Zillow Home Loans is the direct lending arm of Zillow, the highly popular real estate listing website. The lender offers a standard lineup of purchase and refinance loans and can handle the loan process online. It may be a good fit if you have strong credit and plan to work with an affiliated real estate agent. Here’s what to know about working with Zillow Home Loans.
Zillow Home Loans overview
Zillow opened in 2006 and has since become one of most well-known marketplaces to browse real estate listings online. The company purchased Mortgage Lenders of America in 2018, then rebranded the company as Zillow Home Loans in 2019. The direct mortgage lender is headquartered in Irvine, California, and is licensed in the District of Columbia and all states except New York.
Zillow mortgage products
Zillow Home Loans offers the following types of mortgages:
- Conventional purchase loans.
- U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) loans.
- Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans.
- Refinance loans.
- Adjustable-rate mortgages.
- Jumbo purchase loans up to $2.5 million.
You can choose between a fixed-rate mortgage, with terms ranging from 15 to 30 years, or an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM), with a fixed rate for a certain amount of time. Zillow Home Loans offers ARM terms where the rate is fixed for either seven or 10 years. After the fixed period ends, the rate may reset every six months.
Borrowers also have several options if they’re looking to refinance a mortgage. Zillow Home Loans offers rate-and-term refinances, where you get a loan with new terms, and cash-out refinances, where you borrow more than your current loan balance and get the difference in cash. The lender also offers the FHA streamline refinance loan and the VA interest rate reduction refinance loan (IRRRL), both designed to speed up the refinance process.
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How to qualify for a Zillow Home Loans mortgage
Zillow Home Loans’ qualification requirements depend on the type of mortgage you want to get. With a conventional loan, you’ll need a minimum credit score of 620 and a maximum debt-to-income (DTI) ratio of 43%. And while your down payment can be as low as 3%, you’ll pay private mortgage insurance if it’s less than 20%.
The lender also offers jumbo mortgages, which are home loans that exceed the conforming loan limit in the county where you’re buying a home. Qualification requirements are higher for jumbo loans because they’re generally riskier for the lender. For jumbo loans, Zillow will lend up to $2.5 million and requires a minimum credit score of 700, a down payment of 20% and a maximum DTI ratio of 43%.
Borrowers can also get FHA loans through Zillow, but they’ll need a credit score of at least 620, along with a minimum down payment of 3.5%. Other lenders accept a credit score more in line with the Federal Housing Administration’s minimum of 580 or 500, depending on the borrower’s down payment. So if you’re looking for an FHA loan, you might consider working with another lender that accepts lower credit scores.
Another option with Zillow is the VA loan, available to eligible current and former service members of the armed forces and qualifying surviving spouses. These loans offer reduced closing costs and don’t require a down payment or mortgage insurance. With Zillow, you’ll need a credit score of at least 620 to qualify.
How to apply for a Zillow mortgage
The pre-approval process takes about five to 10 minutes and can be completed online or over the phone with a loan officer. Once you’re ready to submit the mortgage application, you can fill out the application online or over the phone. There are no branches to get in-person help.
To get a preapproval letter with Zillow Home Loans, you’ll need:
- A recent pay stub.
- A W-2 form from the most recent tax year.
- Two most recent bank and investment statements.
- Tax returns from the two most recent tax years.
You’ll also need these documents when applying for the mortgage. If you do the preapproval with Zillow, they’ll have everything on file when you’re ready to take the next step.
Pros of a Zillow Home Loans mortgage
- Offers a post-closing rebate.
- Provides a dedicated representative throughout the loan process.
- Website offers solid consumer resources.
Cons of a Zillow Home Loans mortgage
- No in-person branches.
- Charges lender fees.
- Doesn’t offer USDA loans, construction loans or home equity products.
Zillow Home Loans perks and special features
Zillow offers a rebate of up to $1,500 that you’ll receive after closing. To qualify, you’ll need to work with a real estate agent affiliated with the company and get the loan through Zillow Home Loans.
