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.
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
- 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