Freedom Mortgage Review

Freedom is a great lender for those in search of government-backed loans with flexible qualification requirements. It may also be a good fit for those looking for conventional and jumbo mortgage options.

J.D. Power Rating
3/5
Min. Credit
620
Min. Down Payment
3%
SimpleScore
3.8 / 5.0
close
SimpleScore JG Wentworth (Freedom Mortgage) 3.8
Perks 4
Credit Impact 3
Customer Satisfaction 3
Product Variety 5
Fees N/A

Freedom Mortgage is one of the leading lenders for VA loans in the U.S., but it also offers a variety of loan products for everyone from first time homebuyers to those in search of jumbo loans. Headquartered in Mount Laurel, New Jersey, Freedom Mortgage has been serving the United States mortgage community for 30 years. Following its recent acquisition of J.G. Wentworth Home Lending, Freedom Mortgage now employs over 5,400 employees who work together to service over $6 billion in mortgage loans.

In this article

    Freedom Mortgage at a glance

    LenderMinimum and Maximum Loan AmountAPY RangeTermsKey Benefit
    Freedom MortgageNot availableNot available15 and 30 yearsFlexible government-backed mortgage programs

    What we like about it

    Freedom Mortgage has an “A” rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and is licensed in all 50 states, the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. This lender has a strong lineup of loan offerings that can fit many borrowers in any number of situations. It is an especially attractive choice for first time homebuyers because it strives to make homeownership a real possibility for more Americans, even those with low to moderate income or lower credit scores.

    Beyond that, the company offers some unique service perks. After your loan closes, Freedom Mortgage activates what it calls the “Eagle Eye Pledge.” As part of this program, a loan servicer will contact you if rates drop, creating the opportunity to save you money on your monthly mortgage payment. It will also track the value of your home and if the value rises, you may be eligible to take out additional equity.

    Things to consider

    While there are many different calculators to help figure out how much house you can afford and what terms are best, Freedom Mortgage does not disclose current APR rates for its various loan products. It also does not offer an online application, but if you fill out your basic information, a representative will call you back to complete the process.

    Although the company is licensed to hold mortgages for any state, there are only 100 physical branches. You may have to travel a good distance if you want to meet and speak with someone in person.

    Additionally, one civil suit has been reported against Freedom Mortgage for the intentional misreporting of race, ethnicity and sex between 2014 and 2017. It was ordered to pay $1.75 million in civil penalties and vastly improve its compliance management to eliminate future violations. There have been other more recent legal class action lawsuits proposed against Freedom Mortgage for fee-related issues, including “pay-to-pay” fees on mortgage payments that allegedly violate state and federal law.

    What you need to know

    Freedom Mortgage is a leading VA lender in the nation and also specializes in FHA, USDA and conventional mortgages. As with most lenders, loan limits and APR will vary based on several factors, with credit score and debt-to-income (DTI) ratio appearing at the top of the list. Its terms are pretty standard throughout the industry with options for 15 and 30 years.

    Before buyers begin their search for homes, Freedom Mortgage encourages them to pull their own credit score and contact a loan officer to get preapproved. One of the resources its web page offers is an application checklist that goes over all the documents you will need to complete the application. There is also a first time homebuyer checklist available, which goes over everything from where to start and what you want in a house to all the documents you’ll need along the way.

    Fees and penalties

    The lender’s website does not offer a lot of hard numbers, and it is no different when it comes to their fees and penalties. In its closing cost explanations, Freedom Mortgage says it may have the following fees associated with its loans:

    • Origination fee
    • Application fee
    • Underwriting fee
    • Rate lock fee
    • Ongoing fees
    • Third-party fees

    Collateral and criteria

    The collateral and criteria vary based on the loan product you are considering.

    VA loans

    VA loans are especially attractive to those who qualify — mainly servicemembers, veterans and their families — because they require zero down and have no minimum credit score requirement, but you have to meet the Department of Veterans Affairs requirements to take advantage of this type of loan. If you qualify, the company offers competitive, low-interest VA rates and fast refinancing options.

    FHA loans

    FHA loans can require as low as 3.5% down for borrowers with credit scores as low as 580, but these government-backed loans have other requirements and generally require the homeowner to purchase extra insurance to protect in cases of default.

    USDA loans

    USDA loans are offered to those who live in rural areas who are purchasing a home to be their primary residence. The program “assists approved lenders in providing low- and moderate-income households the opportunity to own adequate, modest, decent, safe and sanitary dwellings as their primary residence in eligible rural areas. Eligible applicants may build, rehabilitate, improve or relocate a dwelling in an eligible rural area. The program provides a 90% loan note guarantee to approved lenders in order to reduce the risk of extending 100% loans to eligible rural homebuyers,” according to the US Department of Agriculture.

    USDA loans are also easier to get approved for than conventional loans and they don’t require a down payment. Interest rates are usually fixed.

    Conventional loans

    Conventional loans are not backed or insured by any government agency and are issued by a private lender. Your FICO score usually must be 620 or higher, and your total debt-to-income ratio cannot exceed 45%. There is also a maximum amount you can borrow based on your specific location. Loan terms can be 15 or 30 years and both fixed or adjustable interest rates are available. If you want to borrow more than your county’s limit, you can apply for a jumbo loan.

    Just like the conventional loan, jumbo loans want no more than 45% DTI. Unlike conventional loans, lenders will typically want to see a credit score of 700 or 720 minimum. Both typically require a large down payment and a cash reserve.

    Compare top mortgage lenders

    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.