Stearns Lending Mortgage Review 2022

Good for: borrowers who want a variety of home loan options, including a government-backed renovation loan.
Jan 4, 2022

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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, VA

Loan types and products

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

Loan types and products

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

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Full Review

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.

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).