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Chase Mortgage Review: First-Time Home Buyer Programs and Low Down Payment Mortgages

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Chase is one of the biggest financial institutions in the world. The mortgage arm of Chase is called Chase Home Lending, and there you'll find mortgage options to serve the needs of most borrowers. Chase also offers low down payment mortgages, and some borrowers will qualify for a nonrepayable home buyer grant to help with the down payment and closing costs. Read our Chase Mortgage review to see if this mortgage lender is right for you.

Chase Mortgage

Key Features

  • Low down payment jumbo loans
  • No-PMI offering
  • Up to $5,000 homebuyer grant

Loan Types

  • Conventional
  • FHA
  • VA
  • Jumbo
  • Interest Only

Fixed Rate Terms

  • 30y, 25y, 20y, 15y, 10y

Adjustable Rate Terms

  • 7/6, 5/6

Full Chase Mortgage review

This lender is a good fit for: Jumbo borrowers, low- and moderate-income borrowers, and people who want a low down payment mortgage.

Pros

  • Low down payment mortgages
  • Loans with no PMI
  • Home buyer grants
  • Published mortgage rates

Cons

  • No published fees
  • Rate lock is limited
  • No home equity products

Top perks

Low down payment jumbo loans

Chase Mortgage makes jumbo loans more affordable with a relatively low down payment. While other lenders sometimes require 20% or more, at Chase you can

borrow up to 89.99% of the home's value for the purchase of a primary residence or on a Chase-to-Chase mortgage refinance with no cash back. This loan has private mortgage insurance (PMI), enhanced credit score requirements, and geographical restrictions.

Low down payment mortgages

Chase offers a good variety of loans with low or very low down payment requirements.

  • The DreaMaker mortgage: This is for or low- to moderate-income borrowers and requires 3% down, which can come from a gift or grant. This loan is for a primary residence only. It has reduced mortgage insurance requirements compared to other low down payment options, which brings the monthly cost down. Eligible DreaMaker borrowers who complete home buyer education can receive a $500 grant that will be applied to loan costs or the down payment.
  • The Standard Agency mortgage: This option has a 3% down payment requirement with no income limits.
  • VA loan: Those VA loans under conforming loan limits don't require a down payment. (Conforming loan limits are the maximum amounts allowed under some mortgage programs. A loan above those limits is considered a jumbo loan.)
  • FHA loan: This loan type requires 3.5% down and has more flexible credit guidelines.

Chase Homebuyer Grant

DreaMaker, Standard Agency, FHA, and VA borrowers purchasing a primary residence may be eligible for a $2,500 or $5,000 grant from Chase. The home must be in an eligible census tract. The funds will be applied to points, closing costs, Chase fees, and non-Chase fees, in that order. DreaMaker and Standard Agency borrowers may also use the grant funds toward the down payment once those other costs are satisfied. Eligible borrowers who complete a home buyer education course can get an additional $500.

Home buyer education

Chase offers comprehensive and accessible home buyer education resources on its website. Several short videos help new home buyers get familiar with the process and begin to prepare. Chase also offers a credit score service called Credit Journey that anyone can use to check their VantageScore for free. The score you see may be different from the score your mortgage lender sees, but it will give you an idea of your standing and what you can work on to improve your score.

Housing assistance resources

Chase partners with various agencies and programs nationwide to help consumers get access to loans and grants that can make homeownership more achievable. A list of the Chase eligible housing assistance programs is available online.

Flexible automatic payment options

Borrowers can visit the Chase website to enroll in the payment schedule of their choice or to choose a new option.

You can choose to pay:

  • Once a month on the day you pick (12 payments a year)
  • Twice a month on the dates of your choice (24 half-payments a year)
  • Every two weeks (26 half-payments a year for faster payoff)

Transparent rates

Chase publishes its mortgage rates on its website. That's great for hopeful borrowers who are in the research phase. It's nice to be able to gather information without giving out your phone number or email address.

What could be improved

Fee transparency

Chase does not publish any information on its website about specific closing costs borrowers can expect to pay, including the origination fee. Loan shoppers appreciate these details, but to get them from Chase you'll have to apply or place a call to a loan officer. Depending on the state where you live, you might pay an origination fee, which covers the cost of processing your loan. The loan origination fee is separate from the mortgage discount points that the borrower can choose to pay. Mortgage discount points are prepaid interest that a borrower can pay up front in exchange for a lower interest rate on the loan.

Limited rate lock

Chase offers a rate lock but you can't get it more than five days before your loan closes. This makes it very difficult to compare Chase's rate to other lenders. You can shop around in those few days before closing, but if you decide to go with a different lender during that time, you could jeopardize the purchase transaction you're trying to make. A seller might not want to wait for you to start the loan process all over again with a new lender.

Many lenders lock your rate as soon as your application is approved.

