PHH 2021 Mortgage Lender Review: Lack of Transparency

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Based in Mount Laurel, New Jersey, PHH Mortgage is a non-bank lender that has worked in mortgage services for 30 years. It operates in 18 states and offers conventional loans, government guaranteed mortgages, jumbo loans, and a few other products.

The biggest downside we see with this lender is a major lack of transparency and a worrying history of negative customer reviews and legal issues. You will need to register online to receive mortgage application information and check mortgage rates. Before applying for a mortgage with PHH Mortgage, here is what you need to know.

Advantages and disadvantages of the PHH mortgage

The inconvenients

  • Major lack of transparency on the borrowing process on the lender’s website and by phone call

  • Mortgage rates are not available online

  • Only permitted in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island

PHH mortgage: Types of loans and products

Compared to other lenders, PHH Mortgage offers are standard. Borrowers can take out conventional fixed and variable rate loans as well as mortgages guaranteed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA loans) and the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA loans).

Borrowers can also take out jumbo loans, which are mortgages that exceed conforming loan limits, and loans for vacation homes and investment property. You can also request conventional rate and term refinancing and withdrawal refinancing from this lender. But you won’t find home equity loans and lines of credit, construction loans, USDA loans, home improvement loans, bridging loans, and other niche products.

Here’s a look at what PHH Mortgage currently offers:

PHH mortgage transparency

The most worrying aspect of this lender was PHH Mortgage’s lack of transparency. After numerous attempts to contact PHH Mortgage via email, phone call and one of its physical branches, we were unable to contact a representative. We also never got a response after submitting an online form to request more information about loans with PHH.

This left us with no information on the borrowing or refinancing process, minimum credit score and down payment requirements, fees borrowers might pay on closing, or mortgage rates offered by the lender.

This matches up with several consumer reviews who generally describe the lender as uncommunicative and disorganized. Since the end of 2012, this lender has accumulated nearly 3,300 complaints in the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s complaints database, and the Better Business Bureau has given PHH Mortgage a “C” rating.

In 2018, the lender was ordered to pay $ 45 million to settle claims brought against it by 50 attorneys general “for alleged misconduct related to its management of single-family residential mortgages.”

The lender’s parent company, Ocwen Financial Corp., has also been involved in legal battles that allege the company misapplied mortgage payments, failed to make insurance payments on behalf of its borrowers, and generally abused his clients. In 2020, the Florida State Attorney General ordered Ocwen to pay more than $ 11 million to consumers who have been harmed by Ocwen’s alleged service failures.

PHH mortgage: rates and fees

One of the most important factors to consider when choosing a mortgage lender is the cost of your home loan. PHH Mortgage does not advertise the daily refinance and purchase rates on its loans, nor does it offer a list of fees borrowers may pay at closing. But it lists several fees borrowers might have to pay during the repayment process, including:

  • NSF / Insufficient Funds Check Fee
  • Late charge
  • Refund Quote Fee
  • Mortgage Verification Document Fee

According to the lender’s website, you can apply for a single rate lock-in, which means your interest rate won’t change between your offer and closing, when you apply for a mortgage. PHH also offers “rate protection,” which acts as a floating rate lock. If mortgage rates drop after you set a rate, you may receive a lower rate within five days of closing. Refinancing borrowers can lock in a lower rate within 15 days of closing.

Pro tip

The best way to save on your home loan is to compare offers side by side. Start by submitting mortgage applications to multiple lenders and requesting a loan estimate. Take the best offer and send it to another lender, asking them to offer a lower interest rate or closing costs (or both). Having strong credit can help lenders compete for your business.

Borrowers will also find educational resources, checklists and lists of frequently asked questions on the website. And although PHH does not list the minimum credit score requirements to qualify for a home loan, its website does indicate that the lender has options for clients with less than perfect credit.

The fees you pay for any loan will be specific to your situation. So, if you do decide to apply for a home loan with PHH Mortgage, be sure to get a closing cost worksheet or loan estimate so you can look at all of the costs associated with the loan. This document lists your interest rate, annual percentage rate (APR), points of call, and closing costs.

Refinancing with PHH Mortgage

If you have an existing mortgage, you could save money by refinancing a loan, paying off your old balance, and paying off the new loan over time. Borrowers usually do this to save money or to borrow money. PHH Mortgage offers the following types of refinance loans:

  • Refinancing at rate and duration, in which you will get a new interest rate, a new loan term, or both. If you qualify for a lower rate, this type of refinance can help save you money. Calculate the total interest paid on your old loan versus the new loan to make sure you are ahead of the game.
  • Refinancing of collection, in which you take out a new loan for more than what you currently owe, then pay off the old mortgage and keep the difference.

PHH Mortgage does not provide a closing deadline for its refinance loans, but industry standards can help you estimate this deadline. According to ICE Mortgage Technology, a refinance close took 52 days in March 2021.

The fees you pay to refinance a mortgage are typically 2-3% of the loan amount. Once you have applied for a refinance loan, PHH should send you a closing cost estimate that lists these fees. If you want to minimize your upfront costs, PHH can factor your closing costs into the loan amount. This is called a “no-cost refinance”. While convenient, it can cost you more in the long run as you pay interest on closing costs.

The PHH mortgage compared to other mortgage lenders

PHH mortgage Fairway Independent Mortgage Corp. Guild Mortgage
Minimum credit score Not provided 620 for conventional loans; 660 for jumbo loans; 600 for FHA loans; 600 for VA loans 620 for conventional loans; 600 for FHA, VA, and USDA loans; 680 for jumbo loans
Minimum deposit Not provided 0% to 5% 0% to 3.5% on most loans; 15% on jumbo loans
Where the lender operates 18 states 50 states All states except New York and New Jersey
Main types of loans Conventional, jumbo, VA, FHA, adjustable rate, fixed rate, 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 Conventional, Jumbo, VA, FHA, USDA, Various Home Improvement Loans, Variable Rate, Fixed Rate, Refinance, Cash Refinance, Energy Efficient Mortgages, Manufactured Home Loans, Bridge Loans

How To Shop For The Best Mortgage Rate

One of the best ways to save money on your home loan is to shop around. Each lender has their own way of calculating interest rates and closing costs, so you could save hundreds or thousands of dollars over the life of the loan by comparing offers.

Begin the shopping process by contacting three to five lenders, submitting a mortgage application, and requesting a loan estimate. This is a standardized form, so it will be easy to find the lender with the lowest mortgage rate and closing costs. Ask what each fee is and whether or not it is negotiable. Two loans can have the same interest rate, but one can have much higher upfront fees.

Final result

Choosing a mortgage lender is an important part of the home buying process. PHH Mortgage offers several typical home loans, including conventional loans, FHA loans, VA loans, and jumbo loans. But if you’re looking for more specific mortgage types or want to see how PHH stacks up against the competition, you can take a look at the top 2021 mortgage lenders and compare your options. This is the best way to get a good deal on your home loan.