Stearns Lending Mortgage Review 2021

Good for: borrowers who want a variety of home loan options, including a government-backed renovation loan.
Phil MetzgerDec 2, 2021

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Our Take

4.0

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

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 203(k) renovation loans.
  • Has a mobile app to help streamline the application process.

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 
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, FHA

Loan Types and Products

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

Loan Types and Products

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

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Full Review

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.

Stearns Lending at a glance

Stearns Lending offers a variety of mortgage loan products 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: 5 of 5 stars

  • Ease of application: 5 of 5 stars

  • Rates and fees: 3 of 5 stars

  • Rate transparency: 1 of 5 stars

Stearns Lending mortgage loan types

Acquired early in 2021 by Guaranteed Rate, this lender continues to operate under the name Stearns Lending. Like many nonbank lenders, Stearns 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 Lending ease of application

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, according to the most recently available Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data:

  • Stearns Lending earns 2 of 5 stars for average origination fee.

  • Stearns Lending earns 3 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 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 mortgage 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.