Limited relationship discount

Chase occasionally offers small discounts to its more affluent Chase Private Client customers. These offers come and go. Rate discounts are limited to customers with significant assets. When we checked, we confirmed these offers:

WHO QUALIFIES DISCOUNT
Customers with combined assets in Chase deposit and/or J.P. Morgan Wealth Management accounts totaling $150,000-$499,999 $500 off loan processing fee
Customers with combined assets in Chase deposit and/or J.P. Morgan Wealth Management accounts  totaling $500,000 or more $1,150 off loan processing fee
Customers with at least $500,000 in existing Chase or J.P. Morgan deposit accounts and/or J.P. Morgan Wealth Management accounts 0.125% to 0.25% rate discount
Customers who add deposits and investments not already with J.P. Morgan Chase 0.125% to 0.50% rate discount
Data source: Chase.

Customers who qualify can combine interest rate discounts, up to a maximum of 0.50% off. The discount lasts for the life of the loan (on a fixed-rate mortgage) or until the first rate adjustment (on an ARM).

No home equity products

At this time, Chase does not offer a home equity loan or a home equity line of credit. If you want to tap your home equity, the only option at Chase is a cash-out refinance.

Alternatives to consider

Rocket Mortgage by Quicken Loans offers a free rate lock to any applicant who gets pre-approved. The rate lock has a float-down feature, which means that if market rates go down during your lock period, your rate will also go down. But if rates go up, your rate is locked in.

SoFi Mortgage reveals its lender fee up front. You'll pay a flat fee of $1,495, reduced by $500 for current SoFi members. This fee is pretty typical in the industry, but it's never safe to assume. Some applicants prefer to shop around with all the relevant details from each lender they're considering without having to talk to the lenders themselves, who can be very salesy.

How to qualify

For a loan with Chase Mortgage, you'll need a credit score of at least 620 and a 3% down payment. Chase also offers FHA loans, which might allow a credit score of 580 or higher. The down payment requirement for an FHA loan is 3.5%. The FHA program tends to have higher costs and higher mortgage interest rates than other loans, so the best thing to do is ask a mortgage loan officer a few questions about what might work best for you.

The Standard Agency and FHA loans both require mortgage insurance. The DreaMaker loan offers reduced mortgage insurance. The VA loan does not require mortgage insurance, but most borrowers pay a one-time funding fee at loan closing.

Once you're ready to apply, gather your income and asset documents, including recent pay stubs, bank statements, and tax returns. You'll also need to provide proof of your identity and proof of employment. Chase provides a mortgage application checklist to help. You have the option to apply in person or online. For an online application, you may be able to connect your accounts (such as your bank and investment accounts) so that Chase can pull the necessary documents automatically.

How are Chase's refinance rates?

Chase's refinance rates are currently about the same as the purchase loan rates. Sometimes lenders charge a little more for refinance loans, so you might save money by refinancing with Chase.

Keep in mind that if you're refinancing, you don't need to go into a new 30-year loan. One way to get a lower interest rate on a mortgage is to opt for a 15-year loan instead.

How are Chase's mortgage rates compared to the national average?

Chase's mortgage rates trend a little lower than the national average. That makes sense since Chase is one of the largest mortgage lenders in the country. Note that to get the lowest rate, you'll have to pay for mortgage discount points. A point is equal to 1% of your loan amount. You can pay for points up front to reduce the interest rate for the life of your loan. If you plan to own the home for at least several years, you could save money by paying for points.

Chase Mortgage is right for you if:

Chase Mortgage might be a great choice for you if you can't or don't want to put 20% down on a house. This is especially true if you can qualify for one of the many ways Chase offers to reduce or eliminate PMI. Chase has a wide selection of loan options that have a lower down payment requirement.

You might also want to consider Chase if you're a first-time home buyer. Chase has all the tools in place to walk you through the process and help you land the most appropriate loan. Low- to moderate-income borrowers can also apply for grant money to help them get into homeownership.

RELATED: See The Ascent's list of the best Chase credit cards

Want a low down payment? Check out The Ascent's Sebonic Mortgage review to see if they offer what you need.

FAQs

  • Chase's rates trend about the same or a little lower than the national average.

  • Yes. Rates are very competitive for Chase mortgages. Jumbo borrowers can get a lower down payment loan. Lower-income borrowers can apply for up to $5,000 in down payment and closing cost assistance.

  • Yes. Chase offers very competitive interest rates on mortgage refinance loans.

  • For a conventional loan from Chase, you'll need a credit score of at least 620. If your score is lower, you can apply for an FHA loan. Chase does not offer zero down loans other than the VA loan. All other borrowers need a down payment of at least 3%. Borrowers who qualify for the DreaMaker grant can use those funds toward the down payment and closing costs. Chase will consider a debt-to-income ratio of 50% and higher in some cases.

  • Chase offers a full selection of home loan options to meet the needs of most borrowers:

    • Conventional mortgage
    • FHA loan
    • VA loan
    • Jumbo loan
    • Chase DreaMaker mortgage

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