USAA bank mortgage review December 2018 | finder.com

USAA bank mortgage review

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USAA

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Custom loans for new homeowners to veterans with the safety and security you’d expect from this big bank

With mortgage rates hovering around the lowest numbers in decades, buying a home might be more affordable than you think. Setting up a home loan with the right provider can be both exciting and rewarding.

USAA packs a diverse arsenal of mortgage options, each backed by strong security measures, borrower autonomy and customer service to guide you through the process. Its website is simple to navigate, filled with relevant information and even features a mortgage calculator and prequalification and preapproval options for timely closing.

If you’re new to mortgages, USAA’s learning center and knowledgeable staff can also help streamline your homebuying experience.

Name USAA
Description A top-rated bank offering home loans for first-time homebuyers to veterans.
Loan types Purchase, Refinance, Jumbo, Fixed, Adjustable, FHA, VA, USDA
Minimum credit 620
Minimum down payment 0%
Origination fee 0.5%
Other fees None
Based on USAA’s marketing, this bank is a strong, reputable mortgage lender. But we dug deep through online communities and reviews to determine what real customers have to say about USAA’s mortgages.

USAA home mortgages is not accredited by the Better Business Bureau (BBB), but it does earn an A+ rating. However, of the more than 260 reviews left on the site, 91% are negative. Customers complain of paperwork beyond what they expected and poor communication and transparency.

On Trustpilot, USAA gets 4.2 out of 10 stars, with a fifty-fifty split in customers who praise its excellent customer service and low fees with others who complain of fraud with their account and higher APRs than they were told they’d be.

In the end, experiences are hit or miss. For unfiltered feedback, check out USAA’s Member Community online. USAA responds to most inquiries on the forum, even forwarding negative reviews to more senior departments to sort out any issues. That’s a heartening sign that you’re working with a responsible lender.

What can I expect with a USAA home loan?

USAA takes pride in a streamlined mortgage process and fast turnaround at each step. Like most larger lenders, its rates are competitive, though not necessarily groundbreaking.

However, your mortgage rate isn’t always the most important factor. Flexibility, fees and communication can greatly affect the outcome of the homebuying process.

Here’s what to expect with a home loan through USAA:

  • Loans for homebuyers with credit scores of 620 or higher.
  • Down payments as low as 3% for standard loans and as low as 0% for veterans.
  • Loans from $50,000 up to $3 million through jumbo options.
  • Variable fixed-rate loans with terms of 10, 15, 20 and 30 years.
  • Up to 80% loan-to-value ratios.
  • Direct payments toward escrow and principal.

Compare to other lenders

Name Product Min. down payment Origination fee
3.5%
Depends
Connect with vetted lenders quickly through this free online marketplace.
3.5%
N/A
Competitive rates and no prepayment penalties on a variety of loans.
3.5%
1.0% to 5.0%
A nontraditional lender offering impartial guidance on a range of loans, though with potentially high fees.
3%
0.5% to 1.0%
Streamline your mortgage from quote to final payment — all from your computer or phone.
3%
0.5% to 1.0%
Flexible options, fast approvals and support online backed by a trusted brand.

Compare up to 4 providers

What does USAA do best?

USAA offers the stability and security of a big bank with the freedom and hands-on assistance you’d get from smaller lenders.

It boasts a wide variety of mortgage options. Offering products for first-time homebuyers and veterans returning home, its tailored programs, competitive rates and credit know-how make buying a home accessible for all.

Highlights of USAA’s mortgage offerings include:

  • Easy prequalification and preapproval
  • Flexible terms and diverse options
  • Simplified and timely closing
  • Dedicated real estate team and home search applications
  • Extraordinary customer service
  • Online documentation uploads
  • Real-time official loan estimates
  • ID protection and online security center

What about fees?

Most mortgages come with fees and repayment penalties that can affect how much equity you build — not to mention how much you spend — over the life of your loan, regardless of your mortgage rate and term.

With USAA, your fees are low, and you can pay off your loan early without penalty. Depending on your mortgage, you might also be eligible for a discount.

Fees

  • No underwriting, documentation or application fees.
  • 0.50% origination fee on home loans — $1,150 on average, based on a $230,000 mortgage.
  • No prepayment penalties, allowing you to save on unnecessary interest if you’re able to pay it off early.

Discounts

  • Save $1,000 in closing costs when you refinance.
  • Rewards of $300 to $24,000 when you buy or sell through USAA’s Real Estate Rewards Network.

How do I apply?

USAA breaks down its straightforward online application into steps, even including how long it expects each step might take.

Eligibility requirements

While USAA doesn’t advertise all of its eligibility requirements to receive a home loan online, expect that you’ll need to:

  • Take out a minimum loan of $50,000.
  • Have a minimum credit score of 620.

Contact USAA Bank or sign up online to determine if you’re eligible.

VA loans eligibility

Active-duty military members can apply for a home loan guaranteed by the US government. These VA loans are designed to help you borrow, build or repair a home.

To be eligible for a VA loan, you must have served a minimum of 90 days during wartime, 181 days in peacetime or 6 years in the National Guard or Reserves. These loans are also open to surviving spouses.

Application process

1. Get prequalified in minutes. Tell USAA about your finances and where you want to move. They’ll check your credit to reduce the chance of getting denied later, and you’ll get a shopping letter that might help with seller negotiations.

2. Work with a network agent. If you choose an experienced agent through USAA’s Real Estate Rewards Network, you could get a $350 to $24,000 reward after closing, based on the sale price of your home. The average reward is $1,228 — more if you both buy and sell.

3. Apply for your mortgage.Once you find a home, your loan officer helps you complete a mortgage application. You’ll need income statements, current bank statements and other supporting documents.

4. Wait for approval. USAA takes two to three weeks to confirm required documents and a clear title for your home, sending status updates of your application’s progress.

5. Get the keys to your new home. When your paperwork is approved, you’re ready to close. Bring along your government-issued ID and a cashier’s check for your closing costs and down payment, and welcome home.

I got a USAA mortgage. Now what?

To stay on top of payments and make the most of your mortgage:

  • Consider autopay. Automatic withdrawals can eliminate the headache of monthly payments.
  • Call customer support. If you find yourself in financial trouble, speak with an agent at 800-531-8722. USAA may be willing to work with you while you get back on track.

Bottom line

USAA could be an affordable option for veterans and newcomers looking for a straightforward mortgage backed by solid customer service. Average rates and a lack of transparency are balanced by strong security measures, flexibility and no fees or penalties during the mortgage process.

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