Best for a same-day pre-approval
Bay Equity is a fast-growing home loan lender that was established in 2007. The company offers conventional and jumbo mortgages, as well as USDA, VA and FHA options — plus mortgage refinancing and reverse mortgages. Here’s what you need to know about Bay Equity home loans and whether one of them would be right for your needs.
Bay Equity home loans pros and cons
- Some applicants can get same-day pre-approval
- Several loan options
- Some loan information published online
- No ability to apply online
- Lack of transparency around interest rates
Bay Equity’s website doesn’t provide information about how long pre-approval usually takes. However, we confirmed that same-day pre-approval may be available if you have the necessary documents ready. Provided you have all the required documentation and qualify for a loan, Bay Equity may be able to complete the loan underwriting process in as little as 24 to 48 hours.
Several loan options
Bay Equity offers fixed-rate and adjustable-rate mortgages, as well as Jumbo loans for more expensive homes. You can also apply for government-backed USDA, VA and FHA mortgages through the lender. If you currently own a home and want to refinance, Bay Equity also offers several options — including a reverse mortgage.
Some loan information published online
Bay Equity’s website includes some helpful information about a variety of loan types and is easy to navigate. It contains information to help you understand the difference between available home loans and provides some details about qualification and down payment requirements. It also has calculators to help you determine monthly payments based on criteria for each loan type.
No ability to apply online
While Bay Equity’s website includes some loan information, it doesn’t allow you to apply for loans online. Instead, it prompts you to enter your location information and directs you to the closest loan officer. This may be helpful if you appreciate working one-on-one with someone who can guide you through the application process. However, the lack of an online application may be frustrating if you’d rather submit your information independently and only work with a loan officer if approved.
Lack of transparency around interest rates
Bay Equity’s online marketing strategy seems to be hyper-focused on getting potential borrowers to contact the closest loan officer. Instead of disclosing rates, the site prompts you to contact a loan officer for such information. What’s more, the mortgage payment estimate calculator allows you to enter any interest rate, which makes the results less helpful.
Bay Equity home loans offerings
Bay Equity offers several types of home loans to help buyers with varying financial needs.
Conventional purchase loans
Conventional purchase loans refer to any home loan from a private lender that isn’t backed by a government entity. Bay Equity offers both adjustable- and fixed-rate mortgages, though the website doesn’t mention exact borrowing limits. Down payments for conventional mortgages range between 5% and 20%.
Bay Equity considers credit score, employment history and monthly income. You should have a score of at least 740 for adjustable-rate conventional mortgages and at least 720 for fixed-rate conventional options.
A jumbo loan is a loan that exceeds the limits set by the U.S. Federal Housing Finance Agency. While the Bay Equity website doesn’t disclose the interest rates for jumbo loans, it does disclose the minimum qualifications:
- Minimum 661 credit score
- Large down payment
- Verifiable proof of income
- A debt-to-income ratio that doesn’t exceed 43%
Designed to help those living in rural or underfunded communities, USDA loans are backed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to provide borrowers in these areas a path to homeownership. These loans come with either no or low down payments, in addition to interest rates well below those of conventional purchase loans.
In addition to residing in an area approved for the USDA program, you must meet the following criteria to qualify for a USDA loan:
- Citizen or permanent resident of the United States
- Minimum 640 credit score
- Proof of reliable income
- Established history of debt repayment
- Property must serve as borrower’s primary residence
- Household income does not exceed 115% of the median income of the area
Reverse mortgage loans
Available only to those over the age of 62, Bay Equity reverse mortgage loans allow qualified borrowers to access their home’s equity as a lump sum, a monthly payment or a line of credit. There’s no maximum property value. Bay Equity also offers hybrid options that allow you to create a method of payment that suits your needs.
A common misconception is that a reverse mortgage loan means the bank will eventually own your home. This is not the case. A reverse mortgage acts as a lien against your property. In the event of your passing, your home would still be passed down to its designated recipient who will owe more on the mortgage than they would have if you hadn’t used the equity. While there are many reverse mortgage pros and cons, it can be an invaluable tool should you meet the requirements and need cash in an emergency.
