal tax returns. Other jumbo lenders, especially institutional lenders, may offer your best rate if you are willing to carry a large balance of deposits in savings or investment accounts with the bank.
Tip 1: Know your three Cs
In the world of mortgage underwriting, the “three Cs” are credit, capacity and collateral. These three factors can result in the approval or decline of any mortgage application, so before you get started, you need to know how each of them relates to your financial situation.
To get an accurate rate quote on any mortgage product, you need to know your credit scores. Lenders analyze if you’ve made on-time payments, how much credit you have, how long you’ve had it and which types of credit you have.
Jumbo loans generally require higher credit scores of 740 or more, although many jumbo lenders now offer financing for lower credit scores.
Capacity is a measure of the income you earn every month compared with how much total debt you’ll have once your potential new house payment is factored in. This is more commonly referred to as your debt-to-income ratio (DTI), and it’s calculated by dividing your total monthly debt by your before-tax income.
If you are applying for a jumbo purchase loan, most lenders will require a DTI of 45% or less. Again, because there is no uniform standard for jumbo underwriting, you may find a lender willing to exceed the 45% DTI if you shop around.
When it comes to a jumbo loan, the other capacity calculation important to a lender is your loan to value ratio (LTV). This calculates the total percentage of loan you are borrowing compared with your home’s value. The most common down payment requirement is 20%, although some jumbo lenders may allow as little as a 10% down payment.
The term collateral relates to the type of property you are buying. Purchasing a condominium or manufactured home comes with different rules than buying a single-family residence, and to get an accurate rate quote, you’ll need to make sure you price your rate based on the type of property you are buying.
Keep in mind that the higher your LTV, usually the higher the rate, so if your appraised value is lower than what you estimated, the costs and interest rate could go up.
One note about jumbo loans: If you make a minimum down payment, or opt for a “low document or nontraditional income documentation” loan, the lender may require more than one appraisal to confirm the value of the property you are buying.
Tip 2: Know the loan programs you qualify for
Unlike conforming conventional or government-backed loans, there is no agency setting the rules for what it takes to get approved. Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHA and VA set the guidelines that lenders must follow when offering these traditional loan types, while jumbo loan guidelines may vary wildly.
You may need a year’s worth of reserves, a lower DTI, higher credit scores or all of the above to be approved for jumbo financing. Comparison shopping is essential, because jumbo lenders often specialize in serving certain jumbo lending niches, and you may not be getting your best pricing or terms if you haven’t shopped around at least three lenders.
Tip 3: Get your rate quotes on the same day, in writing
Interest rates and the costs associated with them fluctuate on a daily, sometimes hourly basis. In order to get an apples-to-apples comparison, you also need to make sure you provide the same information to each lender.
Tip 4: Only compare the lender fees when making your decision
Loan estimates contain a lot of information about the costs associated with a mortgage, but the only items you’ll want to consider as you are shopping for a jumbo loan is the lender fees. These can include origination, discount, underwriting, processing, appraisals and credit reports.
Ignore costs like title fees, prepaid interest, property taxes and homeowners insurance and mortgage insurance — those fees will be the same regardless of the lender you choose. One helpful tip: Even though your mortgage company may have a preferred title company, you aren’t required to use them, so be sure you shop around a few title companies to make sure the fees are competitive.
When it’s time to make the final decision, you’ll want to consider a few things besides the final rate and costs.
- Fast closing times: You will probably need to plan for a slightly longer closing timeline for a jumbo loan. This is especially true if you are taking out a loan with reduced income documentation requirements, or getting approved for an asset only loan.
- Personalized service: Some customers still prefer a face-to-face meeting with someone, so take this into consideration if you are only talking to online lenders. It’s possible you’ll be working with multiple people during the process, so if you want one person to guide you through the process, you may want to choose a local bank or a real estate agent-referred lender.
- Get the lock in writing: Be sure to request your rate lock in writing. This is pretty common practice now, but until you receive confirmation of the lock, usually by email, your rate may still be subject to change as the financial markets change.
Find out if you can lock before approval: Because jumbo loans are made by private investors, you may not be able to lock your loan until your loan is approved. If interest rates are volatile, your final rate may be different from the initial rate you are quoted.
The information in this article is accurate as of the date of publishing.
Mortgage Wire Fraud: What It is and How to Prevent It
January 25, 2020
Cybercriminals scammed more than 11,000 Americans out of nearly $150 million through mortgage wire fraud in 2018, according to the FBI. Even homeowners looking to refinance are at risk, but …