“Our jumbo mortgage customers tend to live in major cities, many in coastal areas – places like California, New York, Boston, Miami, and Washington D.C. — where real estate prices tend to be higher,” said Glenn Brunker, head of mortgage at Ally Bank. “In these areas where the cost of living is high, even many first-time homebuyers will need jumbo loans to achieve homeownership.”
Still, it’s harder to qualify for a non-conforming loan. Jumbo borrowers need higher credit scores, lower debt-to-income ratios, and often larger down payments (on a percentage basis). “Right now, qualification for a jumbo is difficult because jumbos don’t carry any government guarantee,” explained Emanuel Santa-Donato, head of capital markets at online lender Better.com. “There is no backstop to borrower credit. We’ve seen cash-out refinance, lower FICO [scores], and loan-to-values above 80% all but disappear from the jumbo space.”
While economic uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus has made a jumbo mortgage harder to get, it’s not impossible. Here are our picks for the best lenders for jumbo mortgages right now. We selected these lenders based on down payment requirements, ease of application, and customer service quality and availability.
MONEY’s Top Picks for Best Jumbo Insurance Lenders of 2020
- Chase Home Lending: Nearly 5,000 branches available nationwide
- Rocket Mortgage by Quicken Loans: Quick online application process
- Veterans United: VA jumbo loan with 0% down payment
- Better.com: Quality online experience for potential homebuyers
- Ally Bank: Prompt pre-approval
Disclaimer: In light of the current health crisis, many lenders have been regularly updating their terms and requirements. While the information provided here was up to date and accurate at the time of publication, it may have changed in the interim. We will continue to update this article as needed, but we urge readers to check with lenders for the latest information regarding loan specifics.
Best Jumbo Mortgage Lenders of 2020
Chase Home Lending: Best for Traditional Banking
Chase Home Lending offers jumbo loans of up to $3 million ($1 million for an investment property), supported by a traditional banking infrastructure that includes nearly 5,000 branches across the United States. Chase’s jumbo mortgages are offered as fixed-rate, adjustable-rate, and interest-only loans.
Homebuyers who are already Chase customers may qualify for discounts. Borrowers must put down at least 20% of the purchase price, for a maximum purchase loan to value of 80%. Approval is subject to a minimum credit requirement, and a determined amount of liquid cash reserves left over after closing. Chase also has a closing guarantee, which states that if you don’t close on your mortgage in three-weeks’ time, you’ll receive a $2,500 cashback.
Interested homebuyers can get prequalified online by providing some basic personal and financial information. Should you require additional support, Chase customer service is available by email or by phone during regular business hours.
Rocket Mortgage by Quicken Loans: Best for Easy Application
Rocket Mortgage is an online mortgage platform associated with Quicken Loans. What sets this company apart is its online application, designed to simplify the process for potential borrowers while saving them time. Without having to speak to anyone, you can promptly find out the amount you qualify for either online or via the mobile app. This streamlined process made an impression when it was introduced in 2015, and its convenience is a big reason why Quicken is now the largest mortgage lender in the country.
For jumbo loans, Rocket Mortgage only requires a 10% down payment — a more flexible amount when compared to most lenders in the industry, which require a strict 20%. Their mortgages are available as fixed-rate or adjustable-rate loans.
Rocket Mortgage provides a wealth of information for first-time homebuyers. You can click on the question mark icons throughout the page to get short answers to common questions. After approval, the platform will also offer you online tools like calculators and guides that can help you through the closing process. The company also has customer service agents available via phone (regular business hours, seven days a week) and online chat (every day until midnight).
Veterans United: Best for VA Jumbo Loans
The largest VA lender in the United States, Veterans United offers jumbo 30-year loans of up to $1.5 million for active and retired service members.
If you’re a service member, your first step should be to apply to the Department of Veterans Affairs for a Certificate of Eligibility as proof that you qualify for a VA home loan. This process requires basic information and can be completed online.
Veterans United provides around-the-clock customer service via phone and email, which is particularly helpful for service members who may be stationed all over the world. While Veterans United does not offer an online application, once a borrower begins the mortgage process, they can track the loan’s status on the Veterans United website. Veterans United also has 26 physical branch locations across 18 states. Many of these branches are located near active military bases.
Better.com: Best Online Lender
Better.com is an online-only lender that provides a smooth customer experience through an easy-to-navigate website. To get started on a jumbo loan application, borrowers input some basic information, and the site will provide a list of options you may qualify for.
Better.com has a home affordability calculator that can give you an estimate of your interest rate and monthly payment so that you can make an educated decision. Their jumbo loans usually require a minimum down payment of only 10%, but according to a company representative, they’re currently requiring 20% due to “COVID restrictions.” The company is expected to return to a 10% requirement in a few weeks.