Carrington Mortgage Services is a non-bank private lender offering a range of conventional and government-backed mortgages.
Our Two Cents — Carrington offers a wide range of loans with solid options for first-time buyers. However, its customer satisfaction rating is disappointing.
Carrington Mortgage at a glance
|Lender||Loan Amount||APR Range||Terms||Key Benefit|
|Carrington Mortgage Services||Conventional — up to $510,400
Jumbo — up to $2.5m for primary and secondary homes, $1m for investment properties
|Not available||15 or 30 years||Low down payment loans available|
Rates accurate as of July 2020.
What we like about Carrington Mortgage
Carrington is a realistic option for those who wouldn’t qualify for a mortgage with bigger lenders either because of low savings or weak credit. That’s because your down payment can be as low as 3% for Home Possible Advantage loans and 3.5% for FHA loans. What’s more, Carrington accepts credit scores as low as 500 for FHA and VA loans and 550 for USDA loans, giving those without strong credit a chance to own a home. It has a wide range of loan and refinancing programs and has good reach nationally, serving borrowers from all over the country except Massachusetts and North Dakota.
Things to consider
Despite being more lenient with its lending and offering low down payment requirements, customer satisfaction is low compared with other lenders due to negative feedback around its customer service.
Without key information on the lender’s website, such as Carrington mortgage rates and closing cost details, it’s difficult for potential borrowers to compare products across lenders when they’re doing initial research to find the best mortgage rates and offers. You can’t apply for pre-approval online either, meaning you’re forced to call Carrington if you want up-to-date information or make an application.
The servicing fees can be steep too — $5 for web payment, $10 for telephone and $20 in-person. However, you can avoid these by using AutoPay.
What you need to know
You can borrow up to the conforming loan limit of $510,400 and for jumbo loans, up to $2.5 million for primary and secondary residence and $1 million for an investment property. Term lengths include 15- and 30-year fixed-rate, as well as 5/1, 7/1 and 10/1 adjustable-rate terms.
Down payment can be as low as 5% for conventional loans under the Home Possible scheme or 3% under Home Possible Advantage. However, the property purchased must be the borrower’s primary residence.
While the current APR range isn’t available on the lender’s website, Carrington is generally known to offer mortgage rates on par with the industry average.
Here’s what you’ll need to do if you’re interested in getting a home loan with Carrington.
- Click on “Buy a Home” from the Home Loan drop-down menu on Carrington’s website.
- Identify the home loan you’re interested in, click “Get Started.”
- Fill in the estimated purchase price and down payment details.
- Enter your contact information, including name, phone number and email address. Then click “Finish.” Wait for a loan officer to contact you.
The loan officer can help you pre-qualify for a mortgage. This means getting an estimate of how much you can borrow at today’s rates. You’ll need to provide details of your income, asset and liabilities.
When you’re ready to apply for a mortgage, you’ll need the following list of documents:
- Identification such as your driver’s license, state ID or US passport.
- Two months of bank statements.
- Two years of W2s and current pay stub.
- Tax returns for the last two years.
- Profit and loss statements for self-employed applicants.
- List of your assets such as savings, shares, mutual funds, real estate, car and retirement accounts.
- List of your current debts.
- Completed loan application form.
Collateral and criteria
Lenient lending criteria is how Carrington differentiates itself from other providers. Carrington accepts credit scores as low as 500 for FHA and VA loans, and 550 for USDA loans. Conventional loans require a minimum of 620.
Some loans come with restrictions. For example, conventional loans under the Home Possible program require at least 5% down payment and can only be used for one- to four-unit residential condos, manufactured homes or planned-unit developments. If you want a single-unit property, consider a Home Possible Advantage loan.
Carrington vs. Stearns Lending
Carrington and Stearns Lending are similar in many ways. Both target first-time borrowers with low down payment options and neither offer key information like mortgage rates and closing costs on their respective websites. Their application process is comparable, as both involve waiting to be contacted by a loan officer.
That said, Stearns Lending requires better credit — a minimum of 580 for FHA loans compared to Carrington’s 500.
Carrington also edges out Stearns in terms of financial stability, given Stearns filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in July last year.
Carrington vs. Rocket Mortgage
If doing things digitally in your own time is important to you, alongside a low down payment, then Rocket Mortgage is worth considering. Rocket Mortgage offers a fully digital mortgage experience while also providing a whole suite of loan types, including conventional, government-backed, jumbo and refinancing loans. Like Carrington, down payment also starts at 3%.
Again, where Carrington leads is credit requirement, as you’ll need to have a minimum credit score of 580 for an FHA loan with Rocket Mortgage.
Too long, didn’t read?
While Carrington ratings for customer service is disappointing, the lender undoubtedly offers first-time buyers, low-income earners and those with less-than-perfect credit a realistic chance of homeownership. It has a great range of loan and refinancing programs, and many have low down payment options too. However, with an application process that isn’t digitized, you’ll have to go through the mortgage journey at Carrington’s pace rather than your own.
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