Costco Mortgage Program Review 2021: You Want a House With That Hot Dog?

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Costco Mortgage Program Review 2021
Costco Mortgage Program Review 2021
Editor’s Score: (N/A)
Costco Mortgage Program Review 2021
Editor’s Score: (N/A)
  • Minimum Credit Score:
    Varies by lender
  • Minimum Down Payment:
    Varies by lender
  • Can Apply Online:
    Yes
  • Operates In:
    All 50 States

NextAdvisor’s Take

Pros
  • Costco members get discounts on lender fees
  • Applicants can compare loans from several lenders
  • The mortgage application process is quick and automated
Cons
  • Fee discounts are only available to Costco members
  • Not a direct lender, but a marketplace program
The Bottom Line

Costco’s Mortgage Program lets you check multiple loan quotes and get a feel for the type of home loans you may qualify for. Costco members get a break on lender fees, which could be enough to make this loan program worth it for you. Still, it’s a good idea to evaluate these offers alongside others to make sure you’re getting the best deal. Since a home might be the biggest purchase you’ll ever make, saving money on your mortgage is an important goal.

EDITORIAL INDEPENDENCE

As with all of our mortgage lender reviews, our analysis is not influenced by any partnerships or advertising relationships. For more information about our scoring methodology, click here. 

Costco Mortgage Program Full Review

Costco is a warehouse-style store that sells everything from lawn furniture to bulk groceries and jumbo packs of household goods. Now you can also shop for a home loan through the company’s Mortgage Program, which is available for members and nonmembers nationwide. 

The retail giant doesn’t actually originate the mortgages; instead, it connects you to a lending marketplace where you can compare mortgage rate quotes and apply for a home purchase or refinance with participating mortgage companies. Lender fees are capped for Costco members, which can help you potentially save thousands of dollars. Here’s what to know about Costco’s Mortgage Program.

Costco Mortgage Program: Loan Types and Products

To apply for a mortgage, you’ll need to head to the Costco finance lending platform, plug in your membership information and homebuying details, and request a rate quote. The platform uses the information to provide you with several offers from participating lenders. You can compare up to four lenders, and with your permission, representatives from the companies will contact you. From there, you can compare loan details, select a lender, and apply for a home loan. 

Here are the participating Costco lenders as of June 2021:

  • Box Home Loans
  • ConsumerDirect Mortgage
  • CrossCountry Mortgage
  • Intercontinental Capital Group
  • Lending.com
  • Mutual of Omaha Mortgage
  • NASB Home Loans
  • NBKC Bank
  • Strong Home Mortgage

Loan options depend on the lender, but most offer conventional mortgages, Federal Housing Administration mortgages (FHA loans), Department of Veterans Affairs mortgages (VA loans), jumbo loans, refinances, and a choice between fixed-rate loans and adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs). Participating lenders may offer other options, too.   

The minimum requirements for a borrower’s credit score, down payment, and debt-to-income ratio also vary with each lender, but it helps to know general underwriting guidelines upfront. Borrowers looking for a conventional loan typically need a credit score of at least 620, a down payment of 3%, and a debt-to-income ratio of 43% or lower. For FHA loans, the credit score requirement drops to 500 or 580, depending how much you can put down. 

Costco Mortgage Program Transparency

A company called Affinity Partnerships designed and manages Costco’s lending platform under the oversight of CrossCountry Mortgage. The platform is easy to navigate, breaks down important disclosures in understandable terms, and helps you compare multiple loan offers. You’ll receive a rate quote within seconds but won’t hear from the lender unless you specifically give permission to be contacted. Once you apply for a pre-approval or mortgage, the lender will provide you with a more specific APR and a list of fees you might pay. 

Costco Mortgage Program: Rates and Fees 

The Costco Mortgage Program advertises daily refinance and purchase rates for 15-year loans and 30-year loans once you plug in a few details about what you’re looking for. These rates can change every day, and only the most qualified borrowers will receive the best terms.

