PROS / It has an annual interest rate cap as well as a lifetime rate cap that will likely be lower than most of the lenders we reviewed.
CONS / This lender does not offer traditional home equity loans.
VERDICT / Wells Fargo is a large banking institution with branches in 41 states. It offers home equity lines of credit only but can offer fixed rates, plus its interest rate caps are lower than the other lenders we reviewed. It's one of the best banks for home equity financing.
Wells Fargo does not offer home equity loans, but it does offer home equity lines of credit (HELOCs). While getting connected to an equity loan offer was problematic, the officers themselves were knowledgeable and willing to help. The online resources help prepare you for applying and for knowing how much you may qualify for before you go through the process. It's a clear choice to consider when looking for a home equity line of credit.
Our reviewers evaluated each lender on the rates and fees they offer for their home equity loans and HELOCs. Wells Fargo score is below average, in part because it does not offer a traditional fixed rate loan.
Wells Fargo’s LTV was about average with other lenders. The LTV, or loan-to-value ratio, is the amount of money you owe on your home divided by its current value. You can find a calculator on the website to help you determine this. One advantage to Wells Fargo not found with all lenders is that it allows a second home or investment property as collateral. Of course, the LTV of that property will be the one they look for.
Wells Fargo stopped offering home equity loans as of August 2015, but it does offer home equity lines of credit with fixed or variable interest rates. As with most HELOCs, you pay interest during the draw period and only on the amount you borrow. After the draw, you a set number of years to pay off the loan, which you can negotiate with your loan officer when you apply.
The online application was one of the best we tried. We appreciated that the application asks you to check your credit, LTV and debt-to-income ratio before applying. It can save folks a lot of time and prevent an unwelcome surprise. The website offers an LTV calculator, although there's no link to it from the application. You can also find an online checklist of the materials you'll need to apply.
Wells Fargo is one of the biggest institutions in our lineup, with over 6,000 branches in 41 states. It does all aspects of banking, which can be an advantage but made for a frustrating time when calling. It took three transfers to get to the correct department both times we called. Either the operators are not especially familiar with home equity or it's not one of Wells Fargo's most popular programs. The loan officers themselves knew their business and were willing to answer questions in full detail, even noting exceptions that might apply but we did not know about.
You can contact the bank via email, but expect that a loan officer will call you back rather than emailing, even if you request an email response. Online, you can find calculators and an extensive list of articles and tips for all areas of banking and finance. We didn't see many that were specifically HELOC-focused, however.
Wells Fargo offers over 6,000 branches where you can get personal support and a thorough but easy loan process. While it does not offer home equity loans, it’s still a good institution to consider when looking for financing for home improvements or other high-ticket expenses.