The best mortgage refinance companies for 2021

Peter Warden
The Mortgage Reports editor

The best refinance companies for 2021

What do you look for in the best refinance companies? A low mortgage rate is essential. But you should also pay attention to their customer service, expertise, and variety of loan options. Our 8 best refinance companies rank highly in all these categories. 

The best lender for you will depend on your personal finances, the type of loan you want, and your refinance goals. So make sure you shop around for the lowest rate and best overall deal.

Check your refinance rates today (Dec 4th, 2021)



Average Customer Review

(out of 5)1

Average 30-Yr Refinance

Rate (2020)2
Minimum Credit Score
Freedom Mortgage4.52.87%550 (FHA, VA)
Movement Mortgage53.22%580 (FHA, VA, USDA)
Better Mortgage4.33.00%620
Guaranteed Rate4.63.19%620
Bank of America4.63.06%620
Supreme Lending4.93.27%580 (FHA)
loanDepot4.23.02%580 (FHA)
Homepoint3.73.04%580 (FHA, VA)

Editor’s note: The Mortgage Reports may be compensated by some of these lenders if you choose to work with them. However, that does not affect our reviews. See our full editorial disclosures.


In this article (Skip to…)


The 8 best mortgage refinance lenders

1.    Freedom Mortgage — Best refinance rates on average

Best feature(s): Freedom Mortgage stood out for having the lowest average refinance rates among our top refinance companies. Its average 30-year refinance rate was just 2.92% in 2020. In addition, Freedom is highly experienced with refinance loans — in particular, VA and FHA home loans, for which it’s one of the biggest lenders in the nation.

Freedom Mortgage refinance options:

  • Conventional refinance
  • Conventional cash-out refinance
  • VA Streamline Refinance (IRRRL)
  • VA cash-out refinance
  • FHA Streamline Refinance
  • FHA cash-out refinance
  • USDA Streamline Refinance

Pros and cons of Freedom Mortgage:

ProsCons
Lower rates, costs, and fees than manyDoesn’t show current interest rates on its website
Lenient credit score minimumsCustomer reviews on online forums are mixed
Experts in VA and FHA refinancingNo second mortgages (home equity loans or HELOCs)

2.    Movement Mortgage — Best customer satisfaction

Best feature(s): If you prefer a digital mortgage process over a person-to-person one, you should check out Movement Mortgage. The company earned 5 out of 5 stars in our analysis of online customer reviews and is known for a streamlined digital mortgage process. Movement says “… over 75 percent of our loans are processed in just 7 business days.”

Movement Mortgage refinance options:

  • Conventional refinance
  • Conventional cash-out refinance
  • VA Streamline Refinance (IRRRL)
  • VA cash-out refinance
  • FHA Streamline Refinance

Pros and cons of Movement Mortgage:

ProsCons
Competitive mortgage rates and feesDoesn’t show current interest rates online
Convenient online mortgage and refinance processLimited range of refinance loan options
Can process many loans in a week  No second mortgages (home equity loans or HELOCs)

3.    Better Mortgage — Lowest upfront fees on average

Best feature(s): Better Mortgage (better.com) has highly competitive refinance rates. And it doesn’t charge any loan origination fees, which means homeowners who refinance with Better will often have lower closing costs. On the downside, the company does not offer VA or USDA loans and FHA loans are only available to home buyers. So Better is only an option for homeowners planning to refinance into a conventional loan.

Better Mortgage refinance options:

  • Conventional refinance
  • Conventional cash-out refinance
  • Jumbo loan refinance

Pros and cons of Better Mortgage:

ProsCons
Competitive interest rates on averageDoes not offer VA or USDA home loans  
No upfront lender feesDoes not offer FHA loans for refinancing
Convenient online mortgage and refinance processNo second mortgages (home equity loans or HELOCs)

4. Guaranteed Rate — Low rates, high customer satisfaction

Best feature(s): Guaranteed Rate is famous for its user-friendly and highly effective technologies. It also has strong customer review scores (4.6 out of 5 stars in our survey) and had the third-lowest average refinance rates of any company on this list in 2020. That said, its upfront loan costs were a bit higher than most.

Guaranteed Rate refinance options:

  • Conventional refinance
  • Cash-out refinance
  • VA refinance
  • FHA Streamline Refinance
  • Jumbo loan refinance

Pros and cons of Guaranteed Rate:

ProsCons
Competitive interest rates on averageHigher average closing costs than some on this list
High customer satisfaction scoresLimited information about refinance options online
Convenient online mortgage and refinance processNo second mortgages (home equity loans or HELOCs)

5.    Bank of America — Low rates, high customer satisfaction

Best feature(s): If customer service is your priority, Bank of America may be your first choice. This lender scored a whopping 860 in the J.D. Power 2020 Mortgage Satisfaction Study, the highest of any on our list. And it did well in our readings of online customer reviews. BofA also has a vast branch network as well as excellent online and mobile services.