The Zillow Home Loans website offers several consumer resources, including articles that help explain mortgage topics and calculators that help you estimate your potential monthly payment. You can also get prequalified on the Zillow Home Loans website. The company will run a soft credit pull, so the prequalification won’t affect your credit. And while there are no mortgage rates on the Zillow Home Loans website, potential buyers can compare mortgage rates for different loan types on Zillow’s homepage.
How Zillow could improve
No in-person branches
Zillow Home Loans isn’t currently allowing homebuyers to visit their offices. You can apply for a mortgage and complete the underwriting process completely online, and contact your dedicated representative at any time. The online process can be helpful to some homebuyers, but if you want to visit a branch in person, you’ll need to look elsewhere.
For purchase and refinance mortgages, Zillow Home Loans charges a lender fee of $1,500 when borrowers apply for conventional loans, FHA loans and jumbo loans. The fee drops to $499 for VA loans. Some mortgage originators don’t charge a lender fee at all, which is why it’s important to shop around. You may even be able to negotiate with Zillow Home Loans if you find a better offer elsewhere.
Zillow Home Loans offers a pretty standard menu: You can apply for conventional loans, FHA loans, VA loans and jumbo loans. But you’ll need to shop with a different lender if you’re interested in a niche product, such as USDA loans, construction loans or home equity products.
Zillow Home Loans customer service and reviews
For routine questions or to get help with a loan application, you can visit Zillow Home Loans at its website or call 888-852-2212. If you have complaints or feedback, you can submit a message through an online contact form, call 877-661-3166 or send postal mail to:
Zillow Home Loans, LLC
ATTN: COMPLIANCE/LEGAL DEPT.
1301 Second Avenue, 31st Floor
Seattle, WA 98101
The lender also has a highly rated app, Zillow Mortgage, that’s available on iOS and Google Play. The app allows you to get a customized rate quote, calculate your estimated housing payment, get prequalified and check how much you can afford to borrow. But you won’t be able to submit a mortgage application, upload documents, and track your loan status using the app.
People who have worked with Zillow Home Loans tend to give the lender above-average ratings. As of June 2023, customers on the Better Business Bureau’s website gave the company 3.66 out of 5 stars, and Trustpilot reviewers gave the lender 4 out of 5 stars.
Positive reviews focus on strong customer service and competitive mortgage rates. However, there are some complaints regarding discrepancies in loan documents and confusion surrounding payment processing. Some customers also say they received poor customer service from loan officers.
Zillow Home Loans alternatives: Zillow vs. Rocket Mortgage vs. LoanDepot
Every mortgage lender has its own system of setting rates, qualification requirements and fees, so it’s important to shop around. According to a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau study, mortgage rates can vary by 0.5% or more for similarly qualified borrowers. That may not seem like much, but it can add up over time. For instance, say you want to get a home loan for $400,000 with a down payment of 20%, and two different lenders offer rates of 6% and 5.5%. Taking the lower rate would save you $102 a month or $36,720 over the life of the loan.
If you’re considering a mortgage with Zillow Home Loans, check out some alternatives.
Rocket Mortgage is a fully online mortgage lender that offers home loans in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. According to J.D. Power, it has earned the designation as best in customer satisfaction for the past 12 years.
LoanDepot launched in 2010 and is now the second-largest nonbank retail mortgage lender in the U.S. It earned an above-average score in the J.D. Power 2022 mortgage origination survey and offers home loans in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Unlike Zillow Home Loans and Rocket Mortgage, applicants with loanDepot can get in-person help at branch locations or complete the mortgage process entirely online.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
Yes, Zillow Home Loans is a legitimate company. Zillow is also accredited with the Better Business Bureau and verified on Trustpilot.
Yes, you can get prequalified for a home loan with Zillow in about three minutes. You’ll need to answer a few questions about your purchase timeline, what you’re looking for, how much you want to spend, and details about your financial situation. The lender will run a soft credit pull that doesn’t impact your credit and then confirm whether you’re prequalified for a home loan.
Borrowers need a credit score of at least 620 to qualify for a conventional, FHA, or VA loan with Zillow Home Loans. The minimum credit score requirement increases to 700 for jumbo mortgages. The lender will also consider other factors, such as your employment status, income and debt-to-income ratio.