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PennyMac mortgage review

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It offers a wide range of home loans. But customer reviews skew negative.

PennyMac is among the nation’s largest digital mortgage lenders, offering multiple loans and an online application process. While it caters to most homebuyers, it specializes in helping those who otherwise may not qualify for a loan.

Details

Loan types Conventional, Refinance, FHA, VA, USDA, Jumbo, HELOC
Minimum credit 620
Minimum down payment 3%
Origination fee $1,100
Other fees Origination fee: $0 for PennyMac VIP members; $1,100 for other applicants
Appraisal deposit fee: $465 to $1,000
Broker fee: $100 to $300, depending on loan type.
Available States Not available in: NY

Pros

  • Multiple options.
  • Live mortgage rates.
  • Free rate lock.
  • Low income requirements.

Cons

  • Not available in New York.
  • Spotty service.
  • Application deposit.
PennyMac earns 2.7 out of 10 stars on TrustPilot based on more than 500 reviews as of August 2019, putting it near the bottom when compared to other mortgage lenders. At the Better Business Bureau website, PennyMac earns one out of five stars based on 100 customer reviews, although the BBB awards the company an A+ based on its internal criteria.

Most customer reviews warn of poor customer service, stating it’s hard to get reps to answer or return phone calls. Other reviewers report contradictory information from customer service representatives, misplaced monthly payments and damaged credit scores due to faulty reporting to the bureaus.

What types of loans does PennyMac offer?

PennyMac offers six types of loans that range from traditional mortgages to those backed by the government:

Conventional loan

These loans feature low down payments, fixed-rate options and flexible terms.

FHA loan

Popular for first-time homebuyers, this loan accepts down payments as low as 3.5% and requires a minimum credit score of 580.

VA loan

Eligible service members and veterans may qualify for these loans that offer low interest rates without the need for a down payment or PMI.

Jumbo loan

Eligible homebuyers can get a fixed-rate mortgage to cover homes priced from $484,351 and up to $2 million.

USDA loan

Best for those in rural areas who meet income restrictions, these loans feature low down payments and fixed-rate options.

Investment property loan

Invest in real estate with fixed-rate options, flexible terms and reduced origination fees.

PennyMac fees

Fees depend on loan type and whether you’re a PennyMac member:

  • Origination fee: $0 for PennyMac VIP members; $1,100 for other applicants
  • Appraisal deposit fee: $465 to $1,000
  • Broker fee: $100 to $300, depending on loan type.
View live mortgage rates any time on PennyMac’s website. Rates vary from 3.125% to 4.375% depending on loan type assuming a FICO score of 740.

Are there any special programs?

Yes. Depending on your loan and circumstances, you may be eligible to choose from:

  • Cash-out refinancing. Replaces your existing mortgage with a new one — often with a higher balance and sometimes with better terms. Available for Conventional, FHA and VA loans.
  • Mortgage relief. If you find yourself unable to make a payment and face foreclosure, PennyMac can help you regain control to stay in your home.
  • Loan modifications. Helps those experiencing financial hardship by restructuring the existing loan’s terms and conditions, rather than refinancing to a new one.

Do I qualify for a loan with PennyMac?

To qualify for a loan with PennyMac, you’ll need to have the following minimum credit scores:

  • 620 for Conventional and VA loans
  • 580 for FHA loans
  • 700 for Jumbo loans
Loan-to-value ratios at or below 80% are generally considered good, but PennyMac allows ratios up to 97%. However, if you have a high LTV ratio, you’ll only qualify for select loans.

Requirements

Eligible homebuyers have a credit score of 620 or higher and are able to put down at least 3% of the home cost.

Documentation

PennyMac asks for your personal, financial and employment information while applying, including:

  • Personal contact information
  • Social Security number
  • Paystubs for the past three months
  • W-2 forms and 1099 statements
  • Tax returns for the past two years
  • Profit-and-loss statements, if self-employed
  • Statements of assets, including real estate, vehicle titles, savings, retirement and investment accounts
  • Statements of debts, including existing mortgages, car loans, student loans and home equity lines of credit

Pros and cons of PennyMac

Pros

This digital lender offers a fully online application process that includes prequalification and status updates through your online account, among other benefits:

  • Multiple options. PennyMac offers conventional, FHA, VA, jumbo and flex-term options.
  • Live mortgage rates. View the types of mortgage rates you can expect on PennyMac’s website.
  • Free rate lock. Protect your loan against market fluctuations for a limited time.
  • Low income requirements. Most loans don’t require a specific salary for eligibility.

Cons

Weigh the benefits of PennyMac against potential drawbacks:

  • Not available in New York. If you live in the Big Apple or anywhere else in the Empire State, you’ll need to look elsewhere for a loan.
  • Spotty service. Homebuyers through PennyMac report frustration in getting help after they’ve taken out a loan, among other issues.
  • Application deposit. You may end up paying $100 to apply for select loans, though it’s credited to your loan after funding in most cases.

Compare PennyMac to other lenders

Name Product Min. credit score State availability Loans offered
620
Available in all states
Purchase, Refinance, Home Equity, HELOC, Jumbo, Reverse, Fixed, Adjustable, FHA, VA, USDA
Connect with vetted home loan lenders quickly through this online marketplace.
620
Not available in: HI, MA, NV, NY, ND, UT
Purchase, Refinance, Jumbo, Fixed, Adjustable, FHA, VA, USDA
Explore financing options and home shopping services all on the same website.
620
Not available in: HI, NY
Purchase, Refinance, Jumbo, Fixed, Adjustable, FHA, VA, USDA, Reverse
A hassle-free lender specialized in home loans.
620
Available in all states
Purchase, Refinance, Jumbo, Fixed, Adjustable, FHA, VA, USDA
Flexible options, fast approvals and support online backed by a trusted brand.
620
Available in all states
Purchase, Refinance, Jumbo, Fixed, Adjustable, FHA
A subsidiary of CIT Group, CIT Bank is a direct lender that offers a variety of mortgage loan options.
620
Available in all states
Purchase, Refinance, Jumbo, Fixed, Adjustable, FHA, VA, USDA
Streamline your mortgage from quote to final payment — all from your computer or phone.

Compare up to 4 providers

How to get a home loan with PennyMac

Get preapproved for a loan or apply online through PennyMac’s Mortgage Access Center over four steps:

  1. Visit PennyMac’s website and click Apply Now.
  2. Sign up for a free PennyMac account by indicating a username and password.
    PennyMac application screenshot 2
  3. For preapprovals, click Get Pre-Approved. Otherwise, click apply for a loan.
    PennyMac application screenshot 3
  4. Enter your financial and personal details, continuing through the steps until you’ve completed your application.
    PennyMac application screenshot 3

What is PennyMac?

PennyMac is a digital mortgage lender that boasts originating some $22 billion in mortgage loans since its founding in 2012. From its California headquarters, it offers competitive conventional, FHA, VA, investment property and jumbo loans to a range of customers through a fully online system and help throughout the process.

While PennyMac caters to a wide group of customers, it claims to focus its efforts on helping aspiring homeowners who might need an extra boost through such loan modifications, mortgage relief, home retention and refinancing options.

Bottom line

PennyMac offers a wide range of home loan options that may appeal to those who don’t mind a fully digital lender for their mortgage. But many online reviews reveal customers who weren’t impressed with the level of service they received.
Before taking out a loan with PennyMac, compare your mortgage options to make sure you’re getting the best deal for your circumstances.

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