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Since its launch in 2011, Garden State Home Loans has funded more than $ 4 billion in mortgages for its 20,000 borrowers. The lender is based in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, and is currently licensed in eight states in the United States.
Garden State Home Loans specializes in customer service. You can chat with a loan officer seven days a week via the website, email, or phone, or you can visit the Cherry Hill office if you are nearby. The lender also says it closes most of its home loans within 30 days. However, there are two major drawbacks with this lender: Mortgages are only available in eight states, and you will need to go through a credit check to get a quote. Here is what you need to know about this lender before applying.
Pros and Cons of Garden State Home Loans
Mortgages available in Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Maryland, Michigan, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania
Most home loans close within 30 days
Customer service available seven days a week by phone, live chat or email
Not available in Washington, DC and 42 states
Does not list mortgage rates or fees online
There is only one in-person office available (at Cherry Hill)
Garden State Home Loan Review: Mortgage Types and Products
Garden State Home Loans offers a menu of conventional loans, government sponsored loans, and home improvement loans. But borrowers won’t find some specialty products, such as construction loans, home equity products, and reverse mortgages.
Borrowers can choose between fixed rate loans, the rate of which never changes, and adjustable rate mortgages, or ARMs. With a Garden State ARM, the rate is fixed for the first five, seven, or 10 years. Then, for the remaining term of the loan, the rate may increase or decrease every six months or once a year depending on market conditions.
Garden State Home Loans also offers jumbo mortgages, which are home loans that exceed the compliant loan limit of $ 548,250. Garden State finances jumbo loans of up to $ 2 million, which is lower than some of its competitors.
Garden State Home Loan Review: Transparency
When you visit the Garden State Home Loans website, you can fill out an online form to request a quote or chat with someone if you need help. The website also includes mortgage calculators, blog posts on topics related to buying homes, and answers to important mortgage questions.
The website does not set out the lender’s loan eligibility requirements or list some significant costs, such as the lender’s origination fee. But loan officers are readily available to answer all of your questions and provide pre-approval or a loan estimate, depending on where you are in the home buying process.
Garden State Home Loan Review: Mortgage Rates and Fees
On its website, Garden State Home Loans states that it has “very minimal fees and low overheads,” although it does not specify further. The website lacks some useful resources, such as a clearly labeled list of loans it offers, qualifying requirements for each loan, current mortgage rates, and a list of lender fees it charges borrowers.
But a loan officer has confirmed that borrowers never pay prepayment penalties and can lock in a rate for up to 90 days for free. Plus, most home loans close within 30 days.
According to the loan officer, applicants cannot get a quote without submitting financial documents and approving a firm credit application. This is a major drawback as you will not be able to see if you qualify and determine if you want to go ahead with Garden State Home loans without affecting your credit. Several other lenders offer a free quote with flexible credit or no credit check.
If you do decide to get pre-approved, ask for a closing cost worksheet and look for some of these common lender and third-party fees:
The lender says it requires a credit score of at least 640 to qualify for most of its mortgage programs, including conventional loans. You will also need a down payment of 3% to 5% for a classic loan, depending on whether you become a homeowner or not. With a 10% down payment, you could qualify for a jumbo loan without mortgage insurance. FHA loans come with more flexible qualifying requirements, so your credit score can be as low as 580 if you have a down payment of at least 3.5%.
Refinancing with Garden State Home Loans Review
If you already have a mortgage and want to lower your monthly payment or tap into your home equity, you can refinance with Garden State Home Loans using one of these options:
- Refinancing of collection, which allows you to take out a new mortgage for more than what you owe and use the extra money for any type of expense. However, you will have a larger mortgage payment in the future and you will extend your repayment schedule.
- Refinancing at rate and duration, which allows you to swap your mortgage for one that has a different loan term, interest rate, or both. Refinancing could help save on monthly mortgage payments, eliminate private mortgage insurance, or shorten your repayment period.
Garden State Home Loans Versus Other Mortgage Lenders
|Garden State Home Loans||Rocket mortgage||Fairway Independent Mortgage Corp.|
|Minimum credit score||640 conventional; 580 FHA||580 to 620||620 for conventional; 660 for jumbo; 600 for the FHA; 600 for VA|
|Minimum deposit||3% to 5% for conventional; 3.5% for FHA; 0% for VA and USDA||0% to 3.5%||0% to 5%|
|Where does the lender operate?||8 states||All 50 states and Washington, DC||All 50 states and Washington, DC|
|Main types of loans||Conventional, jumbo, VA, FHA, USDA, variable rate, fixed rate, refinancing, cash-out refinancing, renovation||Conventional, jumbo, VA, FHA, fixed rate, refinancing, cash-out refinancing||Conventional, Jumbo, VA, FHA, USDA, Various Home Improvement Loans, Variable Rate, Fixed Rate, Refinance, Refinance With Withdrawal, Reverse Mortgages, Home Equity Loans, Home Equity Lines of Credit|
How To Shop For The Best Mortgage Rate
Before you start shopping for a home, it’s a good idea to contact a lender and apply for mortgage pre-approval. After you withdraw your credit and review some of your financial documents, the lender provides an estimate of how much you can borrow. This will help you set your budget and support your offer to purchase. But you are not tied to that lender, so you can consult with others when you are ready to apply for a home loan.
Once you’ve found a home and the seller accepts your offer, submit mortgage applications to multiple lenders. (You can minimize the impact on your credit by applying for the loans in a short period of time, around two to six weeks.) You will receive a loan estimate that lists all of the borrowing costs that you will pay from that lender. Use these documents to compare the interest rate and closing costs, and use an online mortgage calculator to help you determine how much you would spend on interest with each option.
Take a look at an example: Let’s say you receive two mortgage rate quotes for a home worth $ 200,000 with a 20% down payment and a 30-year term.
|Interest rate||Monthly payment of principal and interest||Registered interest|
|3.1%||$ 683||$ 26 per month or $ 9,360 over the term of the loan|
With an interest rate of 3.4%, the monthly principal and interest payment is $ 709. But with an interest rate of 3.1%, you save $ 26 per month on interest charges. It may not seem like much, but it represents savings of $ 9,360 over 30 years.
The bottom line
Garden State Home Loans is a regional lender with excellent customer service and a good range of mortgages. But only borrowers from eight states can get a mortgage here, and you’ll need to take additional steps to get a quote. If you live in the borrower’s footprint, check them out when you’re ready for pre-approval. Then compare the offer with others to make sure you get the best deal.