Network Capital offers mortgage and refinance options at low interest rates and with no fees. It offers both conventional and government-program loans, and its agents work with you to get the best loan possible. It does not offer construction or home equity loans, however.
The lender offers fixed-rate and adjustable loans with multiple time options. It also works with several government loan programs for home mortgages that don't require down payments, waive appraisals, or allow for extra cash upon closing for debt consolidation or home repairs.
The posted interest rates were the lowest of the ones we found advertised by the mortgage companies we considered. However, advertised rates are difficult to compare across the board, because each mortgage lender gives the rates for what it considers an ideal or typical loan, which varies from bank to bank. We created a sample scenario to get a more accurate comparison. Network Capital, however, could not give us the rates for our scenario, as its computers cannot provide information without first pulling a credit report.
For a conventional loan, Network Capital prefers a debt-to-income ratio of 47 percent and a 620 minimum credit score. These are within the average. However, they work with people whose financial situation is not as favorable. One loan officer said he has helped clients raise credit scores quickly so they could qualify for a loan, and Network Capital has programs where no down payment is required.
This lender does not charge fees of any kind, but it makes its money by selling your loan after closing. This can be an inconvenience, as you will have to work with a bank not of your choosing once the loan is complete, but it's a common practice, and there are safeguards in place to protect you.
The website has some information on the mortgage process, including calculators. It also offers live chat, but it just takes your information so a loan officer can call you. We called several times, and only once did a loan officer freely give information without asking us to apply for pre-qualification and have our credit report pulled.
4. Wells Fargo Home Mortgage
Wells Fargo offers conventional and government-program mortgage and refinancing loans with fixed and adjustable rates. It also offers construction loans. Only a few of the banks we evaluated offer these loans, which are more risky for the bank because the usual equity is the house itself. The construction loans come with a rate-lock option to let you set the interest rate while the home is being built. This protects against rising interest rates while your home is under construction, but if the rates decrease, Wells Fargo offers a one-time float down to the lower rate.
We checked interest rates in two ways. The first was by comparing rates posted on the websites of the mortgage companies. This comparison only goes so far, as each lender posts rates for what it considers an ideal loan. Next, we checked interest rates for a $150,000 home in California with $20,000 down for a borrower with a 700 credit rating. Wells Fargo's online calculator gave us the rates and estimated down payment. In all cases, Wells Fargo's rates were above average.
Because closing costs depend on fees beyond the bank's control, we looked only at bank fees like underwriting and processing that are paid as part of closing costs. The agents we spoke to said bank fees vary by state, but range from $700 to $1,000. These fall at or below average for the lenders we reviewed.
Like most banks, Wells Fargo requires a five percent down payment, although it may allow a three percent down payment for first-time homebuyers with excellent credit. It prefers to work with borrowers with a 600 credit score or higher but can make exceptions. Its preferred debt-to-income ratio is 45 percent, which runs average for most banks. It was one of the few mortgage companies that mentioned a preferred cost-to-income ratio: 33 percent. This is the percentage of your monthly income that goes toward your mortgage.
It customer service received our highest marks. The phone system quickly connects you to a loan officer. Every loan officer we spoke to answered our questions in detail, took time to explain things, and gave us accurate information without the hard sell we experienced with other mortgage lenders. The online application process seemed similarly user-friendly, with checklists to make sure you had the information you needed as you filled out the loan.
Wells Fargo has an excellent website for homebuyers wanting more information about what to expect. It contains an interactive guide, My FirstHome, that takes you through the process, from deciding whether or not to buy to maintaining your new property. The resources section contains articles, checklists and videos that cover all aspects of homeownership, not just the mortgage. The checklist section is similarly expansive.
3. Quicken Loans
Quicken Loans is our Top Ten Reviews Bronze Award winner for mortgage and refinance loans because of its flexible programs to help you get a home loan that meets your financial needs. Its rates and fees are highly dependent on the loan situation, so it's best to contact a loan agent for the most accurate interest rates.2. CitiMortgage
CitiMortgage is our Top Ten Reviews Silver Award winner because it offers one of the widest varieties of mortgage and refinance loans at very competitive rates. CitiMortgage is part of Citibank, an international banking institution. In addition to the most commonly offered traditional and government-program loans, it can offer interest-only and construction loans through certain branches. It has fixed- and adjustable-rate loans. CitiMortgage does not offer home equity or HELOC loans, but its parent bank does.
We found its interest rates, both posted and in our test case, to at or lower than average, and the underwriting fees at or below average. It has excellent customer service and an easy application process. It's one of the few mortgage lenders that charges an application fee, but it offers pre-approval without any special fees.
When choosing a lender for your mortgage or refinance loans, you want to find the lowest rates and fees along with a term that works with your borrowing goals. You can take the time to shop around, but LendingTree is a broker, so it takes the time for you to find the best loan options. When you apply for a loan with LendingTree, it collects from its network of lenders to provide competitive loan offers from top lenders in the country. Because LendingTree does the legwork for you and provides a range of quotes, we award LendingTree our Top Ten Reviews Gold Award for mortgage and refinancing companies.