Amerifirst Financial Review: They Take Home Purchase Lending Seriously

Posted on February 24th, 2021

It’s not every day you come across a large-scale independent mortgage lender that has been around since the 1980s, but Amerifirst Financial Inc. fits that description.

The Arizona-based company understands that there’s more to the mortgage business than just refinances, which is why their goal is to be the lender of choice for real estate professionals in all the markets they serve.

This could be a pretty smart strategy if and when interest rates rise and the pool of eligible refinance candidates begins to run dry.

If you’re thinking about buying a home, Amerifirst could be good choice for your financing needs since they’re heavily focused on purchase loans. Let’s discover more about them.

Amerifirst Financial Fast Facts

  • Direct-to-consumer retail mortgage lender
  • Founded in 1989, headquartered Mesa, Arizona
  • Offers home purchase financing and mortgage refinances
  • Funded more than $2 billion in home loans last year
  • Most active in Arizona, Colorado, and California
  • Licensed to do business in 43 states and the District of Columbia
  • Also operate several DBAs including AFI Mortgage, Spire Financial, and Truly Mortgage

Amerifirst Financial Inc. is a direct-to-consumer retail mortgage lender, meaning they operate a call center along with branches throughout the country.

The company was founded all the way back in 1989 and is headquartered in Mesa, Arizona, which is just east of Phoenix.

They also have branches in nine states, including Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Mississippi, Nevada, Oregon, Texas, and Utah.

Amerifirst appears to specialize in home purchase financing, with roughly two-thirds of total volume dedicated to home buyers.

The rest can be attributed to mortgage refinances, including rate and term refinances and cash out refinances.

Last year, the company funded more than $2 billion in home loans, with nearly a billion in their home state of Arizona.

They’re also very active in Colorado and California, and have a decent presence in Nevada and Texas as well.

While they’re licensed in most states nationally, they don’t seem to be available in Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, or West Virginia.

How to Apply with Amerifirst Financial

  • You can get started instantly by visiting their website and clicking “Apply Now”
  • They offer a digital mortgage application powered by ICE that lets you complete most tasks on your own
  • It’s also possible to browse their online loan officer (or branch) directory first to find someone to work with nearby
  • Once your loan is submitted you can manage it 24/7 via the online borrower portal

Amerifirst Financial makes it super easy to get started on your home loan application.

Simply head to their website and click on the big “Apply Now” button and you’ll be off to the races.

That will take you to their digital mortgage application powered by ICE that lets you input all your personal and financial details electronically.

Then you can link financial accounts using your credentials to avoid having to scan/upload or track down your documents.

Additionally, you can order your own credit report and eSign disclosures to speed through the more painstaking part of the process in a matter of minutes.

Once your loan is submitted and approved, you’ll receive a to-do list with any conditions that must be met to get to the finish line.

You’ll also be able to track and manage your loan via the online borrower portal, and get in touch with your lending team if and when you have questions.

Those who prefer a more human touch can also visit a local branch and/or browse the online loan officer directory to learn more about the individuals who work there.

It may also be advisable to speak with a loan officer first to discuss loan pricing and available loan programs, then proceed to the online mortgage application.

In any case, they make it really simple to apply for a mortgage and manage your loan from start to finish thanks to the latest technology.

Protect Your Transaction Pre-Approval for Home Buyers

Protect Your Transaction

One perk to using Amerifirst Financial, especially if you’re buying a home in a competitive market, is their “Protect Your Transaction” loan commitment.

It goes beyond both a pre-qualification and pre-approval in that it’s underwritten upfront by a real human loan underwriter.

In fact, the PYT even comes with monetary assurance (up to $15,000, with an additional $5,000 for first responders and teachers), which represents their belief in the strength of your application.

So if the loan falls through and it turns out to be the lender’s fault, you could be entitled to that cash, which can also be shared with the seller. This may strengthen your offer.

Next to a cash offer, they believe it provides the greatest assurance that they can provide financing for your home purchase.

And that could just be enough to give you edge versus other home buyers on a hot home.

It may also give you peace of mind in the process, knowing you can actually get financing when all is said and done.

Loan Programs Offered by Amerifirst Financial

  • Home purchase loans
  • Refinance loans: rate and term, cash out, streamline
  • Conforming home loans
  • High-balance and jumbo home loans
  • FHA/USDA/VA loans
  • Down payment assistance
  • Green Value Mortgage
  • Fixed-rate and adjustable-rate options available

Amerifirst Financial offers both home purchase loans and refinance loans, including rate and term, cash out, and streamline refinances.

You can get financing on a primary residence, including townhomes/condos, along with a vacation home or 1-4 unit investment property.

They offer all the popular loan types, including conforming loans backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, high-balance and jumbo loans, and government-backed options like FHA, USDA, and VA loans.

They also offer an exclusive loan program known as the “Green Value Mortgage” that offers a reduced interest rate, fees, and discounted mortgage insurance if your property has a green score of 75 or lower.

You may also be eligible to receive up to 3.5% of the purchase price as a non-repayable gift. All the more reason to go green!

In terms of loan programs, you can get either a fixed-rate mortgage such as a 30-year or 15-year fixed, or an adjustable-rate mortgage like a 7/1 or 5/1 ARM.

Amerifirst Financial Mortgage Rates

One slight negative to Amerifirst Financial is the fact that they don’t mention their mortgage rates anywhere on their website.

As such, we don’t have any clues about their loan pricing relative to other banks and lenders out there.

The same goes for lender fees, which aren’t clearly listed on their website to my knowledge.

This means you’ll need to get in touch with a loan officer to discuss rates and fees to ensure they are competitively priced.

Be sure to compare their rates/fees with other lenders before you proceed to the application if you want peace of mind on pricing front.

Customer service and competence is always important, especially when it comes to a home loan, but so is cost.

Amerifirst Financial Reviews

On Zillow, Amerifirst has a very impressive 4.98-star rating out of 5 from roughly 900 customer reviews, which is quite impressive given the volume of feedback.

On LendingTree, they have a perfect 5-star rating, though it’s based on just about 30 reviews. They also have a 100% recommended score there.

If you’re looking for more reviews, you can also check out local ones on Google for their brick-and-mortar branches nearest you.

Lastly, the company is Better Business Bureau accredited, and has been since 2014. They currently enjoy an ‘A+’ rating based on complaint history.

To sum it up, Amerifirst Financial could be a solid choice for someone purchasing a home (especially a first-time buyer) thanks to their robust Protect Your Transaction loan approval and variety of down payment assistance programs.

Amerifirst Financial Pros and Cons

The Good

  • You can apply for a home loan from any device in minutes
  • Offer a digital mortgage application powered by ICE
  • Lots of loan programs to choose from
  • Discounts for those who purchase a green home
  • Protect Your Transaction loan approval for home buyers
  • Excellent customer reviews from former customers
  • A+ BBB rating, accredited business since 2014
  • Free mortgage calculators and mortgage dictionary on site

The Not

  • Not available in all states currently
  • Do not list mortgage rates or lender fees on their website

(photo: nathanmac87)

Source: thetruthaboutmortgage.com

AimLoan Review: You Can Check Their Rates and Fees 24/7

Posted on February 22nd, 2021

Today we’ll take a look at American Internet Mortgage, more commonly known as “AimLoan,” which is a streamlined discount mortgage lender that focuses mostly on conforming loans.

Doing so allows them to do what they do best, and ideally offer lower mortgage rates to their customers by running more efficiently and keeping costs low.

At the time of this writing, they were offering the lowest APR for both a 30-year fixed and a 15-year fixed mortgage for a sample loan scenario on the Zillow Mortgage Marketplace.

So they appear to offer competitive interest rates and reasonable lender fees. Let’s find out more about them.

AimLoan Fast Facts

  • Direct-to-consumer mortgage lender that offers home purchase and refinance loans
  • Founded in 1998, headquartered in San Diego, California
  • Funded roughly $1.3 billion in home loans last year
  • Most active in the states of California, Arizona, and Texas
  • Licensed to do business in all 50 states and D.C.

AimLoan is a proper veteran in the mortgage industry, having been around since 1998. Not many companies last that long without being acquired or going out of business.

