Carrington Mortgage Review

Carrington offers a wide range of loans with solid options for first-time buyers. However, its customer satisfaction rating is disappointing.

J.D. Power Rating
2/5
Min. Credit
620
Min. Down Payment
3%
SimpleScore
3.2 / 5.0
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SimpleScore Carrington Mortgage Service 3.2
Perks 3
Credit Impact 4
Customer Satisfaction 2
Product Variety 5
Fees 2

Carrington Mortgage Services is a non-bank private lender offering a range of conventional and government-backed mortgages.

Founded in 2007, Carrington Mortgage Services is a non-bank lender offering a variety of conventional, jumbo and government-backed mortgages. It is known for making homeownership more accessible for first-time buyers and those with less-than-perfect credit. But while Carrington home mortgages are a good option if you have low savings, you should be aware of the mixed feedback in Carrington reviews around its customer services. Based in California, the lender has financed $22 billion in home loans since 2011.

In this article

    Carrington Mortgage at a glance

    LenderLoan AmountAPR RangeTermsKey Benefit
    Carrington Mortgage ServicesConventional — up to $510,400

     

    Jumbo — up to $2.5m for primary and secondary homes, $1m for investment properties

    Not available15 or 30 yearsLow 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.

    1. Click on “Buy a Home” from the Home Loan drop-down menu on Carrington’s website.
    2. Identify the home loan you’re interested in, click “Get Started.”
    3. Fill in the estimated purchase price and down payment details.
    4. 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. other lenders

    Carrington vs. Stearns Lending

    Stearns Lending is a non-bank lender offering a range of traditional and government-backed mortgages.

    J.D. Power Rating
    N/A
    Min. Credit
    620
    Min. Down Payment
    3%
    SimpleScore
    3.5 / 5.0
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    SimpleScore Stearns Lending 3.5
    Perks 4
    Credit Impact 4
    Customer Satisfaction N/A
    Product Variety 5
    Fees 1

    Headquartered in Santa Ana, California, Stearns Lending was founded by Glenn Stearns in 1989. Although it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in July 2019, it has since been financially restructured. It currently provides home loans to 49 states and the District of Columbia.

    The great thing about Stearns Lending is that it makes homeownership more accessible for first-time buyers, as some mortgages require only a 3% down payment. What’s more, many Stearns Lending mortgages can be paired with state-run financial assistance programs that help borrowers with down payments. There are lots of purchase and refinancing products to choose from, and its website has plenty of buying and selling tips to up your knowledge.

    • 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.

    Carrington vs. Rocket Mortgage

    Rocket Loans promises a “rocket fast” decision as well as quick access to your loan funds once you’re approved.

    J.D. Power Rating
    5/5
    Min. Credit
    620
    Min. Down Payment
    3%
    SimpleScore
    3.4 / 5.0
    close
    SimpleScore Rocket Mortgage 3.4
    Perks 4
    Credit Impact 4
    Customer Satisfaction 5
    Product Variety 3
    Fees 1

    Rocket Loans is part of the Quicken Loans family, which was established back in 1985. Headquartered in Detroit, Rocket Loans aims to offer a quick and easy online personal loan and mortgage process that is unencumbered by the excess paperwork and minutiae required by traditional lenders.

    • 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.

    Compare top mortgage lenders

    We welcome your feedback on this article and would love to hear about your experience with the mortgage lenders we recommend. Contact us at inquiries@thesimpledollar.com with comments or questions.

    Methodology

    SimpleScore

    We’ve created the SimpleScore to help you objectively compare products and services here at The Simple Dollar.

    Our editorial team:

    • Identifies five factors to compare across each brand
    • Determines the rating criteria for each factor
    • Calculate an average of those five factor scores to get one SimpleScore

    We break down each of these five factors and their rating criteria for our review of the best mortgage companies.

    Why do some brands have different SimpleScores on different pages?

    Some brands like Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and Chase have different SimpleScores because they offer more than one financial solution — like home loans, auto loans, personal loans and more.

    For instance, in our Bank of America Mortgage Review, we give the company a 3.8 out 5 based on our five rating factors for mortgages. In our Bank of America Auto Loans Review, we give the company a 4.4 out of 5 based on our rating factors for auto loans. By tailoring our SimpleScore to each financial solution, we’re able to give you a more accurate view of a brand’s services and how it compares to competitors’ services.

    Perks

    Mortgage lending companies that provide more perks receive a higher score from us.

    Hard/Soft credit checks

    We know that credit checks affect your score –– that’s why we favor companies that offer soft credit checks or hard credit checks when you want to see your pre-approval rates.

    Customer satisfaction

    We use the J.D. Power 2019 Mortgage Origination Satisfaction Study℠ to find out how customers rate their experience with each company. (If a company is not included in J.D. Power’s study, we skip this rating factor and average the remaining factor scores.)

    Product variety

    Mortgage lenders that offer more products for their home loans are given higher scores.

    Fees

    Fees can add up fast. Companies that don’t require as many fees for your home loan receive a higher score with us.

    Kristie Kwok

    Contributing Writer

    Kristie Kwok is a finance content writer with in-depth knowledge of the banking industry from her previous work experience in banks such as UBS, Lloyds Banking Group and Royal Bank of Scotland. She is a qualified accountant with a Bachelor of Commerce degree, specializing in Accounting and Finance.

    Reviewed by

    • Andrea Perez
      Andrea Perez
      Personal Finance Editor

      Andrea Perez is an editor at The Simple Dollar specializing in personal finance. Prior to that she specialized in digital marketing content for online learning websites. She holds a master’s degree in journalism and media studies from the University of South Florida.