loanDepot Review: Mortgage, Home Equity Loans, and Refinancing

With $30 billion of loans originated for new home purchases (not to mention an extra $70 billion in refinances), loanDepot has certainly earned its spot as one of the leading online mortgage lenders. They’re eligible to do business in any state, plus they place high importance on customer service.

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This includes a strict “no steering” policy, meaning there’s no extra incentive for loan officers to recommend one loan over another to customers. That helps you make the best decision possible using unbiased advice.

Ready to learn more about loanDepot? Keep reading.

Mortgage Application Requirements

Each application is reviewed individually, so there are no exact requirements when applying for a loanDepot mortgage. However, there are some general guidelines to go by, particularly when it comes to credit.

What’s the minimum credit score?

For most loan types, it’s 620. There are a few government-sponsored programs that allow your score to go as low as 580 but you may need to pay a higher down payment to qualify.

Loan Depot also looks at your debt-to-income ratio to determine how large of a home loan you qualify for. It’s smart to talk to a loan officer prior to your house hunt so you know exactly how much you can borrow.

Types of Home Loans Available

Loan Depot offers several types of loan options, which is great if you want to compare a wide range of available choices.

Traditional fixed-rate mortgage:

Your interest rate remains the same through the course of the loan. Down payments can be as low as 5% of the home purchase price.

Traditional adjustable-rate mortgage

Interest rates fluctuate according to market rates after a period of fixed interest. Best for people who want lower monthly payments upfront or plan on moving after a few years.

Jumbo mortgage

This offers the ability to borrow a larger amount, especially if you’re in an area with high real estate values. These come with both fixed and adjustable-rate options. Loan amounts through loanDepot range between $417,000 and $2 million.

FHA loan

FHA loans are backed by the government, giving more leeway when it comes to credit score. You can also qualify with a down payment as low as 3.5%. You can read more about FHA loans and requirements here.

VA loan

For active military members and veterans, the VA loan requires no down payment.

Home equity loan

Borrowers can take out home equity loans on top of their existing mortgages. With a home equity loan, you can borrow up to 90% of the equity you have in the value of your home. However, they do not offer home equity lines of credit.

Fees and Rates

What can you expect to pay for a mortgage through loanDepot?

The company cites an origination fee of anywhere between 1% and 5%. You’re likely to pay on the higher end of that range if you have below-average credit. Be wary because while a 1% origination fee from a lender is common, 5% may be above the norm. Always compare options when shopping for any type of loan product.

loanDepot mortgage rates are competitive and are often some of the lowest in the industry. Just be sure to compare your actual APR offer, since that’s affected by extraneous costs like that origination fee.

loanDepot’s Mortgage Process

You can break down the loan process into six easy steps when you work with loanDepot. Here’s how they take care of things from start to finish.

Step 1: Talk to a Loan Officer

One place where loanDepot truly shines is with its vast network of loan officers. There are over 1,700 licensed loan officers across the country, so you can talk to someone who is in your state and possibly even in your city.

If you’d like, you can even schedule an in-person meeting to discuss your options with a loanDepot lending officer. It’s a personal touch that a lot of online lenders simply can’t compete with.

Step 2: Set Your Goals

Your loan officer will look at your basic financials and help you set a budget that meets your needs and wants in a new home. Knowing what you can afford ahead of time helps you be realistic through the home search process while also avoiding disappoint when it comes time to officially submit your loan application.

Step 3: Pick Your Loan

One of the great things about loanDepot is that they do offer a wide range of options. Since you work with a single person, you can really take the time to weigh your options. Depending on the loan you pick, you could impact your interest rate as well as how much of a down payment you need. You can buy discount points to lower your mortgage rate, but it can add thousands of dollars to your closing costs.

Different things will be important to different people. That’s why it’s smart to run multiple scenarios to figure out what works best in terms of both monthly payment and cash needed upfront.

Step 4: Get Approved

They will help you through the initial application process to get you approved for a home loan early on. This helps you get all the correct documentation together so that the underwriter has everything needed to get you to closing as smoothly as possible.

You typically can get to this step whether you’ve found a house already or are still house hunting. If you’ve prepared in advance, you can breeze through the application process as soon as you find the house of your dreams.

Plus, getting pre-approved can help strengthen your offer, especially if you live in a competitive real estate market.

Step 5: Schedule Your Closing Date

Once you get through the approval process, you’ll schedule a closing date through loanDepot. It’s usually an easy process that can happen on your own schedule. Just like any mortgage, this part does need to be done in person.

loanDepot will schedule your appointment and make sure your closing documents are ready to go, along with a public notary to make everything official.

Step 6: Provide Documentation

The final step of your loanDepot mortgage is to provide all the necessary documentation. Your officer will give you the specifics of exactly what you’ll need, but here are the basics of what to expect:

  • Recent bank statements
  • Pay stubs
  • Employment history
  • Verification of funds

Special Features

Once you buy your house and have been there long enough where a refinance makes sense for you, loanDepot offers a Lifetime Guarantee. After you refinance with them one time, you then get certain fees waived for any additional refinance you get further down the road.

These include lender fees as well as reimbursement for your appraisal fees. That last one alone can cost you several hundred dollars.

If you care about longevity and great customer service, loanDepot certainly offers strong incentives to remain loyal throughout your homeownership journey.

Bottom Line

Loan Depot offers a wide array of options, particularly for an online mortgage lender. As long as you qualify for the lower end of the origination fee range, you could very well get interest rates that are on par (or potentially even better) than the competition. And if you like personal service, loanDepot provides a special touch with local loan officers.