Wells Fargo is one of the largest mortgage lending institutions in the U.S. The bank backs that distinction up with many different mortgage options that vary in term-length, style and size. This breadth provides a high level of customization to make choices based on your specific profile. That’s often lacking when it comes to other lenders and provides a leg up for Wells Fargo. A financial advisor can help you with mortgages and any other financial issues you have.
But taking a mortgage with Wells Fargo isn’t all great. In fact, its interest rates and annual percentage rates (APRs) are slightly higher than a sizable portion of its direct competition. This is partially an indication that Wells Fargo’s extra costs are higher too, as the APR includes fees and other expenses that the interest rate does not.
|30-Year Fixed-Rate||2.875%||Compare Rates|
|15-Year Fixed-Rate||2.125%||Compare Rates|
Overview of Wells Fargo Mortgages
As a general rule, the longer the loan, the higher the interest rate -- and by extension, the higher the APR. Wells Fargo’s main mortgage offerings are its 30-, 20- and 15-year fixed rate loans. These are very typical in length, though some lenders will forgo a 20-year option, which is again a testament to Wells Fargo’s substantial set of selections.
When it comes to these fixed-rate mortgages, you’ll pay a set amount toward your loan for a specific amount of time. However, you will need to have prepared some sort of down payment on the home and mortgage, a number that Wells Fargo seems to prefer around 25% of the value of the home, which is slightly higher than the typical 20% most lenders adhere to. The bank does offer a cheaper option: yourFirst Mortgage®. This program calls for a down payment of just 3% of the home’s value and is also at a fixed rate.
An “ARM,” or adjustable-rate mortgage, is different from its fixed-rate counterpart in that your interest rate and APR will vary throughout the loan’s life. In essence, these are meant to shrink your payments during the initial payment period, which, in the case of Wells Fargo, is either five or seven years. Following this, your interest rate will alter depending on the specified interest index the lender uses. Wells Fargo adheres to its own proprietary index called the Wells Fargo Cost of Savings Index (Wells COSI).
As you might expect, Wells Fargo’s 7/1 ARM has an initial payment period of seven years, while the opening term for the 5/1 ARM lasts five years.
Jumbo mortgages are essentially the same as normal mortgages, only they’re for larger amounts of money. As far as Wells Fargo goes, the rates for fixed-rate jumbo mortgages aren’t necessarily that different from conventional mortgage rates, though you’ll likely need a much more substantial down payment.
What Your Monthly Mortgage Payments Could Be With Wells Fargo
Aside from the interest rate and APR of your prospective Wells Fargo mortgage, one major factor will determine what your monthly payment situation will look like: your home’s value. Based on this total, Wells Fargo can determine your down payment and loan amount. How much you’re willing and able to pay up front is mostly up to you. For these purposes, though, Wells Fargo assumes you will put down one-quarter of your home’s value. Whatever’s leftover, as far your home’s value goes, will be left to the mortgage.
Being that there are so many variables in reference to your personal financial situation, Wells Fargo has outlined information that can give you an idea as to what you’re likely to pay each month over the life of a few of their different mortgages.
|Mortgage||Interest Rate||Loan Size||Your Payments|
|30-Year Fixed-Rate||2.875%||$200,000||$830/month for 30 years|
|15-Year Fixed-Rate||2.125%||$200,000||$1,299/month for 15 years|
How Wells Fargo Compares to Other Lenders
As you’ll find in the table below, the APRs and interest rates that Wells Fargo offers might be higher than what other lenders offer, but is generally on par. This is especially visible when comparing the bank against Bank of America, Quicken and Chase.
Chase and Bank of America are similar institutions, but Quicken Loans couldn’t be more different. Wells Fargo is rather traditional in its mortgage setup, while Quicken is completely online and mobile-based.
|Mortgage||Wells Fargo||Rocket Mortgage||Bank of America||Chase|
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Refinancing With Wells Fargo
Refinancing a mortgage can be done for a number of purposes, including lowering your monthly mortgage payments or shortening the length of your loan's term. However, in order to avoid paying for private mortgage insurance, prospective refinance customers must hold no less than 20% of their home's equity. That makes the process of refinancing a bit more complicated for some, but the benefits you can reap if you qualify for one are transformative.
While there is no defined formula that determines what a lender’s refinancing loan interest rates will be for your personal situation, they take into account the same areas of focus as any other loan. More specifically, your credit score, loan-to-value (LTV) ratio, mortgage point total, current level of equity, loan amount and whether the home is a primary residence or not will all factor into what you are offered.