The San Diego, CA-based direct mortgage lender was founded by Vince Kasperick, who continues to serve as the company’s president.

Since that time, they’ve funded more than $23 billion in home loans, with nearly $1.3 billion originated last year.

Their bread and butter product is the mortgage refinance, whether it’s a rate and term refinance or a cash out refinance. But they also offer home purchase loans too.

They tend to stick to plain vanilla loans, meaning straightforward stuff that can easily be sold to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac shortly after funding.

AimLoan operates as a direct-to-consumer mortgage lender, meaning it’s a call center you can’t visit in person. So you’ll be working with a loan officer and processor remotely.

The company appears to be most active in their home state of California, which accounts for more than a quarter of total loan volume.

They also do a lot of business in nearby Arizona and Texas, along with Florida and Georgia.

At the moment, AimLoan is licensed to lend in all 50 states nationwide, along with the District of Columbia.

How to Apply for a Mortgage with AimLoan

  • They offer the so-called AimLoan 6-Step Process
  • It starts with a digital mortgage application powered by Ellie Mae
  • Then your loan is run through their automated underwriting system
  • Once approved you can manage your loan via the online borrower portal and upload any required conditions

It’s easy to apply for a home loan with AimLoan. Simply visit their website and click on “Apply Now.”

From there you’ll need to provide personal and financial information, then your application will be run through their automated underwriting system.

Assuming you receive a conditional loan approval, you’ll be given the opportunity to lock or float your rate at your desired fee/credit combination.

A human loan officer and loan processor will also assist you along the way and provide you with a list of any conditions that need to be met.

During that time, a home appraisal will be scheduled if necessary and third-party items like title and escrow will be set up.

Speaking of, you will be asked to submit an appraisal fee at the time you lock your rate, which kind of acts like the application fee, though it covers the appraisal if and when you fund.

All in all, they appear to make it pretty simple to apply, lock, and close your loan.

If you don’t want to use their self-service option, you can also call them up directly and connect with a loan officer before beginning the application.

Loan Programs Offered by AimLoan

  • Home purchase loans
  • Rate and term refinances
  • Cash out refinances
  • Conforming loans backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
  • VA loans
  • Fixed-rate mortgages: 30-, 25-, 20-, 15-, and 10-year terms available
  • They lend on primary residences, second homes, and investment properties (1-4 units)

As alluded to, AimLoan is a streamlined mortgage lender that likes to keep its product menu short and sweet.

Doing so allows them to offer lower rates and superior customer service. But it also means you may not be able to get what you’re looking for.

While they offer all the usual stuff, like home purchase loans and mortgage refinances, along with conforming loans and VA loans, several items appear to be missing.

Those include jumbo loans, which exceed the conforming loan limit, along with FHA loans and USDA loans. If you’re in need of one of these loan types, you may need to go elsewhere.

Additionally, while you can get a fixed-rate mortgage in a variety of loan terms, they aren’t offering adjustable-rate mortgages at the moment.

Or at least not displaying them on their website because they say they’re currently pricing higher than fixed rates, which tends to be true.

AimLoan Mortgage Rates

One advantage to using AimLoan is the fact that you can see their mortgage rates online. And you don’t need to sign up or speak to someone first.

Additionally, you can compare a variety of rates all at once tailored to your own unique loan scenario, instead of simply looking at promotional rates that make a bunch of assumptions.

To get started, simply head to the AimLoan website and start filling out the instant rate quote form on the homepage. It’s easy to complete and you should see a variety of rates in about a minute.

In terms of fees, they appear to charge a flat $995 origination fee, which can often be offset by a lender credit.

They say their pricing model differs from other lenders because their profit is mostly from that flat fee.

As such, they can pass on the savings to consumers by not marking up the pricing they receive on the secondary market.

Anyway, once you click on a given mortgage rate, it will show you a full fee breakdown including their fees and third-party costs like appraisal and title insurance.

You can also get an idea of cash to close by inputting your estimated property taxes and current loan balance if it’s a refinance.

If you like what you see, simply click on “Apply Now” or “Talk to a Loan Officer” to get started on your application.

AimLoan Reviews

On Zillow, they have a 4.15-star rating out of 5 from nearly 400 customer reviews, which is good but not excellent. There are some mixed reviews that seem to be dragging down their overall score.

On Google, they have a 4.3-star rating from nearly 300 reviews, and on Bankrate a 4.4-rating from almost 200 reviews with an 84% recommend score.

AimLoan has a more inferior 3.5-star rating on Yelp from about 300 reviews.

They also list a bunch of customer reviews on their own website, though it’s unclear if they provide much value.

Lastly, they have a 4.61/5-star rating with the Better Business Bureau and an ‘A+’ rating based on complaint history.

They’ve been an accredited business since 2015 and were awarded the BBB Torch Award for Ethics, which goes to businesses with “the highest standards of leadership character and organizational ethics.”

To sum it up, AimLoan is probably best suited for an existing homeowner looking to refinance their mortgage to a lower rate, who doesn’t have a complicated scenario.

I’m talking someone with good credit, a steady W-2 job, and nothing out of the ordinary to ensure the loan process moves along smoothly.

Those who have more complex loan scenarios or need more hand-holding may want to consider other lenders.

AimLoan Pros and Cons

The Good Stuff

  • Can apply for a mortgage directly from their website
  • Offer a digital application powered by Ellie Mae (ICE)
  • View mortgage rates online without providing contact info
  • Offer 60-day rate locks standard
  • Licensed to do business in all 50 states and D.C.
  • Mostly good customer reviews
  • A+ BBB rating, accredited since 2015
  • Free mortgage calculators and mortgage glossary on site

The Perhaps Not

  • Do not appear to offer FHA, jumbo, or USDA loans
  • Typically do not allow FICO scores below 620
  • Do not finance co-ops or manufactured/mobile homes
  • No physical locations

(photo: Ann Oro)

Source: thetruthaboutmortgage.com

Watermark Home Loans Review: Loan Amounts Up to $10 Million

Posted on February 15th, 2021

If you’ve been comparing mortgage rates and shopping your home loan lately, you may have encountered “Watermark Home Loans” along the way.

They advertise quite a bit on some of the mortgage comparison websites, but aren’t necessarily a household name like some of the bigger guys.

Of course, bigger isn’t always better, nor does it tend to be cheaper in my experience. So let’s learn more about them to see if they should be included in your home loan search.

Watermark Home Loans Fast Facts

  • Direct-to-consumer retail mortgage lender
  • Offers home purchase financing and refinance loans
  • Founded in 2006, headquartered in Irvine, CA
  • Licensed in 36 states and the District of Columbia
  • Funded more than $1.2 billion in home loans last year
  • Appears to specialize in refinancing for existing homeowners

Watermark Home Loans is a direct-to-consumer mortgage lender based out of Irvine, California, which is essentially the mortgage capital of the United States.

There are tons of mortgage companies situated nearby in Orange County, including big names like New American Funding and techy newcomer LoanSnap.

Anyway, they essentially operate a call center whereby you can phone in to get started on a mortgage application. This differs from lenders who offer brick-and-mortar locations as well.

While they offer both home purchase loans and refinance loans, they appear to specialize in the latter, with such loans accounting for about 70% of total volume, per the latest HMDA data.

Last year, they originated roughly $1.2 billion in home loans, with nearly half of total loan volume coming from their home state of California.

At the moment, they’re licensed in 36 states and the District of Columbia.

They don’t seem to do business in Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, or the Dakotas at the moment.

How to Apply with Watermark Home Loans

  • You can either call them up directly or fill out a short online contact form
  • Once you speak to a loan officer to get pricing you can apply online
  • Their digital loan application is powered by fintech company Blend
  • It allows you to link financial accounts, electronically sign documents, and check loan status 24/7

When it comes to applying for a mortgage, Watermark Home Loans makes it pretty easy.

That’s because they’ve chosen to partner with fintech company Blend, which is a leader in the digital mortgage space.

Their software allows borrowers to link financial accounts using bank or payroll credentials, sign documents and disclosures electronically, and collaborate with their loan officer or loan processor in real time.

Additionally, customers can track the status of their loan application 24/7 by simply logging on to the borrower portal via the Watermark website.