FHA loans are given to eligible borrowers by private lenders and insured by the Federal Housing Administration. So, an FHA home loan from Bay Equity is still a Bay Equity loan, the institution just enjoys an extra safeguard should you default.
Eligibility can vary, and you may not qualify even if you meet the criteria. In general, though, you should have a credit score of at least 580 and a steady income. Reach out to a Bay Equity loan officer for more information and to determine your eligibility.
A VA loan is like a USDA or FHA loan in that it’s serviced by a private lender — in this case, Bay Equity — but insured by the federal government. The difference is that VA loans are only available to veterans and are backed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. VA loans have lower down payment requirements and lower interest rates than conventional mortgages but unlike USDA loans, VA loans don’t require borrowers to live in specific areas.
Along with service criteria, Bay Equity will also consider your income and credit score. For more information about whether you qualify, talk to a Bay Equity loan officer or check the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website to find out if you’re eligible.
Home refinance loans
Home loan refinancing isn’t so much a loan in and of itself but rather a restructuring of your mortgage to a new plan that’s better suited to your needs. You may try to refinance your mortgage to reduce your monthly payment or lower your interest rate. While Bay Equity offers mortgage refinancing, the lender’s website doesn’t include much information about this service. As with other Bay Equity offerings, contact a loan officer to learn more.
Bay Equity home loans pricing
Bay Equity doesn’t publish any of its interest rates, fees or other associated costs on its website or in its marketing materials. This seems to be part of a strategy to drive calls to its loan officers. However, the lack of transparency can be frustrating if you want to decide whether Bay Equity is the right choice without having to pick up the phone.
Bay Equity home loans financial stability
Bay Equity was founded in 2007 and was acquired by Redfin for $135 million in 2022. There is currently no information about Bay Equity or Redfin from Fitch Ratings, Moody’s, or Standard & Poor’s, which are the three largest credit rating agencies.
Bay Equity home loan accessibility
Here’s what you should know about the availability and accessibility of home loans from Bay Equity and what to expect from the lender’s customer service team.
Bay Equity doesn’t disclose all of its eligibility criteria online. However, the lender publishes minimum credit score requirements for several loan types and indicates it also considers factors like employment history and income when evaluating mortgage applications. Notably, there are no pre-approval functions on the Bay Equity website, so the only way to find out if you qualify is to reach out to a loan officer in your area. Bay Equity is licensed in 48 states and Washington, D.C.
Bay Equity encourages prospective and current borrowers to contact a loan officer in their area. You can find a loan officer by entering your ZIP code on the Bay Equity website. Alternatively, complete the lender’s online form to submit an inquiry. The lender also has a Customer Service Center borrowers can contact with mortgage servicing questions. Representatives are available at 855-259-0467, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST. Borrowers can also email the company with questions about their loan servicing.
While the Bay Equity website includes information about different home loans, eligibility criteria and how they work, you’ll have to work with a loan officer if you want to learn more and apply for a mortgage. For this reason, the majority of your user experience will depend on which loan officer you work with. However, Bay Equity does let borrowers make payments and check their balances through an online portal.
Bay Equity home loans customer satisfaction
Bay Equity maintains an A+ rating on the BBB, but isn’t accredited by the organization and user reviews are negative. That said, Bay Equity has positive reviews on other websites, where borrowers praise the company’s loan officers and the ease of the borrowing process.
Bay Equity home loans FAQ
Is Bay Equity a lender?
Who owns Bay Equity?
How big is Bay Equity?
How we evaluated Bay Equity home loans
In analyzing whether Bay Equity was a smart choice for your mortgage needs, we looked at some of the following information:
- Bay Equity’s website
- Online reviews from Bay Equity customers
- News stories discussing Bay Equity, such as coverage of its 2022 acquisition by Redfin
Summary of Money’s Bay Equity home loans review
Whether you’re a first-time home buyer looking for a mortgage or a seasoned homeowner looking for the best mortgage refinance options available, Bay Equity might be the right choice for you. That said, the company doesn't disclose interest rates and fees on its website, so you’ll need to reach out to a loan officer in your area if you want to learn more.