Whether you’re a Packers fanatic or you love the wide, open plains, there are plenty of reasons to make Wisconsin your home. Thinking about making the jump from renting your space to becoming a homeowner?
Our guide to mortgage lenders, interest rates and home buyer programs in America’s Dairyland will make buying a home easier and more affordable.
Best Mortgage Companies in Wisconsin:
- Best for First Time Home Buyers: Quicken Loans®
- Best for Self-Employed Professionals: Bank of America
- Best Online Lender: Better.com
- Best for FHA Loans: U.S. Bank
- Best for VA Loans: Veterans United
The 5 Best Mortgage Companies in Wisconsin
There are over 30 individual lenders offering mortgage loans in Wisconsin. Which one should you choose? Let’s take a look at our top 5 lenders in Wisconsin and what they’re known for.
1. Best for First Time Home Buyers: Quicken Loans®
Buying your first home can be confusing. You might want to look for a lender with a streamlined process and plenty of loan information available online.
Quicken Loans® is one of the best lenders for first-time home buyers. It offers a variety of loan terms and types. Quicken Loans’ Rocket Mortgage® platform is packed with information on nearly every type of loan you can get as well as some of the most common questions you might have. You’ll also enjoy an exceptionally easy and streamlined mortgage application process. Most applicants will receive a decision quickly and you can complete the entire process on your phone or tablet.
2. Best for Self-Employed Professionals: Bank of America
As a self-employed man or woman, you know firsthand that your income can vary drastically from 1 month to the next. This can make it difficult to qualify for a mortgage, as lenders need to know that you’ll still be able to pay your bills a decade down the road.
Bank of America is one of the best lenders in Wisconsin for those who are self-employed. To prove your income with Bank of America, you only need to create a profit-and-loss statement that summarizes your most recent business quarter.
You’ll also need to provide bank statements for the last 2 months, but you won’t need to dig through years of tax returns. Bank of America can be a great choice for any borrowers whose income changes from month to month.
3. Best Online Lender: Better.com
Better.com is an online lender focused on offering the most affordable mortgage rates possible. By streamlining the mortgage application process down to only the most basic steps, Better.com is able to offer more competitive rates and fewer fees. If getting the most affordable loan is your top priority, Better.com is a great choice.
Better.com makes it exceptionally easy to compare mortgage interest rates. Just enter a little information on your home’s value, your location and your credit score to see instant rates and start comparing your options. Did you find a better loan from a competitor? Better’s Better Price Guarantee gives you $1,000 to put toward your closing if you find a better rate with a competitor.
4. Best for FHA Loans: U.S. Bank
If you’re considering buying a home with an FHA loan, consider working with U.S. Bank. U.S. Bank offers both 15-year and 30-year FHA loan solutions and you can apply for your loan online or at 1 of their many branches throughout Wisconsin.
U.S. Bank also offers a quick and easy loan calculator tool that you can use to estimate your monthly payments before you get your loan, as well as what you can expect to pay when you close. This can be especially helpful if you’re seeking an FHA loan because you have less money to put toward closing costs and you need a more accurate estimate.
5. Best for VA Loans: Veterans United
Veterans United is a special lender committed to making the VA loan application process simpler. Veterans United is the country’s No. 1 issuer of VA loans, a type of government-backed loan for select active-duty servicemembers and veterans.
Veterans United employs veterans from all branches of the United States military. These former service members can help guide you through the VA loan process. They can also assist you in filing your paperwork to prove that you qualify. If you don’t qualify, Veterans United can also help you get a conventional loan that fits your needs.
Most mortgage loans contain 2 essential parts: a term and a type. You can mix and match your term and type to fit your needs as a borrower.
Your mortgage type determines what credit score and down payment you’ll need to qualify for your loan. If you have a lower credit score, you might want to choose a government-backed mortgage. Government-backed mortgage loans have lower credit and income requirements because they have insurance from the federal government that conventional loans don’t. This makes them less risky for the lender.
Your mortgage term describes the length of time that you’ll make monthly payments on your loan before you own your home. When you first sign onto your loan, you only own a partial percentage of your home, which is equal to your down payment. When you finish paying off your mortgage term, you own 100% of your home.
Your term also tells you about your interest structure. You might have one of 2 interest structures:
- Fixed-rate loans are the easiest to understand. If you have a fixed-rate loan, your interest rate stays the same throughout the loan term. If your APR is 4% when you take out your loan, it will be 4% when you make your last loan payment unless you refinance.
- Adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) have an interest rate that changes throughout your loan term. Your ARM will begin with a period of fixed interest. After this period ends, your mortgage lender will readjust your interest rate in accordance to market rates. If your local interest rates are going up, your rate will increase. If they’re going down, your rate will decrease.
When you shop for APRs, you’ll see 2 numbers separated by a forward slash. The first number tells you how long you’ll enjoy a fixed interest rate when your loan first begins. The second number tells you how often your lender readjusts your interest rate.