But before you get to the application, you’ll need to either call the company directly to link up with a loan officer, or fill out a short form on their website.

Once you do that, you’ll be able to discuss mortgage rates, fees, and loan options – assuming you like what you hear, you can move along to the application.

All in all, Watermark makes it easy to apply and track your home loan from start to finish.

Loan Programs Offered by Watermark Home Loans

  • Home purchase loans
  • Refinance loans: rate and term, cash out, streamline
  • Conforming loans backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
  • Jumbo home loans up to $10 million loan amounts
  • Government-backed loans: FHA, USDA, and VA
  • Reverse mortgages for seniors
  • Interest-only mortgages
  • Fixed-rate and adjustable-rate options available in various loan terms (including 40-year terms)

Watermark Home Loans appears to be big on mortgage refinancing, with rate and term refinances accounting for about 50% of volume.

Another 20% or so is devoted to cash out refinances, in which existing homeowners pull equity from their properties to pay for other expenses.

The remainder is devoted to home purchase loans, with many of them conforming loans backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.

They also do quite a bit of jumbo home loan lending, which makes sense given their headquarters being in pricey Southern California. In fact, they offer loan amounts as high as $10 million!

Borrowers can also take out a government-backed mortgage, such as an FHA loan, USDA loan, or VA loans.

Speaking of VA loans, Watermark Home Loans says it donates a portion of loan proceeds to the Warrior Foundation – Freedom Station, which assists wounded veterans.

With regard to specific loan programs, you can get a fixed-rate mortgage such as a 30-year or 15-year fixed, or an adjustable-rate mortgage like a 5/1 ARM.

They actually say they offer loan terms as long as 40 years, along with interest-only home loans, both of which are somewhat outside-the-box and harder to come by these days.

So you shouldn’t be limited when it comes to loan choice, which is another plus.

Watermark Home Loans Mortgage Rates

While they don’t list their mortgage rates on their website, they do say you can call in for a free, no obligation quote.

You may also come across their mortgage rates when comparing lenders on websites like Bankrate.

If so, you might be able to get an idea of their loan pricing, along with closing costs if also listed.

My assumption is they’re pretty competitive in the pricing department because they’re essentially a direct-to-consumer online mortgage lender.

That should mean less overhead and a streamlined approach, which hopefully translates to lower costs and cheaper mortgages for their customers!

But you’ll need to call them or fill out a form on their website to obtain pricing for your particular loan scenario to find out.

Once you’ve got that in hand, be sure to compare their rates and fees to a few other lenders to ensure they offer the best price.

Based on their many positive customer reviews, homeowners seem satisfied with their pricing.

Watermark Home Loans Reviews

The company comes highly rated, with a 4.81-star rating out of a possible 5 on Zillow from nearly 1,300 customer reviews.

Many of the reviews on Zillow indicated that the interest rate and/or closing costs were lower than expected, which gives us another hint about pricing.

Over at Bankrate, they’ve got an even better 4.9-star rating out of 5 from more than 700 reviews, with nearly all of them 5-star reviews.

Similarly, they’ve got a 4.6-star rating out of 5 on Google from more than 600 reviews.

But wait, there’s more – at LendingTree they have a 4.9-star rating from over 30 reviews and a 97% recommended rate.

Lastly, they are an accredited business with the Better Business Bureau and currently hold an ‘A+’ rating based on their interactions with customers. They’ve got a 3.9/5-star rating based on about 30 customer reviews as well.

In summary, Watermark could be a good choice for an existing homeowner looking to refinance thanks to their perceived low rates and plentiful loan options, coupled with their easy digital loan process.

Watermark Home Loans Pros and Cons

The Pros

  • Can apply for a home loan via their website in minutes
  • Offer a digital mortgage application powered by Blend
  • Lots of loan programs to choose from including jumbos and interest-only options
  • No closing cost and $0 application fee options
  • Excellent customer reviews across all ratings sites
  • A+ BBB rating, accredited company
  • Free mortgage calculators on site

The Cons

  • Not licensed in all states
  • No physical locations
  • Do not publicize mortgage rates or fees

Source: thetruthaboutmortgage.com

Assurance Financial Review: So Fast You Can Apply During Halftime

Posted on February 11th, 2021

Today we’ll check out a mortgage lender based in the south by the name “Assurance Financial,” which is headquartered in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Aside from being fans of LSU, they also say you can apply for a mortgage during halftime, which is handy if you’re a sports fan.

They’re able to get things done quickly because they’ve employed the latest cutting-edge technology, and they do everything in-house. Let’s learn more.

Assurance Financial Fast Facts

  • Direct mortgage lender that operates online
  • Offers home purchase financing, refinances, and construction loans
  • Founded in 2001, headquartered in Baton Rouge, LA
  • Licensed in 43 states and the District of Columbia
  • Funded more than $1 billion in home loans last year
  • Does most of their business in home state of Louisiana

Assurance Financial is an independent, direct-to-consumer full-service residential mortgage banker that offers home purchase financing, mortgage refinances, and construction loans.

This means you can apply for a home loan directly from their website so you don’t need to leave your couch.

But while the company mostly operates online, they do have physical branches in eight states nationwide to serve customers locally.

They’ve been around since the turn of the century, which is a lifetime in the mortgage biz, and funded more than $1 billion in home loans last year.

At present, they’re licensed in 43 states and the District of Columbia, but not currently available in Arizona, Hawaii, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, or Utah.

Much of their business came from their home state of Louisiana, along with Alabama, Georgia, Texas, and Virginia.

About 70% of total volume comes from home purchase loans, with the remainder mostly refinances and some HELOCs.

How to Apply for a Mortgage with Assurance Financial

abby

  • You can call them, have them call you, get in touch with a loan officer, or use their digital assistant Abby
  • Their digital mortgage offering is powered by leading fintech company Blend
  • It allows you to complete most of the process electronically from any device
  • They handle the entire loan process from start to finish in-house to ensure turn times are quick

One great thing about Assurance Financial is the ability to apply for a home loan from any device using the latest technology.

They’ve turned to Blend to get that done, and go a step further in simplifying things by bringing in their digital assistant Abby.

The character is actually based on their “very real” Post Closing Manager Abby Widmer.

You can apply with “Abby” in as little as 15 minutes and get helpful tips and guidance along the way so you know what you’re getting into and what to expect.

But if you want a real human to help you right off the bat, you’re also able to peruse the online loan officer directory on their website.

There you can enter your location to see which loan officers are licensed in your state, then get access to their contact information if you want to discuss pricing and loan options first.

Regardless of how you apply, a licensed loan officer will step in at some point to get you approved and help you fund your loan.

Either way, it’ll be super simple because you can complete the app online and link your financial accounts and tax returns using your credentials instead of having to scan or fax paperwork.

Additionally, you can eSign all those pesky disclosures and manage your loan from their online portal 24/7. You’ll also get status updates and a to-do list to stay on track.

As mentioned, they also have branches in eight states if you prefer to do business in-person, including Alabama, Colorado, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, and Virginia.

Loan Programs Offered by Assurance Financial

  • Home purchase loans
  • Refinance loans: rate and term and cash out
  • Construction loans (one and two-time close options)
  • Conforming loans backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
  • FHA loans
  • VA loans
  • USDA loans
  • Jumbo loans
  • Non-QM loans
  • Down payment assistance programs
  • Manufactured home loans
  • HELOCs
  • Fixed-rate and adjustable-rate options available

Assurance Financial has a very wide range of loan programs available, and lends on all property types, including single-family homes, condos/townhomes, and even manufactured homes.

You can get financing for a primary residence, vacation home, 1-4 investment property, or even a new build if you’re constructing your dream home.

If you’re an existing homeowner, you can take advantage of a rate and term refinance or a cash out refinance if you want to take advantage of a lower rate and/or your accrued equity.

With regard to loan types, you can get a conforming loan backed by Fannie/Freddie, a government-backed loan such as an FHA or VA loan, or even a jumbo loan.

They say they also offer non-QM options and down payment assistance programs for first-time home buyers, along with home equity lines of credit (HELOCs).

Both fixed-rate and adjustable-rate mortgage options are available in a variety of loan terms.

