Fairway Independent Mortgage Review 2022

Good for: borrowers who want access to a wide variety of mortgages and the convenience of a comprehensive mobile application process.
Jan 3, 2022

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Our Take

3.5

NerdWallet rating 

The bottom line:

Fairway has lots of loans and a snazzy mobile app, but comparing mortgage rates requires supplying personal information.

Fairway Independent Mortgage
Min. credit score
620
Min. down payment
3%
Loan types and products
Purchase, Refinance, Home Equity, Reverse, Jumbo, Fixed, Adjustable, FHA, VA, USDA
Learn more

at Fairway Independent Mortgage

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Offers a robust suite of loan products, including a variety of renovation loans.
  • Has a digital application that can be completed in 10 minutes.
  • Works with some state housing finance agencies to offer mortgages with down payment and closing cost assistance.

Cons

  • Mortgage rates aren't posted online.
  • Origination fees are on the high side and are not offset by low rates, according to the latest data.

Compare to Other Lenders

NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
Min. credit score

620

Min. credit score

620

Min. credit score

640

Min. down payment

3%

Min. down payment

3%

Min. down payment

3%

Loan types and products

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

Loan types and products

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

Loan types and products

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

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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.

Fairway Independent Mortgage at a glance

Fairway Independent Mortgage offers borrowers a robust suite of loan products and customer service touch points to simplify the mortgage lending process.

From the usual stable of fixed-rate conventional loans and adjustable-rate mortgages to FHA, USDA, VA, renovation, reverse mortgages and jumbo loans, Fairway has something for nearly every type of borrower. Founded in 1996, Fairway has grown into a national network with over 10,000 employees — including more than 3,000 loan officers — in over 1,500 locations. It is headquartered in Madison, Wisconsin, and Carrollton, Texas.

Here's a breakdown of Fairway's overall score:

  • Variety of loan types: 5 of 5 stars

  • Ease of application: 5 of 5 stars

  • Rates and fees: 2 of 5 stars

  • Rate transparency: 1 of 5 stars

Fairway mortgage loan types

If you're looking for a fixed-rate loan, Fairway has several term options: 10, 15, 20, 25 or 30 years, depending on the loan type. Likewise, if you want an adjustable-rate mortgage, Fairway offers those, too, with terms that include 5/6, 7/6 and 10/6, which can adjust every six months rather than once a year after an initial fixed period.

The lender offers conforming and jumbo conventional mortgages as well as government-backed home loans. In fact, Fairway was among the top 10 lenders by loan volume for FHA mortgages, according to 2020 Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data.

Fairway works with some state housing finance agencies to offer mortgages with down payment and closing cost assistance aimed at first-time home buyers. And it considers nontraditional credit to qualify borrowers for certain loans.

Renovation loans are also on the menu, including HomeStyle, Choice Renovation, jumbo, FHA and VA renovation mortgages.

Fairway Independent Mortgage HELOC: The lender also offers a home equity line of credit, or HELOC. These second mortgages are one way for homeowners to access existing home equity without refinancing or selling their home. Funds obtained with a second mortgage can be used for expenses such as home improvements, education costs or debt consolidation. Fairway's HELOC isn't readily apparent on its website, but the lender says this second mortgage is available in a number of terms. You'll have to ask a loan officer for details.

Fairway ease of application

Fairway provides a variety of ways to apply. You can:

  • Use the FairwayNOW mobile app. Introduced in 2017, the app sets Fairway apart from many other lenders. With the app, borrowers can apply for a loan in under 10 minutes, securely scan and upload financial documents, find a local loan officer, calculate monthly mortgage payments and connect to home-searching sites.

  • Apply through the Fairway website. Fairway's eight-step online application process is on par with that of other major mortgage lenders.

  • Call or visit a branch for face-to-face service. The website features a map to find branches near you. You can refine your search to find a branch that provides particular services; you can also view profiles of loan officers and email them directly.

Fairway has a digital closing process, which allows buyers and sellers to preview and approve documents electronically before settlement. The company says the technology streamlines the closing process. Borrowers have a chance to review everything on their own time so they know what they’re signing, and the final closing can be completed in 15 minutes or less.

If Fairway customers have problems or questions, they can contact the company through their loan officer, the mobile app, a customer service call center or an email form on the website. Customers can also check loan status and view messages from loan officers through a 24/7 online loan administration portal.

Fairway mortgage rates and fees

One of the most important considerations when choosing a mortgage lender is understanding what the loan will cost. In order 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:

  • Fairway earns 2 of 5 stars for average origination fee.

  • Fairway earns 2 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.

Fairway mortgage rate transparency

Borrowers wanting to compare Fairway's mortgage rates with other lenders will need to contact a Fairway loan officer or begin an application online. Fairway doesn't publish mortgage rates on its website.

More from NerdWallet

at Fairway Independent Mortgage

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).