Ally Home Mortgage Review 2022

Good for: home buyers and mortgage refinancers, including jumbo borrowers, who want a digital experience with attentive customer service.

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Our Take

4.5

NerdWallet rating 

The bottom line:

Ally Home offers online mortgage applications and loan tracking, with an emphasis on jumbo loans. But borrowers who want FHA or VA loans are out of luck.

Ally Bank
Min. credit score
620
Min. down payment
3%
Loan types and products
Purchase, Refinance, Jumbo, Fixed, Adjustable
Learn more

at Ally Bank

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Excels in online convenience, with document upload, loan tracking and e-signatures.
  • Offers good rate transparency; rate shoppers can see customized interest rates.

Cons

  • Limited variety of loan products: FHA, VA and USDA loans are unavailable.
  • Doesn't offer home equity loans or lines of credit.

Compare to Other Lenders

NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
Min. credit score

620

Min. credit score

620

Min. credit score

620

Min. down payment

3%

Min. down payment

3%

Min. down payment

3%

Loan types and products

Purchase, Refinance, Jumbo, Fixed, Adjustable

Loan types and products

Purchase, Refinance, Jumbo, Fixed, Adjustable, FHA

Loan types and products

Purchase, Refinance, Home Equity, Jumbo, Fixed, Adjustable, FHA, VA

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Full Review

Tap to learn how COVID-19 has affected mortgage shopping

The coronavirus pandemic introduced some new challenges to getting a mortgage. Many lenders facing high loan demand and staffing issues increased their fees, adjusted minimum required credit scores or temporarily suspended certain loan products. While some products and business practices have returned to pre-pandemic levels, you might still find delays and limited options. If you can’t pay your current home loan, refer to our mortgage assistance resource. For information on how to cope with financial stress during this pandemic, see NerdWallet’s financial guide to COVID-19.

Ally Home at a glance

Ally has robust online tools for home buyers and people seeking to refinance who prefer to apply for a loan without a ton of guidance from a loan officer. Many of Ally’s home loans are jumbo mortgages.

Here's a breakdown of Ally Home's overall score:

  • Variety of loan types: 4 of 5 stars

  • Ease of application: 5 of 5 stars

  • Rates and fees: 3 of 5 stars

  • Rate transparency: 5 of 5 stars

Ally Home loan types

Ally Home is the mortgage-lending operation of Ally Financial. Ally began more than a century ago as GMAC, a division of General Motors that financed car dealers. It has shifted gears many times over the years and is now an online-only bank.

Ally Home offers loans to buy homes and refinance mortgages. It doesn't offer home loans insured or guaranteed by the Federal Housing Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs or Department of Agriculture.

Borrowers may choose mortgages with 30-, 20- and 15-year fixed-rate terms, as well as 10/6 , 7/6  and 5/6  adjustable-rate mortgages that can adjust every six months rather than once a year.

Ally Home allows down payments as low as 3% under the Fannie Mae HomeReady program for low- to moderate-income borrowers.

Jumbo loans are available for borrowers who make minimum down payments of 20%. Ally Home may lend up to $4 million and considers exceptions "on an individual basis and reviewed with Ally Home's relationship expert," says Ally Home President Glenn Brunker.

He adds that about half of Ally Home's loans are jumbos and that the bank is experienced at "delivering against the unique needs of more affluent borrowers," who may have complex finances and nontraditional assets.

Ally Home ease of application

For most customers, Ally Home offers what it calls a "fully guided digital experience." Here's how that phrase is defined:

The digital experience refers to the ability to apply for a mortgage on Ally Home's website using a computer or mobile device. Customers may fill out the entire application online, securely upload documents, and electronically sign disclosures. Borrowers may opt for online verification of income and assets.

By "fully guided," Ally Home means two things. First, the online application is in a question-and-answer format. "It doesn't feel like an application," Brunker says. "It's more intuitive. It asks questions in commonly used language." Second, loan consultants are available to answer questions at any point in the process, according to Ally Home.

Customers generally start by clicking a button and indicating whether they want to buy a home or refinance an existing loan. Then, the Q&A format begins and the customer provides information about where they are in the loan process, the property, their income and assets. After that, the borrower is presented with mortgage options.

Brunker says Ally Home informs borrowers whenever key milestones are reached, including when the loan is initially approved, when the bank receives the appraisal report and when the final loan decision is made.

Ally Home mortgage rates and fees

One of the most important considerations when choosing a mortgage lender is understanding what the loan will cost. To provide consumers with a general sense of what a lender might charge, NerdWallet scores lenders on two factors regarding fees and mortgage rates, according to the most recently available Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data:

  • Ally Home earns 1 of 5 stars for average origination fee.

  • Ally Home earns 4 of 5 stars  for offered mortgage rates compared with the best available rates on comparable loans.

Borrowers should consider the balance between lender fees and mortgage rates. While it's not always the case, paying upfront fees can lower your mortgage interest rate. Some lenders will charge higher upfront fees to lower their advertised interest rate and make it more attractive. Some lenders just charge higher upfront fees.

You can decide to buy discount points — a fee paid with your closing costs — to reduce your mortgage rate.

Deciding whether you want to pay higher upfront fees is a matter of considering how long you plan to live in your home and how much cash you have to apply toward closing costs when you sign the loan paperwork.

Ally Home rate transparency

Ally allows borrowers to view current mortgage rates online without requiring contact with a loan officer and provides a fill-in form that takes location and credit score into account to customize rates. A dropdown menu under the mortgage tab accessible from any page on the Ally site takes you to rates for home purchase or mortgage refinancing and a link to a customizable form.

More from NerdWallet

at Ally Bank

Methodology

NerdWallet’s overall ratings for mortgage lenders are evaluated based on four major categories: variety of loan types (purchase, refinance, fixed and adjustable, for example), ease of application, rates and fees and rate transparency. Among the factors we consider when scoring these categories are options to apply for and track loans online, the level of detail about mortgage rates on lender websites and our analysis of the rates and fees lenders reported in the latest available Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data. These scores generate ratings from 1 star (poor) to 5 stars (excellent).