Assurance Financial Mortgage Rates

One drawback to Assurance Financial is the fact that they don’t list their mortgage rates online or elsewhere.

As such, it’s unclear where they stand in the loan pricing department. It is recommended that you speak to a loan officer to get pricing first before diving into an application.

That way you can be assured that they’re competitively priced relative to other lenders out there so you don’t waste your time.

Also be sure to inquire about any lender fees they may charge, such as an application fee or loan origination fee.

Once you know these things, which together make up the mortgage APR, you can accurately shop your home loan with other lenders to ensure they’re good on price.

Assurance Financial Reviews

They seem to really excel when it comes to customer service, so much so that someone living far away from their corporate headquarters might be tempted to use them.

On SocialSurvey, they have a 4.94-star rating out of 5 from nearly 15,000 customer reviews, which is impressive for both the rating and sheer volume.

Similarly, they’ve got a 5-star rating out of 5 from more than 7,000 reviews on LendingTree, with a 100% recommended score.

They are rated excellent in every category, including interest rates, closing costs, responsiveness, and customer service.

On Zillow, it’s the same deal, a 4.99-star rating out of a possible 5 from almost 100 reviews, which while a smaller sample size is on point with their other ratings.

Lastly, they are a Better Business Bureau accredited company (since 2003) and currently hold an ‘A+’ rating based on customer complaint history.

In summary, Assurance Financial has incredible customer satisfaction ratings, the latest technology, an excellent website, and tons of loan programs to choose from.

Assuming they also offer great pricing, they could be an excellent choice for your home loan needs, whether you’re a first-time buyer or an existing homeowner.

Assurance Financial Pros and Cons

The Pros

  • Can apply for a home loan directly from their website
  • Offer a digital mortgage application powered by Blend
  • Also have a digital assistant to help you along the way
  • Their website is very modern and easy to navigate
  • Lots of programs to choose from including jumbos and non-QMs
  • Excellent customer reviews from past customers
  • A+ BBB rating, accredited company
  • Physical branches in some states
  • Free mortgage calculators and mortgage guides online

The Cons

  • Not licensed in all states
  • Do not list mortgage rates or lender fees on their website

(photo: Stuart Seeger)

Source: thetruthaboutmortgage.com

Residential Mortgage Services Review: A Home Purchase-Focused Lender in the Northeast

Posted on February 4th, 2021

Today we’ll check out “Residential Mortgage Services Inc.,” or RMS for short, which refers to itself as a leading independent purchase-focused mortgage lender.

The retail direct-to-consumer mortgage lender primarily serves the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and Eastern Seaboard markets.

RMS said purchase loans accounted for 58% of last year’s volume, compared to an estimated 40% industry average. The rest consisted of mortgage refinances for existing homeowners.

That made them the top purchase lender in both Maine and New Hampshire, the #2 purchase lender in Rhode Island, and the #3 in Massachusetts.

Clearly they’re doing something right if so many home buyers are turning to them for what is often their most important purchase. Let’s learn more.

Residential Mortgage Services Fast Facts

  • Direct-to-consumer retail mortgage lender
  • Calls itself a home purchase-focused company (but also does refis!)
  • Headquartered in South Portland, Maine, founded in 1991
  • Licensed in 23 states and the District of Columbia
  • Employs more than 850 workers, including about 250 loan officers
  • Funded a company record $8.5 billion in home loans during 2020
  • Most active in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and New Hampshire
  • Named #1 lender by MassHousing and received Top USDA Lender Award in Pennsylvania

As noted, Residential Mortgage Services is a retail mortgage lender that offers home purchase loans and mortgage refinances.

While they say they’re mostly focused on helping home buyers obtain financing, they do billions in refinance volume as well.

In fact, the company just had its best year on record, with $8.5 billion in origination volume last year, a whopping 70% increase compared to the $5 billion funded in 2019, and more than double the $3.9 billion in 2018.

At the moment, they are licensed in 23 states and the District of Columbia, and have a physical presence in 14 states nationwide.

Those states include Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, and D.C.

They are most active in the state of Massachusetts, followed by Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Maine, and Maryland.

To summarize, they have a major presence in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, especially with home buyers.

How to Apply for a Home Loan with Residential Mortgage Services

  • You can go to a branch or visit their website and click on “Apply” to get started
  • You’ll be asked to select your state, followed by a branch location and a loan officer
  • From there simply create your account and you can apply for a mortgage from any device
  • Their digital home loan process allows you to link financial accounts, scan/upload docs, and eSign disclosures

Residential Mortgage Services makes it easy to apply for a home loan, and gives you multiple options to get it done.

To get started, simply visit their website and click on “Apply.” This will take you to list of states where they’re licensed to do business.

Once you select a state, it’ll show you branches that serve that particular state, and when you select a branch, you’ll be able to see which loan officers work there.

While you can get started on your own from an individual loan officer’s webpage, you may want to call them first to discuss loan options and pricing.

If you’re happy with what you hear, you can begin the digital application process from any device, including a smartphone.

They even offer a smartphone app called RMS Ready that lets you complete many tasks along the way.

Like other digital mortgage offerings, you can link financial accounts, scan/upload necessary paperwork, eSign disclosures, and check loan status 24/7 via the borrower portal.

Their Loan Center is powered by Encompass from fintech company Ellie Mae.

Alternatively, you can visit a local branch if one is located nearby and you prefer to do business face-to-face. At last glance, they’ve got brick-and-mortar branch offices in 14 states.

Loans Programs Available at Residential Mortgage Services

  • Home purchase loans
  • Refinance loans: rate and term, streamline, and cash out
  • Home renovation loans: FHA 203k and Fannie Mae HomeStyle
  • Conventional mortgages
  • Jumbo home loans
  • FHA, USDA, and VA loans
  • Interest-only mortgages
  • State housing agency mortgages
  • Piggyback second mortgages
  • Fixed-rate and adjustable-rate options

Residential Mortgage Services offers a ton of different home loan programs, including stuff you won’t find with other lenders.

Aside from home purchase loans and refinance loans, they also offer home renovation financing, including the FHA 203k loan and Fannie Mae HomeStyle programs.

Additionally, you can get a jumbo home loan or an interest-only mortgage, along with a piggyback second mortgage (a home equity line of credit) if you want to extend your financing and avoid PMI.

They also partake in the many state housing agency mortgage programs available, which are geared for first-time home buyers and those with limited incomes.

You can get any type of loan, whether it’s a conforming loan backed by Fannie/Freddie, an FHA loan, USDA loan, or VA loan.

In terms of loan programs, you can get a fixed-rate mortgage (30-year fixed or 15-year fixed), or an adjustable-rate mortgage such as a 5/1, 7/1, or 10/1 ARM.

All in all, you shouldn’t be limited when it comes to home loan choice, which is a big positive for borrowers who work with Residential Mortgage Services.

Residential Mortgage Services Rates

One area where they leave us in the dark is mortgage rates. They don’t post them online so I’ve got no idea where they stand pricing-wise.

In order to get a mortgage rate quote, you’ll need to speak with a loan officer, either at a local branch or over the phone.

When you do get pricing, be sure to ask about their lender fees as well, which you also won’t find on their website.

Taken together, this makes up the home loan’s APR and can be used to shop your mortgage with competitors.

Always take the time to gather several quotes to ensure you get a good deal.

The one hint we have about their rates comes from their Zillow reviews, where a good chunk of customers indicated that the rate received was lower than expected (and often the closing costs were too!).

Given their amazing level of customer service, my hope is they’re competitively priced as well.

Residential Mortgage Services Reviews

On Zillow, RMS has an astounding 4.98-star rating out of a possible 5 from nearly 4,000 customer reviews.

That’s truly impressive given the massive number of reviews and shows how consistent they’ve been over time.

One reviewer even referred to working with them as a “wonderful experience,” which you don’t hear too often in the mortgage world.

On LendingTree, they have a perfect 5-star rating from nearly 100 reviews, with every rating a 5 out of 5.

You can find various reviews online for their specific brick-and-mortar locations as well, with many also quite positive.

Lastly, Residential Mortgage Services is an accredited business (since 2010) and currently has an ‘A+’ rating with the Better Business Bureau.

