Freedom Mortgage Review
Freedom Mortgage Corporation is a mid-sized mortgage lender with mortgage officers in all 50 states.
The company offers a wide range of mortgage products and refinance loan options. Freedom Mortgage services loans for over 1.25 million clients throughout the country.
This New Jersey-based lender opened in 1990. Let’s take a closer look.
Table of Contents:
- About Freedom Mortgage
- Is Freedom Mortgage a Direct Lender?
- Loan Options
- Pros & Cons
What Does Freedom Mortgage Do?
Freedom Mortgage is a mortgage lender, based in Mount Laurel, N.J.
Freedom Mortgage offers home loans and refinancing to its client base throughout the United States, including Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the District of Columbia.
Freedom Mortgage is not a bank or credit union; it’s a lender specializing only in home loans for a wide variety of borrowers. This lender excels with VA loans.
Freedom also services existing loans which is less common for a direct lender.
Freedom Mortgage is an outlier for another reason in today’s world of online lending. While the lender does have an informative website, you cannot apply for a mortgage online.
Instead, you’d need to access your mortgage application via phone call or in-person at one of the lender’s 100 or so offices which are spread around the nation.
Most customers borrow over the phone. There’s no doubt an online lender like Rocket Mortgage offers convenience — but some homebuyers prefer the personalized guidance of a loan officer.
First-time homebuyers, for example, often like having a dedicated loan expert at their disposal. Their loan officer can help them navigate the complicated process.
But if you’re looking for an all-online lender, look elsewhere.
Is Freedom Mortgage a Direct Lender?
Unlike many other major mortgage lenders, Freedom Mortgage is both a direct lender and a loan servicer. So, what does this mean?
- A direct lender is a financial institution that extends your credit so you can buy a home.
- A loan servicer handles the administrative side of the loan — such as collecting payments and managing your escrow account.
There are many loan servicing companies that do not actually lend money; likewise, a lot of direct lenders farm out their loan servicing.
Because Freedom Mortgage services its own loans, you’ll be working with a lender that is in full control of every part of the lending process.
Freedom Mortgage Loan Options
If you choose to work with Freedom Mortgage, you will have access to a wide range of mortgage options. Freedom’s loan options cover most of the basics.
Borrowers can apply for conventional loans with either 15-year or 30-year terms. The company also offers the same features for its refinancing products.
In addition to conventional loans, Freedom Mortgage also provides government-backed loans. You could apply for USDA, VA, or FHA loans for a home purchase or refinance.
Here is some basic information about these loan types:
- Conventional Loans: Borrowing relies on your credit score, debt-to-income ratio, and monthly income to justify the loan. You’d need a minimum credit score of about 620 and at least 3% to pay down. Freedom has 15- and 30-year fixed rates. Adjustable-rate mortgages are available, too.
- FHA Loans: With backing from the Federal Housing Administration, you can get competitive interest rates even if you have less income or a shakier credit history. It’s possible to get a loan with a credit score as low as 600; you’d need a down payment of at least 3.5%. You’d pay mortgage insurance throughout the life of the loan.
- USDA Loans: The U.S. Department of Agriculture insures these loans which means Freedom Mortgage can offer no-down-payment loans. You can qualify only if you live in a rural area — which the USDA defines as having less than 20,000 people — and if your income is below 115% of your region’s median income. You’d need a stronger credit history than an FHA Loan requires.
- VA Loans: Only veterans and active-duty military members can get these loans which have backing from the Department of Veterans Affairs. You could enter homeownership with no down payment and no ongoing mortgage insurance premiums. Freedom Mortgage is an expert in VA loan underwriting. VA loans require an upfront funding fee which can be as high as 3.6% of the loan amount.
- Jumbo Loans: These loans exceed the maximum amount of a conventional loan which is currently $510,400 in most U.S. counties. You’d need a 10% down payment. Jumbo loans help homebuyers finalize high-value real estate purchases.
Most of these loan types have a variety of refinance options, including a cash-out refi in some cases. The FHA, USDA, and VA have streamline refinance options that come with lower closing costs.
Freedom Mortgage does not publish its interest rates online. You’d need to get a quote from a loan officer if you’re rate shopping. However, borrowers with a strong credit report should expect competitive rates.
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Mortgage Qualifications & Fees
To apply for a conventional loan with Freedom Mortgage, you will need a minimum FICO score of at least 620.
The higher your credit score, the better chance you have of being approved for a loan with competitive interest rates.
Freedom Mortgage wants to make homeownership more accessible to American families.
The company aims to provide loans for low to middle-income families throughout the country.
This kind of philosophy lends itself to offering loan products even to lower credit borrowers.
The USDA and FHA mortgage programs exist to extend the stability of homeownership to more borrowers. Freedom writes a lot of these loans.
Freedom Mortgage also tends to have lower loan origination fees than many other major lenders.
Once again, the lender doesn’t publish its origination fees; this information comes from surveys of previous and current Freedom Mortgage borrowers.
Despite this good news for potential homeowners, you should always check with your loan officer about your eligibility before applying for any loan.
If your mortgage application were rejected, it might damage your credit score.
If you’re confused about your eligibility for a Freedom Mortgage loan, you can call a loan representative to discuss your current credit score and other lending details.
Pros and Cons
As with any mortgage lender, you’ll experience pros and cons when working with Freedom Mortgage for your real estate purchase.
Let’s take a look at both:
- A thorough range of mortgage products
- Direct access to loan officers that can provide a personalized experience
- Strong rating with the Better Business Bureau (A+)
- Expert in VA loans
- Somewhat flexible with its underwriting requirements, especially for refinancing
- Committed to making home loans easier to access for low and middle-income families
- Helpful informational content at freedommortgage.com.
- It’s nice to send mortgage payments to the same company that originated the loan
- The company has been responsive to customer needs during the coronavirus pandemic.
- Some negative customer feedback about the company’s loan servicing
- No online application available (loan servicing is available online)
- Average for customer service
- No home equity loans
Is Freedom Mortgage For You?
So, is Freedom Mortgage a good partner for your next home loan or refinance?
While Freedom Mortgage clients do benefit from access to a direct lender that offers a broad range of mortgage products, there are several downsides that make the company an unattractive option.
First, you won’t be applying online. Instead, you’ll be making phone calls or possibly visiting a branch office.
Many borrowers still prefer working with an agent or a lending officer, but the rise of online applications means many of Freedom Mortgage’s competitors can offer more convenience.
Freedom Mortgage isn’t transparent about its loans, rates, or its application process. You’d need to fill out an online form and wait for a phone call from a loan officer to begin the process of applying for a loan.
This means that it’s not easy to compare the firm’s rates against other mortgage companies in your area.
Still, Freedom Mortgage has established itself as a reputable lender, and the company does loan underwriting in all 50 states. If you’re looking for a traditional mortgage lender and you don’t plan to apply for a loan online, give Freedom Mortgage a call.
Preparing Your Credit For a Mortgage Loan
Even with a mortgage lender like Freedom Mortgage — which specializes in helping potential homeowners buy or refinance despite blemishes on their credit — you should still work on your credit score before applying for a home loan.
I’ve written extensively on this blog about rehabilitating your credit, so feel free to stick around and read some other posts.
In a nutshell, you should focus on paying your bills on time — especially your credit card or personal loans.
Also, try to pay down your credit card balances to 30% or less of their credit limits.
If you have any inaccurate information pulling down your score, you should get it removed.
Even an improvement of a dozen or so points on your FICO score could qualify you for a better interest rate. Better interest rates can save you thousands of dollars over the life of your loan.