Bank of America refinance options:

  • Conventional refinance
  • Cash-out refinance
  • FHA refinance
  • VA refinance

Pros and cons of Bank of America:

ProsCons
Competitive interest rates on averageFHA and VA refinance only available if your current home loan is through BofA
Offers home equity lines of credit (HELOCs)No USDA home loans

6. Supreme Lending — Low fees, high customer satisfaction

Best feature(s): Supreme Lending does exceptionally well for online customer reviews. And it has very few complaints filed against it with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). So we’re looking at excellent customer satisfaction here. Supreme also had very low average upfront loan costs compared to other top refinance lenders.  

Supreme Lending refinance options:

  • Conventional refinance
  • Cash-out refinance
  • VA refinance
  • FHA refinance
  • USDA refinance

Pros and cons of Supreme Lending:

ProsCons
Low upfront fees on average  Higher average refinance rates than some on this list
Wide variety of mortgage loan optionsLimited information about refinance options online
High customer satisfaction scoresDoesn’t show current interest rates online

7.    loanDepot — Low interest rates on average

Best feature(s): loanDepot scored an impressive 844 in the J.D. Power mortgage satisfaction study, which was the second-highest among the lenders on this list that were included. loanDepot also had the third-lowest average refinance rates of any lender on this list in 2020. But its loan costs were higher than most.

loanDepot refinance options:

  • Conventional refinance
  • Cash-out refinance  
  • VA refinance
  • FHA refinance
  • Jumbo loan refinance

Pros and cons of loanDepot:

ProsCons
High customer satisfaction scoresDoesn’t show current interest rates online
Convenient online mortgage and refinance processNo USDA loans
Offers VA, FHA, and FHA 203k Rehab loansLimited information about refinance options online

8.    Homepoint — Low interest rates on average

Best feature(s): Homepoint is a newcomer that has managed to become “the third-largest wholesale lender and 7th-largest non-bank lender in the country” in just five years, according to its website. When it comes to average refinance rates and loan costs, Homepoint tends to be competitive rather than the lowest. But, as with any lender, you may qualify for a lower-than-average rate and costs if you ask for a quote.

Homepoint refinance options:

  • Conventional refinance
  • Cash-out refinance
  • Fannie Mae RefiNow low-income refinance
  • VA Streamline Refinance (IRRRL)
  • FHA Streamline Refinance
  • USDA refinance
  • Jumbo loan refinance 

Pros and cons of Homepoint:

ProsCons
Competitive mortgage rates and feesDoesn’t show current interest rates online
Wide range of refinance loan options, including home equity lines of credit (HELOCs)Limited information about cash-out refinancing online
Find the best refi lender for you (Dec 4th, 2021)

Our methodology

To find the eight best mortgage refinance lenders, we started with a list of the 40 most popular mortgage companies in the U.S. 

Then we narrowed the selection based on four key criteria:

  1. Cost — Average mortgage rates and closing costs
  2. Experience — How many refinances the company handled in the previous year, according to Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) data  
  3. Service — A respectable score on customer review forums
  4. Customer satisfaction — A low number of customer complaints filed with the CFPB

Keep in mind that your best refinance lender may or may not be on this list. You should look for a company offering the loan product you need as well as low interest rates and fees for your situation.

To find the best match, apply for a refinance with at least 3-5 lenders. Then compare your Loan Estimates carefully to find the best deal for your situation.

Compare refinance rates and fees from top lenders. Start here (Dec 4th, 2021)

Refinance loan types 

There’s a wide range of mortgage products for homeowners looking to refinance. The right one for you depends on your current loan and your refinance goals.

Refinance options include:

  • A standard rate-and-term refinance — for a lower interest rate and monthly payment
  • A cash-out refinance — available with conventional, FHA, and VA loans
  • A Streamlined refinance — available with FHA, VA, and USDA loans
  • A jumbo refinance loan — for high-value real estate and large loan amounts

Keep in mind that when you refinance, your new mortgage does not have to be the same type of loan as your old mortgage. In fact, there are often benefits to switching to a different loan type.

Refinance to remove mortgage insurance

For instance, FHA homeowners may be able to cancel mortgage insurance by refinancing.

