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loanDepot Review 2022: The Right Mortgage Lender for You?

loanDepot features an array of mortgages through an online platform that can significantly decrease closing time. It also has 200 in-person branches throughout the nation.

NMLS#174457
9.0 / 10
Editorial Score
Andrea Miller
Senior finance writer and editor
April 26, 2022

Overview

loanDepot specializes in online and traditional mortgages in all 50 states. It offers a wide range of mortgage loan options, including fixed-rate and adjustable loans, conventional and jumbo loans, government-backed mortgages, renovation loans, and refinance loans.

Many customers report fast approval through the loanDepot Mello Smartloan platform. You can upload and get verification for all loan documents through this proprietary system, which the lender says cuts closing time by 50% for many customers. If you prefer to apply and receive assistance in person, you can visit one of about 200 branches across the U.S.

Benefits of working with loanDepot include down payments as low as 3.5% with an FHA loan or 0% with a VA loan, although you cannot get a zero-down USDA loan. On the downside, you must enter your information and submit to a hard credit check to receive rates, which can lower your score. Many lenders let you compare rates and obtain preapproval without taking this step.

OUR CHOICE 2022
9.0 / 10
Editorial Score
loanDepot
Quick view:
Editorial Score
9.0 / 10
Online Services
Applications, Quote management, etc.
10 / 10
Customer Service
8.0 / 10
Available in all states
10 / 10
Available loan types
10 / 10
Products
10 / 10

See Mortgage Loan Options on loanDepot

Products & Services

loanDepot has a diverse selection of mortgage and refinance loans, including both standard and government-backed mortgage programs. However, this lender does not offer USDA loans, which allow zero-down-payment purchases of homes in rural areas.

Conventional Mortgage

loanDepot offers fixed-rate conventional mortgages with 10, 15, 20, or 30-year loan terms. Conventional home loans require a 5% down payment and cannot exceed a maximum amount established each year (called the conforming amount). You must also have a credit score of at least 680 to qualify compared to as low as 500 with a government-based FHA loan.

Jumbo Mortgage

loanDepot also offers jumbo home loans, which exceed the limit for conforming conventional mortgages. You can get a jumbo mortgage through this lender for up to $3 million with either a fixed or adjustable interest rate. Most jumbo mortgage programs have stricter approval requirements than conventional mortgages, with a required credit score of at least 700.

VA Mortgage

These government-backed loans offer affordable interest rates and closing costs with no down payment or private mortgage insurance required. To obtain a Veterans Administration mortgage, you must be a current member of the U.S. military or a veteran and submit a certified statement of service.

You must also meet the financial requirements set by loanDepot. While the lender does not advertise these terms online, you can learn more from a conversation with a customer service agent.

You can use a VA mortgage to purchase a home that will be your primary residence, including single-family homes, condos, and manufactured homes. VA loans are also available for new home construction or home renovation.

See Mortgage Loan Options on loanDepot

FHA Purchase and Renovation Loans

Popular among first-time home buyers, FHA mortgages are guaranteed by the Federal Housing Administration. FHA loans have lower credit score and income requirements than conventional loans and require a down payment of at least 3.5%. If you do not put down at least 20% on this type of mortgage, you must pay monthly private mortgage insurance.

FHA loans have terms of either 15 or 30 years. Your interest rate will remain fixed for the life of the loan. You can use this type of mortgage to buy a single-family home, townhome, condo, mobile home, manufactured home, or mobile home.

You can also access an FHA loan to renovate a property with the 203k program. With a minimum 3.5% down payment, you can borrow up to the projected value of the home after renovations if you qualify.

Approved types of renovations include:

  • Complete structural rehabilitation
  • Architectural services and renovations
  • Certain landscaping and site improvements
  • Health and safety hazard mitigation
  • Construction of new rooms and sections of the home

Another option, the streamline 203k loan, allows you to add up to $35,000 to the appraised home value for renovations. Approved renovations through this program include new appliances, HVAC, electricity, plumbing, flooring, roof, doors, and windows as well as cosmetic upgrades. With both types of 203k loans, you must complete renovations within six months of loan closing.

Adjustable Rate Mortgage

loanDepot offers adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) with low introductory interest rates that change after a specified term. For example, the rate on a 3/1 ARM adjusts after the first three years. You can also choose a 5/1, 7/1, or 10/1 ARM from this lender.

An ARM may be the right mortgage option if you plan to live in the home for just a few years or want to enjoy a lower monthly payment. You might also want to choose an ARM if you expect your income or the value of the home to increase significantly over the next few years.

However, keep in mind that you cannot control how the interest rate and your payments will change after the initial APR period. The 1 in 3/1 indicates that your payment will adjust annually after the first three years based on an established metric, often based on the prime rate established by the Federal Open Market Committee.

Refinance Loans

loanDepot has several types of available refinance loans:

  • Cash-out refinance, which allows you to take money from the equity in your home to pay off other debt, renovate your property, or use for other purposes. You can use this type of refinance for a conventional or VA mortgage.
  • Interest rate reduction refinance loan, which helps you achieve lower monthly payments with a lower interest rate. You will also pay less in interest over the life of the loan.
  • Jumbo refinance loans, which allow you to refinance a mortgage of up to $3 million.