Should You Get a Mortgage from Wells Fargo?
Wells Fargo should have enough mortgage options available to satisfy just about any possible client. This is clear not only from the many different types of mortgages it includes in its portfolio, but also from the terms for which they’re offered.
For anyone who’s inexperienced when it comes to mortgages and loans in general, Wells Fargo presents an opportunity to work face-to-face with an actual human employee. So if you fall into this group, you might want to accept the slightly higher interest rates and APR Wells Fargo has. It may be worthwhile to have someone walk you through the mortgage process.
Tips for Adding a Mortgage to Your Financial Life
- If you want additional guidance, use the SmartAsset financial advisor matching tool to get paired with a financial expert who can assist you with the complicated process of securing a mortgage. Simply answer some questions relating to your financial needs, and up to three advisors in this area will be matched with you.
- Before you apply for a mortgage, it might be wise to do a complete review of all your monthly costs. This will give you a better look into how well these new payments will fit into your your overall finances.
Introduction to Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo is one of the largest U.S. banks and a major presence in the country’s mortgage market. It is the nation’s fourth-largest bank in terms of total assets and is the biggest mortgage bank in terms of both mortgage lending and servicing.
Headquartered in San Francisco, it was founded in 1852 as a banking and express company, and its early involvement in overland mail service is still reflected in its iconic stagecoach logo. It was long known as a western regional bank, but expansion and mergers in recent decades have brought it to the point where it now has more than 9,000 branches in 39 states and the District of Columbia.
Wells Fargo holds the nation’s highest customer satisfaction ranking among large banks, according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index, a status it has held for several years. It ranks as the nation’s #1 small business lender (Community Reinvestment Act data) and the top home loan originator to minority and low-income neighborhoods (Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data).
Wells Fargo Mortgages
Wells Fargo offers a variety of home loan products, including mortgages, mortgage refinancing, home equity loans, home equity lines of credit (HELOCs), home improvement loans and construction loans. Lending options include 30- and 15-year fixed-rate mortgages, and adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs) with initial terms of 3, 5, 7 or 10 years.
Wells Fargo does not currently offer reverse mortgages (Home Equity Conversion Mortgages), having discontinued them in June 2011 due to unpredictable home values. It’s not known if the company plans to resume such lending once the housing market stabilizes.
You can obtain a Wells Fargo mortgage either directly through a Wells Fargo retail branch or through a mortgage broker. Mortgage brokers do not lend directly to borrowers, but work with multiple lenders to help borrowers find the one that best meets their needs, then assists with closing the loan.
Wells Fargo is an approved lender for both FHA and VA mortgages.
The mortgage industry is highly competitive, and major banks like Wells Fargo strive to attractive loan packages to their customers. Wells Fargo mortgage rates vary according to a number of factors, including loan type, length of the loan, the borrower’s credit rating, discount points, the amount borrowed, the size of the down payment, where the property is located and others.
Generally speaking, mortgage rates are lower on shorter term loans than they are on long-term ones. So interest rates on a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage will be much lower than on a 30-year mortgage available to the same borrower. Mortgage rates on ARMs tend to be even lower, since you’re only locking in the rate for a few years, rather than 15 or 30. However, be aware that rates on ARMs reset after their initial terms toward the prevailing market rates and will continue to do so periodically unless the mortgage is refinanced.
Your credit score is another major factor that affects your interest rate on a Wells Fargo mortgage. To get the lowest mortgage rates, you typically need a FICO score of 740 and above. Rates increase slightly down to about a score of 700, then begin to rise sharply from there. Anything around 620 or below will carry a steep premium in terms of a higher rate.
Discount points also affect your mortgage rate. These are a way of pre-paying mortgage interest in order to lower your mortgage rate. Each point costs one percent of the loan amount (one point) and can be used to buy down your mortgage rate. This can be useful for homeowners who expect to be in the property long enough for the lower rate to offset the higher up-front costs of buying points.
Wells Fargo mortgage rates will be higher on "jumbo" loans, which are mortgages that exceed the amounts for "conforming" mortgages that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will guarantee. These limits range from $417,000 to $729,750, and vary by county.
Wells Fargo mortgage refinancing programs are much the same as their home purchase mortgages, with similar rates. Many of the same rules and loan products apply. However, there are some key differences.