If your current mortgage is FHA backed — but you have at least a 620 credit score and 20% home equity — you may qualify for a conventional loan with no PMI. This could significantly reduce your monthly payments and total loan costs.

Refinance an ARM to an FRM

Some homeowners refinance to switch from an adjustable-rate mortgage to a fixed-rate mortgage.

If you have an ARM and the initial fixed-rate period is about to expire, you might want to lock in a new loan with a low fixed rate for the long term.

Refinance to a shorter loan term

Another good option is refinancing to a shorter-term loan.

If you want to pay off your mortgage early, refinancing from a 30-year loan to a 15-year one, for example, could help you shave years off your loan term. This has multiple benefits, including:

  • Pay off the house early
  • Drop your interest rate further
  • Save money on total interest costs

But the downside is that shorter loan terms come with higher mortgage payments. So not everyone can afford this strategy.

The bottom line is that you should explore the different types of mortgages available to you. Your loan officer or mortgage broker can help you understand your options.

You might be surprised at how different your savings look depending on the mortgage product you choose.

Check your refinance options. Start here (Dec 4th, 2021)

Refinance requirements

Mortgage refinancing involves a similar application process to when you bought your home.

In most cases, you’ll need to complete a full application with a mortgage lender and go through underwriting. That means the lender will check and verify your:

  • Credit score
  • Credit report
  • Debt-to-income ratio (DTI)
  • Current income and employment
  • Current home value (which requires a new appraisal)
  • Loan-to-value ratio (LTV)

Of course, how ‘easy’ it is to qualify for a refinance depends on the type of mortgage you choose.

For instance, credit score requirements for an FHA refinance start at just 580, while cash-out refinancing might require a credit score of at least 640. And a jumbo loan refinance might require a FICO score of 680-700 or higher.

Luckily, it’s easy to figure out if you’re refi eligible. You can get a pre-approval to verify your eligibility and refinancing options.

Many lenders offer online applications and can pull your documents online during underwriting. Some will even do a full ‘online mortgage’ complete with digital signing on closing day.

In short, it takes much less time and effort to refinance a mortgage today than in the past. 

How to find the lowest rates

The only way to find the best rate when you refinance is to shop around with different lenders.

And don’t just look at the interest rate when you comparison shop. Also pay attention to:

  • Discount points — Does the quote include an extra fee up front in order to lower your rate?
  • Mortgage origination fees — These vary a lot from lender to lender
  • Annual Percentage Rate (APR) — This rate includes your interest and loan fees, so it’s a good way to compare the total cost of two loans
  • Monthly payment — Compare total monthly mortgage payments, including loan principal and interest as well as property taxes and homeowners insurance

It’s also worth checking rates from more than one type of mortgage lender.

Try getting a quote from a big bank, online lender, and credit union — maybe even a mortgage broker. Each will be able to offer you a different rate and fee package depending on your unique circumstances.

Refinance rate forecasts 

You might not be starting your refinance this week or even this month. In that case, you’re likely wondering what refinance rates will look like later in the year.

To give you an idea of what to expect, we pulled 2021 refinance rate forecasts from some of the top housing authorities in the U.S.:

Housing Authority30-Year Mortgage Rate Forecast For 2021
Fannie Mae3.00%
Mortgage Bankers Association3.20%
Freddie Mac3.30%

Long-term interest rate forecasts are never ironclad, of course. So it’s always best to lock a rate based on your own timeline rather than trying to time the market.

Check your refinance rates today (Dec 4th, 2021)

Mortgage refinance FAQs

Should I refinance my mortgage? 

It’s often a good idea to refinance if you can lower your interest rate and monthly payment, and if you’ll save more in the long run than you’ll spend on closing costs. However, there are other good reasons to refinance, too — like switching from an adjustable-rate mortgage to a fixed-rate mortgage, shortening your loan term, or cashing out home equity. A loan officer can help run the numbers and determine if a refinance makes sense for your financial situation.

How does refinancing work?

Refinancing your home means you replace your existing mortgage with a new mortgage. The new mortgage typically has a lower interest rate, better terms, or some other benefit compared to the old one. When you refinance, you shop for a new loan just like you did when you bought your home. Once you’re approved and you’ve closed on the loan, your new lender will use the funds to pay off your current lender. This effectively replaces your current home loan with the new one.

Who has the best mortgage refinance rates right now? 

Mortgage refinance rates vary a lot from one lender to the next. They can also change on a daily basis depending on what’s happening with the broader economy and with individual lenders’ pipelines. That means the lender offering the best refinance rates can change from day to day. So your best bet is to apply with multiple lenders and compare their offers carefully to see which one has the best combo of interest rates and upfront fees for your situation.

