loanDepot Refinance—Is It an Easy Ride, or Will It Leave You Dissatisfied?


It’s natural for homeowners to feel nervous when shopping for refinancing options. There are lenders who are by your side every step of the way—and then there are lenders who keep making you jump through hoops. If you’ve been researching your options, loanDepot refinance must have popped up as one of the top options, but is the product worth considering?

Founded in 2010, Loan Depot—styled as loanDepot— has financed over $100 billion in loans to date. It is one of the largest retail (non-bank) mortgage lenders in the U.S. and catalogs various home loan and refinancing products—each with individual pros and cons.

Our experts have prepared this guide after carefully going through loanDepot’s refinancing program and relevant customer reviews. Use it to:

  • Evaluate loanDepot refinance (refi) terms, limitations, and other logistics
  • Understand the dominant customer opinion on the product
  • Check out alternative borrowing options

loanDepot Refinancing—Broken Down

loanDepot refinances thousands of homeowners every year. In terms of the number of loans originated, it was the third-largest refi lender in 2019. As of 2022, the company offers the following four refinance programs:

  1. Fixed-rate refinance—Fixed-rate refinance is loanDepot’s most popular refinancing program as it standardizes your monthly payments. You have the option to lock in an interest rate for 10, 15, 20, or 30 years
  2. Adjustable-rate mortgages (ARM) refinance—loanDepot’s ARM refinance programs usually have a lower interest rate in the initial years, so it’s a suitable option if you don’t plan to live in your current home for long
  3. Federal Housing Administration (FHA) refinance—The two conventional options above have strict requirements regarding credit score and debt-to-income (DTI) ratio, but you can qualify for an FHA refinance loan with a credit score as low as 500
  4. Veterans Administration (VA) refinance—loanDepot is also licensed to offer VA-backed loans for active military and veterans

You may choose to get a regular refinance or a cash-out refinance—the latter allows you to acquire a larger loan than your current mortgage. The extra fund is typically used for home renovations, but you can apply it towards debt consolidation or investment as well.

Keep in mind that loanDepot used to offer the government-backed Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) loans till 2018—the program has since been discontinued.

Source: Towfiqu barbhuiya

loanDepot Refinance—Qualifications

The following table outlines the basic requirements for loanDepot refinance loans:

loanDepot RefinanceConventionalFHAVA
Minimum credit score620500620
DTI ratio (ideal)35% or lower43% or lower41% or lower
Home equity20% or more20% or more20% or more

Know that the above only works as a reference for eligibility standards. loanDepot officers screen each candidate individually to determine if they can qualify for a refinance. According to the company’s website, an applicant is evaluated based on several other factors, such as:

  • The amount of reserve cash held
  • Assets and liabilities (debts) managed
  • History or mortgage payments
  • The benefit achieved from the refinance (only for FHA loans)

Closing Costs and Refinance Rates at loanDepot

loanDepot does not reveal its refinance rates and closing costs on the website. You are completely blocked out from the info unless you actually apply for a refinance. From what users have shared, you have to wait out the entire screening process to get an accurate quote, which can be frustrating if you’re shopping for lenders in a limited time frame. loanDepot officers do a hard credit check to verify your eligibility, which knocks down your credit score by a few points.

In general, loanDepot rates and fees are said to be slightly higher than the average for these products, but the company balances out the downside by providing two stellar policies:

  1. Lifetime guarantee—If you refinance with loanDepot, the company will waive the lender fees and reimburse appraisal expenses for all future refinances as long as it’s for the same property
  2. No steering—loanDepot doesn’t incentivize its officers to put customers in one refinance program over another. The recommendations you get are objective because they are not based on personal motivations

How To Access loanDepot Refinancing

The initial loan application process at loanDepot can be done online, but you can also contact a physical branch near you (available across the country). Let’s walk you through the typical steps of applying online:

