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LendingTree is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appear on this site (such as the order). LendingTree does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.

Fairway Independent Mortgage Review

Updated on:
Content was accurate at the time of publication.

Lender rating: 3 out of 5

  Minimum credit score: 580 to 620

  Minimum down payment: 0% to 3.5%

  Available loan products and programs: Conventional, FHA, VA, USDA, renovation loans, reverse mortgages, jumbo loans, physician loans

  Our verdict: Fairway is a good match for customers who want an extensive range of loan options to choose from. The company has an especially robust selection of renovation loan options not offered by most mortgage lenders.


  Wide variety of loan products to choose from

  More fixer-upper loan options than most lenders offer

  Offers unique super-jumbo and physician loan products

  No obvious online application option

  No home equity or HELOC products offered

  No rate or fee information is published

Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation (Fairway) was founded in 1996 and is a mortgage lender licensed to offer home loans in all 50 states. The company has headquarters in Madison, Wis., and Carrolton, Texas.


Fairway offers conventional loan products to buy and refinance a home including:

  • Programs with down payments as low as 3%
  • Loans that don’t require private mortgage insurance (PMI) with a 20% down payment
  • Fixed-rate terms of 10, 15, 20, 25 and 30 years
  • Adjustable-rate mortgages with low initial start rates for five, seven or 10 years


Borrowers that don’t meet the credit requirements for conventional loans can choose an FHA loan. These loans are backed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), and Fairway offers the following options:

  • Purchase loans for one- to -four unit homes and condominiums in select areas
  • Fixed and adjustable-rate options
  • The ability to use gifts funds from a relative or employer for the down payment

Fairway also offers the following refinance programs:

  • FHA streamline refinance. Homeowners with current FHA loans may qualify for the FHA streamline refinance with less paperwork than a regular mortgage.


Retired and current military service members and surviving spouses may qualify for no-down-payment loans guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Some common features of these programs include:

  • No mortgage insurance requirement
  • Fixed- and adjustable-rate options
  • Financing on properties including townhomes and VA-approved condos
  • Potential approval with credit scores as low as 580 (most lenders require 620 scores)

The following VA refinance loans are also available at Fairway:

  • VA interest rate reduction refinance loan. Homeowners that already have a VA loan may be able to refinance to a new VA loan with an interest rate reduction refinance loan (IRRRL) without verifying their income or home’s value.
  • Cash-out refinance. The VA cash-out refinance allows you to take out a mortgage for more than you owe and pocket the difference in cash.


Fairway offers a variety of unique jumbo loan products to complement their standard jumbo loan products. Homeowners or buyers that need a loan amount above the conforming loan limits in their area can choose from the following options.

  • Jumbo loans with down payments as low as 10%, with fixed-rate and adjustable-rate options
  • VA jumbo loans for eligible military borrowers
  • Jumbo renovation loans for buyers that want to buy and fix up a higher-priced home

Fairway also offers the following specialized jumbo loan programs.

  • Super-jumbo loans. Borrowers looking for a mortgage to buy a home priced at $1 million or higher may qualify for a super-jumbo loan, which is a mortgage that exceeds both conforming and standard jumbo loan limits.
  • Jumbo reverse mortgage. Homeowners aged 62 or older with a large amount of equity in expensive homes may qualify for a jumbo reverse mortgage, which is simply a reverse mortgage for an expensive home.

Special programs

USDA purchase and refinance loans

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) backs zero down payment loans for consumers who meet the program’s income and rural location limits. Fairway also offers the USDA streamline refinance which allows homeowners who already have a USDA loan to refinance without the hassle of income documents or a home appraisal.

Renovation loans

Borrowers looking to purchase or refinance a home and roll in the costs of a renovation can choose from two different renovation loan programs offered at Fairway:

  • HomeStyle Renovation loans. The Fannie Mae HomeStyle® Renovation loan guidelines give homeowners the freedom to make renovations on primary homes, second homes and investment properties and add the costs of the repairs to one loan.
  • Standard and limited FHA 203(k) loans. The FHA 203(k) loan is restricted to primary residences with the loan limits set by the FHA. The limited program is for smaller projects with a price tag of $35,000 or less. The standard program allows for bigger projects like adding square footage.
  • VA renovation loans. Fairway is one of a select few lenders that offer VA renovation loans. VA homeowners can borrow up to 100% of the improved value of the home plus an additional $35,000 to pay for minor upgrades.
  • USDA renovation loan. In addition to its standard USDA loan offerings, Fairway offers the USDA renovation loan to help USDA-eligible borrowers finance fix-up costs up to 100% of their home’s value. Like the FHA 203(k), there is a limited program for small projects and a standard program for more involved renovations.

