AmeriSave Mortgage Review: Affordable Loans Right From Your Home
AmeriSave Mortgage Corporation is one of the biggest direct-to-consumer mortgage lenders in the United States. Established in 2002, AmeriSave offers a variety of loan types and refinancing options in 49 states. With no brick-and-mortar facilities, this pioneer of online mortgaging serves loan products without the need for any face-to-face interaction.
In this review of AmeriSave mortgage, we go over the strengths and weaknesses of working with the company.
What To Look For In Mortgage Lenders
There is a myriad of factors to consider when shopping for mortgage lenders, ranging from the rates they offer to the convenience of purchasing them. We used the following criteria to review AmeriSave as a mortgage lender:
Home Loan Products Offered
Since not all lenders will offer the same types of loan products, a lender’s catalog should be the first thing you look at. Below are the 5 most common mortgage products that a lender or mortgage company might provide:
Conventional mortgages are home loans that are not insured by the federal government – instead, they are funded by private lenders. There are generally two types of conventional mortgages:
Conforming Loans: These are loans that are within the maximum borrowing limits set by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA). These limits vary by geographic area.
Non-conforming Loans: These are loans that don’t meet the guidelines set by the FHFA. One example is a jumbo loan – with its higher loan amounts, you can buy prime real estate in expensive areas.
Conventional mortgages are generally easy to secure as long as you have a:
Decent credit score (at least 620)
Debt-to-income ratio of 45-50%,
Downpayment of at least 3%.
The downside of conventional mortgages is that you usually need to pay for private mortgage insurance (PMI) if you can’t make a 20% downpayment.
Perhaps the most common home loan type available, fixed-rate mortgages are loan products that have a fixed interest rate over the life of the loan. This provides you with a good amount of stability and predictability when it comes to your monthly mortgage payments.
The trade-off that comes with choosing a fixed-rate loan is that you can end up paying more on interest, especially if you opt for mortgages with longer tenures. Fixed-rate loans usually come in terms of 15, 20, or 30 years.
Adjustable-rate Mortgage (ARM)
Unlike fixed-rate mortgages, adjustable-rate mortgages have interest rates that fluctuate up or down depending on the current market conditions. This loan usually has a fixed-rate period for the first 3, 5, 7, or 10 years before it transitions into adjustable rates for the remainder of the term.
ARMs can be a risky option because of their sheer unpredictability. However, an ARM can result in lower interest payments overall, especially if markets go down. This is a good option for those who want to take advantage of lower rates or plan to refinance before the adjustable-rate period starts.
Jumbo mortgages are a specific variety of non-conforming conventional mortgage that goes over the federal loan limits ($548,250-$822,375 for most states in 2021). This loan variation is great for those who are purchasing expensive properties and need a loan that is much bigger than their state’s loan limit.
Because jumbo mortgages are much higher than the average loan, getting approved can be more difficult. You typically need a downpayment of at least 10-20% and a minimum credit score of 700. To account for the higher risk that comes with big loans, you should also expect to be charged higher mortgage rates than usual.
Government loans help potential homeowners who might not qualify for traditional mortgages. These types of mortgages usually feature lower credit score minimums, smaller required down payments, and more affordable rates. However, you do need to meet certain criteria.
The three main types of government-issued mortgages are FHA, VA, and USDA loans. Here’s a breakdown of each:
FHA: Federal Housing Administration loans are geared for new buyers who cannot make a substantial down payment or do not have the best credit scores. The minimum FICO score to qualify for a 3% down FHA loan is 580, but 500 is acceptable with a down payment of at least 10%.
USDA: This is designed for low- to middle-income borrowers who want to purchase a home in a rural area. You typically don’t need a down payment for this loan, as long as your property is in a USDA-eligible area and you meet the low-income criteria.
VA: VA loans are flexible and affordable loan products that don’t require a down payment or PMI. However, only active duty members of the US military, veterans, and their families are eligible for this loan.
Mortgage Loan Rates & Fees
Each mortgage provider sets its own mortgage rates and fees. These may include loan origination fees, closing costs, and other fees paid throughout your application.
Aside from monthly interest rates, these fees should be one of your biggest considerations – especially since some lenders make up for low rates with high fees. It’s always good to choose a lender that can provide a mortgage with both affordable monthly rates and reasonable processing fees.
Convenience & Availability
As a consumer shopping for a mortgage, you should evaluate a lender based on how accessible their services are. Banks and other lending institutions don’t always operate in every state. Alternatively, you could opt for a remote/online mortgage service if you want to complete the application process from the comfort of your home.
Customer Service & Satisfaction
Customer satisfaction is always a great metric to use when assessing a lender since a mortgage is a long-term financial commitment. You’ll want a lender who is not only helpful but is also accessible and contactable through various channels.
To give you a good idea of a lender’s customer service performance, this review takes into account consumer review studies and reports, primarily from the Better Business Bureau.
AmeriSave Mortgage Review
AmeriSave Mortgage Corporation (NMLS ID #1168) is an Atlanta, GA-based mortgage provider that offers a variety of loan products at very competitive prices. The company has been around since 2002, originating over $55 billion in home loans across more than 230,000 properties in the last two decades. Its services are available across 49 states – New York is the only area they don’t lend in.
One thing that sets AmeriSave apart from its competition is that the company is almost entirely online. They claim to be responsible for pioneering the “first truly digital mortgage experience”. All mortgage application, origination, and closing processes can be completed without physically interacting with anyone.
