Best Mortgage Refinance Lenders of May 2021

Wendy Wilson

If you’re looking to refinance at a lower rate, cash out some equity, or change loan terms, start comparing the best mortgage refinance lenders below offering competitive rates and fast approval.

Figure Mortgage

figure logo
NMLS #1717824


Min. Credit Score


Min. Down Payment


Figure mortgage refinancing may allow you to get better terms on an existing mortgage or take cash out. It includes rate and term refinance, and cash-out refinancing on both conventional and jumbo loans. Loans applications are 100% online, facilitating fast closing and funding time, and can be quickly done via their website or by using its mobile app. After the lender does a soft credit pull and pre-qualifies you, you will receive a quote.

What we like

  • Get pre-qualified without affecting your credit score
  • Digital experience with online application and funding
  • Secondary homes can be considered for refinancing
  • No origination fees or late payment fees
  • No prepayment penalties
  • Closing costs can be financed into the loan

What we don't

  • Only single family homes and townhomes are eligible
  • It's not available in all states

Figure Lending LLC dba Figure. 15720 Brixham Hill Avenue, Suite 300, Charlotte, NC 28277. (888) 819-6388. NMLS ID 1717824. For licensing information go to Equal Housing Opportunity. Licensed in Alabama 22533, Alaska AK1717824, Arizona 0948458, Arkansas 114692, California: Loans are made and arranged pursuant to a Finance Lenders Law License, Licensed by the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation under the California Finance Lenders Law (License 60DBO81967), Delaware 026994, Florida MLD1636, Georgia Residential Mortgage Licensee 61229, Idaho MBL-9625, Indiana 39933, Iowa 88893478 and 2018-0048, Kansas MC.0025537 and SL.0026703, Louisiana 1717824, Massachusetts Mortgage Lender License ML1717824, Michigan FL0021494, Mississippi 1717824, Missouri 19-2421, Montana 1717824, Nebraska 1717824, Nevada 4823, New Hampshire 22423-MB, Licensed by the N.J. Department of Banking and Insurance, New Mexico 1717824, North Carolina L-180811, North Dakota MB103310, Ohio RM.804317.000, Oklahoma ML011894, Oregon ML-5698, Pennsylvania 66882, South Dakota ML.05202, Tennessee 151185, Washington CL-1717824, West Virginia ML-36248, Wisconsin 1717824BA

Axos Bank Mortgage

axos bank logo
NMLS #524995


Min. Credit Score


Min. Down Payment


Axos Bank offers a pure online experience, and you can own a home without meeting a mortgage specialist in person. The bank also uses a leading technology that pre-qualifies your application and gives you an underwriting decision in approximately 10 minutes or less.

What we like

  • Personalized home loans to fit your current financial situation
  • Interest-only loans for lower monthly payments
  • Pure online experience from start to closing
  • Earn 3% cash back annual credit on mortgage payments
  • Lender fee waived for customers and non-customers1

What we don't

  • Cash back on loan requires an Axos checking account
  • Does not offer in-person services

1Axos Bank™ will waive its lender fee ($995) or reduce its lender fee on new first lien mortgage loans under the following conditions: 1) The customer must have an existing or open a new Axos Bank™ Checking Account during the loan application process; AND 2) the new mortgage loan must be for $250,000 or more; OR 3) if the new mortgage loan is less than $250,000, Axos Bank™ will reduce its lender fee by $200 if the customer has or opens a new Axos Bank™ Checking Account during the loan application process. The customer will be responsible for all third party fees and all prepaid items. The $2,500 average savings is based on a national average for lender fees presuming a $250,000 loan amount and 1% origination fee.

New American Funding Mortgage

new american funding logo
NMLS #6606


Min. Credit Score


Min. Down Payment


New American Funding focuses on personalizing loans to the borrower's situation. If you're self-employed, have lower than average credit scores, or even a first-time home buyer, the lender will work with you to customize the most suitable product.

What we like

  • Customized loans to meet your financial situation
  • Helping underserved communities become homeowners
  • Variety of loan products for lower credit score borrowers
  • Consider self-employed and freelancers for a mortgage
  • Complete transparency on total mortgage costs

What we don't

  • No automatic quote or online approval
  • Not available in New York and Hawaii

Why refinance your mortgage?

The main reason why people refinance their mortgages is to save some money in the end. There are various reasons why homeowners refinance their mortgages:

To lower interest rates

Refinancing your mortgage to a lower rate means you’ll have lower monthly payments, and reduced interest rates also enhance your chances of building equity in your home. 

For instance, if you have a fixed-rate mortgage of 30 years (loan term) on a $100 000 home, at a 5.5% interest rate, then your total principal payment plus interest payment is $568. If your interest rate on the same loan reduces to 4.1%, then your monthly payment reduces to $477.

To calculate your mortgage, you need to use the formula: M=P[r(1+r)^n/ ((1+r)^n)-1)]

  • M=Total monthly mortgage payment
  • P=principal amount
  • r=interest rates
  • n=number of monthly payments.

