SoFi Mortgage Review 2019
Ideal for young professionals and self-employed borrowers looking for a lender that considers nontraditional income.
The Bottom Line: Specializes in jumbo loan borrowers who earn good incomes but have little saved for down payments.
Pros & Cons
- Charges no application or origination fees.
- Provides an entirely digital mortgage application to make the process easier for borrowers.
- Considers nontraditional income, such as restricted stock units, and works with self-employed borrowers.
- Doesn't offer government-backed loans, like FHA or VA.
- Does not offer home equity loans or HELOCs.
In the world of mortgage lenders, SoFi is looking to stand out by opening its lending doors to jumbo borrowers who earn high incomes but have little saved up for down payments.
This approach differs from traditional lenders that are hesitant about entering the jumbo lending arena. With stiff credit scoring criteria and strict debt-to-income ratios, other lenders are more apt to reject applicants than is SoFi, which will look closely at their disposable income as a more comprehensive way of approving them for a home loan.
Breaking the mold with a nontraditional approach
SoFi was among the first lenders to offer an all-digital lending platform, complemented by an unusual underwriting approach that some might characterize as risky.
SoFi offers jumbo and interest-only loans, and while it analyzes FICO scores as part of its application process, it considers factors such as professional history and career prospects, free cash flow (income) and history of responsible bill payments to determine applicants' overall financial health and ultimately their rates and terms.
Like many of its rivals in the online mortgage lending industry, SoFi (short for “Social Finance”) offers an entirely digital mortgage refinance application to make the process easier for borrowers. It also goes the extra mile by providing other benefits that go beyond lending, such as career services and community events, which range from happy hours to informational and networking events.
SoFi's unique criteria allow borrowers to qualify for more financing than traditional lenders offer. The required minimum down payment is 10%, even on jumbo loans.
» MORE: Use our mortgage calculator to find out your monthly mortgage payment.
How it works
In one sitting, SoFi gives you an upfront, underwritten loan approval, showing potential sellers that you’ve been vetted as a trustworthy and highly qualified buyer with the financial ability to purchase a home.
With a fully underwritten and quoted rate upfront, SoFi borrowers have more clout when they write offers. When you choose and get approved for a specific product, you’ll be introduced to and work with a loan officer who will shepherd your application through underwriting, answer your questions, and help guide your loan to the closing table.
Here’s a step-by-step look at SoFi’s platform:
Get Started page — In this initial step, you’ll enter all of your personal information such as your name, address, phone number, birth date and citizenship status to set up your account.
Mortgage Eligibility — Here, you’ll enter details to help SoFi determine your ability to either refinance or take out a new home loan. Information collected includes whether you’re applying for a refinance or new loan, your state and county, whether you have another residence (and whether you plan to keep it), your marital status, and if you have child support or alimony expenses. You’ll also indicate whether you want to add a co-applicant.
Check My Rate — Enter your purchase price, down payment and loan amounts to get an accurate rate quote from SoFi.
Rate Quotes/Preapproval — SoFi will show you a variety of loan products and options that match your needs. Once you select one, you can then move on to continue the preapproval process and loan application online.
Who’s it for?
If you have a solid, high income, a little bit of money saved up and a reliable history of making timely payments, you’re an ideal SoFi customer. You’ll need a minimum down payment of at least 10% of the purchase price for new loans. SoFi's willingness to consider nontraditional income makes it an attractive option for self-employed professionals. That flexibility is also good for employees with restricted stock units, which are commonly granted by technology employers. Not all lenders count restricted stock units as income.
Borrowers looking for government-backed loans will have to go elsewhere; SoFi doesn’t offer those products.
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