Nationstar Mortgage Review 2017

Finding the Right Mortgage, Mortgages
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Nationstar Mortgage originates and services loans for every type of home buyer. But as one of the largest nonbank servicers in the country, Nationstar’s focus is on its existing 2.7 million customers, specifically when they’re interested in refinancing, says Kelly Ann Doherty, senior vice president of corporate communications.

Nationstar’s revamped website and new mobile app, which went live Dec. 15, 2016, are part of the company’s efforts to improve customer service and encourage borrowers to return when they’re thinking about next steps, like refinancing their mortgage or selling their home, according to Doherty.

Let’s take a closer look at Nationstar Mortgage.


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AT A GLANCE

  • Offers fixed- and adjustable-rate mortgages for purchase and refinance, conventional, FHA, VA, USDA and jumbo loans.
  • Services loans in every state; originates loans in every state except Hawaii.
  • Minimum credit score: 620 for conventional loans, can go lower with government loans.

Compare Nationstar Mortgage with other lenders.

Nationstar Mortgage products

Nationstar Mortgage offers a wide variety of home loans for both purchase and refinance, from the popular 30-year fixed-rate conventional loan to Home Affordable Refinance Program loans for borrowers struggling to make payments.

Included with the list of loan types on Nationstar’s website are definitions of each loan, as well as the pros and cons associated with each loan. “Our goal is always to make our homeowners as smart as possible, and not every home loan product is right for you,” Doherty says. “It’s good to know that there are a lot of options.”

Nationstar’s website also offers a step-by-step guide to refinancing, which includes the documents you’ll need and information about what happens at closing.

If you have a mortgage that’s backed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, you can refinance with a VA Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan. Your interest rate isn’t guaranteed to go down with this type of loan if you’re refinancing from an adjustable-rate mortgage to a fixed rate. But a fixed-rate loan may be a better option for you if you want your monthly mortgage payments to remain consistent.

FHA Streamline loans are available if you already have an FHA loan and want to refinance. Streamlining means the refinance process is quicker, but your loan term might extend and the associated fees could be high.

» MORE: Calculate your monthly mortgage payment

Nationstar’s mortgage process

To get started with Nationstar Mortgage, you can call or fill out a short form online to have a loan officer call you. Nationstar doesn’t offer an online application process. You’ll submit your application and all the required documents through your loan officer via email or by phone. You’ll also receive status updates on your application from your loan officer.

Once your loan is approved and you’re officially a borrower with Nationstar, you have the option to create an online account. With this account, you’re able to keep track of how much you owe, make payments and see how much of your monthly payment is going toward principal and interest, according to Doherty. You can also see how much is going toward your escrow account — an account that covers property tax and insurance payments.

Street Smarts from Nationstar

At the bottom of your Nationstar account home page, you’ll find a set of resources under the name Street Smarts.

Doherty says that Street Smarts offers tools and information specific to your loan, your home and your neighborhood. You can find out how much equity you have in your home, see recent sales in your area, view and monitor your FICO credit score, and see what it would take to pay down your mortgage faster.

To look at other homes in your neighborhood, Street Smarts takes you to a third-party site and shows you the average listing prices for nearby homes. Doherty says that while you’re searching, you can save properties you’re interested in buying.

If you’d like to pay off your loan faster, you can use a calculator that allows you to enter certain amounts that you’d add to your monthly payment. The different amounts will show how much interest you’ll save and how many months you’ll cut from the remainder of your loan period.

From this calculator, you can go directly to the autopay option if you want to adjust your monthly payment. You’ll pick the month and day you want to start with autopay, and you’ll decide how much additional principal you want to add or how much more in escrow deposits.

Doherty says there are no fees with the autopay option or with any online payment method.

Nationstar’s payment features include a monthly calendar that displays when a late fee would go into effect. This can help you figure out when you need to make payments in order to avoid late fees after your grace period is up, Doherty says.

What Nationstar does best

  • Updated online experience with lots of homeowner tools and educational information.
  • Free online payments, with autopay option.
  • Mobile app available.

Where Nationstar falls short

  • You can’t submit an application, or keep track of your application’s status, online.
  • No branch locations.

Customer satisfaction research firm J.D. Power gives Nationstar Mortgage a score of 772 out of 1,000, putting the company at the bottom of the top 18 ranked lenders. On its Power Circle Ratings scale, J.D. Power gives Nationstar Mortgage two out of five circles, which falls below the three-circle rating of “about average” and into “the rest.” Rating factors include overall satisfaction, billing and payment, mortgage fees and communications.

This scoring information was released Nov. 10, 2016, before Nationstar Mortgage’s website redesign and mobile app launch.

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Michael Burge is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: mburge@nerdwallet.com.

NerdWallet’s star ratings for mortgage lenders are awarded based on our evaluation of the products and services that lenders offer to consumers who are actively shopping for the best mortgage. The six key areas we evaluated include the loan types and loan products offered, online capabilities, online mortgage rate information, customer service and the number of complaints filed with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as a percentage of loans issued. We also awarded lenders up to one bonus star for a unique program or borrower focus that set them apart from other lenders. To ensure consistency, our ratings are reviewed by multiple people on the NerdWallet Mortgages team.