Stearns Lending Mortgage Review 2020

Good for: borrowers who want a variety of home loan options, including a low-down-payment mortgage for physicians and dentists.

Hal M. Bundrick, CFPAugust 4, 2020
Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.

Our Take

3.5

NerdWallet rating 

The bottom line: Stearns Lending offers a full menu of purchase and refinancing loans, but no home equity loans or lines of credit. Interest rates aren't posted online.

Stearns Lending

Stearns Lending: NMLS#1854

Min. Credit Score

620

Conventional:

620

FHA:

580

VA:

580

USDA:

620

Min. Down Payment

3%

Loan Types and Products

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

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Offers conventional and government-backed loans with low-down-payment options, including FHA 203k renovation loans.

  • Has a mobile app to help streamline the application process.

  • Has a loan program for medical doctors and dentists with down payments as low as 5%.

Cons

  • Doesn’t display information online about rates and fees.

  • Doesn't offer home equity loans or HELOCs.

Compare to Other Lenders

NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
Min. Credit Score

620

Conventional:

620

FHA:

580

VA:

620

Min. Credit Score

620

Conventional:

620

Min. Down Payment

3%

Min. Down Payment

3%

Loan Types and Products

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

Loan Types and Products

Purchase, Refinance, Jumbo, Fixed, Adjustable

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Full Review

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, getting a mortgage may be a bit of a challenge. Lenders are dealing with high loan demand and staffing issues that may slow down the process. Also, some lenders have increased their fees or temporarily suspended certain loan products. If you can’t pay your current home loan, refer to our mortgage assistance resource. For the latest information on how to cope with financial stress during this pandemic, see NerdWallet’s financial guide to COVID-19.

Stearns Lending at a glance

Stearns Lending offers a variety of mortgage loan products, including special programs for medical professionals, to borrowers in Washington, D.C., and all states except New York. And while Stearns offers a digital mortgage application process, you won't find rates and fees online.

Here’s a breakdown of Stearns Lending’s overall score:

  • Variety of loan types: 4 of 5 stars

  • Variety of loan products: 5 of 5 stars

  • Online convenience: 5 of 5 stars

  • Rates and fees: 3 of 5 stars

  • Rate transparency: 1 of 5 stars

Stearns Lending loan types and products

Like many nonbank lenders, Stearns Lending has most of the traditional mortgage loan options, except for home equity loans and home equity lines of credit.

Just about everything else is on the menu: government-backed loans such as FHA, USDA and VA loans; fixed- and adjustable-rate mortgages; renovation loans; jumbo loans; and refinancing.

Stearns offers several mortgages tailored to first-time home buyers, including low-down-payment mortgages that can be paired with local down payment assistance.

Stearns’ website also mentions a mortgage for medical doctors and dentists. The down payment requirement is as low as 5%, and certain student loan payments are excluded from the debt-to-income calculation.

Stearns Lending online convenience

Stearns maintains a consumer-facing website showcasing its mortgages and offers a mobile app, Stearns Digital, to help streamline the application process.

You can download the mobile app from the App Store or Google Play, but you’ll need a verification code from the lender to register your account and start using it. The app lets you upload and digitally sign documents, message your loan officers, view loan details and check your loan’s status.

Stearns Lending 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:

  • A lender's average origination fee compared with the median of all lenders reporting under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act. Stearns Lending earns 3 of 5 stars on this factor.

  • A lender's offered mortgage rates compared with the best available on comparable loans. Stearns Lending earns 3 of 5 stars on this factor.

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 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.

Stearns Lending rate transparency

Stearns Lending doesn't post mortgage rate information on its website or on its mobile app. To get a rate quote, you'll need to contact the company or a local branch directly.

NerdWallet’s star ratings for mortgage lenders are awarded based on our evaluation of the products and services each lender offers to consumers who are actively shopping for the best mortgage. The five key areas we evaluated include the variety of loan types and products offered, online conveniences, online mortgage rate information, and the rate spread and origination fee lenders reported in the latest available Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data. To ensure consistency, our ratings are reviewed by multiple people on the NerdWallet Mortgages team.