Homebridge Financial Services Review 2020

Good for: borrowers who want a loan officer's help, in person or on the phone, when deciding among the wide range of available mortgage options — including loans to buy and renovate.

NerdWalletJuly 17, 2020

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Our Take

3.5

NerdWallet rating 

The bottom line: Homebridge is a top lender of purchase-renovation loans that offers many online conveniences. Mortgage interest rates aren't available on the website.

HomeBridge

HomeBridge: NMLS#6521

Min. Credit Score

620

Conventional:

620

FHA:

550

VA:

550

USDA:

550

Min. Down Payment

3%

Loan Types and Products

Purchase, Refinance, Reverse, Jumbo, Fixed, Adjustable, FHA, VA, USDA

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Offers a full array of mortgage products, including government and renovation loans.

  • Has loans for most purposes, including purchase, refinance and jumbo mortgages.

  • Online portal keeps borrowers up-to-date on the loan application's progress.

Cons

  • Doesn't post interest rates on its site.

  • Doesn’t offer home equity loans or lines of credit.

Compare to Other Lenders

Min. Credit Score

620

Conventional:

620

Min. Credit Score

640

Conventional:

640

FHA:

640

VA:

640

USDA:

640

Min. Down Payment

3%

Min. Down Payment

3%

Loan Types and Products

Purchase, Refinance, Jumbo, Fixed, Adjustable

Loan Types and Products

Purchase, Refinance, Home Equity, Jumbo, Fixed, Adjustable, FHA, VA, USDA

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Full Review

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, getting a mortgage may be a bit of a challenge. Lenders are dealing with high loan demand and staffing issues that may slow down the process. Also, some lenders have increased their fees or temporarily suspended certain loan products. If you can’t pay your current home loan, refer to our mortgage assistance resource. For the latest information on how to cope with financial stress during this pandemic, see NerdWallet’s financial guide to COVID-19.

Homebridge at a glance

Homebridge Financial Services Inc. is a nonbank lender that makes and services a variety of home loans for everyone from first-time home buyers to refinancers.

Homebridge has branches in almost 30 states, and the lender encourages a conversation with a loan officer before completing an application. Homebridge has a wide variety of mortgage products and types, but its website doesn't post interest rates.

Here's a breakdown of Homebridge's overall score:

  • Variety of loan types: 4 of 5 stars

  • Variety of loan products: 5 of 5 stars

  • Online convenience: 5 of 5 stars

  • Rates and fees: 3 of 5 stars

  • Rate transparency: 1 of 5 stars

Homebridge loan types and products

Homebridge's loans are about a 50/50 mix of conventional and government-backed mortgage products, according to Christine Villano, vice president of retail fulfillment and business solutions manager. 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 FHA loans. 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 company makes loans for single- and multi-family homes, co-ops and condos, as allowed by government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Homebridge online convenience

You can start the mortgage process at Homebridge’s website, over the phone, or in person if you live near a branch location. When you begin online, you answer a few questions, enter your contact information and a Homebridge representative reaches out to you later.

After providing contact information, you're asked to create an account to enter some financial information, a spokeswoman says. When that is sent, you are invited to continue the process on Homebridge's consumer portal. Homebridge says you can complete a full mortgage application, upload documents and track the loan application's progress online. Additionally, Homebridge says, you can receive and return loan disclosures electronically, via mail or in person.

Homebridge mortgage rates and fees

One of the most important considerations when choosing a mortgage lender is understanding what the loan will cost. In order to provide consumers with a general sense of what a lender might charge, NerdWallet scores lenders on two factors regarding fees and mortgage rates:

  • A lender's average origination fee compared to the median of all lenders reporting under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act. Homebridge earns 3 of 5 stars on this factor.

  • A lender's offered mortgage rates compared to the best available on comparable loans. Homebridge earns 3 stars on this factor.

Borrowers should consider the balance between lender fees and mortgage rates. While it's not always the case, paying upfront fees can lower your mortgage interest rate. Some lenders will charge higher upfront fees to lower their advertised interest rate and make it more attractive. Some lenders just charge higher upfront fees.

You can decide to buy discount points — a fee paid with your closing costs — to reduce your mortgage rate.

Deciding whether to pay higher upfront fees is a matter of considering how long you plan to live in your home and how much cash you have to apply toward closing costs when you sign the loan paperwork.

Homebridge rate transparency

Homebridge doesn't make mortgage rates available on its website, which may be inconvenient for buyers and refinancers in the early stage of mortgage shopping.

"Homebridge doesn't post rates because it believes that does a disservice to the borrower and leads to disappointment," Homebridge campaign strategist Elizabeth Murphy said in an email. "Mortgages are not one-size-fits-all products and Homebridge believes mortgages should be as unique as the customer in need of home financing. What a borrower qualifies for is subject to their individual financial situation, and the lowest rate may not actually be in the best interest of the customer."

More from NerdWallet

NerdWallet’s star ratings for mortgage lenders are awarded based on our evaluation of the products and services each lender offers to consumers who are actively shopping for the best mortgage. The five key areas we evaluated include the variety of loan types and products offered, online conveniences, online mortgage rate information, and the rate spread and origination fee lenders reported in the latest available Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data. To ensure consistency, our ratings are reviewed by multiple people on the NerdWallet Mortgages team.