Mortgage refinance rates are pretty much the same as mortgage rates for purchasing a home. However, if rates have fallen since you bought your home, you can reduce your rate by refinancing, which is basically replacing your old mortgage with a new one.
Home refinancing allows you another way to save money by shortening your term. If you’ve been paying on a 30-year mortgage for several years and refinance it into a 15-year mortgage, you’ll not only pay it off faster, but get a really low rate as well, since interest rates on 15-year mortgages have been running much lower than those on 30-year loans.
Wells Fargo is a participant in the federal Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP), which is designed to allow certain creditworthy borrowers to refinance their mortgages despite being in negative equity, or "underwater" on their mortgages, owing more than their property is worth. Borrowers approved for a HARP refinance should expect to pay a somewhat higher rate than on a regular refinance where the borrower has equity in the home, but the amount is capped by program rules.
Home Equity Loans
Wells Fargo also offers a variety of loan programs for homeowners who wish to borrow against their home equity. Such loans are often used for making home improvements, paying medical bills, covering college costs or other major expenses.
A Wells Fargo home equity loan allows you to borrow a certain amount of money in one lump sum and pay it back over 5-20 years. Interest rates are fixed, and tend to be higher than on home purchase mortgages or refinanced mortgages.
A Wells Fargo home equity line of credit (HELOC) authorizes you to borrow funds as needed, up to a certain limit, much like using a credit card secured by your house. Interest rates are lower than on a home equity loan, but you can choose between a fixed or a variable interest rate.
You can also do a cash-out refinance in which you simply refinance your entire mortgage while taking out some of the equity as cash at the end of the transaction. Interest rates on a cash-out refinance are usually higher than on a regular refinance.
The amount you can borrow in any home equity loan will be limited by how much equity you have; Wells Fargo does not indicate a set limit, but the general rule of thumb in the current market is that borrowers should retain at least 15-20 percent equity after taking out the loan.
Wells Fargo also offers a program where the cost of mortgage insurance is built into your interest rate, which may provide tax advantages for certain borrowers. Mortgage insurance is required on any home loan with less than a 20 percent down payment, or refinancing with less than 20 percent equity. The Wells Fargo option is called lended-paid mortgage insurance (LPMI); the other option is private mortgage insurance (PMI), which is paid through a fee added to your monthly mortgage statement.
Wells Fargo Information
A pioneer in online banking, Wells Fargo makes it easy for customers to obtain information about their mortgage products, submit inquiries or initiate the loan process through their web site, wellsfargo.com, You can also contact the company by phone at 1-800-869-3557.
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Review: Wells Fargo refinance mortgage rates and products
Wells Fargo Mortgage is the largest US mortgage lender. From its early days as a stagecoach provider, to present Wells Fargo has been a part of the American financial landscape for well over 150 years.
Wells Fargo started as a single branch in San Francisco,and eventually expanded throughout California. Through their acquisitions of Minneapolis-based Norwest Bank and Charlotte-based Wachovia, Wells Fargo became the empire they are today.
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Their financial pull has also allowed Wells Fargo mortgage rates to remain competitive in the marketplace
Refinacing products offered by Wells Fargo
All lenders offer a variety of products. To check the most recent products and mortgage rates, look at Wells Fargo’s website, directly.
Traditional fixed-rate mortgages
- Wells Fargo 15-year mortgage rates
- Wells Fargo 30-year Fixed-rate mortgage
Borrowers looking for a traditional “conforming” loan of $417,000 or less can take advantage of Wells Fargo’s low refinance rates. Wells Fargo has a broad range of fixed products including30-year mortgage rates and 15-year fixed mortgage loans. As with all fixed rate loans, the benefit is knowing what your interest rate will be for the life of your loan.
5-1 ARM and 7-1 ARM
Adjustable-rate mortgages are shorter than traditional mortgage terms. Shorter terms usually mean lower interest rates, but significantly higher monthly payments. As with most ARM loans, the rate is set for a set period of time, then will reset annually with a new rate that can be either higher or lower depending on market conditions.
Existing Wells Fargo customers can take advantage of the bank’s online streamline program. This program has no application, appraisal, or closing fees and works completely online. As long as you can qualify for a loan and do not plan to take cash out for remodeling or otherwise, this program makes it easy for you to refinance into a lower rate mortgage with reduced paperwork.
