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.
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.
Freedom Mortgage at a glance
|Minimum and Maximum Loan Amount||APY Range||Terms||Key Benefit|
|Freedom Mortgage||Not available||Not available||15 and 30 years||Flexible 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 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 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 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 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.
The bottom line
If you are looking for that in-person relationship with your loan officer, Freedom Mortgage may not be the choice for you, as it has limited physical branches. Banking and investment options are also not offered, so if you want a one-stop-shop, this isn’t it.
However, this particular lender has a reputation for being more flexible than others when approving homebuyers with lower credit scores. It aims to help as many people as possible realize their American dream. If you have less-than-perfect credit or have been turned down elsewhere, you may want to give Freedom Mortgage a chance.