  1. Navigate to the dedicated loanDepot refinance page and click on GET STARTED

Source: loanDepot

  1. Answer if you’ve already contacted a loanDepot worker
  2. Respond to the prompts as they appear—you have to provide:
    1. Personal info
    2. Property address
    3. Credit score
  3. Set up a password to create your account (assuming you haven’t got one already)
  4. Enter additional details about your identity, living situation, and income
  5. Sync your bank account with loanDepot electronically to forward the asset verification process
  6. Answer a few more questions about your refinance till you see the estimated refinance rates on the screen

Once you submit the application, you need to wait till you’re connected with a loanDepot officer. From that point on, your assigned officer will manage your deal. You have to prepare the following documents for submission:

  • Tax returns and W-2s (for the past two years)
  • Paycheck stubs (the loan officer will specify the period)
  • Proof of mortgage or rent payments (usually for the past year)
  • Schedule of debts—must include
    • Credit cards
    • Student loans
    • Auto loans
    • Alimony payable
  • Schedule of assets, including vehicle titles, rental investments, or investment accounts
  • Proof of rental income (if applicable)
  • Bankruptcy discharge papers (if applicable)

The closing window for refinance transactions is, on average, 45–60 days. Expect a stricter and longer due diligence exercise if you are self-employed—the position can even lead to a refinance package with high interest rates.

Source: Tierra Mallorca

Latest loanDepot Refinance Reviews—What’s the General Verdict?

From a technical point of view, loanDepot has many sensible features, but again, those aren’t particularly different from what other refi lenders offer. Here’s a summary of its noteworthy pros and cons:

Multiple refinance programs
Lifetime guarantee (includes fee waivers for subsequent refinances)
Online and physical operations
Digital bank account verification
No-steering policy
Direct communication channel with a loan officer
Nationwide servicing
No transparency about rates and fees
Tedious processing
No USDA refinance programs available
Presumably pricier than average refi loans

As far as customer service is concerned, loanDepot has decent scores—for example:

  • 4/5 on Consumer Affairs (at 605 ratings)
  • 3.7/5 on Trustpilot (at 3,905 reviews)

After sifting through dozens of reviews across various sites, we found that most of the positive reviews mention the loanDepot officer who made their refinancing experience better. Many users also praised the honest communication and responsive customer support throughout the closing process.

Coming to bleak experiences, we found the following issues voiced across most negative reviews:

  • Incompetent (or even rude) loan officer
  • Multiple reselling of mortgages to other banks
  • High interest rates
  • Unwarranted delays in processing (going over 60 days)
  • Frustrating resubmission of paperwork
  • Excessive phone calls and emails throughout the screening
  • Disorganized lending

Keep in mind that customer reviews are personal, unverified experiences that need to be taken with a grain of salt. If you want to go for a loanDepot refi, a good strategy would be to discuss your concerns about customer support with the officers beforehand. That way, you’d come off as an informed borrower who demands responsible service.

Best Alternatives to loanDepot Refinance

All in all, loanDepot refinance is a fairly good choice for conventional or VA/FHA refinancing. The company has been around for a while, servicing a massive volume of mortgages over the years—you don’t get to that level without a certain degree of reliability in products.

Still, it’s smart to test the waters with other lenders to know what rates you can manage. If you’re exploring, here are the reviews of the top loanDepot alternatives:

Know that these options are traditional lenders who have similar due diligence in terms of credit health and paperwork. If, for any reason, you don’t qualify for a traditional loan, you may want to keep a list of alternative lenders handy.

The most popular alternative route to refinance is getting a hard money loan, widely used by borrowers who prefer fast and convenient funding. This type of loan is not insured by federal or state governments but is offered by state-regulated private lenders—so the eligibility rules are liberal.

Source: Mikhail Nilov

Would a Hard Money Refinance Work for You?

