loanDepot Lender Review | 2021


Teri Oppenheimer
Military VA Loan contributor

The Bottom Line

4/5 stars

4 stars

loanDepot has rapidly grown to become one of the nation’s largest mortgage lenders, with more than $248 billion in new loan originations since the organization’s founding in 2010. The company is committed to being a customer’s “Lender for Life,” with a lifetime guarantee to waive all lender fees and to reimburse customers for appraisal fees whenever they refinance with loanDepot. For home buyers and existing homeowners seeking a fast and hassle-free mortgage process, loanDepot offers a variety of loan programs backed by a team of 9,000 dedicated lending professionals and a nationwide network of branch offices.

Ready to buy your dream home? Start here.

Pros and Cons of loanDepot

loanDepot has completely revolutionized the mortgage lending process with a proprietary technology platform featuring mello™ smartloan, the industry’s first end-to-end fully digital mortgage. The company leverages this technology to automate many aspects of the underwriting process while also expediting the review of a borrower’s credit history. This means loanDepot approves and closes loans faster than most industry rivals.

loanDepot is licensed in all 50 states and has 200 loan offices throughout the country. Their lending platform is designed to create a simplified, streamlined experience with a minimum amount of paperwork for their customers. The company offers a variety of conventional fixed rate and adjustable rate loans along with FHA, VA, Jumbo and Rehab mortgages.

Pros of loanDepot

  • Customer-centric organization with a lifetime guarantee to waive future refinance fees and appraisal costs
  • Home loan experts available to match customers’ financial circumstances and goals with the best mortgage program to meet their needs – online, by phone and through a large network of loan offices
  • FHA, VA, Conventional, Rehab (including FHA 203k) and Jumbo loans are available for home purchase and refinancing at competitive interest rates
  • First-time home buyers programs
  • smartloan digital technology eliminates the need to provide many paper documents through automated verification systems and efficient ordering of appraisals and title insurance
  • Homebuyer resources including Mortgage FAQ’s and online mortgage calculators to calculate monthly payments, compare mortgage products and estimate refinance savings
  • Pre-approval letters provide home buyers with locked-in terms and interest rates during the home shopping process
  • Refinance loans are available to reduce a homeowner’s current interest rate, to facilitate taking cash out of existing equity, to convert from an adjustable to fixed rate, or to shorten the term of a loan

Cons of loanDepot

  • loanDepot does not publicly post interest rates and interested consumers must contact a loan officer or provide personal information online to obtain current offerings
  • loanDepot does not offer home equity lines of credit

How to Get a Mortgage With loanDepot

loanDepot’s loan application process is very efficient and is designed for speed and simplicity. By eliminating much of the traditional documentation required during the mortgage underwriting process, loanDepot’s platform allows customers to quickly complete an application — either online or with the assistance of a loan officer. Once a borrower grants permission for loanDepot to process their application, smartloan technology kicks in to automate many steps that normally require paper documentation.

After a borrower is approved for a mortgage with loanDepot, a loan closing and settlement can be scheduled at the customer’s convenience. Home loan documents will be prepared and will generally be executed at the escrow or title office of the customer’s choice. Once signed loan documents are returned to loanDepot, a loan will typically be funded within 2-to-3 days.

Whether borrowing for the purchase of a home or refinancing an existing mortgage loan, loanDepot’s tools for borrowers are designed to assist loan applicants from the point of application through closing. In addition to a Home Purchase Guide and Refinance Guide, customers have access to dedicated mortgage professionals to help them, address questions and provide support.

Speak with a VA mortgage specialist today.

Buying a House With loanDepot

When buying a primary residence, second home or investment property, loanDepot offers a wide variety of mortgage programs to meet the needs of many home buyers. The company is committed to “be the lender of choice for consumers and the employer of choice by being a company that operates on sound principles of exceptional value, ethics and transparency.”

