We are committed to full transparency in our mission to make the world smarter, happier, & richer. Offers on The Ascent may be from our partners - it's how we make money - and we have not reviewed all available products and offers. That transparency to you is core to our editorial integrity, which isn’t influenced by compensation.
Wells Fargo is one of the largest mortgage lenders in the United States. It offers a variety of purchase and refinancing mortgage products, as well as home equity lines of credit (HELOCs). In this Wells Fargo Mortgage review, we'll dig into the banks offerings, the pros and cons of using them for your mortgage needs, and whether Wells Fargo could be the best choice for you.
First-time homebuyers will benefit from the no income requirement loan product and access to FHA loans.
Competitive rates: Wells Fargo publishes a list of its current mortgage rates, updated daily. And its rates are highly competitive with those offered by other lenders, especially for borrowers with strong credit. Note that the rates listed on the website generally assume a top-tier FICO® Score (740 or above) as well as a 20% down payment.
Variety: As one of the largest mortgage lenders in the U.S., Wells Fargo offers many different options. For purchases, the bank offers fixed-rate conforming loans with terms of 30, 20, and 15 years, 7/1 and 5/1 ARMs, jumbo loans with fixed or adjustable rates, VA mortgages, as well as FHA and USDA loans. The bank offers several different refinance loan structures and as well as home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) with both variable- and fixed-rate options. Wells Fargo also helps facilitate financing for new construction homes and offers bundled purchase and renovation loans.
Excellent educational tools: Wells Fargo's website has a ton of educational articles and videos that can help guide you through the mortgage process. Don't understand the difference between interest rates and APRs? There's a quick, easy-to-understand video about it. There are also videos that offer explanations of down payments, determining your price range, the difference between pre-qualification and pre-approval, the mortgage process itself, and many more.
Fixed-rate HELOCs: Most banks that offer mortgages have HELOCs, but Wells Fargo Home Mortgage is a bit different. While the bank's HELOCs all start out as variable-rate credit lines (as is the industry standard), Wells Fargo offers borrowers the option to convert all or part of their balance into a fixed-rate advance with a set interest rate for a term of 1-20 years.
Low down payment options: In addition to the usual ways of buying a home with less than 5% down, such as USDA, FHA, and VA mortgages (all of which are offered), Wells Fargo also has its yourFirst Mortgage loan. This is a conventional, fixed-rate mortgage that has a 3% down payment requirement. Unlike some of the other programs, like USDA loans, yourFirst Mortgage has no maximum income limitation. And despite its name, you don't even need to be a first-time homebuyer to take advantage.
Huge geographical presence: Wells Fargo has a massive branch network with about 5,400 branches throughout the U.S., many of which have on-site mortgage consultants. If you prefer in-person help during the home financing process, it's tough to find a lender with more of a branch presence than Wells Fargo.
Flexible loan terms: Wells Fargo offers lots of flexibility when it comes to loan terms. It provides daily updated interest rates on its website for all of the above loan terms, as well as APRs, which indicate the overall cost of borrowing including origination charges.
Down payment options without PMI: Many competitors offer low down payment mortgage options without private mortgage insurance (PMI), but Wells Fargo doesn't (aside from VA loans). The yourFirst Mortgage product could still be an excellent way to get a conventional mortgage loan with a minuscule down payment, but you'll have to pay PMI, which will increase your monthly cost significantly.
Mortgage products: To be fair, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage has quite a bit of variety. However, few of its mortgage products (with the possible exception of the yourFirst Mortgage) are unique. Some competitors offer more creative options, such as loans designed specifically for self-employed borrowers, interest-only loans, loans with no down payment and no PMI, and others.
The application process: Wells Fargo's mortgage application process (more on this in the next section) requires borrowers to connect with a home mortgage consultant and have several rounds of back and forth. While you don't necessarily need to have an in-person consultation, the application process isn't likely to be as quick and easy as it would be at some more tech-orientated competitors.
The first step in Wells Fargo's mortgage application process is to connect with a home mortgage consultant, which involves submitting a contact form on the bank's website with some of your information. Your consultant will walk you through the rest of the application process, and documents can typically be submitted through the bank's yourLoanTracker portal.
Once the application and required paperwork are in, Wells Fargo will order a title search and appraisal, and then send your application to underwriting. The process is pretty standard, but it's not quite as streamlined and easy-to-navigate as it is at some of Wells Fargo's rivals.
One alternative to consider is Rocket Mortgage, which is the largest home lender in the U.S. Rocket Mortgage offers pretty much all of the same loan options as Wells Fargo, with the key difference being that the process is entirely online and much more streamlined. Rocket Mortgage receives top-notch rankings for customer service, so if you want the application process to be as easy as possible, Rocket Mortgage is worth a look.
If you're a low- to moderate-income homebuyer without a large down payment, you might want to take a look at Citi Mortgage as well. The Citi HomeRun loan program offers 3%-down-payment mortgages just like Wells Fargo's yourFirst Mortgage, but with no mortgage insurance.
In addition, it's important to mention that even if a particular lender sounds like a great fit, it's still important to fill out applications and get rate quotes from at least a few lenders. This is important to do when shopping for any type of loan, but is especially critical when looking for a mortgage.
Here's why. Although mortgage rates tend to be in the same ballpark, each lender has its own methodology of evaluating applicants, so it's common for the same borrower to get significantly different rates from different lenders. And a seemingly small difference in mortgage rates could mean thousands of dollars in savings over the term of a loan. As long as all of your applications occur within a two-week shopping window, multiple mortgage applications won't hurt your credit score, so there's literally no good reason not to take the time to shop around.
We’re firm believers in the Golden Rule, which is why editorial opinions are ours alone and have not been previously reviewed, approved, or endorsed by included advertisers. The Ascent does not cover all offers on the market. Editorial content from The Ascent is separate from The Motley Fool editorial content and is created by a different analyst team.
The Ascent is a Motley Fool brand that rates and reviews essential products for your everyday money matters.
Copyright © 2018 - 2020
The Ascent. All rights reserved.