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San Diego County Credit Union mortgage review

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finder.com’s rating: 3.6 / 5.0

★★★★★

This lender offers competitive interest rates, but there are no branches outside California.

San Diego County Credit Union (SDCCU) offers competitive rates on home loans. But it doesn’t have any branches outside of California, and you’ll need to become a member.

Details

Loan types Purchase, Refinance, Home Equity, Jumbo, FHA, VA
Minimum credit 620
Minimum down payment 3.5%
Other fees Expect closing costs and fees to include appraisal fees, title charges, closing fees and state taxes. SDCCU doesn't disclose actual costs, nor does it include fee estimates through an online mortgage interest rate calculator.

Ask your loan consultant for the specific fees associated with your pending loan, and keep an eye out for additional fees in your loan documentation.

Note that SDCCU offers a 5/5 ARM with no closing costs, but it applies to owner-occupied primary residences and external refinancing only.

Pros

  • Low fixed and adjustable rates
  • Low down payments
  • Lender-paid PMI options
  • Solid support
  • Cash rebates

Cons

  • No nationwide coverage
SDCCU has been accredited by the Better Business Bureau (BBB) since 1995 and has an A+ rating as of September 2019. But it has just over 1 out of 5 stars from its 13 reviewers.

Customer reviews on other forums are mixed. Some customers report issues with communication, online payments and customer service. But others praise this lender for its great rates and easy approvals, along with its excellent customer service at branches.

What types of loans does SDCCU offer?

SDCCU offers just a couple of mortgage types.

Conventional

Fixed-rate loans are available with terms of 10, 15 or 30 years. Adjustable-rate loans are amortized over 30 years and have an initial fixed period of either 5 or 7 years.

Jumbo

Fixed- and adjustable-rate jumbo loans are available up to $3,000,000.

Refinance

SDCCU can help you refinance your current mortgage to get a new interest rate or term length.

SDCCU’s fees

It’s not easy to nail down the fees you face with SDCCU. But they appear to be standard, including fees for the title services and insurance, your home appraisal, a tax service, your credit report, flood certification and recording fees.

For other mortgage options, you could face the closing costs below.

Type of feeDescriptionEstimated cost
Origination feeCovers the cost of processing a loan, usually charged by the lender on entering into a loan agreement.Around 1% of the total home loan
Home inspection feesAn inspection that’s done after closing and before you move in.Roughly $200–$500
Property surveyThe process of locating, describing, mapping and noting the boundaries and corners of a property.About $450
Real estate transfer taxThe fee for acquiring land, buildings or property0.01%–3% of purchase price
Legal feesCosts associated with hiring a lawyer when buying a home.Roughly $1,500+
Private mortgage insuranceProtects the lender if you stop making payments on your mortgage. Mandatory if you don’t put down at least 20% of your home’s appraised value.Roughly 0.5%–1% annually; SDCCU covers 100% of the cost for some of its loan products
Property tax and utility feesCost of reimbursing your lender if they prepay property taxes or utility fees.$400–$500
Mortgage prepayment penalty feeMay apply when:
  • Renewing or paying off a mortgage before maturity.
  • Exceeding the annual prepayment privilege.
  • Refinancing a mortgage and selecting a new term.
  • Transferring a mortgage to another lender.
Fixed-rate mortgage. Equal to three months of interest on the amount you’re prepaying or an amount calculated using the interest rate differential, whichever is greater.

Variable rate mortgage. Equal to three months of interest on the amount you’re prepaying.

Mortgage discharge feePaid for the document that releases you from your mortgage.$150–$300
Property valuation fee or appraisal costA fee charged for the lender to appraise the value of the home you want to purchase.$350–$500+

No closing costs loan

SDCCU offers a 5/5 ARM with no closing costs. That means that the interest rate changes every five years, but it won’t change more than 2% at a time, and it has a maximum cap of 5% over the life of the loan.

Requirements

You must live or work in San Diego, Riverside or Orange counties, or be a member of the Financial Fitness Association.

Factors that SDCCU consider when determining whether a homebuyer qualifies for a mortgage include credit score, debt-to-income ratio, how well you’ve managed prior credit and length of credit history. The exact credit score you need will depend on your loan and your debt-to-income ratio. You can get prequalified to find out how much you’re eligible to borrow.

Documentation

Before you apply, make sure you have the following information:

  • Your current residence address, or addresses, for the past two years.
  • Social security numbers for all borrowers.
  • Your employment history for the past two years. You’ll need your employer(s) name, address and phone number.
  • Income information for all borrowers, including salary, overtime, bonuses, commissions, interest/dividend, retirement income and any other regular source of income.
  • If you own any real estate (other than the property you’re buying), the address, current market value, the amount you owe, the amount of rental income you receive (if any), and what your monthly payment is.
  • Information about your current debts, including the name of the creditor, the account number, the current balance owing and the amount of your monthly payment.

How to get a home loan with SDCCU

  1. If you don’t already have an account, visit the SDCCU website and click Open an account.
  2. Click Open Now to get started.
  3. Fill out all of the necessary information, then log in after your account is created.
  4. Navigate back to the homepage and click Apply for a loan.
  5. Answer a few questions under Apply for a loan or resume application, then click Go.
  6. Work your way through the application, confirming your personal and financial details before submitting for review.

Pros and cons of SDCCU

Pros

  • Low fixed and adjustable rates. Buy or refinance with terms of 10 to 30 years at a competitive interest rate.
  • Low down payments. Some products allow for as little as 5% down, making buying a home accessible.
  • Lender-paid PMI options. With some products, SDCCU pays for personal mortgage insurance if your down payment doesn’t reach 20%.
  • Solid support. This lender offers top customer service by phone, in person or online. It even offers a live chat option.
  • Cash rebates. You can receive up to 20% cash back on your participating real estate agent’s commission.

Cons

  • No nationwide coverage. You have to live or work in San Diego, Riverside or Orange counties, or be a member of the Financial Fitness Association.

What is SDCCU?

San Diego County Credit Union (SDCCU) is a not-for-profit credit union that was founded in 1938 for government employees in San Diego. It has since expanded its availability to anyone working or living San Diego, Riverside or Orange County or any members of the Financial Fitness Association.

Because anyone can join the Financial Fitness Association for an $8 fee, anyone can join SDCCU for an $8 fee — even if you don’t live in the area.

Compare to other lenders

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Bottom line

SDCCU puts its customers first with a commitment to fair products, low rates and excellent support. Through a selection of mortgages that include a no-closing-costs option, it could be the place for your next loan. But if you live outside of the San Diego area and prefer a mortgage from a bank with local branches, you’ll need to compare other mortgage lenders.

    Images: San Diego County Credit Union

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