Residential Mortgage Services Pros and Cons

The Good Stuff

  • Can apply for a mortgage on their website in minutes
  • Offer a digital and paperless home loan experience
  • Lots of different loan programs to choose from including jumbos, second mortgages, and interest-only options
  • Has brick-and-mortar retail branch offices in 14 states
  • Excellent customer reviews from past customers
  • A+ BBB rating, accredited company
  • Free smartphone app (RMS Ready)
  • Free mortgage calculators and knowledge center

The Maybe Not

  • Not licensed in all states
  • Do not list mortgage rates or lender fees on their website

(photo: Paul VanDerWerf)

Source: thetruthaboutmortgage.com

InterFirst Mortgage Review: A Private Equity-Backed Lender Looking to Grow

Posted on February 3rd, 2021

Today we’ll examine “InterFirst Mortgage,” which bills itself as a private equity-backed mortgage originator that is motivated to grow.

Their game plan is to acquire consumer-direct call centers and “strategically located licensed conforming/government wholesale mortgage operations” throughout the United States using their available capital.

While they briefly placed operations on hold in 2017 in light of what they believed was “oversaturation and overvaluation in the mortgage market,” they relaunched in mid-2020 with an expanded business model and proprietary loan origination platform.

Let’s learn more about them.

InterFirst Mortgage Fast Facts

  • Private equity-backed direct-to-consumer mortgage lender
  • Founded in 2001, relaunched in 2020 by current CEO Dmitry Godin
  • Headquartered in Rosemont, Illinois (Chicago suburb)
  • Offers home purchase loans and refinance loans
  • Also operates wholesale and correspondent lending divisions
  • Parent company is Chicago Mortgage Solutions LLC

Interfirst Mortgage Company refers to itself as a $35 billion mortgage originator, though with the year we’ve had recently, they may need to increase that number.

The point is that despite a relaunch in 2020, they’ve been around a while, and know what they’re doing. In fact, their leadership team has more than 100 years of mortgage experience.

The company was initially launched all the way back in 2001, then relaunched in 2020 by current CEO Dmitry Godin with a brand-new look.

They operate a retail direct-to-consumer division, along with a wholesale lending department and a correspondent lending division.

This means you can apply directly on their website, with an approved mortgage broker, or via a bank/credit union that acts as a correspondent.

My understanding is they do not have branches you can visit, so you’ll be working remotely if you go the direct-to-consumer route through their website.

InterFirst is currently licensed in 19 states, with plans to expand to all 50 in the near future.

Here’s where they’re currently doing business: Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

I believe they’re only doing wholesale lending in the state of Utah at the moment, meaning you’ll need to work with a mortgage broker if financing a property there.

How to Get Started with InterFirst Mortgage

  • You can also call/email them or fill out their online contact form
  • If you don’t want to wait you can simply jump right into the application on their website
  • Their Blend-powered mortgage application allows you to complete most tasks paperlessly
  • But it might be best to get pricing first then apply with the assistance of a loan officer

One thing I like about InterFirst Mortgage is the ability to just dive into the mortgage loan process without having to speak to anyone or jump through hoops.

Once you arrive at their website, all you need to do is click on “Buy a Home” or “Refinance” and you’ll begin the home loan process.

Their digital experience is powered by fintech Blend, which is one of the biggest names in the game.

You’re able to complete most tasks paperlessly, including linking financial accounts, scanning/uploading paperwork, and eSigning disclosures.

Once your loan is submitted, you’ll be given a timeline of events, current loan status, and a list of tasks that need to be completed to get to the finish line.

While you don’t need a human to help you get going, it’s probably smart to call in and speak with a loan officer first to get pricing.

Since mortgages are price-sensitive, you should check to see where they stand on interest rates and fees before you formally apply.

But if you’re already sold on them, you can forgo that step.

Just note that at the beginning of the application, they’ll ask if you’re working with someone, and if yes, you’ll need to provide that name.

InterFirst Mortgage is big on technology, but will still pair you with an expert lending team consisting of a loan officer, process, underwriter, and funder.

Loan Programs Available at InterFirst Mortgage

  • Home purchase loans
  • Refinance loans: rate and term and cash out
  • Conforming loans
  • High balance loans
  • Fixed-rate options: 10, 15, 20, 25 and 30 year terms
  • Adjustable-rate options: 5/1 and 7/1 terms

InterFirst Mortgage lends on owner-occupied primary residences, second homes, and investment properties (1-4 units).

You can get a home purchase loan or a refinance, including rate and term and cash out refinances.

It’s unclear if they offer any sort of renovation lending as details are light on their website, but there’s a decent chance they do.

The same goes for FHA loans, VA loans, and USDA loans, which aren’t mentioned anywhere.

The good news is they do offer conforming loans, including high balance loan amounts above the conforming loan limit, but it’s unclear if they offer jumbo home loans.

And you can get a fixed-rate mortgage or an adjustable-rate mortgage in a variety of different loan terms.

My one gripe is that they don’t have a clear lending menu on their website, which would alleviate some of these questions.

InterFirst Mortgage Rates

Like a lot of other banks and lenders, Interfirst Mortgage doesn’t post their mortgage rates online.

This doesn’t mean their interest rates are higher than the next guy, it’s just that we don’t know where they stand because they’ve provided zero hints.

As such, you’ll need to get in touch with a loan officer in order to get pricing.

While you’re at it, be sure to inquire about lender fees, such as loan origination fees, application fee, and so on.

Once you have all this information, you can determine if they’re a good choice based on the pricing piece, and perhaps on the personality piece as well if you like what you hear from a member of their staff.

Take the time to shop around and get multiple quotes from other lenders so you can accurately gauge where they stand pricing-wise.

While they appear to make it easy to apply for a home loan, you could be stuck paying the mortgage for a long time.

InterFirst Mortgage Reviews

On Bankrate, they’ve got a 4.4-star rating out of 5 from about 130 customer reviews, which is a solid rating. That includes over 100 5-star reviews.

Over at the Better Business Bureau, they have an even better 4.54/5-rating from 84 reviews, which is surprisingly high since the BBB website is typically where customers go to complain.

InterFirst Mortgage is an accredited company with the Better Business Bureau (since 2020), and currently holds an ‘A+’ rating.

While they’re somewhat young given their recent relaunch, they have fewer reviews at some of the other major ratings sites.

However, they still mustered a 4.45-star rating out of 5 from 20 reviews at Zillow, which while not a lot, is at least favorable to start.

Similarly, they have a perfect 5-star rating over at LendingTree from a mere 8 reviews, but all of them are 5-star reviews.

All in all, they appear to be building a strong reputation as a newly relaunched mortgage lender, and could be a good choice for either your home purchase or refinance needs.

Just be sure they offer the specific loan program you’re looking for, as those details seem to be missing from their website.

InterFirst Mortgage Pros and Cons

The Good

  • Can apply for a home loan without human assistance
  • Offer a digital loan process powered by Blend
  • Excellent customer reviews across multiple ratings websites
  • A+ BBB rating, accredited business
  • Free mortgage calculators

The Not

  • Aren’t licensed in every state
  • Do not publicize their mortgage rates or lender fees online
  • Unclear what loan programs they offer

Source: thetruthaboutmortgage.com

Triumph Lending Review: A Near Perfect 5-Star Rated Lender

Posted on February 2nd, 2021

One of the highest-rated mortgage companies on LendingTree goes by the name “Triumph Lending,” which is a division of its larger parent company Network Funding, LP.

The Texas-based direct lender boasts an incredible 5-star rating out of 5 from more than 1,100 customer reviews, meaning they must be doing something right.

They also feature an elephant in their logo, which explains the choice of image above.

Much of their lending appears to take place in The Lone Star State, so if you live in Texas, they could be a good choice if customer service is important to you.

Triumph Lending Fast Facts

  • Direct-to-consumer mortgage lender
  • Founded in 1998, headquartered in Houston, TX
  • A division of parent company Network Funding, LP
  • Offer home purchase loans and mortgage refinances
  • A LendingTree Certified Lender (top-10 in customer satisfaction)
  • Licensed to do business in six states (most active in Texas)

Triumph Lending a direct-to-consumer mortgage lender that seems to live online, meaning you can apply for a home loan remotely from their website.

