HomeBridge Financial Services Review 2017

Finding the Right Mortgage, Mortgages
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HomeBridge Financial Services Inc. is a nonbank lender that makes and services a variety of home loans.

Christine Villano, a regional operations executive, says that HomeBridge mortgage borrowers include first-time home buyers and customers who are hoping to refinance.

Here’s what HomeBridge has to offer.


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AT A GLANCE

  • Offers fixed- and adjustable-rate mortgages, as well as conventional, jumbo, FHA, VA, USDA, reverse mortgage and renovation loans.
  • Licensed in all 50 states; branch locations in 30 states.
  • Minimum credit score: 550 for government-backed loans.

Compare HomeBridge Financial Services with other lenders.

A growing company

Headquartered in Iselin, New Jersey, HomeBridge has undergone some big changes recently. In 2014, the company changed its name from Real Estate Mortgage Network Inc. in an effort to reflect its mission of simplifying the mortgage process, according to Villano. And in November 2016, HomeBridge acquired Prospect Mortgage, another large mortgage lender.

“Our strength and our growth in the last few years speaks volumes,” Villano says. She adds that HomeBridge’s vision is to be the country’s most recommended home mortgage company, and it’s focusing on customer service to achieve that.

Despite the company’s growth, Villano says, “If you come to HomeBridge, you’re going to get treated as if you were the only customer that’s walking through the door.”

» MORE: Calculate your monthly mortgage payment

HomeBridge mortgage products

HomeBridge’s loans are about a 50/50 mix of conventional and government-backed mortgage products, according to Villano. This includes FHA loans for low-to-moderate-income borrowers and jumbo mortgages for borrowers with higher incomes. With loan amounts as low as $50,000 and as high as $2 million — or more if the loan is sold to another servicer — HomeBridge has something to suit most types of home buyers.

Villano highlights HomeBridge’s renovation loans, which wrap financing for home improvements into the mortgage. She says that the company’s renovation department is “designed to take the fear out of renovation borrowing.” Customers might worry that the loan will involve too much paperwork or be sold to another lender, she says. Once borrowers are approved for renovation loans, HomeBridge’s Renovation Concierge works closely with them and their contractors or builders to obtain documentation and clarify expectations, Villano says.

HomeBridge offers several purchase or refinance loans that can be used for home upgrades and repairs, three of which are through the FHA. FHA 203(k) loans can wrap renovation costs into a mortgage, FHA Energy Efficient Mortgages fund energy efficiency upgrades, and FHA 203(h) loans help homeowners rebuild or purchase a new home after a natural disaster. HomeBridge also offers Fannie Mae’s HomeStyle loan, which allows borrowers to finance renovations and a home at once.

The HomeBridge mortgage process

You can start the mortgage process at HomeBridge’s website, over the phone, or in person if you live near a branch location.

When applying online, you’ll be taken to a separate website called Encompass Loan Center. There, you’ll fill in an application with your personal, financial and loan information. You can also create an online account that allows you to track your application status and communicate with your loan officers.

You can receive and return loan disclosures electronically, via mail or in person.

The company makes loans for single- and multi-family homes, co-ops and condos, as allowed by government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Villano says that the length of time from submitting your application to closing on your loan depends on where you live. “Some markets need speed,” she says. In the Pennsylvania and Maryland markets, for example, the contract-to-close time frame is 30 days or less, Villano says. In New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, it’s 30 to 60 days.

Applying customer feedback

At closing, every HomeBridge customer receives a survey about their experience. “Any survey that yields a negative result, we reach out to the consumer, we reach out to the referral partners, and we talk to them about what took place and how we rectified it so it’s not an issue moving forward,” Villano says.

HomeBridge uses a customer service tracking tool called Net Promoter Score to quantify the survey results, and Villano says that the company’s score is “extremely high.” She adds that HomeBridge monitors this score monthly and trains on it quarterly, learning from the results and implementing changes to their mortgage process.

What HomeBridge does best

  • You can start your mortgage application online.
  • Extensive educational material is available on the HomeBridge website.
  • The company offers a variety of loan types.

Where HomeBridge falls short

  • You can’t track your application status through HomeBridge’s website.
  • The company charges origination fees on some loans.
  • It has limited branch locations.

 

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NerdWallet’s star ratings for mortgage lenders are awarded based on our evaluation of the products and services that lenders offer to consumers who are actively shopping for the best mortgage. The six key areas we evaluated include the loan types and loan products offered, online capabilities, online mortgage rate information, customer service and the number of complaints filed with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as a percentage of loans issued. We also awarded lenders up to one bonus star for a unique program or borrower focus that set them apart from other lenders. To ensure consistency, our ratings are reviewed by multiple people on the NerdWallet Mortgages team.