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Fairway Independent Mortgage Corp. is the Swiss army knife of mortgage lenders: It funds just about any type of mortgage you can think of, connects borrowers with credit help and down payment assistance, and offers several ways to submit a mortgage application.
You can apply for a loan through the lender’s website, on its snazzy app, or in person at one of 400 branch locations across the U.S., no matter which state you live in.
With so many options, the lender is bound to have what you need. We even named Fairway one of the best mortgage lenders of 2021, thanks to its large loan selection and good customer service. Here’s what to know about the lender before you apply.
Pros and Cons of Fairway Independent Mortgage
Offers all major mortgage types along with home equity loans and home equity lines of credit
Operates in all 50 states
Borrowers can apply for a mortgage at an office, through Fairway’s app, or on the lender’s website
Can fund loan amounts up to $5 million
Mortgage rates aren’t available online
Fairway Independent Mortgage: Loan Types and Products
Fairway Independent Mortgage has a wide range of mortgages for borrowers looking to purchase a home, refinance an existing mortgage, renovate a home, or take out a second mortgage. Here’s what Fairway offers right now:
- Conventional loans
- Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans
- Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) loans
- U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) loans
- Jumbo loans
- Reverse mortgages
- Refinance loans
- Fixed-rate loans
- Adjustable-rate loans
- Renovation loans
- Physician loans
- Home equity loans
- Home equity lines of credit (HELOC)
Fairway offers a choice between fixed-rate and adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) loans on most of its products. You can choose from several fixed loan terms, including 10, 15, 20, 25, or 30 years. With an ARM, the rate will be fixed for the first five, seven, 10, or 15 years. After the fixed period ends, the rate may increase or decrease annually for the rest of the loan term.
In addition to its conventional mortgages, the lender also offers government-backed home loans. In fact, Fairway was the top lender by loan volume for FHA and USDA mortgages in 2019 and for VA mortgages in 2020.
Renovation loans, which allow you to cover the purchase and costs of remodeling, are also available. You can choose from several types, including the Fannie Mae HomeStyle renovation loan, FHA 203(k) renovation loan, FHA 203(k) limited loan, USDA renovation loan, and the jumbo renovation loan in certain locations.
If you need to borrow a large amount, Fairway can fund jumbo mortgage loans as high as $5 million for qualifying borrowers. That’s substantially more than you might get with other lenders, which often cap mortgage loans at $3 million.
Fairway also offers a unique program called the “physician loan,” which is a mortgage for medical professionals who are actively working, have completed a medical residency program, or completed a medical clinical fellowship. The loan comes with a low down payment, and in some cases the lender will waive the down payment altogether.
Fairway Independent Mortgage Transparency
Fairway has an easy-to-navigate website that clearly specifies which types of mortgages it offers and who might be a good fit for each loan product. The website also includes mortgage calculators and resources for buying a home, along with guides explaining loan types and mortgage terms. You’ll also find information about what to do after closing, such as understanding your loan servicer, making your first payment, and removing private mortgage insurance.
One of the lender’s standout offerings is the FairwayNOW mobile app, which borrowers can use to apply for a loan, scan and upload financial documents, find a local loan officer, and calculate monthly mortgage payments.
However, the lender doesn’t advertise mortgage rates on the app or website, and it doesn’t publish a list of lender fees borrowers might pay at closing. There’s also no information about the minimum credit score needed to qualify for a mortgage.
Fairway Independent Mortgage: Rates and Fees
Fairway Independent Mortgage doesn’t advertise daily refinance and purchase rates, nor does it publish a list of lender fees borrowers might pay on a home loan. But a Fairway representative did provide us with a list of credit score requirements, which vary by product type:
- Conventional loans: 620
- FHA loans: 600
- VA loans: 600
- Jumbo loans: 660
If your credit score falls below one of the minimum requirements, Fairway says it may be able to help you build a credit history. You’ll work with the lender’s “Creditool” team at no cost to you. Fairway can also connect you with agencies to offer down payment and closing cost assistance.
To get an accurate rate quote and receive a breakdown of all lender fees and closing costs, you’ll need to contact the lender and submit a loan application or ask for a prequalification. To receive the best rates, you may need good to excellent credit.
To save money on your home loan, submit a mortgage application with at least three lenders and request a Loan Estimate. Take the best offer and send it to another lender, asking them to beat the interest rate or closing costs (or both). Getting a lower interest rate may help you save hundreds or thousands of dollars over the life of the loan.
Fairway Mortgage doesn’t charge application fees or prepayment penalties on any of its loans, and you can lock in your interest rate for free. However, you’ll pay a fee to extend the rate lock.
Refinancing With Fairway Independent Mortgage
If you have a mortgage and want to save money with a lower interest rate or take cash out, you can refinance a conventional loan, government-backed loan, or jumbo loan with Fairway Mortgage.
When you refinance, you’ll pay fees that usually average 2% to 3% of the loan amount. But the specific costs vary depending on factors such as the type of loan, so you’ll need to submit an application to get an accurate estimate.
If you’re looking to minimize your upfront costs, Fairway can roll the closing costs into the loan amount. While this can be convenient, you’ll pay more over the long term because you wind up paying interest on the closing costs.
Fairway Independent Mortgage Compared to Other Mortgage Lenders
|Minimum credit score||620 for conventional loans; 660 for jumbo loans; 600 for FHA loans; 600 for VA loans||620||660|
|Minimum down payment||0% to 5%||3%||5%|
|Where does the lender operate?||50||43||42|
|Major loan types||Conventional, 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||Conventional loans, jumbo loans||Conventional loans|
How to Shop Around to Get the Best Mortgage Rate
Getting a good deal on your mortgage rate is important because it can potentially save you thousands of dollars over the life of the loan.
For example, let’s say you receive two mortgage rate quotes on a home worth $200,000 with a 20% down payment and 30-year term. With a 3.25% interest rate, the monthly principal and interest payment comes out to $696. But with a 3% interest rate, you save $22 a month on interest costs. That might not sound like much, but it adds up to $7,920 in savings over 30 years.
But you won’t know whether you’re getting the best deal unless you shop around. It’s a good idea to submit mortgage applications to at least three lenders and ask for a mortgage Loan Estimate. Use these documents to compare the interest rate, APR, and lender fees on each loan. Send the best offer to another lender, and ask them to beat the interest rate or closing costs. If you have strong credit, lenders may be willing to compete for your business.
These mortgage applications can trigger a hard inquiry on your credit reports, but the credit-scoring companies know consumers shop around. FICO will treat all mortgage inquiries made within 45 days as just one inquiry. Try to submit your mortgage applications within this window to minimize the impact to your credit.
With so many options, Fairway Independent Mortgage is a strong contender if you’re looking to take out a mortgage or refinance an existing loan. While you can’t check rate quotes or lender fees online, you can apply through the website, through an app, via phone call, or at one of hundreds of offices nationwide. The application process can be completed within about 10 minutes, and you’ll be quickly connected with a loan officer.