Stearns mortgage review: Good for people who want options

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Stearns mortgage loans at a glance

  • Conventional loans: Yes
  • FHA loans: Yes
  • VA loans: Yes
  • Refinancing: Yes
  • Jumbo loan: Yes
  • Adjustable rates: Yes (3/1, 5/1, 7/1 and 10/1 ARM)
  • Fixed rates: Yes

Stearns (Stearns Lending) is a nationwide mortgage lender that opened its doors 1989. Stearns provides both mortgages and refinancing options to prospective and current homeowners.

Pros

  • Multiple loan types
  • Plenty of mortgage options
  • Lender is transparent about ARM loan options

Cons

  • No home equity loan or HELOC products
  • Online contact form required, no application forms online

5 things to know about a Stearns mortgage loan

1. Multiple loan options

Stearns has a variety of borrowing options that may be able to suit your needs, whether you’re shopping for your first home or your next home — or you want to refinance. And if you’re looking for jumbo loans or fixer-upper mortgages, you’re in luck: Stearns offers both of those financing options.

2. Plenty of mortgage options

You’ll have a lot of options at your disposal when working with Stearns, which offers conventional, FHA, USDA and VA mortgages with fixed- and adjustable-rate options.

3. Loan terms vary

If you’re hoping to secure a mortgage that’s shorter than 30 years, you may find what you’re looking for through Stearns. It offers a variety of loan terms, starting at just 10 years for fixed-rate mortgages.

4. No home equity loan or HELOC products

Stearns doesn’t offer home equity loan or home equity line of credit (HELOC) products, which may rule this lender out if you’re looking to leverage your equity as a borrowing solution.

5. Website lacks transparency

Stearns doesn’t provide information about APRs on its website. You’ll have to connect with Stearns via phone, email or the website’s contact form to learn more about your potential APR options. According to a representative, you’ll have to fill out a form to learn more about the rates you qualify for.

Who is a Stearns mortgage loan good for?

Stearns offers lending options for both new and repeat homebuyers, so if you’d like to see a variety of mortgage and refinancing options, you may appreciate Stearns’ wide offering of lending products.

And if you need help covering the upfront costs of buying a home, Stearns mortgage loan originators can tell you whether your state offers down payment assistance.

Because it offers VA loans, Stearns may be a good fit for veterans and active-duty military who are looking to buy their first home.

How to apply for a Stearns mortgage

Stearns has mortgage loan originators available to help you with the application process, including understanding your down payment, closing costs and homeowner’s insurance requirements. Stearns also offers mortgage preapprovals, which could make it easier for you to put an offer in on your dream home when you’re ready.

You can apply for a Stearns mortgage either online or in person. You and your real estate agent will need to provide Stearns with the home purchase contract and any other information needed.

Once you verify your info online — a process that requires submitting both your Social Security number and bank information — you’ll go through the underwriting process before closing. 

Not sure if Stearns is right for you? Consider these alternatives.

If you want to compare mortgage rates with several mortgage lenders or your application is denied, keep in mind that you have a window of time where multiple hard credit inquiries by lenders only count as one for your credit scores. You typically have 14 days — though it could be longer depending on the scoring model.

  • New American Funding: This is a good alternative for first-time home buyers and for those who want personal help in the home loan process rather than an online-only application.
  • Freedom Mortgage: Homebuyers who are interested in VA, FHA or USDA loans with features friendly for first-time buyers may find what they’re looking for with Freedom Mortgage.

About the author: Jacqueline DeMarco is a freelance writer based in southern California who graduated from the University of California Irvine with a degree in literary journalism. She writes about a wide range of topics, including fin… Read more.