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Saturday, June 25th
loanDepot specializes in refinancing home loans, but since 2010 they've funded almost $100 billion in new purchases: this lender is hardly inexperienced when it comes to mortgages. With over 10,000 employees on duty, loanDepot helps over 27,000 customers each and every month.
Answer questions, including phone number
When you start the home loan process with loanDepot, you'll indicate the zip code of the property you're considering, the estimated purchase price, the down payment amount, your credit score range, your phone number, and your email address. We thought it was a little strange that we had to click a button that said "see if I'm approved" , but the next page just took us to further questions. Be aware that you'll have to verify your phone number before you can continue with your loanDepot application.
Watch out for hard credit inquiry
At that point, you'll be assigned a loan consultant: you'll see his or her name and contact information right on the loanDepot site on every page you visit. You can fill in as much or as little as you wish, skipping any parts you'd rather fill in later. Be very careful on the page that asks to verify credit history: you have to click on the blue circle question mark to see it, but loanDepot will run a hard pull on your records at this step, unlike most lenders who have an identity verification/soft pull first. Until you're ready to commit to loanDepot as your lender, we highly recommend leaving this part blank.
Connect directly with your bank for account verification
One tool that loanDepot uses that streamlines the application process is under the "Adding Financial Assets" heading. If you bank with one of the bigger financial institutions in the US, you should be able to sign in and enter your accounts automatically. Otherwise, just enter your bank name, account type, and balance for each one manually.
Still no rate quotes
Unfortunately, no part of this process resulted in even a hint of rates, terms, or closing fees. You get all the way to the end of the questions and see a "submit" button - and the fine print says that you won't be able to modify your application after that point. It would be a good idea to reach out to that assigned loan officer and ask those questions before getting any further down the track, and since we got an email from ours while we were still entering that information, it seems like that's the way loanDepot encourages prospective applicants to proceed anyway.
Despite not being very forthcoming with mortgage rates, loanDepot enjoys a very strong reputation. The Better Business Bureau gives this lender its highest rating and accreditation. There are over 2,000 five-star reviews from borrowers who rave about loanDepot, and we're particularly impressed by the compliments from realtors who recommend this service to all of their clients. High praise indeed. Customers say that the home loan process is hassle-free, communication from loan specialists is frequent and helpful, and there are no nasty surprises during the application and underwriting process.
We also appreciate that loanDepot has a strict "no steering" policy. What does that mean? Your representative will never be incentivized to push you in the direction of any particular loan program, so you'll always get guidance towards the home loans that are in your best interests (and not theirs). Also, loanDepot doesn't fill their site with "teaser" rates to get your attention - but ones where you're unlikely to qualify for or ever obtain them. That's probably why you're not going to see today's rates posted anywhere on the loanDepot site.
Escrow refunds are problematic
The one area we found a lot of complaints is with respect to escrow refunds. In every other way, loanDepot seems to have its ducks in a row. But just looking through the complaints filed with the BBB (over 1,100 in the last three years), many of them come from frustrated homeowners whose escrow refunds hadn't arrived months after paying off a home loan or during a refinance.
Definitely worth a look
Fortunately, that won't apply to anyone seeking a mortgage with loanDepot. In all other regards, this is a trustworthy way to get a home loan. This lender has plenty of experience, lots of compliments from satisfied clients, and a fantastic overall reputation. Keep loanDepot in mind as you decide which provider should be your partner in your home financing.
Your first thought might be to visit your local bank or broker, but think again. Why? You're not likely to get the very best rates and terms there. True, you might get a promo or slightly lower interest rate for being a current customer, but will your financial institution shop around to find you the ideal loan for your situation?
More than likely, they'll fit you with whichever mortgage is convenient (or profitable) instead of working to get you a home loan with the best possible terms. With interest rates constantly fluctuating, it's never a bad time to start looking into your financing options if homeownership is your goal. Even if you're just curious to see how much you can ultimately afford when the time comes, that will help you start budgeting and saving to have enough to secure your new home when you're ready.
Some mortgage terms stipulate that the funds can't come from a last-minute gift or contribution from a well-meaning family member, so plan ahead!
The easiest way to know how much you can borrow is by shopping for a home loan online. While some lenders require you to enter your personal information to show you their rates, others post sample rates online or let you choose your credit score range and other details to preview a more personalized quote. Be mindful that there's a difference between a "soft pull" on your credit - usually used to prequalify you, and only uses your address and phone number to verify your identity - and a "hard pull" that will impact your credit history.
The latter usually happens only when you've got a home under contract and you're ready to secure a mortgage, but pay attention to the fine print when you're checking out a lender's rates. You don't want to be "just browsing" and find out that your credit score took a nosedive with an unintentional hard inquiry on your report!
With many lenders interested in your business, how can you decide which one to use for your mortgage? Here are a few factors to look at before you complete a loan application:
To help you finance the home of your dreams, TopConsumerReviews.com has evaluated and ranked today's most popular mortgage lenders. We're confident that this information will be useful on your journey to home ownership. Congratulations!
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