The Houston-based company actually got its start as a wholesale mortgage lender, meaning they worked exclusively with mortgage brokers, as opposed to the general public.

Later, Triumph transformed into what they describe as a “hybrid retail mortgage origination company,” meaning they likely have both a retail and wholesale lending division, and/or can broker out loans when necessary.

What this means to homeowners and prospective home buyers is you can work with them directly to obtain a mortgage by calling them up or visiting their website.

They were founded in 1998 by Rex Chamberlain (current CEO) and Greg “Buzz Baker (president), who also run parent company Network Funding, LP.

At the moment, they appear to be licensed to do business in the following states: Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Texas, and Virginia.

How to Apply with Triumph Lending

  • You can call, request a quote online, or simply apply immediately via their website
  • Their digital application allows you to apply in either English or Spanish
  • They embrace the latest technology but believe there’s no substitute for one-on-one interaction
  • Borrowers can manage their loan from start to finish via the online portal

You’ve basically got three options here. You can simply call them up on the phone to speak with a licensed loan officer and obtain pricing and loan options.

Or you can fill out a short quote request form on their website and wait for a loan officer to call you back.

Alternatively, you can visit their website and click on “Apply Now” and begin immediately by creating an account.

My recommendation is to always get pricing first, then decide if the company is competitive enough to follow through with the application. After all, you don’t want to waste your time or theirs.

Triumph says they offer an “all-online mortgage application,” which I assume means they use a digital platform that allows you to link financial accounts, scan/upload documents, and eSign disclosures.

You also get paired with a dedicated loan officer, processor, and closing team who will guide you step-by-step from start to finish.

Applicants can manage their loan 24/7 via the secure online borrower portal, which provides real-time updates and current loan status.

Based on their many positive testimonials, it sounds like they make it super easy to apply for a home loan.

Loan Programs Available at Triumph Lending

  • Home purchase loans
  • Home renovation loans
  • Refinance loans: rate and term and cash out
  • Conforming loan backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
  • Jumbo home loans
  • FHA loans
  • VA loans
  • USDA loans

Triumph Lending offers both home purchase loans and mortgage refinance loans, including rate and term refis and cash out refis.

If you’re buying or currently own a fixer-upper, you can also apply for a home renovation loan.

You can get a conforming loan backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, or a jumbo loan if your loan amount exceeds local loan limits.

They have the full slate of government-backed loan programs available, including FHA loans, USDA loans, and VA loans.

With regard to loan types, you can get a fixed-rate mortgage such as a 30-year or 15-year fixed, or a hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage, including a 5/1 ARM or 7/1 ARM.

They lend on all the usual property types, including single-family residences, condos/townhomes, and 1-4 unit investment properties.

Triumph Lending Mortgage Rates

While they do say they’ve got the “most competitive rates and terms on the market” right on their website, they don’t actually reveal their mortgage rates anywhere.

Some of the bigger banks and lenders will show you daily mortgage rates just to give you an idea of pricing, which is a nice touch.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the case with Triumph Lending. So if you want to get pricing, you’ll either need to call or submit a free rate quote request on their website.

This is probably the best way to get started as you can determine how their pricing stacks up to other mortgage companies out there.

As always, be sure to compare both the interest rate offered along with the closing costs, since you need to get an apples-to-apples comparison, and cannot do so without both.

Triumph Lending Reviews

Where Triumph Lending really seems to shine is in customer satisfaction. In fact, they’re nearly perfect based on their reviews.

Per LendingTree, they’ve got a 5-star rating out of 5 from over 1,100 reviews, with all 5-star reviews expect for two, which are 4-star reviews. That’s pretty impressive.

Additionally, they are a “Certified Lender,” which is defined as having demonstrated organizational commitment to employee development while providing “exemplary service” to LendingTree customers.

They also landed in the top-10 for customer satisfaction on the LT platform in both the second and third quarter of 2020.

On Zillow, it’s the same story – a near-perfect 4.99-star rating out of 5 from more than 350 reviews.

As I scanned through the reviews, I noticed that many of them highlighted the fact that the interest rate received was lower than expected, as were the closing costs in a lot of cases.

They’ve also got a 4.5-star rating on Google from about 15 reviews and a 5-star rating on Yelp from about 25 reviews.

While they’re not an accredited company with the Better Business Bureau, they do have an ‘A+’ rating based on their complaint history.

This means they’re generally good about resolving any customer issues that may come up quickly and competently.

Triumph Lending Pros and Cons

The Good

  • You can get started directly from their website
  • Offer a digital mortgage application using the latest tech
  • Can apply for a mortgage in both English or Spanish
  • Plenty of loan programs to choose from
  • Amazing customer reviews (nearly perfect ratings)
  • A+ BBB rating
  • Free mortgage calculator on their website

The Not

  • Do not publicize mortgage rates or lender fees
  • Not licensed in all states

(photo: Neil Ransom)

Source: thetruthaboutmortgage.com

Allied Mortgage Review: A Philly-Based Lender Around Since the 90s

Posted on January 26th, 2021

Today we’ll deep dive into “Allied Mortgage Group,” an East Coast lender founded in the 1990s that is “built on integrity, reputation, and commitment.”

They believe they’re a good choice for prospective home buyers and existing homeowners because of their streamlined loan process, years of expertise, and excellent customer service.

Additionally, the company boasts a 98.8% recommend rate from its customers and partners.

Allied Mortgage Group Quick Facts

  • Direct-to-consumer mortgage lender and loan servicer
  • Founded in 1993, headquartered in Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania
  • Offer home purchase loans and mortgage refinancing
  • Funded roughly $1 billion in home loans last year
  • Currently licensed in 33 states and the District of Columbia
  • Also operate a wholesale lending division for mortgage brokers

Allied Mortgage Group is a direct-to-consumer retail mortgage lender and loan servicer based in the suburbs of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

They’ve been around since 1993, so they might know a thing or two about mortgages.

Last year, the company funded about $1 billion in home loans, with more than $300 million coming from their home state of PA.

Another $200 million or so came from nearby New Jersey, along with $100 million+ from the state of New York.

While they’re most active on the East Coast, they are licensed in 33 states along with the District of Columbia.

They are not available in Alaska, Arkansas, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Utah, Wisconsin, or Wyoming.

Allied runs six operations centers and 18 regional offices throughout the country, with local loan officers serving their own communities.

About two-thirds of their total loan volume came from home purchase loans, with the remainder almost evenly split between refinance loans and HELOCs.

How to Apply for a Home Loan with Allied Mortgage Group

  • You can apply directly from their website in minutes without assistance
  • They offer a digital mortgage application powered by Ellie Mae
  • Allows you to complete much of the process paperlessly from any device
  • But they also have physical branches and loan officers available if you want a more hands-on experience

Allied Mortgage Group says it handles all loan processing, underwriting, and closings under one roof, which allows them to generate quick turnaround times.

On top of that, they offer a digital mortgage application powered by Ellie Mae, a leader in the fintech space.

Borrowers who are eager to apply can simply visit the Allied Mortgage Group website and click “Apply Now” to get going.

You don’t need to speak to anyone or wait for someone to call you back. Of course, it might be helpful to discuss your loan scenario and get loan pricing before you dive in.

Either way, you can go it alone once you’re ready, or ask a loan officer for assistance. Their digital app allows you to do most tasks paperlessly, which is a huge plus.

That includes linking financial accounts, eSigning disclosures, and uploading key documents along the way.

You’ll also be able to log on to a borrower portal 24/7 to get status updates and check loan progress.

Loan Programs Offered by Allied Mortgage Group

  • Home purchase loans
  • Refinance loans
  • Home renovation loans
  • Conventional loans
  • Jumbo loans
  • FHA loans
  • VA loans
  • USDA loans
  • Bank statement loans and adverse credit loans
  • Interest only loans
  • Specialty loans for doctors and recent graduates
  • Fixed-rate loans (30-year fixed, 15-year fixed)
  • Adjustable-rate loans (5/1 ARM, 7/1 ARM)
  • Home equity lines (HELOCs)

One of Allied Mortgage Group’s strengths is its impressive breadth of loan offerings.

Sure, they offer home purchase loans, refinance loans, and renovation loans, along with all the usual suspects like FHA, USDA, and VA loans.

