LoanDepot Mortgage Review

LoanDepot offers borrowers a wide range of financial products, but the lack of transparency around its interest rates and fees is major a drawback. However, for consumers looking for efficiency above all, this lender can still provide serious convenience and help demystify the mortgage process.

J.D. Power Rating
3/5
Min. Credit
600
Min. Down Payment
3.50%
SimpleScore
4 / 5.0
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SimpleScore Loan Depot 4
Perks 3
Credit Impact 5
Customer Satisfaction 3
Product Variety 5
Fees 4

LoanDepot is ideal for borrowers looking to get approved for a mortgage online or mostly online with support from a loan officer.

Headquartered in Foothill Ranch, California, loanDepot is an in-person and online lending institution with over 150 branches nationwide. LoanDepot offers an impressive range of financial products like adjustable-rate mortgages, conventional mortgages, VA and FHA loans, refinancing options and even personal loans. This lender is best known for its mello smartloan product, which gives borrowers a completely online mortgage process and reduces closing time by 17 days. A loanDepot home mortgage is a convenient option for borrowers who have strong credit, but the absence of published fees and rates until you’re well into the process could be a drawback for some.

LoanDepot Mortgage at a glance

LenderLoan AmountsAPR RangeTermsKey Benefit
loanDepotUndisclosedUndisclosedFixed: 30, 20, 15, 10-year terms

ARMs: 10, 7, 5, 2-year terms
Fully online mortgage process

What we like about it

LoanDepot offers tons of positive features like it’s no steering policy, designed to make sure borrowers receive the right financing option for them. If you prefer in-person service, you can visit one of the brick-and-mortar locations. But you can also opt for an online or over-the-phone service. In fact, loanDepot’s end-to-end online financial product, the mello smartloan, delivers a fully virtual mortgage experience, including all documentation verification.

This lender offers a lifetime guarantee on loan refinance fees, meaning borrowers who decide to refinance their existing loanDepot loan will get their appraisal fees reimbursed and won’t need to pay lender fees.

Things to consider

The lack of transparency around loanDepot mortgage rates is potentially a cause for concern for prospective homebuyers who want an overview of rates before getting too involved with a lender and speaking with a live rep. The only way you can get a loanDepot mortgage rate estimate is after you enter personal information on the website.

Although VA and FHA loans are available, USDA loans are not offered, another popular government-backed loan. In addition, loanDepot doesn’t offer home equity lines of credit since it’s a non-bank lender.

What you need to know

As previously mentioned, APR ranges for mortgages aren’t published on loanDepot’s site, and neither are loan ranges. To get a rate estimate, you’ll have to give loanDepot some of your personal information and fill out its web form. However, term lengths are available in the following ranges:

  • Fixed-rate mortgage term lengths: 30-year, 20-year, 15-year and 10-year terms.
  • Adjustable-rate mortgage term lengths: 10-year, 7-year, 5-year and 2-year terms.

Unless you have a loanDepot branch near you, you’ll need to start the mortgage process with a phone call. On the Mortgage Preapproval page, you’ll answer basic questions like if you’re looking to purchase or refinance a loan. Then, you’ll input the loan amount and the home’s estimated value, along with the property’s location. At this point, a loan officer will give you a call and give you a personalized interest rate estimate.

You can also opt to use the mello smartloan service for a more virtual process.

  1. Head to the mello smartloan page.
  2. Fill out the basic personal information pages.
  3. Digitally connect your income, employment information and assets for data verification.
  4. Proprietary loan engines will deliver a series of loan options that prioritize time-saving and/or cost-saving factors.
  5. A state-licensed loan assistant can then help you make the best decision based on your personal financial circumstances with no obligation to commit.

As for customer support and customer satisfaction, loanDepot reviews are overall positive, and contacting LoanDepot is a fairly easy process.

[Read: 15-Year or 30-Year Fixed Mortgage: Which Is Right for You?]

Collateral and criteria

Just like its mortgage rates, loanDepot does not publish its eligibility requirements on its website. That said, both VA and FHA mortgages typically have less strict credit and down payment requirements compared to traditional mortgages.

Minimum credit scores required vary based on the loan.

  • Conventional: 620
  • FHA: 580
  • VA: 620

To qualify for a home loan with loanDepot, you’ll need to submit documents verifying your income and employment like pay stubs, verifiable employment history, bank account information, investment statements, evidence of funds for your down payment and tax forms. LoanDepot provides a handy documentation checklist on its Home Purchase page.

LoanDepot vs. other lenders

LoanDepot 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
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SimpleScore Rocket Mortgage 3.4
Perks 4
Credit Impact 4
Customer Satisfaction 5
Product Variety 3
Fees 1

If you’re interested in online mortgage lenders, you’ll likely come across Rocket Mortgage by Quicken Loans. At Rocket Mortgage, you can choose from purchase loans, refinancing, jumbo loans, fixed-rate mortgages, adjustable-rate mortgages, FHA loans, VA loans and USDA loans.

  • One major difference between the two lenders is that Rocket Mortgage is more transparent about its fees. Its loan origination fee is around 0.50% of the total loan amount, and its lender fees aren’t usually more than 1% of the total loan amount. If you’re a borrower who wants a better idea of the fees you’ll be charged upfront, Quicken might offer a less murky look.

LoanDepot vs. SoFi

Great online lender

J.D. Power Rating
N/A
Min. Credit
660
Min. Down Payment
10%
SimpleScore
3.5 / 5.0
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SimpleScore SoFi 3.5
Perks 2
Credit Impact 5
Customer Satisfaction N/A
Product Variety 3
Fees 4

SoFi is a digital lender founded in 2011. While the company is probably better known for its student loans and student loan refinancing options, they also offer several other types of loans, including personal loans and mortgages. SoFi offers some of the lowest starting rates in the business — a feat they claim is possible due to their lack of overhead and selective application process.

  • Another great online mortgage lending option is SoFi. SoFi members can receive a one-time $500 discount on their loan processing fee, which is a nice membership perk. Although you can do the entire mortgage process without talking to anyone, SoFi’s mortgage loan officers can help at any time to guide you through the application.
  • SoFi offers fixed-rate mortgages, adjustable-rate mortgages, refinancing and jumbo loans. However, a major drawback is that it doesn’t offer any government-backed loans like FHA or VA loans. If you can afford at least a 10% down payment and have great credit, SoFi can be a viable option. But for borrowers looking for government-backed loans, it’s better to go with loanDepot.

Compare top mortgage lenders

We welcome your feedback on this article and would love to hear about your experience with the mortgages 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.

Michelle Wilson

Contributing Writer

Michelle Wilson is a San Diego-based writer specializing in the topics of personal finance, technology and culture. You can find her writing on sites such as HP Tech Takes and San Diego Magazine. In her spare time, she enjoys finding new cats to follow on Instagram.

Reviewed by

  • Courtney Mihocik
    Courtney Mihocik
    Editor

    Courtney Mihocik is an editor at The Simple Dollar who specializes in insurance, personal finance, and loans. Previously, she wrote and edited for Interest.com, PersonalLoans.org, Ballantyne Magazine, Thread Magazine, The Post, ACRN, The New Political, Columbus Alive and the Institute for International Journalism.