Social Finance (SoFi) is an online lender offering a new approach to home loan products such as mortgage refinance loans, jumbo mortgages, conventional loans, adjustable-rate loans and other personal financial products.
Operational since 2011, SoFi.com has its headquarters in San Francisco and currently has a license to originate mortgage products to U.S. citizens across 49 states. With no physical branches, SoFi loans embrace the digital age with a fully online platform. It targets young professionals just starting their personal finance journey.
SoFi member services include loan types such as student loan refinancing, mortgages and personal loans as well as wealth management and life insurance. If you’re out for a mortgage, here’s what you need to know.
Table of contents:
- About SoFi mortgage lender
- Mortgage options
- Company ratings
- Pros and cons
- Is SoFi a good mortgage lender
SoFi is a suitable mortgage lender if you’re on a relatively high income but lacking a considerable down payment on a new home. It caters to the online market with an easy and transparent online application process. Preapproval on multiple loan options can take only a couple of minutes, and the remainder of the process is just as simple.
SoFi is different in that it considers the non-traditional incomes of restricted stock units and the self-employed. This helps their target market of young, high-paid professionals to make monthly payments for higher loan amounts.
SoFi mortgage options
SoFi offers a variety of mortgages, including:
A fixed-rate SoFi mortgage is available over a 15- or 30-year loan term. However, you must put down a deposit of at least 10% and have a good credit history with a credit score of at least 620. The benefits of a fixed-rate mortgage are that your interest rate, and therefore your repayments, will remain the same for the full term of the loan. This can be a comfort when making one of the most significant financial commitments of your life.
The main drawback of a fixed-rate mortgage is that the interest tends to be a bit higher than an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM). Another disadvantage is that the term of 30, or even 15 years, is a very long time. Markets will fluctuate, and you may miss out on the opportunity for an even lower interest rate down the line. However, if you’re planning on keeping the property for the term of the loan, and you’re fixing when interest rates are low, the stability of a fixed-rate mortgage outweighs any drawbacks.
An ARM tends to have a lower interest rate than a fixed-rate mortgage. With a SoFi mortgage, you can fix for a set period at the beginning of the term. After this time, the interest rate and your repayments will fluctuate depending on market conditions. SoFi offers a 5/1 ARM and a 7/1 ARM.
With a 5/1 ARM, the rate remains fixed for the first five years and then adjusts annually. There is an option to pay interest only for the first 10 years and principal and interest for the remaining 20 years. The advantage of opting for interest-only is smaller repayments initially. The disadvantage is that you’re not building up equity in your home for the first 10 years.
A 7/1 ARM is similar; the rate stays fixed for the first 7 years and then adjusts annually. This loan carries full principal and interest payments for 30 years. Repayments may initially be higher than an interest-only repayment option, but you will start building equity in your home immediately.
SoFi offers jumbo loans of up to $3,000,000 with a down payment of as little as 10%, which is lower than other lenders. This caters to young, first-time homebuyers with good incomes that have not yet had the time to accumulate a large down payment. A jumbo loan refers to any mortgage amount over the conforming loan limit in that area. Currently, that limit is $647,200 in average-income areas, with an increased limit of $970,800 in areas with a higher average real-estate value.
If you’re looking to free up some equity in your home, SoFi offers mortgage refinancing. To qualify for this, you will need a minimum of 10% equity built up in your home. Refinancing or cash-out refinance is a great way to access equity and free up cash flow for debt consolidation or renovations. However, it’s effectively starting a new mortgage, and your new loan conditions will depend on current market interest rates.
Mortgage options not available through SoFi
There are some mortgage options that aren’t available through SoFi, including:
- Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans
- Veteran Affairs (VA) loans
SoFi mortgage qualifications
To qualify for a mortgage, SoFi will use different criteria to assess you. They will consider your credit score, down payment, tax returns and your credit card or other debt-to-income ratios during the loan application process.
A SoFi mortgage requires a minimum credit score of 626. This applies to a conventional fixed-rate or ARM mortgage. A jumbo loan requires a minimum credit score of 720 due to the higher risk associated with the greater lending amount to gain pre-qualification.
Unlike other lenders, SoFi is a bit more flexible with their down payment. You may qualify for a SoFi mortgage with as little as 10%, assuming you meet the other criteria. Make sure you speak with your loan officer to gain the specifics concerning your loan. This is lower than the industry standard of 20%, and it doesn’t require you to have private mortgage insurance (PMI), which protects the lender against losses if you default.
Your debt-to-income ratio is a generous 50% with a conventional SoFi mortgage. However, jumbo loan applications require a debt-to-income ratio of no more than 43%.
SoFi mortgages aren’t available in Hawaii. Additionally, SoFi doesn’t allow mortgage applications on investment properties.
SoFi rates well among young professionals that appreciate an effective online platform and a certain level of autonomy in the application process. A Trustpilot rating of 4.0 stars from 3,331 reviews and a NerdWallet rating of 4.5 stars confirm their popularity in the market.
The ease of use, high level of efficiency and speedy outcome of the application process appeal to their target market. However, if you prefer a higher level of face-to-face interaction, or you’re looking for an FHA, VA, or USDA loan, SoFi may not be right for you.
SoFi Mortgage pros and cons
- The application process is online.
- You can pre-qualify in two minutes.
- It doesn’t require PMI for jumbo loans.
- It considers nontraditional incomes.
- It offers a 50% discount on your closing costs/origination fees.
- The parent company is LendingTree.
- There are no government-backed FHA, VA or United States Department of Agriculture loans available.
- There are no physical offices.
Update: This article was updated to reflect SoFi mortgage's most recent interest changes and credit requirements.
Disclaimer: This story was originally published on November 25, 2019, on BetterCreditBlog.org. To find the most relevant information concerning SoFi Mortgage, please visit their website: https://www.sofi.com/home-loans/mortgage/