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Best Chicago mortgage lenders in 2022

Homes in Chicago, Illinois with illustration
Image by Getty Images/Illustration by Austin Courrege/Bankrate
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Editor’s note: The Bankrate Score considers a mortgage lender’s products and services only; it is not a reflection of a lender’s internal operations or practices. We continuously evaluate each lender we review to ensure the Bankrate Score is consistent with this methodology. If you’d like to consider other lenders, visit Bankrate’s lender review hub.

Whether you’re looking to buy a home or refinance your mortgage in Chicago, there’s good news: home prices in The Second City might be somewhat more affordable compared to prices in many of its big-city peers. As of November 2021, the median price of a home sold in Chicago was $327,000, according to the Illinois Association of Realtors — lower than the national average at the time.

The city tends to earn headlines for chilly winters, but Chicago more than makes up for that deep freeze in the summer with an 18-mile trail alongside Lake Michigan and lots of green space, ranking in the top 5 on The Trust for Public Land’s list of cities with the best access to parks. If you’re looking to call Chicago home (or already do), here are some of the best mortgage lenders to consider.


Methodology

To determine the best mortgage lenders in Chicago, Bankrate evaluated lenders based on several criteria, including affordability (APR, discounts and/or incentives); availability (approval/closing timelines, loan products); and experience (application process, customer service). Additionally, our team browsed for options just like a Chicago borrower, assuming different scenarios —  including an excellent credit score of 740 and a down payment of 20 percent, and a credit score below 620 and a lower down payment — to gauge offers.


Best mortgage lenders in Chicago

Better.com

Better.com mortgage review

Loans offered Credit requirements Highlights Good if
Purchase and refinance; conventional, jumbo, FHA 620 for conventional loans No lender fees; potential for saving 1 percent on a home purchase; Cash Offer program that can make your bid more competitive You’re comfortable with an all-online experience and don’t want to pay any upfront fees

Pros

  • No upfront lender fees
  • Issues preapprovals as quickly as three minutes and can complete closings faster than industry average turn times
  • 24/7 online and phone support
  • Discount if working with an affiliated real estate agent

Cons

  • 620 credit score requirement, including for FHA loans
  • Doesn’t offer VA or USDA loans

Blue Spot Home Loans

Loans offered Credit requirements Highlights Good if
Purchase and refinance; conventional, jumbo, FHA, VA, USDA, construction and renovation loans, reverse mortgages 620 for conventional loans, FHA loans and VA loans; 700 for jumbo loans; 640 for USDA loans Low down payment options available; willing to consider alternative credit data in approval decisions You can only afford to make a lower down payment and/or don’t have a well-established credit history

Pros

  • Issues same-day preapprovals
  • Closings on purchases average between 22 and 27 days
  • Willing to consider alternative credit data

Cons

  • Rates tend to be a touch higher than other lenders
  • Lender’s website is fairly limited
  • 620 credit score requirement, including on government-backed loans

First Midwest Bank

First Midwest Bank mortgage review

Loans offered Credit requirements Highlights Good if
Purchase and refinance; conventional, jumbo, FHA, VA, USDA, home equity line of credit (HELOC), home equity loan, construction and renovation loans, physician loan, portfolio loan 620 for conventional loans Discounts available for physicians; low down payment options available; in-person branches in the Chicagoland area You’re looking for just about any type of mortgage — the bank has 50 different loan programs)

Pros

  • Jumbo loans with a small down payment (only available in some states, however)
  • Rebates for banking customers
  • Branch locations in the Chicagoland area

Cons

  • Charges fees for underwriting and processing (except for VA loans)
  • Need to contact a loan officer, so not as convenient

Interfirst Mortgage Company

Interfirst Mortgage Company review

Loans offered Credit requirements Highlights Good if
Purchase and refinance; conventional, jumbo, investment property 620 for conventional loans Doesn’t charge lender fees You’re looking to refinance

Pros

  • No fees
  • Easy online rate estimates in a few minutes
  • Strong past customer reviews

Cons

  • Requires a minimum credit score of 620
  • Doesn’t offer FHA, VA or USDA loans
  • Website doesn’t offer much information; you’ll need to contact a loan officer for more details

Allied Mortgage Group

Allied Mortgage Group review

Loans offered Credit requirements Highlights Good if
Purchase and refinance; conventional, FHA, VA, USDA, construction and renovation loans, interest-only, bank statement 620 for conventional loans; 580 for FHA loans; 700 for jumbo loans Offers options designed for borrowers with unique circumstances and past credit challenges; doesn’t charge lender fees You have a low credit score and are looking for an FHA loan

Pros

  • Has programs geared toward borrowers with lower credit scores
  • Doesn’t charge lender fees
  • Strong customer reviews

Cons

  • Rates are higher
  • Website functionality is limited; you will need to contact a loan officer for more information
  • Not available in every state

Local Chicago mortgage lenders

There are quite a few other Chicago-based mortgage lenders (in addition to First Midwest Bank, which is listed above and has 11 locations in the city) with local branches that can provide the support you need when applying for a mortgage. If you’re looking for in-person assistance, consider these options.

Wintrust Mortgage

Wintrust Mortgage originates mortgages throughout the U.S., but the bank has deep roots in the Chicagoland area and its corporate headquarters are in Rosemont. In addition to offering down payment assistance, it’s one of the top lenders in the region, according to the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA), the state’s housing finance agency.

Guaranteed Rate

If you live in Chicago, you’ve probably heard of Guaranteed Rate: The lender’s name is plastered on the White Sox stadium on the South Side. While it’s a nationally-known mortgage company, Guaranteed Rate has a local presence with seven branches in the city and plenty more scattered across the suburbs. Borrowers love the lender, too: It’s earned a 4.9 out of five on Bankrate based on more than 200 past reviews. It’s also one of the IDHA’s top lenders.

PNC Bank

In addition to operating more than 40 branches in the city limits and plenty in the surrounding area, PNC Bank offers a few options that differentiate the institution for other banks with major footprints in Chicago. A portfolio of specialized loan programs includes a no-PMI option for eligible buyers with a down payment of just 3 percent and medical professionals. There is also a chance to apply for a $5,000 grant (the best kind of money, since you don’t ever have to pay it back) to cover your closing costs.

What to know when getting a mortgage in Chicago

When people say they live in Chicago, they might not always mean in the actual city. If you’re willing to cast a wider net, you might be able to score a more affordable property. Data from the Illinois Association of Realtors shows that the median price of a home in the metro area stood at $290,000 at the end of 2021 — a $37,000 discount from within the city limits. Be sure to think about your daily routine, though. If you’re commuting into the city, you could easily erase that savings with your gas budget.

As you work to set a budget for living in Chicago, you’ll need to account for property taxes, too. The state of Illinois is notorious for having some of the highest property taxes in the country, and Cook County — where Chicago is located — helps drive that reputation.

When you’re ready to search for homes, explore the local housing market to determine which neighborhood fits your lifestyle and price point — but get preapproved before you actually start viewing properties. “Hot homes” in Chicago stayed on the market for just nine days in December 2021, according to real estate brokerage Redfin. You can stand out as a buyer, and potentially snap up a good deal, if you’re prepared ahead of time.

Summary: Best Chicago mortgage lenders

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Written by
David McMillin
Contributing writer
David McMillin is a contributing writer for Bankrate and covers topics like credit cards, mortgages, banking, taxes and travel. David's goal is to help readers figure out how to save more and stress less.
Edited by
Mortgage editor
Reviewed by
Professor of finance, Creighton University