With a step-by-step process to assist mortgage applicants, loanDepot’s licensed lending officers help customers assess their qualifications to purchase a home by explaining credit, income and down payment requirements for all programs.

loanDepot also offers pre-approval letters designed to provide home buyers with an advantage in a competitive real estate market. These letters reflect the borrower’s approval for a mortgage loan and lock in their interest rate for the home buying process. Homebuyers will have the confidence of knowing their purchasing power and home sellers will know they are dealing with a qualified, approved, well-prepared buyer. Once pre-approved for a mortgage, loanDepot customers can work with a real estate agent to find the right home with the certainty their loan terms have already been guaranteed.

loanDepot’s home buying mortgage products include:

  • VA loans – Designed for U.S. Veterans and offering many benefits including no requirement for a down payment. loanDepot does not offer VA construction loans or VA loans for manufactured homes.
  • FHA loans – Very popular with first time, lower-income, and/or lower-credit home buyers.
  • Conventional loans – A good option for buyers with good credit scores and low levels of personal debt.
  • Jumbo loans – for buyers seeking to borrow more than the amount permitted for conventional loans (greater than $548,250 in most areas).

Refinancing a House With loanDepot

With interest rates at historic low levels, millions of existing homeowners are refinancing their loans to lower their monthly payments, shorten the term of their mortgage, switch from an adjustable to fixed rate, and/or take cash out of the equity in their home. loanDepot offers refinancing programs to help borrowers achieve their objectives in a fast, efficient manner. Lending officers are available to provide customers with assistance in selecting the best loan option – by phone, in person and online.

loanDepot’s refinance mortgage options include FHA, VA and Conventional mortgage loans with a wide range of terms (fixed rate, adjustable rate, 30-years, 15-years, etc.).

For VA homeowners, loanDepot also offers 100% VA cash-out loans, meaning they can offer you a loan up to 100% of your home’s value. This is an advantage over some lenders which cap their VA cash-out program at 90%.

This lender also offers VA Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loans (IRRRL) — loans meant to drop your rate and payment and don’t offer cash-out — with no income/no asset and no appraisal options.

loanDepot will help their customers with all aspects of the refinancing process and will leverage their proprietary digital technology platform to close loans faster than the average industry timelines. Once a refinance loan application is approved, an Account Manager will contact borrowers to go over the next steps, which can include the opening of escrow and ordering of a preliminary title report. Borrowers can then determine where and when they would like to close their loan.

Ready to buy a home? Start here.

Special Perks for Veterans With loanDepot

loanDepot is approved by the Department of Veteran Affairs as a direct VA lender and is authorized to offer special home loan programs for active military and veterans. Specially trained VA loan consultants are on staff to provide high levels of customer service to mortgage loan applicants, and loanDepot systems are designed to support veterans throughout the entire mortgage process.

loanDepot’s representatives will explain eligibility requirements for a VA Loan Certificate, determine how VA’s residual income requirements will apply to a borrower’s underwriting criteria and share special VA program information designed for borrowers who have a disability as a result of their time in the service of our country.

VA loan benefits include no down payment requirement, competitive interest rates, and more flexible underwriting requirements. You can also incorporate the VA funding fee (which helps the VA offer all the benefits of the VA loan program) into the loan amount in order to avoid having to pay it upfront in cash.

VA borrowers may be eligible for credit help, discounts, down payment assistance and access to multiple financial products.

Community Involvement

As a nationwide industry leader, loanDepot is committed to creating a positive impact in the communities it serves. In 2020 the company announced the donation of $1 million to “support individuals, families and children directly impacted by the COVID-19 virus, as well as first responders, healthcare workers and support personnel.” The company is also a supporter of the Freedom Alliance, an organization dedicated to the American heritage of freedom by honoring and encouraging military service. This year loanDepot contributed to support the organization’s ongoing therapeutic service programs for veterans.

Over the course of its 10-year history, loanDepot has donated millions of dollars and volunteer hours to charities nationwide.

Should you use loanDepot?

As one of the nation’s largest mortgage lenders, loanDepot offers a fast, efficient mortgage lending process that’s been designed to save time and money for their customers. By offering a large variety of mortgage programs at competitive rates, the company should be considered a good option for borrowers seeking a loan to buy a home or refinance an existing mortgage.

Ready to buy your dream home? Start here.