Reverse mortgage

Fairway is approved to offer the FHA-backed home equity conversion mortgage (HECM), which is the most common type of reverse mortgage. Homeowners often choose the HECM reverse mortgage to avoid a monthly mortgage payment and convert their home’s equity into:

  • Monthly income
  • A credit line you can access as needed
  • A lump sum of cash
  • A combination of all of the above

Physician loan

Doctors just getting their career started while saddled with large student loans may be able to take out a Fairway physician loan with extra qualifying flexibility. In some cases, physicians may be able to close on their home loan up to 90 days before the first day of residency with proof of a signed employment offer.

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Fairway doesn’t feature information about current interest rates on its site. However, we do know that, compared to other large national banks, Fairway’s rates are on the high side. On average, Fairway offered rates to borrowers around 0.64 percentage points above the average prime offer rate (APOR) in 2022. The APOR is a benchmark rate that captures what is, in effect, the lowest APR a bank is likely to offer in the current market. Mortgage loans aren’t typically considered “higher-cost” until they reach 1.5 percentage points over the APOR.


Fairway also doesn’t reveal any information about the fees it charges borrowers on its website. What we know is that the average total cost of taking out a mortgage with Fairway was $7,076 in 2022, according to data from the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC). That included an average of $3,104 in origination fees. 

Mortgage rates published online?
Rate information updated daily or weekly?
Lender fees disclosed?

The “Get Started” and “Get Pre-Approved Now” buttons on the website allows users to fill out basic information and contact information for a callback. There doesn’t appear to be an online mortgage application option.

The website advertises a “FairwayNow” phone app, but it appears to be designed more for the loan officers to provide real-time communications regarding a loan in process. The app features a secure upload portal for documents, with status tracking and messaging options customers can use to stay up to date on the progress of their application.

How to boost your loan approval odds

Fairway doesn’t publish the exact minimum requirements it uses to approve or deny your application. However, based on nationwide data from 2022, we can say that Fairway approved customers who — on average — had a 84% loan-to-value (LTV) ratio or better. Most also had a debt-to-income (DTI) ratio below 40%.

In that same year, Fairway denied about 10% of its mortgage applications. That’s not shockingly low when compared with other large, national mortgage lenders — but it is low. For comparison, many large lenders have denial rates in the teens and some even reach into the mid-fifties.

There are a number of different ways for consumers to reach a Fairway representative, depending on whether they are new or existing customers.

  • Complaints and Customer Service help is available toll-free at 1-877-699-0353 or by email by clicking the “Contact Customer Service” link on the Fairway website.
  • Servicing and loan information is available for current Fairway mortgage customers toll-free at 1-800-201-7544 or by clicking the “Contact Servicing” link on the website.
  • Fairways headquarters can be reached toll-free at 1-866-912-4800 Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Central Time.

Fairway Independent MortgageMr. CooperWintrust Mortgage
Lender rating
Minimum credit score580 to 620Not publishedNot published
Minimum down payment0% to 3.5%0% to 3.5%0% to 3.5%
Loan products and programs
  • Conventional
  • FHA
  • VA
  • USDA
  • Renovation loans
  • Reverse mortgages
  • Jumbo loans
  • Physician loans
  • Conventional
  • FHA
  • VA
  • Conventional
  • FHA
  • VA
  • USDA
  • HELOCs
  • Jumbo
Rate spread*0.64%0.58%Not available

*Rate spread is the difference between the average prime offer rate (APOR) — the lowest APR a bank is likely to offer any private customer — and the average annual percentage rate (APR) Fairway offered to mortgage customers in 2022. The higher the number, the more expensive the loan.

LendingTree’s mortgage lender rating is based on a five-point scoring system that factors in several features, including digital application processes, available loan products and the accessibility of product and lending information.

LendingTree’s editorial team calculates each rating based on a review of information available on the lender’s website. Lenders receive a half-point on the “offers standard mortgage products” criterion if they offer only two of the three standard loan programs (conventional, FHA and VA). In some cases, additional information was provided by a lender representative.

Fairway’s scorecard: 3/5

  Publishes rates online

  Offers standard mortgage products

  Includes detailed product info online

  Shares resources about mortgage lending

  Provides an online application

 = 0 points   ⭕ = 0.5 points    = 1 point

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