Here are 3 common mortgage types:
- Conventional mortgage loans are the most common type of mortgage loan you’ll find and they’re also some of the least strict when it comes to home requirements. This is because you can buy every type of property with a conventional loan and you can use the home you buy for any purpose. To get a conventional loan, you’ll usually need a credit score of 620 points or higher and a down payment of 3% or more.
- FHA loans are government-backed mortgage loans with lower credit requirements. You can qualify for an FHA loan with a credit score as low as 580 points and a down payment of at least 3.5%. Some lenders might allow you to get an FHA loan with a credit score as low as 500 points as long as you have 10% to put down. You can only buy a primary residence with an FHA loan.
- VA loans are government-backed home loans with insurance from the Department of Veterans Affairs. VA loans have no down payment requirement — this means that you can close on your loan with just the cost of closing expenses. You usually need a credit score of at least 620 points to qualify for a VA loan, and you must have served in the United States Armed Forces or National Guard prior to getting your loan.
You could encounter a few different types of mortgage terms when you need to choose a mortgage type:
- 30-year fixed-rate loans require monthly payments for 30 years before they reach maturity. 30-year fixed-rate loans are a good option for buyers who need a lower and more predictable monthly payment.
- 15-year fixed-rate loans have 15-year terms and are better for those who want to pay their loan off quickly. 15-year fixed-rate loans also have interest rates that stay the same throughout the loan. They usually have lower interest rates than 30-year loans that have the same loan type.
- 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) begin with a 5-year period of fixed interest. After that, your lender recalculates your interest rate every year according to a set index of market rates. Your interest rate might go up or down, depending on how market rates change, but most ARMs include a cap that limits how high your rate can go or how low it can fall. A 5/1 ARM can have a 15-year term, a 30-year term or another term, depending on the lender you choose.
Which Mortgage Lender is Best for You?
With so many lenders competing for your business, how can you choose which option is best for you? It’s impossible to say which lender is “the best” because the best lender for you will depend on your finances, credit and the type of loan you need. Some qualities you might want to look for in a lender include:
- Availability in your area: Lenders work within a very specific area. Make sure that your lender services your state and city before you apply for a loan.
- Credit requirements that fit your current score: Know your credit score before you apply for a loan and make sure that you meet your lender’s requirements.
- Ability to offer your loan type: Some lenders offer every type of loan, while others specialize in a select type of loan or loan term. Decide which loan you need before you begin comparing lenders.
Lender Credit Score Minimums in Wisconsin
If you’ve ever applied for a credit card or made a payment on a loan, you’re probably already familiar with your credit score. A credit score is a numerical ranting that goes up or down depending on how you use credit. The lowest possible FICO credit score is 300 points, while the highest credit score is 850 points.
If you make payments on your debt on schedule and avoid overusing your credit, your score will go up. If you have a habit of missing payments on your credit cards or borrowing more money than you can afford to pay back, your score will be lower. You can check your credit score through most credit card account homes or by using a free credit service.
Let’s take a look at a few of Wisconsin’s largest lenders and the minimum credit score you’ll need to get a loan with each.
|Lender||Minimum Credit Score Required|
Current Mortgage Rates in Wisconsin
The rates you’ll see from lenders when you get an online quote will change over time. There are an endless number of factors that can influence average mortgage rates, including where you live, your local rental rates and even bond interest rates.
Let’s take a look at what you might expect to pay for a mortgage loan if you got your preapproval today.
|7/1 ARM (adjustable rate)||3.25%||3.264%|
|5/1 ARM (adjustable rate)||3.625%||3.359%|
Average Days to Close on a Loan
Closing on your loan involves 3 major steps:
- Appraisal: Your lender will schedule an appraisal for your home. An appraisal will tell you about how much the property you’re buying is worth. An appraisal is a required part of buying a home because your lender needs to know that they aren’t loaning you too much money for your home.
- Inspection: After you get an appraisal, you might also want to get an inspection. An inspection will give you a closer look at what your home is worth by telling you more about the condition of your home’s systems. Most lenders don’t require you to get an inspection before you buy a home, but you should still get one so you know exactly how much to budget for repairs after closing.
- Underwriting: While you’re getting your inspection and appraisal, your lender will underwrite your loan. The underwriting process includes asset and employment verification and loan paperwork processing.
After all closing steps are finished, you’ll attend a closing meeting with your agent, the seller and your lender. At your closing meeting, you’ll sign on your new loan paperwork and get the keys to your new home. The entire closing process might take as little as a few weeks to as long as a few months. Let’s take a look at a few lenders and their average time to close.
Find an Affordable Rate on Your New Home
Every mortgage lender uses its own unique formula to determine how much you’ll pay in interest for your loan. It’s possible to get the exact same mortgage loan at 10 different rates with 10 different lenders. The best mortgage lender for you will depend on where you live, the mortgage process you prefer and how long you have until you need to be out of your current space.
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