Editorial Review

SoFi Mortgage Review 2019

Ideal for young professionals and self-employed borrowers looking for a lender that considers nontraditional income.

NerdWalletAugust 26, 2019

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Our Take

4.0

NerdWallet rating 

The Bottom Line: Specializes in jumbo loan borrowers who earn good incomes but have little saved for down payments.

SoFi

at SoFi

National / Regional

Regional

Min. Down Payment

10%

Loan Types and Products

Purchase, Refinance, Jumbo, Fixed, Adjustable

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • 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.

  • Does not require private mortgage insurance for jumbo loans.

Cons
  • Doesn't offer government-backed loans, like FHA or VA.

  • Does not offer home equity loans or HELOCs.

Compare to Other Lenders

SoFi
Rocket Mortgage
Better.com
National / Regional

Regional

National / Regional

National

National / Regional

N/A

Min. Down Payment

10%

Min. Down Payment

3%

Min. Down Payment

3%

Loan Types and Products

Purchase, Refinance, Jumbo, Fixed, Adjustable

Loan Types and Products

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

Loan Types and Products

Purchase, Refinance, Jumbo, Fixed, Adjustable, FHA

Full Review

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.

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.

SoFi requires borrowers to pay for private mortgage insurance, or PMI, on conforming conventional loans with down payments under 20%. But the lender doesn’t require PMI for 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.

More from NerdWallet

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.