But they go a step further with their “Latitude Loan Solutions” suite, which includes a bank statement program, interest only loans, the financing of non-warrantable condos, and adverse credit mortgages.

So even if you lost your home due to an unexpected job loss, it might be possible to get another mortgage as long as your credit score is 620 or higher.

They’ve also got their Professional Choice line of home loans, which are flexible mortgages reserved for borrowers in professional fields (e.g. doctors, dentists) with high future earnings potential and good credit.

Lastly, they offer home equity lines of credit (HELOCs), which can be a rarity these days outside of the large commercial banks.

All in all, you shouldn’t walk away from Allied Mortgage Group because they didn’t have a certain loan program.

Allied Mortgage Group Mortgage Rates

If you want to check out their mortgage rates, you’ll need to make a phone call and speak to one of their loan officers.

Unfortunately, they do not publicize their daily rates on their website. However, you can request a free mortgage rate by clicking on “Rate Quotes” from the top menu on their site.

Once you fill out a lead form, a licensed loan officer will get back to you regarding pricing.

Alternatively, you can check out the branch directory on their website and contact a specific loan officer near you.

From there, simply get on the phone to discuss pricing. As you would with any other mortgage lender, use their quoted rate(s) and fees and compare them with other lenders to see where they stand.

While pricing isn’t everything, especially if it’s a home purchase and you need someone who can get the job done, it is a very important consideration.

Be sure to include any lender fees they charge, such as an application fee or loan origination fee, in your comparison shopping to accurately gauge offers.

Allied Mortgage Group Reviews

On SocialSurvey, Allied Mortgage Group has a near-perfect 4.87-star rating from more than 14,000 customer reviews.

In the past, they’ve also made it into SocialSurvey’s top-10 list for customer satisfaction amongst all lenders.

On Zillow, the company also has a most-excellent 4.96-star rating out of 5 from nearly 800 reviews.

I noticed quite a few reviews where the customer indicated that both the interest rate and fees/closing costs were lower than expected, which is a great sign on the pricing front.

Over at LendingTree, they’ve got a 4.9-star rating from more than 6,000 reviews, along with a 99% recommended rate. Their interest rates are also rated as “excellent.”

They have been an accredited business with the Better Business Bureau since 2012, and currently have a perfect ‘A+’ rating.

Allied Mortgage Group Pros and Cons

The Good Stuff

  • Can apply for a mortgage without a human
  • Offer a digital, paperless mortgage application
  • Tons of loan programs to choose from
  • Physical branches in many East Coast states
  • Excellent customer reviews from past customers
  • A+ BBB rating, accredited company since 2012
  • They also service the loans they fund
  • Free mortgage calculators on their website

The Maybe Not

  • Do not publicize their mortgage rates or lender fees
  • Not licensed in all states

(photo: Gene Tobia)

Lock in a lower rate.

Source: thetruthaboutmortgage.com

NBKC Mortgage Review: An Award-Winning Online Lender

Posted on January 13th, 2021

Today we’ll analyze NBKC Bank, formerly known as National Bank of Kansas City, which a depository that’s also big on home loans, funding billions in mortgages annually.

They refer to themselves as an “award-winning national mortgage company” thanks to their many accolades and numerous 5-star customer reviews.

Additionally, NBKC is a top-15 VA loan lender by purchase volume, and because they advertise less, they can pass the savings onto their customers via lower rates and fewer fees.

They also take part in the Costco Mortgage program. Read on to learn more about them.

NBKC Mortgage Fast Facts

  • Depository bank and direct mortgage lender
  • Founded in 1999, headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri
  • Offers home loans, checking/savings accounts, home equity loans, and more
  • Licensed in all 50 states and the District of Columbia
  • Funded more than $4.4B in home loans last year
  • Most active in California, Texas, and Washington
  • Takes part in the Costco home loan program

NBKC Bank, founded in 1999, is a full-service online bank and direct-to-consumer retail mortgage lender with a couple of branches in the Kansas City area.

They are also a nationally licensed bank and say they’re one of the few mortgage lenders out there that can fund VA and FHA loans in all 50 states and D.C.

This means you’ll likely be working with them from afar unless you happen to live in Missouri, or I suppose Eastern Kansas.

The good news is they have an awesome website that allows you to apply for a mortgage using the latest technology available.

Last year, the company funded about $4.4 billion in home loans, with about half used to finance a home purchase and the remainder for mortgage refinancing.

Roughly 60% of their loan volume was tied to conventional home loans, with about a third VA loans and the rest either FHA loans, jumbo loans, or non-QM loans.

NBKC does nearly 20% of their total loan volume in the state of California, and is similarly active in Texas and Washington.

Interestingly, they only do about 3% of total volume in their home state of Missouri.

How to Apply for a Home Loan with NBKC

  • You can apply for a mortgage directly from their website
  • First you need to create an account with NBKC
  • Then you can complete the app digitally from any device via a mostly paperless process
  • They offer on-site processing, underwriting, closing and funding for quick turn times

NBKC makes it simple to apply for a mortgage thanks to their clean and easy-to-navigate modern website.

To get started, simply visit their website, click on “Home Loans,” then click on “Apply Now.”

You’ll be prompted to create an account by entering your email address. Once verified, you can begin filling out a digital loan application.

They employ the latest technology that allows you to link financial accounts, scan and upload documents, and eSign disclosures and other paperwork.

Alternatively, you can contact one their loan officers directly by using the online directory (research them first if you want to work with one of the highest-rated individuals).

You can also chat with a rep on their website if you have general questions about home loans, or simply call them up on the telephone.

Or start by pricing out a loan on your time on their website, then if you like what you see, you can click on apply.

In summary, NBKC makes it easy to apply for a home loan from any device and their loan officers come highly-rated and with many years of experience on average.

Home Loan Programs Available at NBKC

  • Home purchase loans
  • Refinance loans: rate and term, cash out, and streamline
  • Conventional loans backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
  • Jumbo home loans that exceed the conforming loan limit
  • VA loans
  • FHA loans

You can get a home purchase loan or a refinance loan, including cash out refinances and streamline refis like the VA IRRRL.

NBKC has most of the major loan programs available, including conforming loans, jumbo loans, and government-backed loans like FHA loans and VA loans.

However, they don’t appear to offer USDA loans, which are used to finance properties in select rural areas across the country.

Of course, the loan types mentioned cover most borrowers, so it shouldn’t be an issue for the vast majority of applicants.

My assumption is they lend on all property and occupancy types, so you should be able to get financing for a condo/townhome, a vacation home, or a multi-unit investment property.

They also offer home equity loans, bridge loans, home construction loans, and real estate lot loans to borrowers in the Kansas City area.

It’s not clear if they offer home renovation products, such as the FHA 203k or Fannie Mae HomeStyle.

NBKC Mortgage Rates

One advantage to using NBKC is the fact that they openly publicize their mortgage interest rates.

So if you visit their website, you can generate real-time mortgage rate quotes for free, without speaking to anyone. And perhaps more importantly, without providing your contact info.

Once you input some basic details, like loan amount, transaction type, and state, it will populate a variety of interest rates with different lender fees.

You should be able to see rates for the 30-year fixed, 15-year fixed, and 5/1 ARM, along with varying discount points or lender credits.

From what I observed, their mortgage rates were fairly competitive, but maybe not the lowest among all online mortgage lenders.

Of course, all loan scenarios are different and you won’t know the exact rate until you speak to a loan officer about pricing and provide all your details.

In terms of lender fees, it’s unclear if they charge a loan origination fee, or processing and underwriting fees.

Be sure to inquire about these as well, as they make up your mortgage APR, which is what you should use when shopping among different lenders.

NBKC Mortgage Reviews

On Zillow NBKC Bank has a super impressive 4.93-star rating out of 5 from a whopping 10,000+ customer reviews.

A lot of the reviews indicated that the interest rate and/or closing costs were lower than expected, which is a plus if you’re looking for a good deal on top of quality customer service.

Similarly, they have a 4.7-star rating out of 5 on the LendingTree platform from nearly 5,000 reviews.

They also have a 99% recommended rate and landed in the top-10 for customer satisfaction in both the first and second quarter of 2020.