If you already have a loanDepot mortgage, the company will not charge fees to refinance the same property in the future under its Lifetime Guarantee program.

See Mortgage Loan Options on loanDepot

Rates and Terms

loanDepot does not publish its rates online. You must complete an application to learn more about available APRs and terms based on your credit profile, income, and other factors.

Application Process and Qualifications

loanDepot offers a completely paperless application process. If you use its proprietary Mello Smartloan platform, you can upload all your application documents online. This tool provides verification of your credentials in about seven minutes according to the lender.

To start the process of obtaining a loanDepot mortgage, click the Apply Now button and select either Purchase or Refinance. Next, you enter your ZIP code, estimated credit score range, and name. Finally, you enter your phone number and click submit.

After completing this short application, you will receive a phone call from a loanDepot agent in your area. He or she will guide you through the next steps, whether you decide to manage the process online or in person at a local loanDepot branch.

Although loanDepot does not publish its borrower requirements, some programs have their own minimum requirements. You must have a minimum credit score of at least 580 for an FHA loan, 620 for a conventional mortgage or VA loan, and 700 for a jumbo loan. The FHA program accepts buyers with credit scores as low as 500 if they have a down payment of at least 10%.

Approval Time

loanDepot claims its loans close in half the industry average time. In fact, the lender reports that the process takes as few as eight days from the initial application for some customers.

Apply for a Mortgage Loan with loanDepot

Customer Service

If you do not already have a mortgage with loanDepot, you can reach customer service at 888-337-6888. The line is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Eastern time and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET.

When I dialed this number, I reached a recorded menu and pressed 1 to signify that I was a new customer. I was immediately connected to a loan officer who answered my questions about applying for a mortgage with loanDepot.

To connect with customer service by email, click on the Contact Us link to fill out the attached form. When I entered my information and clicked Submit, I received a short message stating that an agent would be in touch. The lender does not mention a time frame for a response and I did not yet receive an answer to my questions at publication time.

You can also access a Knowledge Cafe with mortgage and home buying resources. Home loan and refinance calculators allow you to estimate your monthly payment and other aspects of your mortgage.

loanDepot has received industry recognition for outstanding customer service. As an Eliant-Certified lender, it has earned a score of at least 90% on Eliant’s annual client satisfaction surveys for five years running.

Summary

loanDepot gives you the freedom to choose between a mostly online mortgage process or visit a local branch for personalized assistance. This lender also earns points for its array of purchase, construction, and refinance programs, with USDA loans as the only notable omission.

Lack of transparency as far as rates and requirements may be a deal-breaker if you prefer to see your interest and terms right away without submitting your credit score. However, most sources report that loanDepot does have competitive mortgage interest rates. You can also take advantage of low down payments and choose from loan terms from 10 to 30 years.

This lender offers several distinct advantages, including its lifetime guarantee refinance program, good customer service reputation, and robust online resources through the Knowledge Cafe.

See Mortgage Loan Options on loanDepot

FAQ

Is loanDepot a legit company?

loanDepot is a legitimate mortgage lender with accreditation and an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau. The lender reports that its loan officers do not receive payments or incentives for recommending one mortgage product over another.

Is loanDepot a broker or a lender?

loanDepot is a direct lender, not a broker.

Is loanDepot backed by Fannie Mae?

loanDepot has approval to sell and service Fannie Mae mortgages. That means that some but not necessarily all conventional mortgages provided by this lender are guaranteed by Fannie Mae, a mortgage company with federal backing.

Is loanDepot a direct lender?

loanDepot is a direct mortgage lender.

Does loanDepot charge a fee?

loanDepot does not charge application or prepayment fees. However, your account will be subject to a late fee for payments more than 15 days past the deadline.

Is loanDepot secure?

loanDepot has published a privacy pledge that details how it protects confidential customer information. The lender says it does not rent or sell your information and shares it only as needed to service your loan. The loanDepot website has electronic security measures such as firewalls, passwords, and systems to prevent and detect unauthorized access.

Andrea Miller
Written by

Andrea Miller has been a writer and editor for more than two decades. She has previously covered financial topics for Solvable, Kabbage, and Credit.com. Outside of work, she spends most of her time with her husband, daughter, and son and enjoys hiking, yoga, and reading.

Pros:
  • Processing available online, in person, or a combination
  • Wide variety of mortgage and refinance loan options and programs
  • All mortgages carry lifetime guarantee with no-fee future refinance
Cons:
  • Limited information about rates and terms available without credit check
  • No access to rural USDA loans with 0% down payment
  • Application is not completely online and requires phone contact
Bottom Line

If you need a home loan, you will likely find a mortgage solution at loanDepot. A range of loan types, down payment options, and loan terms provides the flexibility to fit a variety of budgets and situations. However, you may be discouraged by the inability to check your rates without a credit check.

If you like the convenience of applying for a home loan online but also want the option of in-person service, you may appreciate loanDepot’s unique hybrid service model. This lender is also a good choice if you prioritize an impressive track record for customer service.