AmeriSave’s Home Loan Products Offered
AmeriSave offers a variety of mortgage options from home refinancing to home purchasing. These products include:
Conventional: These are loans not insured by the government, but instead backed by private lenders. These loans require a minimum FICO credit score of 620 and a 3% down payment.
Jumbo: These are loans specifically for purchasing expensive homes that require borrowing more money than allowed by your state’s loan limit, which is capped at $548,250 in most states.
FHA: These are loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration.You will need a credit score of at least 580 and a minimum down payment of 3.5% to qualify for these.
USDA: These are loans specifically designed for purchasing homes in rural areas. USDA loans do not require a down payment, but they do have a minimum credit score requirement of 640.
VA: These are loans specifically for active members of the US Military, Veterans, Reservists, or eligible spouses. No required down payment, no PMI, and a minimum credit score of 580-640.
Fixed-rate and adjustable-rate: Fixed-rate loans have rates that don’t change and come in 10, 15, 20, 25, or 30-year terms. Adjustable-rate loans come with variable interest rates that change regularly based on the current index. These come in variables of 5/1, 7/1, and 10/1.
Rate-and-term refinance: This is a product that allows you to change the terms of your current mortgage, specifically the length or the interest rate.
Cash-out refinance: This is a product that replaces your current mortgage with a bigger loan. This provides you with extra money on-hand for other financial responsibilities, which you can pay-off alongside your mortgage.
At AmeriSave, you have the freedom to choose the interest rate type (e.g. fixed or adjustable) and term that works for you. It offers fixed-rate mortgages in 15-year or 30-year terms, as well as less-common 10, 20, and 25-year terms. As for adjustable-rate mortgages, they offer 5/1, 7/1, and 10/1 loans.
They also specialize in loan refinancing and offer specific products to help you change your current mortgage into one that fits your financial situation better. A rate-and-term refinance provides you with the option to change your mortgage’s rate or term length. On the other hand, a cash-out refinance increases the loan amount to provide you with extra money for whatever you need (costs for home improvement, debt consolidation, etc).
Despite having lots of mainstream options available, there are still certain loan products that AmeriSave does not offer. It does not offer any second mortgage products, such as home equity loans or lines of credit. AmeriSave also does not offer construction loans.
AmeriSave Mortgage Rates & Fees
If there's one thing that AmeriSave Mortgage Corporation does well, it’s offering very affordable and competitive prices. The lender is pretty transparent with their mortgage rates – you can easily check the website for current figures.
At the time of writing, AmeriSave offers an annual percentage rate (APR) of 2.359% for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage. This figure assumes a $250k refinancing loan on a single-family residence, with a FICO credit score of 740 and a 20% down payment. If you want a quote given based on your own credit score and circumstances, you have to go through the prequalification process first.
Keep in mind that AmeriSave charges a $500 non-refundable application fee to cover loan processing costs and other miscellaneous fees. If you stick with AmeriSave until closing, this will be refunded to you. However, you don’t get your money back if you cancel your loan application or get denied.
AmeriSave Convenience & Availability
One of AmeriSave's biggest advantages is how quickly and how easily you can apply for and close on your loan – typically, 14-25 days. And since the entire loan process can be done online and over the phone, you can close a deal without leaving your home. The lender even has a mobile-friendly app where you can upload and sign documents.
One downside of digital lenders like AmeriSave is that you won’t have a dedicated loan officer physically engaging with you throughout the entire process. Any questions you might have can only be asked through email, and it’s not guaranteed that someone will reply right away. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it might make the process harder for inexperienced first-time borrowers.
AmeriSave Customer Service & Satisfaction
AmeriSave Mortgage Corporation has a grade of B and an excellent customer service review score of 4/5 from the Better Business Bureau. It has closed 1098 complaints over the last 3 years, the majority of which were asking for a refund of the $500 application fee.
Despite these complaints, AmeriSave is consistently rated as an above-average mortgage provider. They boast great prices (especially for refinances), fast transactions, and easy communication. While the level of service may vary from state to state, overall sentiment is very positive towards AmeriSave, with many customers coming back whenever they need to refinance their mortgage.
AmeriSave Pros & Cons
Offers mortgage rates online
Offers a good variety of loan products, including conventional, non-conventional, government (FHA, VA, USDA), fixed-rate, and adjustable-rate
Provides automated quotes in only a matter of minutes
Closes mortgages 14-25 days after accepting an offer, much faster than the average closing date (45-60 days) or most lenders
Allows you to link financial accounts to your AmeriSave account easily to make payments faster
Offers great mortgage rates, probably some of the lowest in the market
Provides you with a mortgage application and closing services from your own home
Gives customers a straightforward website for a smooth loan process
$500 USD non-refundable application fee
Second mortgages, home equity loans, or home equity lines of credit are not available
Physical establishments and face-to-face interactions with your loan originator or loan processor are not available
Customer complaints about being hard to contact, especially regarding application fee refunds
Customer service experience tends to vary among locations
No operations in New York
The Bottom Line
With an intuitive website, feature-packed mobile application, a wide range of mortgage loan types, relatively low rates, and short closing times, AmeriSave is one of the most convenient online lenders in the business – just make sure you have the patience to deal with an entirely digital infrastructure!
Shopping for a mortgage? To help you decide on the right company for you, check out the rest of Wesley Mortgage's blog for lender reviews. We also specialize in insurance and investment advice – contact us today to see what we can do for you!