To reduce the term of the mortgage

If you refinance from a 30-year term mortgage to a shorter term, such as 15 or 20 years, this will increase your monthly payment (even with a lower interest rate), but decrease the overall interest you pay over the life of the loan.

To convert from ARM to Fixed rate loan

The annual interest rates of adjustable-rate mortgages (ARM) are often uncertain. You can refinance to convert the ARM to a fixed-rate loan, so you can worry less about the unpredictable increase in interest rates.  

To tap into home equity

Homeowners may refinance to access the equity in their home (cash-out refinancing) to help them remodel their home or pay for other expenses. Some lenders allow borrowers to tap up to 80% of their home equity as a cash-out refinance loan. 

How does mortgage refinancing work?

Just like you did with the original mortgage, refinancing requires you to apply for the loan. Depending on your lender, you can apply online through the portal or visit their offices in person.

Some of the things to look out for include:

  • Adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM): Interest rates are usually applied on the remaining balance, and rates keep varying throughout the loan term. Initially, the interest rates are fixed for a certain period of time, and later they are reset periodically. ARM can also be referred to as a variable rate mortgage.
  • Fixed-rate mortgage: It offers an interest rate that is set and remains unchanged throughout the term of the loan. The monthly payment does not change, which makes it easier for borrowers to budget
  • Pre-qualified: The process where the lender evaluates your ability to qualify for refinancing. The process of prequalification’s helps to determine how much you can borrow and the applicable loan terms.
  • Co-borrower: An individual who shares the liability for repaying the loan. In mortgage refinance, co-borrowers details may appear in the house’s title. Co-borrowers can be used on refinancing loans that involve married borrowers to help a borrower qualify for a loan that he/she would others be disqualified.
  • Interest rates: The amount a lender charges on the mortgage. This amount is often expressed as a percentage of the principal amount. Interest rates are noted annually and termed as annual percentage rate (APR).
  • Origination fee: A lender charges a fee to close the loan and often expressed as a percentage of the loan. Some lenders do not charge an origination fee to refinance a mortgage.

How much does refinancing cost?

The costs for refinancing your mortgage depends on your lender, loan amount, and state. The average closing costs for refinancing a mortgage is between 3% – 6% of the principal amount. 

For instance, if you are approved for $200, 000 and your lender charges a 4% origination fee, you may end up spending at least $8,000 on refinancing costs. Refinance costs do not include mortgage insurance, house insurance, and property taxes, as they are usually set up during your original loan application. 

Some of the costs incurred during refinancing include:

  • Home inspection fee
  • Origination fee
  • Refinance application fee
  • Title search fee
  • Mortgage points fee
  • New home appraisal fee
  • Lender’s attorney review fee

Even with all the refinancing costs, you need to see if the lower interest will more then offset the costs of refinancing.

Requirements for mortgage refinancing

There are different requirements from lenders. However, the basic requirements include:

  • Proof of maintaining the original mortgage: Most lenders need evidence that shows you have been servicing your original mortgage faithfully within the last 12 months.
  • Equity: You need to prove that you own equity in your home. Most lenders require home equity between 10% to 20%.
  • Income: lenders need proof that you have a regular and consistent income. By looking at your debt to income ratio, they can determine that you will be able to pay your existing bills and debts. Most lenders require a debt to income ratio of 36% and below.
  • Credit status: Each lender has a specific credit limit requirement. You need to have a good credit score and history for better terms and interest whereas lower credit scores may lead to higher interest rates on loans. Government-backed mortgages offer lower credit scores compared to conventional loans with an average credit score between 500 and 680.
  • Refinance wait period: While most lenders do not provide a limitation on the number of times to refinance your loan, some of them require a waiting period between loans. For instance, if you are refinancing a VA, USDA, or FHA mortgage, you may have to wait between 6 and 12 months to apply for another.

Types of mortgage refinance

There are three types of refinancing mortgages

  • Cash-out refinance: The refinance mortgage loan amount is larger than the outstanding amount on the previously existing debt. This helps borrowers to get some extra money in hand from the home mortgage. You will tap into your house equity when cashing out.
  • Rate and term refinance: This is the most common way to refinance a mortgage, which replaces the original mortgage interest rates and loan terms. This helps borrowers to lower their term length and interest rates (if the current rates are lower) on the existing mortgage.
  • Streamline refinancing: Some of the streamlined refinance loans, such as FHA and VA loans, do not follow the routine credit check and appraisal, saving hundreds of dollars. Most streamlined refinance loans require borrowers to prove that the loan offers a financial benefit by reducing interest rates or monthly payment amounts.

Choosing a mortgage refinance lender

Choosing a lender depends on a number of factors, such as interest rates, costs involved, loan term, and available refinance options. While it is always easier to refinance with your original mortgage lender, you need to be sure it’s the best deal compared to other lenders. Request a loan estimate from the lenders and compare the rates. If there is room for negotiation, you can always negotiate to reduce the fee.