How do I qualify for a refinance? 

Refinance requirements vary by lender and loan program. Depending on the type of loan you choose — conventional, FHA, VA, USDA, or jumbo — you’ll have to meet certain guidelines for credit score, home equity, debt-to-income ratio (DTI), employment, and potentially cash reserves. The best refinance rates typically go to borrowers with credit scores above 740 and at least 20 percent home equity (in other words, a loan-to-value ratio at or below 80 percent). Check with a lender to see whether you qualify for a mortgage refinance.

How much does refinancing cost?

For a mainstream refinance, expect to pay roughly 2-5 percent of your loan amount in closing costs. That’s $2,000 to $5,000 for every $100,000 borrowed on your refinance loan. Government-backed Streamline refinances tend to be a little bit cheaper because you eliminate certain closing costs, such as the home appraisal fee.

Should I refinance with my current lender? 

Your current mortgage company might offer you the best refinance deal. Indeed, some lenders reward homeowners’ loyalty with lower rates if they stick around to refinance. However, you shouldn’t go with your current lender until you’ve seen quotes from a few others. Many homeowners save thousands by shopping around and finding a refinance company that can offer them a lower rate. 

How long does it take to refinance?

In May 2021, it took 53 days on average to refinance a home, according to ICE Mortgage Technology. But that varies a lot depending on how busy and efficient lenders are. Over the previous year, the average number of days to close a refinance varied between 42 and 62. How long it takes you to refinance will depend on many factors — including how quickly you turn in paperwork. In fact, late documents are one of the biggest refinance delays. So stay on top of requests from your loan officer.

How soon can you refinance your mortgage?

Often, you can begin a new refinance before the ink’s dry on your last one. Many of the best mortgage refinance companies (and other lenders) don’t set limits between refinances. However, you’ll likely have to wait six months before refinancing if you have a VA-, FHA-, or USDA-backed loan. Some lenders enforce this limit for non-government loans, too.

Does refinancing hurt your credit score?

Checking refinance rates will not hurt your credit score, as long as you get all rate quotes within two weeks to a month of each other. The only way your credit score could be hurt is if your mortgage is your only credit-based loan. That could impact your “average age of accounts” (AAoA). However, AAoA is only 15% of your credit score. And most people have other credit lines outside their mortgage. So it’s not worth losing sleep over.

How does a cash-out refinance work?

Cash-out refinancing means you take out a new loan worth more than what you currently owe on the home. First, this loan is used to pay off your existing mortgage. Then the leftover amount is returned to you as cash-back. The cash can be used for any purpose; popular uses include consolidating high-interest credit card debt and completing home improvements.

Can I refinance if I have a home equity loan?

It’s possible to refinance if you have a home equity loan or home equity line of credit (HELOC) in addition to your first mortgage. It will be more difficult to do a cash-out refinance, however, because your second mortgage reduces the equity available in your home. Some homeowners refinance to combine their first and second mortgage into a single loan.

How much home equity do I need to refinance?

Only 3-5 percent equity may be needed to refinance a conventional loan, and 3.5 percent is required to refinance an FHA loan. This means you may be able to refinance even if you bought the home recently and made a small down payment. Refinancing with at least 20 percent equity could help you cancel mortgage insurance.

What if my existing mortgage has a prepayment penalty?

It’s not likely, but it is possible your existing mortgage came with a penalty for early repayment— especially if you got the loan before 2014. If this is the case, you’ll need to balance the penalty into your cost analysis. If your savings from refinancing exceed your costs to borrow, you can still save with a new loan. 

Find your best reifnance company

To recap, the best mortgage refinance companies for 2021 are:

  1. Freedom Mortgage — Best interest rates (average)
  2. Movement Mortgage — Best customer satisfaction
  3. Better Mortgage — Lowest fees (average)
  4. Guaranteed Rate — Low rates (average), high satisfaction
  5. Bank of America — Low rates (average), high satisfaction
  6. Supreme Lending — Low fees, high satisfaction
  7. loanDepot — Low rates (average)
  8. Homepoint — Low rates (average)

Many homeowners will find what they need with one of the eight best refinance companies listed above. But that’s not a guarantee — your own best lender could be different.

To get the best refi rate and low closing costs, make sure you compare loan offers from a few different companies before settling on one.

Verify your new rate (Dec 4th, 2021)

1Average customer review scores sourced from LendingTree.com, Zillow.com, Bankrate.com, and J.D. Power’s most recent Primary Mortgage Origination Satisfaction Study where available for each lender

2 Average interest rates and loan fees based on the most recent self-reported data all lenders are required to file under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA)