If you want to buy a home in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, you’re not alone. The DFW metro added 1.3 million more residents between 2010 and 2019, according to commercial real estate firm Cushman and Wakefield, and the growth projected between 2020 and 2029 looks about identical: another 1.3 million residents.
Whether you want to buy a home, build a home or refinance a mortgage for a home you already own, now is the time to lock in a low interest rate to make living in Dallas-Fort Worth as affordable as possible. Here are some of the best mortgage lenders to consider.
To determine the best mortgage lenders by city, Bankrate evaluated lenders based on several criteria, including affordability (APR and fees); expediency (approval and closing times); and experience (including customer service support). In general, the best mortgage lenders have a high Bankrate Score and high ratings from borrowers.
Best mortgage lenders in Dallas-Fort Worth
- Good if: You want to avoid fees and do everything online
Better.com is one of the best choices for a mortgage in Dallas, with no lender fees, the ability to lock in a low interest rate and take advantage of 24/7 customer service (including texting, calling or emailing at any time throughout the process). Since getting a mortgage can be stressful, that always-on assistance can offer a lot of peace of mind as you approach your closing date. You’ll need strong credit, though: Better.com requires a minimum 620 credit score — even for FHA loans.
- No lender fees
- Superior customer service
- Fast preapprovals and closings
- Higher credit score requirements (at least a 620; higher if you want to make a lower down payment)
- No VA or USDA loans
- Good if: You want to avoid high upfront expenses
If you don’t have the funds for a 20 percent down payment or for closing costs, Homefinity can be a great option. Like other lenders, this online mortgage lender allows you to put down as little as 3 percent on a conventional loan, and there are no out-of-pocket closing cost options on conventional and FHA loans. That likely means you’re rolling those costs into the loan amount — meaning it’ll cost more over the next 15 or 30 years — but it can be a big difference-maker in your ability to buy now and stop renting.
- Transparent fee structure
- Ability to apply within the lender’s mobile app
- Homefinity’s parent company, Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation, has a nearly five-star rating from 3,000-plus Better Business Bureau customer reviews
- Website has limited functionality and doesn’t display mortgage rates
- Good if: You want a jumbo loan
If you’re looking for a bigger loan that exceeds conforming loan limits — $548,250 in both Dallas and Fort Worth in 2021 — Ally Bank could be a good bet. The online-only bank doesn’t charge any lender fees, and also considers restricted stock units as part of your cash reserves — a differentiator from most other lenders, which can help you get approved without a huge deposit balance.
- No lender fees
- Competitive rates
- Fast closings (up to 10 days faster than industry average)
- No FHA, VA or USDA loans
- No home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) or home equity loans
- Good if: You have a low credit score
Getting a mortgage with less-than-perfect credit can be a not-so-easy process. However, LowRates.com — a subsidiary of Sun West Mortgage Company — is an exception to the rule. The lender will consider your application for an FHA loan or a VA loan even if your credit score is as low as 500.
- No lender fees
- Also offers FHA, VA and USDA refinances
- Down payment assistance programs available
- Website experience isn’t great
Local Dallas-Fort Worth mortgage lenders
If you’re new to the mortgage process or would prefer to speak to someone live and in-person, there are plenty of resources available throughout the DFW area. Consider these three lenders with branches nearby.
- Good if: You want to build a new home
Being a member of a credit union comes with the perks of lower-cost banking products like checking and savings accounts, and the family-esque feel of membership can also pay off when it’s time to buy or build a home. Texas-based Randolph-Brooks Federal Credit Union (RBFCU) offers construction-to-permanent loans, which allows you to skip paying two sets of closing costs. This credit union can also be a great option if you’re looking for a jumbo loan; it allows down payments as low as 5 percent for that oversized borrowing need.
- Good if: You prefer working with a financial giant
You don’t have to travel far to find a Chase branch: There are more than 240 throughout the DFW area. While Chase is one of the biggest banks in the world, it still manages to deliver personalized service when it comes to getting a mortgage. The bank scored toward the top of the charts in J.D. Power’s latest reports for customer satisfaction in both mortgage origination (getting a loan) and mortgage servicing (managing the payments). Plus, if you’re a banking customer, you might be able to get a discount on your loan.
Bank of Texas
- Good if: You want to borrow against your home
If you already have a mortgage in Dallas and want to borrow against your home, Bank of Texas is a solid choice to consider for a home equity loan or HELOC. Look for limited-time offers to save, too. For example, the bank’s fall 2021 special offers a 2.99 percent introductory 12-month APR on a HELOC and $250 off cash-out refinance closing costs. You can schedule appointments to discuss your options at 12 bank centers across the metro area.
What to know when getting a mortgage in Dallas Fort-Worth
While you can’t change what a mortgage lender is willing to let you borrow, you do have a say over how far that money can go. The DFW region is massive, and the housing market isn’t the same across that wide area. In the city limits of Dallas, the median sale price was $395,000 as of August 2021, according to real estate brokerage Redfin, but in Fort Worth, that median amount was much lower, at $310,000. Cast a wide net when you’re meeting with a real estate agent so you can get the amenities and space you need at a price the lender is willing to front.
That said, no matter where you go, North Texas is a competitive market — and while that’s good news for home sellers, it’s not-so-good news for buyers. For example, in Fort Worth, the average home sells for around 3 percent above list price, Redfin data shows. The average home goes quickly, too: typically under contract within 16 days.
Start the process with a preapproval letter to signify that you’re a serious buyer who can get the deal done, and approach your home search with a list of must-haves and nice-to-haves. Since it’s a seller’s market, you might not be able to get everything you want — you might have to settle for older appliances now, for instance, but down the road, you can upgrade your kitchen or redo that old bathroom. Bottom line: It doesn’t have to be your dream home on the day you move in — you can make that happen in the future.