Jumbo Refinance Rates
Wells Fargo’s financial strength gives them the ability to offer competitive jumbo mortgage rates- or loans over the $417,000 limit that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac impose. Like many lenders, Wells Fargo jumbo refinance mortgagescarry higher interest rates than their conforming loans. Unlike other lenders, Wells Fargo’s premium is very small, frequently as little as 25 basis points. In other words, if Wells Fargo was issuing 30-year mortgage refinances at 5.00 percent rates, a Wells Fargo jumbo refi would be just 5.25 percent.
Federal Housing Authority loans are notorious for having flexible qualification requirements. If your credit score needs a bit of work, but refinancing is important to you, consider an FHA loan. It may be your best option. Though terms will vary, FHA loans often allow you to refinance up to 97.75 percent of your home’s value.
If you qualify for a VA loan you will be eligible for some of the lowest refinancing rates on the market. These rates can sometimes be a full percent lower than a traditional refinancing loan, which can result in substantial savings of the life of your loan. Another giant advantage of VA loans is that most often, homeowners won’t have to pay for mortgage insurance, which can cost around .5-1 percent of the total loan value.
Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP)
The HARP program was created by the federal government, to make it easier for eligible homeowners to refinance their homes at a lower rate. In many cases, an appraisal is not required and fewer documents are needed.
Borrowers with regular Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae mortgages can refinance their mortgages even if they owe more than their homes are worth through the Home Affordable Refinance Program. If you have a good history of being current on your payments and have not yet taken a HARP refinance, you could refinance your loan’s mortgage to a new one at today’s lower rates through Wells Fargo Mortgage.
Wells Fargo mortgage rates today
The Wells Fargo refinance rates are competitive. Wells Fargo, as with all other financial institutions, will take a homeowner’s current debt load and history into consideration in deciding upon a refinancing rate.
To find current Wells Fargo mortgage rates in your area, you’ll need to visit Wells Fargo’s website to enter your geo-specific information or speak with a representative directly.
Refinancing can save consumers money over the life of their loan (Photo/Flickr)
How does Wells Fargo compare to other banks?
Wells Fargo vs. Chase
Chase doesn’t promote a program dedicated to their current customers (apart from HARP) like Wells Fargo does. So if you’re currently a Wells Fargo customer, it might be worth doing the math on interest savings compared to ancillary fees. A streamlined refinance can save you money in the long run.
Wells Fargo vs. PNC Mortgage
Even though PNC Mortgage is a smaller bank than Wells Fargo, their rates tend to be about equal to each other. The number of products offered by the two lending companies are comparable, also. If you have shaky credit history, PNC mortgage might be more appealing to you. This bank currently considers nontraditional credit history, like rent payments, while approving you for a loan.
Additional HARP details
If you already have a Wells Fargo mortgage consider refinancing through their HARP program. Streamlining through HARP loans let you refinance even if you owe more than your home is worth. While you will have to fill out a new mortgage application and go through Wells Fargo’s underwriting process, you will not have to have your home appraised – which can cost around $400.
Home Equity Rates
Wells Fargo was an innovator in home equity lending, offering one of the first Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC)loan products ever. Today, they offer traditional home equity loans, flexible HELOCs, and a unique Home Asset Management Account. This account combines a WellsFargo mortgage with a Wells Fargo HELOC to let you have a single point of contact for both your mortgage and your HELOC. It also offers a choice between traditional payments and interest-only payments to let you manage your monthly cash flow.
One note of caution. If you consider a HELOC be careful about the terms. If you agree to a variable rate, your interest may rise. Also, if your home declines in value, you could end up paying more money than your home is worth.
Wells Fargo has a long history of leadership in financial services. Their wisdom in avoiding sub-prime lending led them to be one of the strongest banks coming out of the real estate bubble and positioned them to be one of the strongest lenders in the market.
Deciding which option is best for you
It’s always best to shop around for the best rate when it comes to refinancing. Consumers have many options for refinancing – banks, credit unions, consumer finance companies, and loan institutions all want your business, which gives you the advantage.
Apart from interest rates, it’s also best to determine which lender is right for you from an ancillary fee standpoint. Check the balance between fees for closing a loan and interest rate. A lower interest rate might not always be the less expensive option.
Customer service and communication should also be taken into consideration. Ask yourself, does your community bank offer better customer service than regional banks you’ve worked with in the past?
With that in mind, current Wells Fargo bankers definitely have reason to consider sticking around for refinancing.
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