On Credit Karma, it’s more of the same, a 4.9-star rating out of a possible 5 from about 600 reviews.

NBKC was also ranked the best mortgage lender of 2020 by Best Company, beating out 156 other home loan companies.

So it appears they’re doing something right in the customer service department.

Additionally, they are an accredited company with the Better Business Bureau and have been since 2004. They currently have an ‘A+’ BBB rating.

To sum it up, NBKC seems to offer a good user experience, excellent customer service, and a good array of available loan programs.

Assuming their loan pricing is also up to snuff, they could be a good choice for your home loan needs.

NBKC Mortgage Pros and Cons

The Pros

  • You can check daily mortgage rates on their website
  • Can apply for a home loan without any human assistance
  • Offer a digital mortgage application (apply from any device)
  • Licensed in all 50 states and D.C.
  • Excellent customer reviews across all ratings sites
  • A+ BBB rating, accredited since 2004
  • Free mortgage calculators and mortgage glossary

The Cons

  • Only two branch locations (in Kansas City area)
  • Do not offer USDA loans
  • Unclear what lender fees they charge
Lock in a lower rate.

Source: thetruthaboutmortgage.com

Optimum First Mortgage Review: #1 in Price and Customer Service?

Posted on January 19th, 2021

You’ve got to pretty confident to say you’re #1 in both price and customer service, but that’s exactly how “Optimum First Mortgage” describes itself.

The Southern California-based mortgage lender isn’t afraid to say it has the lowest rates in the industry, or the best customer service.

It’s a bold claim (or two), but based on their stellar reviews from past customers, they might be on to something. Let’s discover more about them.

Optimum First Mortgage Fast Facts

  • Direct-to-consumer mortgage lender
  • Founded in 2008, headquartered in Fountain Valley, CA
  • Offers home purchase loans and mortgage refinances
  • Also able to broker out loans via its wholesale lending partners
  • Claims to offer the lowest rates in the industry and top customer service
  • Employs roughly three dozen loan officers
  • Licensed to lend in 14 states nationwide

Optimum First Mortgage is a direct-to-consumer mortgage lender based in Fountain Valley, California, which is situated pretty close to Huntington Beach.

As noted, they claim to be #1 when it comes to mortgage rates and customer service, which they claim is possible because of their high volume of business.

In short, because they originate more home loans, they’re happy to earn less per loan and make up for it by simply closing more loans.

They also have the advantage of brokering out loans via their wholesale lender partners, and say they’ve got about 30 different rate sheets at their fingertips to find the right home for your mortgage.

So unlike a retail bank that might just have one set of rates, they can shop on your behalf to ensure your rate is competitive enough to stick with them.

At the moment, they’re licensed in 14 states, including Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, and Washington.

It’s unclear if they plan to expand to additional states, or if they’re happy focusing on a smaller chunk of the country.

How to Apply for a Home Loan with Optimum First Mortgage

  • You can apply directly from their website without human assistance
  • But you need to select a loan officer first to get started
  • Their digital mortgage loan application is powered by LenderHomePage
  • They say most of their loans fund within 20 days during typical market conditions

To get started, you can either head over to the Optimum First Mortgage website or simply call them up on the phone.

While you don’t need to speak to a human to begin the secure online mortgage application, they do ask that you select a loan officer from a drop-down list first.

You can either research individual loan officers first (via Zillow and other reviews), or just pick a name at random.

A better suggestion might be to research their loan officers, then call and ask to speak to your desired individual, then get some mortgage quotes from them.

Once you’ve done that and you’re happy with what they’re offering, you can apply via the website.

Ultimately, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to apply until you know a price, just like anything else you’d purchase.

Anyway, their digital loan application, known as SmartApp 1003, is powered by LenderHomePage. It should allow you to complete most of the process electronically.

Additionally, once submitted you’ll be able to track loan progress and opt-in to alerts to stay in the know.

Optimum First Mortgage says it can fund loans within 20 days, assuming market conditions are normal (not too busy).

Loan Programs Offered by Optimum First Mortgage

  • Home purchase loans
  • Mortgage refinance loans: rate and term, cash out, and streamline
  • FHA loans and VA loans
  • Stated income loans
  • Reverse mortgages
  • Fixed-rate loans in the following terms: 30, 27, 22, 20, 15, 12, 10 and 8 years
  • Adjustable-rate mortgage options: 3/1 ARM, 5/1 ARM, 7/1 ARM, and 10/1 ARM

Optimum First Mortgage Rates

While they claim to have the lowest rates in the industry, they don’t post them on their website.

That’s fine, as long as the mortgage rate quote you receive is to your liking, but it’s always nice to see something advertised.

Optimum First Mortgage says its loan pricing is “second to none” because they shop other lenders in an effort to secure the best deal for their customers.

They say they can lock your mortgage rate the same day and if rates happen to improve, they offer a float down option.

It’s unclear what lender fees they charge, but my assumption is they do a lot of no cost refinance loans where the lender fees are absorbed via a slightly higher mortgage rate.

Still, it’d be nice to know what they charge, such as an application fee, origination fee, and so on.

You can fill out their “quick quote” form online, but it will require your contact information and likely an inbound call from one of their licensed loan officers.

Alternatively, you might want to call in first and ask for some quotes, then decide if you want to proceed.

As always, take the time to shop their rates/fees with other lenders to ensure you land the best deal on your mortgage.

Just because they say they’re the best doesn’t mean they are.

Optimum First Mortgage’s Lifetime Rate Protection Guarantee

Once you close a loan with Optimum First Mortgage, you will be able to take advantage of their Lifetime Rate Protection Guarantee.

Simply put, if mortgage rates fall and a refinance makes sense, they will offer you a no cost refinance for life.

They say you’ll pay “absolutely no closing fees,” which will be absorbed by them and not added to the loan balance.

While a deposit for the home appraisal fee is still required, it will be refunded upon closing.

As you might suspect, taxes, insurance, lender related payoff fees, and mortgage impounds will still remain the client’s responsibility (if applicable).

To qualify, you’ll need to supply your signed Rate Protection Guarantee Certificate from your previous loan, and at least 180 days must have passed since your previous loan funding date.

Additionally, the refinance must meet Fannie Mae’s conforming loan limit guidelines and the loan amount must be equal to or greater than $125,000 on an owner-occupied property.

As with all of these types of deals, you still technically need to shop around to see what other mortgage lenders can offer for a no cost loan.

Even if they don’t charge fees (or third-party fees for that matter), another lender might still offer a lower mortgage APR when all is said and done.

But it’s still a nice perk if you use them for one transaction, as you can always inquire about another mortgage refinance without the typical costs
(how soon can I refinance?).

Optimum First Mortgage Reviews

Optimum First Mortgage seems to be very consistent in terms of customer satisfaction. Remember, they say they’re #1 when it comes to customer service.

Lock in a lower rate.

On Zillow, they have a 4.96-star rating out of 5 from nearly 500 reviews, and a lot them indicate that the interest rate received was lower than expected.

And on Yelp, a 4.5-star rating from about 300 reviews. On Google, an even stronger 4.8-star rating from nearly 200 reviews.

On TrustLink, they scored 4.8 out of 5 from nearly 1,200 customer reviews, so again more of the same.

Lastly, while they are not Better Business Bureau accredited, they do have a pretty decent ‘A-’ rating based on complaint history. They’ve also got a solid 4.88/5 rating based on customer reviews.

So all in all, they seem to live up to their claim of providing excellent customer satisfaction, though they might not be perfect.

In closing, they might be a good choice for an existing homeowner looking to refinance a mortgage to obtain a lower rate and/or cash out.

Optimum First Mortgage Pros and Cons

The Good

  • Can apply for a mortgage online in minutes
  • Offer a secure digital loan application
  • Say they offer the lowest rates in the industry
  • Lifetime Rate Protection Guarantee
  • Excellent customer reviews
  • A- BBB rating
  • Very highly rated by past customers
  • Free mortgage calculators on their website

The Maybe Not

  • Only licensed in a handful of states
  • Limited physical branches
  • Do not list mortgage rates or lender fees on their website
Lock in a lower rate.

Source: thetruthaboutmortgage.com