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Wells Fargo Mortgage: BiggerPockets Review

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Wells Fargo dates all the way back to 1852, when it formed as a banking and express company serving western pioneers. Its stagecoach emblem still endures, evoking its earlier days as a player in mail delivery—or, as Wells Fargo calls it, “a symbol of the opportunity, innovation, and perseverance that defined that American era.”

It has headquarters in San Francisco, and previously had a reputation as a western-region bank. But an expansion push and a range of mergers have spread its reach throughout the country, with more than 7,400 branches in most states (with over 1,000 of them offering mortgages) and approximately 70 million customers.

With nearly $2 trillion in assets, Wells Fargo stands today as one of the country’s top four biggest banks, along with Citibank, Chase, and Bank of America. So, as you might expect, it’s also among the major players in the mortgage business. In fact, for years it’s been the country’s largest residential mortgage lender and servicer. 

In the latest available American Customer Satisfaction Index, with data from 2019, Wells Fargo experienced a three percent rise in customer satisfaction. It was the first gain for the bank in three years as it works to overcome its widely news-making fake account scandal. Despite this recent gain, Wells Fargo remained at the bottom of the big-four pack for satisfaction according to this data, with less competitive rates, in customers’ view. In fact, the bank has suffered negative reputation impacts as a result of multiple recent scandals—which also include wrongfully foreclosing on homeowners and collecting improper fees on mortgage rate lock extensions—in addition to paying regulator-imposed fines.

Basic stats

For first-time and repeat homebuyers with a low down payment, Wells Fargo’s yourFirst mortgage program allows buyers to qualify with a credit score of 620, with a down payment of three percent.

Quick facts

  • Wells Fargo offers a new construction loan, which allows investors the option to use an extended rate lock program as a safeguard against interest-rate changes during the construction process—for anywhere from five months to two years. 
  • Also of interest to investors, Wells Fargo offers a renovation loan program. With this option, the loan amount is based on the projected value of the home after the renovation is complete. 
  • Through Wells Fargo’s yourFirst mortgage program, buyers can qualify to purchase a home with a fixed-rate conventional mortgage and a low down payment of just three percent.

Wells Fargo Mortgage Products

Wells Fargo offers fixed-rate or adjustable-rate mortgages for conventional or government home loans. It offers a wide range of loan programs.

Beyond conventional mortgages, home equity lines of credit, and government loans (FHA, VA, and Department of Agriculture), Wells Fargo Mortgage offers jumbo loans (although they may be temporarily unavailable during the coronavirus pandemic crisis), loans for new construction and renovation, relocation and employee mortgage programs for corporations, and a loan program for eligible union members.

For first-time and repeat homebuyers with a low down payment, Wells Fargo offers its yourFirst mortgage program. To qualify, you’ll need a 620 credit score and a down payment of at least three percent. With this low fixed-rate, low down-payment loan, you can use down payment and closing-cost sources like gift funds and down payment assistance programs. Given the risk to the bank, mortgage insurance is required with this product and increases loan cost and monthly payment. However, this loan program doesn’t require borrowers to pay an upfront mortgage insurance fee—so that eases the burden.

For those buying a newly constructed home, Wells Fargo offers its Builder Best extended rate lock program, with a dedicated team that specializes in financing for just this type of property.

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Wells Fargo and Real Estate Investors

Wells Fargo offers loan programs for the full range of investors, from those starting out small to seasoned, large-scale investors. It has programs to educate and assist first-time home buyers, who are incentivized with homebuyer education and a closing-cost credit through the yourFirst program, which allows for down payments as low as three percent on fixed-rate mortgages.

Investors can also benefit from the bank’s new construction loan, which allows borrowers to use an extended rate lock program as protection against interest-rate changes during the construction process. And Wells Fargo’s renovation loan program allows investors to apply for a loan amount ba

Wells Fargo Interest Rates

Your specific interest rate may vary based on your personal financial situation, as well as fluctuations within the market. But Wells Fargo publishes its current rates so you can compare.

In a recent Investopedia comparison—assuming a $200,000 existing home in Florida with a 25 percent down payment—Wells Fargo’s rates beat out Bank of America’s for adjustable-rate mortgages. But Bank of America offered the better 30-year fixed rate mortgage loan between the two.

Wells Fargo Application Process

Initiate the process of applying for a mortgage either in person, online, or via phone with a consultant. From there, you can apply either online or in person. 

If you’re eligible, you’ll receive an email invitation for yourLoanTracker, in which you can track your loan application status electronically throughout the process.

The bank will order an appraisal of the property to determine its value, and you’ll have to provide additional documentation (which you can also do through the yourLoan platform). 

Wells Fargo will send a commitment letter and a copy of the appraisal if you’re approved. You will need to buy homeowners insurance (Wells Fargo offers it, or you can purchase it elsewhere). 

Then you’ll schedule a closing date together with the bank, and you’re all set to complete the process.

Wells Fargo Mortgage Pros and Cons



Pros

  • Wells Fargo is a national lender with an enormous presence, with 1,000 branches around the country offering mortgages—so you likely won’t have to go far to do your business in person.
  • You can easily track your application status online from your smartphone, tablet, or computer using the yourLoanTracker tool, a highly reviewed platform.
  • Given its size and lending power, Wells Fargo offers a full range of mortgage products, including specific options that appeal to investors, such as renovation loans and new-construction loans.

Cons

  • Wells Fargo is trying to come back from its fair share of scandals, which have shaken consumer trust in the integrity of its business dealings. 
  • Although much of the loan process can be done and tracked online, you will have to come in to complete some of the process in person.
  • The flip side of Wells Fargo’s enormous size and sweeping presence: You might not experience the personalized service you would with a regional lender.


Wells Fargo not right for you? Read more mortgage lender reviews.

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