Low- and No-Down-Payment Mortgages: The Best Lenders in 2020

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With record-low mortgage rates amidst the market's response to the coronavirus crisis, aspiring homeowners are wondering whether now is a good time to buy and which mortgage programs make homebuying most accessible. If you're looking to become a homeowner but don't have 20 percent saved for a down payment, know that you still have a variety of options through major lenders. Along with conventional mortgage programs, you may qualify for the Federal Housing Administration or Veterans Affairs loan programs and pay anywhere from nothing to 10 percent, depending on the program and your financial situation. Here are five top lenders offering such programs this year.

Rocket Mortgage: Best for All-Digital Application Experience

Known for making applying for a mortgage as easy as using a mobile app, Rocket Mortgage services all states and ranks highly for its convenient online experience. Known as the online solution for Quicken Loans, this company lets you use its app or website to message mortgage professionals, upload documents and even sign most of the pre-closing documents. The lender offers variety with its mortgage programs so that you can put down nothing for a VA loan or as little as 3 percent for a conventional loan. Rocket Mortgage also supports FHA loans with as little as 3.5 percent down. It also offers a loan customization option called YOURgage along with Jumbo mortgages.

  • Programs offered: VA, FHA, conventional and Jumbo
  • Down payment percent: 0 percent for VA, 3.5 to 10 percent for FHA, 3 percent for conventional, and 10 percent for Jumbo
  • Minimum credit score: 580 for FHA, 700 for Jumbo and 620 for others
  • Current interest rates: 3.125 percent for 15-year fixed conventional, 4.125 percent for 30-year fixed conventional and FHA, and 4.25 percent for 30-year fixed VA

Citibank: Good for First-Time Homebuyers

If you're a first-time homebuyer who prefers a lender that allows you to handle the loan application at a branch rather than just online, then Citibank can fit the bill. The lender especially works well with low-income borrowers due to its no- and low-down-payment mortgage programs such as the 0 percent VA, 3.5 percent FHA and 3 percent conventional options. Citibank can also help borrowers with nontraditional credit histories since it looks at other data. If you're already a customer with the bank, then you can be eligible for discounts on your interest rate and closing costs for more savings.

  • Programs offered: VA, FHA, conventional and Jumbo
  • Down payment percent: 0 percent for VA, 3.5 to 10 percent for FHA, 3 percent for conventional and 5 percent for Jumbo
  • Minimum credit score: 580 for FHA and 620 for others
  • Current interest rates: 3.375 to 3.75 percent for 15-year fixed and 4.25 to 4.5 percent for 30-year fixed conventional; the rate for government loan programs aren't listed

Bank of America: Good for Assistance Programs

As a traditional bank with a solid online application process, Bank of America offers no- and low-down-payment mortgage options for first-time and repeat homebuyers. Along with offering VA, FHA and conventional programs with low down payments from nothing to 3.5 percent, Bank of America works with regional grant programs that can help you get up to 3 percent of the home's price for your down payment or $7,500 in closing cost assistance. You can get further discounts for being a customer and can use alternative credit data if necessary to qualify for a loan.

  • Programs offered: VA, FHA, conventional and Jumbo
  • Down payment percent: 0 percent for VA, 3.5 to 10 percent for FHA and 3 percent for conventional; down payment for Jumbo loans isn't listed
  • Minimum credit score: 580 for FHA and 620 for others
  • Current interest rates: 3.00 percent for 15-year fixed and 3.75 percent for 30-year fixed conventional; rates for government programs aren't shown

PNC: Good for Low-Income Borrowers

If you've got little money to put down but want to avoid costly mortgage insurance, PNC is a traditional bank that can possibly help you finance your home. This bank lets you get a digital pre-approval online for its conventional fixed-rate mortgage programs requiring just a 3 percent down payment. At the same time, it offers low-down-payment FHA loans for those with low incomes and zero-down VA loans. To qualify more easily, PNC will look at nontraditional income and offers its PNC Community loan program that lets you waive the mortgage insurance if you're willing to pay a higher interest rate.

  • Programs offered: VA, FHA, conventional and Jumbo
  • Down payment percent: 0 percent for VA, 3.5 to 10 percent for FHA, 3 percent for conventional and 10.11 percent for Jumbo
  • Minimum credit score: 580 for FHA, 660 for the PNC Community loan program and 620 for others
  • Current interest rates: 2.750 percent for 15-year fixed conventional, 3.625 percent for 30-year fixed conventional and 3.125 percent for FHA 30-year fixed; VA loan rates aren't shown (samples given for a $250,000 mortgage with 20 percent down)

SoFi: Best for Nontraditional Buyers

When you don't have much of a credit history, are self-employed or already owe a lot of debt, SoFi uses some underwriting methods that can make it easier for you to qualify for a mortgage. Along with its more lenient approval process, this online regional lender offers perks such as no mortgage insurance or origination fee. However, do know that you'll need to put down a higher down payment of 10 percent and won't have access to VA or FHA loans. You can also expect to pay a slightly higher interest rate with a higher credit score preferred than for other lenders.

  • Programs offered: Conventional and Jumbo
  • Down payment percent: 10 percent
  • Minimum credit score: 660 for conventional and 720 for Jumbo
  • Current interest rates: SoFi's website doesn't publicly list the mortgage interest rates, but they are privately available through using SoFi's "Find My Rate" tool.

When exploring these options for no- and low-down-payment mortgages, consider reaching out to a few different lenders rather than jumping immediately to one that stands out. This will allow you to check your rates and speak to a mortgage professional who can provide you with more details about which programs for which you could qualify. Don't put off looking into your state's homebuyer assistance programs too since you might be able to get help and pay little or nothing out of pocket for your down payment.