Costco also advertises discounted lender fees, which can help members save thousands of dollars upfront. Lender origination fees — such as the application fee, underwriting fees, and processing fees — are capped at $250 for Executive members and $550 for other members. The company estimates the discount in fees plus access to competitive interest rates can save members an average of $9,745 over the typical life of the loan. 

All borrowers still have to pay third-party fees, such as title insurance, appraisal fees, tax service fees, and escrow dues, which are detailed in the Loan Estimate.

If you decide to shop for a mortgage through Costco’s program, make sure you ask each lender questions before applying for the home loan. For example:

  • Do you charge prepayment penalties?
  • Does my rate quote include discount points?
  • Is there a minimum credit score requirement? 
  • Are there any other mortgage charges I should know about?
  • Can I lock in my rate for free?
  • How long does it take to close a home loan?

Refinancing With Costco Mortgage Program

Refinancing allows you to replace your current mortgage with a new loan, usually with terms that better fit your budget. Depending on the lender you choose through Costco’s Mortgage Program, you might have these options:

  • Rate-and-term refinance, which provides you with a new home loan with a new interest rate, a different loan term, or both.
  • Cash-out refinance, when you take out a mortgage for more than you currently owe and use the extra cash for any type of expense.  
  • FHA Streamline Refinance, which is available to homeowners with an existing FHA mortgage. Borrowers may be able to skip the home appraisal and credit check process.
  • VA Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan (IRRRL), is designed for VA loan borrowers looking to lower their interest rate or switch from an adjustable-rate to a fixed rate. 

When you talk with a lender, ask these questions to understand your loan options:

  • What types of refinances do you offer? 
  • How long does it take to close on a refinance loan?
  • Does the interest rate include discount points?
  • Do you offer special discounts or offers for repeat customers?
  • Are there any fees associated specifically with refinancing?

Costco Mortgage Program Compared to Other Mortgage Lenders 

Costco Mortgage ProgramNew American FundingFairway Independent Mortgage Corp.
Minimum credit scoreCostco Mortgage is a marketplace; minimum credit score requirements vary by lender580620 for conventional loans; 660 for jumbo loans; 600 for FHA loans; 600 for VA loans
Minimum down paymentVaries with the lender0% to 5%, depending on the mortgage program0% to 5%, depending on the mortgage program
Where does the lender operate?Fee discount available in all 50 states and the District of ColumbiaWashington, D.C., and all states except New York and HawaiiAll 50 states and Washington, D.C.
Major loan typesApplicants can typically shop for conventional loans, FHA loans, VA loans, jumbo loans, fixed-rate loans, adjustable-rate loans, and refinances.Conventional, jumbo, VA, FHA, USDA, renovation loans, adjustable-rate, fixed-rate, refinance, cash-out refinance, reverse mortgages, home equity lines of creditConventional, jumbo, VA, FHA, USDA, various renovation loans, adjustable-rate, fixed-rate, refinance, cash-out refinance, reverse mortgages, home equity loans, home equity lines of credit

How to Shop Around to Get the Best Mortgage Rate

If you’re looking to save money, the best thing you can do is shop around. That’s one of the main benefits of Costco’s Mortgage Program: After supplying your information, you’ll instantly receive offers from multiple lenders. After seeing what’s out there, you can choose the best deal or use the offers to negotiate with other lenders. This can yield substantial savings.

Take a look at one example: Say you want to buy a home worth $250,000 with a 5% down payment and 15-year mortgage term. You receive quotes from two different lenders; both charge the same closing costs, but one offers a lower interest rate:

  • With an interest rate of 3.5%, your monthly principal-and-interest payment comes out to $1,697
  • A rate of 3.25% yields a monthly principal-and-interest payment of $1,640.

The lower rate saves you $57 a month — and while that might not sound like much, it adds up to $20,520 in savings over 15 years. 

EDITORIAL INDEPENDENCE

As with all of our mortgage lender reviews, our analysis is not influenced by any partnerships or advertising relationships. For more information about our scoring methodology, click here.