You can secure a hard money refinance based solely on the current market value of the collateral and your equity hold—it is lending stripped bare. Your credit score, assets, and liabilities do not matter as much, which automatically expedites screening and closing. You can consider a hard money refinance when you:

  • Don’t qualify for regular mortgage loans
  • Need to refinance fast
  • Are missing paperwork

Since hard money loans are short-term (1–3 years), the refinance rates are higher than long-term refinances—it’s merely a measure to equalize the yield for lenders. If you’re not keen on short-term refinancing, you can use hard money as a bridge while you work on qualifying for a traditional mortgage.

Try Hard Money Loan Solutions—Your Reliable Depot for Refinance Loans

If the traditional refinancing route isn’t working out for you, make use of the practical refinance and cash-out refinance programs at Hard Money Loan Solutions (HMLS). The alternative lending group operates from Florida and assists with the purchase and refinance of a wide range of real estate properties, including:

Unlike traditional lenders that prefer refinancing self-occupied homes, HMLS refinances vacation homes, rental units, and properties held as an investment as well. You can qualify for a refinance (or a bridge loan) based on two parameters:

  1. The property in question has a normal market value (it shouldn’t be loss-inducing)
  2. You have built up enough equity in your home

That’s it—your credit score, nationality status, cash reserves, or tax returns have no bearing on the refinance decision. The entire deal can be closed within three days to two weeks of applying for the refinance at HMLS. While you don’t have to waste time arranging bank statements or financial credentials, your existing mortgage documents should be solid.

Source: Kampus Production

Alternative lenders deal with a lower volume of transactions when compared to traditional lenders, so their service is streamlined and heavily customer-focused. Hard Money Loan Solutions has a 5-star rating on Google for its long-standing service values. The group is run by veteran investors who have mastered responsible lending and are always available to offer free consultancy to clients on numerous funding aspects.

Refinancing Terms at HMLS Are Flexible and Transparent

HMLS lenders have been navigating the real estate industry for years and believe that the same cut-and-dry rates cannot work for everybody. Every HMLS refinance package is unique to the borrower, prepared after considering their needs, borrowing intent, and repayment strategy. That being said, the lending mechanism is transparent throughout.

From the moment you reach out to an HMLS lender for a loan, you become privy to the decision-making process. The lender will let you know quickly if you can or cannot qualify or what refinancing cost to expect. Your customized loan package will be within the following parameters:

AspectHMLS Parameter
Interest rates9.99%–12%
Term1–3 years
Interest rate typeFixed
Loan amount$100,000–$50,000,000
Loan-to-value ratio (LTV)Up to 70% of the current purchase price or appraised asset value (whichever is lower)
Origination fee2 points or 2%
Closing time3 days to 2 weeks
AmortizationInterest only 
Prepayment penaltyNo penalty after 6 months

HMLS rates and closing expenses are competitively set according to the standards of the hard money lending business. Use the HMLS interest-only calculator to get an estimate of your monthly payout. In the case of interest-only payments, the loan sum is due at the end of the tenure. This setup is ideal when you want to refinance again or sell the home down the line.

Source: RODNAE Productions

How To Access HMLS Refinancing

Getting a hard money loan requires significantly less paperwork. At HMLS, you get an excellent combo of online and in-person servicing for refinance loans—check out the steps to proceed:

  1. Open the single-page HMLS online application form
  2. Enter your basic personal and property details
  3. Provide your desired loan amount
  4. Specify anything else (if relevant) in the Additional Comments and Questions section
  5. Submit the form

An HMLS lender will evaluate your application profile and call you—tell them about your loan purpose and answer any questions that they may have. If the refinance looks doable, the lender will appraise the property before designing a loan package.

Once your refinance is approved, HMLS will ask its legal team to expedite the title work and initiate the funding. Your initial cost is only limited to the retainer fee. 

If you want to change the refinance terms or use a new repayment strategy at any point during the loan tenure, take the matter up with HMLS. The team is flexible and innovative with solutions as long as the deal is mutually beneficial.

HMLS has many other hard money programs, such as for construction, business acquisition, and property flipping—you can explore some of their recently funded deals here.

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