So I listen to the radio here and there, and even though I only listen occasionally, I still tend to get bombarded with mortgage advertisements. Funny how that works.
The latest was from a southern California based company named “CashCall,” which I believe started as a personal or payday loan lender before jumping into the real estate and mortgage game.
Anyway, I noticed in their radio ad that both the mortgage rate and APR were the same, which doesn’t tend to be the case with most mortgage loans.
Typically, you’ll hear something like, “Get a low, low 4% mortgage rate!,” followed by some fast talking terms and conditions speak that says 4.55% APR or something significantly higher.
So that bit jumped out at me initially. It sounds like a great deal, right? Instead of the usual “bait and switch,” where your mortgage refinance is riddled with fees, you’re actually getting the interest rate they advertise with no fees!
But wait, this must be too good to be true. How can you get a super low rate and pay no fees. The short answer is you can’t. There’s no free lunch, or free mortgage, for that matter.
CashCall “No Closing Costs” Mortgage
- It’s a common sales pitch in the mortgage industry
- Pay attention to the no cost part
- Which doesn’t mean you aren’t paying entirely
- It just means you aren’t paying out-of-pocket at closing
- Instead you pay via a higher interest rate
CashCall Mortgage, like many mortgage lenders before them, touts no cost refinance loans as their marquee product.
Put simply, a no cost loan, or in their case, a “No Closing Costs” mortgage, means the borrower doesn’t have to pay for their closing costs….out of pocket.
They still pay for their closing costs, just not all at once at the time of closing. Instead, they’re saddled with a higher than par mortgage rate to make up the difference.
I took a gander at some of CashCall’s mortgage rates and noticed that these loans tend to have interest rates roughly an eighth to a quarter of a percentage point higher.
This premium essentially covers a borrower’s loan costs, including things like the home appraisal fee, credit report fee, flood certification fee, tax service fee, notary fee, and title/escrow fees.
So borrowers that elect to go with this loan program option won’t have to pay those fees at closing. However, they’ll wind up with a mortgage rate of say 4.125% instead of 3.99%, or 3.50% instead of 3.25%.
While it may not seem like a lot, that little eighth or quarter point can cost you a pretty penny over the life of your mortgage loan.
Let’s look at an example of CashCall’s No Closing Costs mortgage:
Loan amount: $300,000
Loan program: 30-year fixed
Mortgage rate: 3.99%
No Closing Costs rate: 4.125%
If you paid your closing costs out of pocket and took the lower rate, you’d end up with a monthly mortgage payment of $1,430.52, and total interest of $214,987.20 paid over the life of the loan.
If you went with the No Closing Costs rate, you’d have a monthly mortgage payment of $1,453.95, and total interest of $223,422 over 30 years.
As you can see, the monthly payment wouldn’t be all that much different, about $25. But the total interest paid over the life of the loan would be roughly $8,500 more. For the record, both options offer fixed rates for the full loan term.
So for those who actually keep their mortgage and pay it off over 30 years, they’d be paying more for those costs over the life of the loan.
But most borrowers don’t hold onto their home loans for the full mortgage term, either because they sell, refinance, or prepay.
In other words, the savings may not actually be realized if you pay your loan costs upfront. And even if they are, they aren’t all that spectacular, especially with the effects of inflation at play.
The big question is whether the mortgage rate will really only be an eighth of a percent different, or if in reality, it’s closer to a half point different. That’s when it may make a lot more sense to pay your closing costs out of pocket.
The takeaway is that the mortgage rate on a no cost loan will always be higher than a home loan where you pay your closing costs upfront, all else being equal.
Also note that this loan type is not available in the state of Washington.
Tip: If you take the time to shop around, you may be able to find a no cost loan with a lower interest rate than a mortgage where you must pay your lender costs upfront.
CashCall $995 Flat Fee
- They now advertise a $995 Flat Fee
- To cover most third-party closing costs and their origination fee
- Just pay close attention to the interest rate offered
- And make sure you can lock in the rate if you like it
CashCall doesn’t seem to be advertising the no cost deal anymore, though that doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t engineer a similar deal with them.
They now appear to be touting a “$995 Flat Fee” mortgage offer instead, which is their origination charge.
For that $995, they’ll pay your non-recurring closing costs, which includes thing like title/escrow fees, appraisal, credit report, loan origination fee, and so on.
It doesn’t include other items like prepaid interest, discount points, taxes and insurance, lender payoff fees, and so on.
The $995 Flat Fee promotion is available on pretty much all of their loans, from Fannie and Freddie to FHA loans and VA loans, and HARP loans for those who are underwater on their mortgages.
The one thing that scared me was a line on their rate sheet about rates being floated until documents are drawn. I wonder if you can actually lock in your rate beforehand.
CashCall ‘Do Over Refi’
- When mortgage rates were in a downward trajectory
- The company offered a Do Over Refi option
- Which promised a lower interest rate
- If your existing fixed-rate mortgage funded within the past 18 months
Another mortgage product they’ve offered is the so-called “Do Over Refinance,” which allows owner-occupied borrowers to refinance with CashCall Mortgage if their loan recently funded elsewhere.
Call it a play on mortgage rates marching lower and lower as time goes on.
By recently funded, I mean within the past 18 months. Borrowers must provide a copy of the mortgage note or statement with the current fixed interest rate, the mortgage term and loan type, then CashCall will offer a lower fixed rate with no closing costs.
Just watch out for that lower rate coming with a shorter mortgage term, such as a 10-year fixed instead of a 15-year of 30-year fixed, as shorter terms will always come with lower rates.
Oh, and refinance loans must fund within 30 days of application, which isn’t so easy these days. But if CashCall can’t hold up their end of the bargain, they’ll pay the borrower $500.
CashCall Offers Jumbo Loans up to $3 Million
- They offer jumbo loans up to $3 million loan amounts
- On certain products
- Including a no tax return 30-year fixed
- But most programs only go as high as the agency high balance limits ($679,650)
In May 2013, CashCall began offering super jumbo loans as well, with loan amounts of up to $2 million at a maximum loan-to-value ratio (LTV) of 70% (720 minimum FICO score required), which is certainly pretty aggressive post-mortgage crisis.
CashCall Mortgage has since pushed that maximum up to $3 million, at least on certain products like their No Tax Return Loan, which as the name suggests, doesn’t require tax returns.
Common Sense Loans from CashCall
- Their latest line of mortgage products
- Include alternative documentation
- High DTI maximums
- And interest-only options
They also have a new line of home loans called “Common Sense Loans,” or CSL for short, which allow a variety of outside-the-box underwriting options.
For example, you can use Alt-doc to qualify as opposed to full documentation, and they allow DTI ratios above and beyond 43%, which is the typical cutoff for most lenders.
CashCall allows asset qualification, which relies on bank statements or money in the bank to qualify you for a mortgage.
For example, in some cases you can use bank statements to document income as opposed to tax returns if you’re a self-employed borrower.
Lastly, they have an interest-only option on a 5/1 ARM if you’d rather put your hard-earned money elsewhere.
Aside from the CSL line, they primarily offer fixed-rate loan options on most of their loan programs, including 10, 15, 20, and 30-year fixed loans.
If you’re shopping for a jumbo home mortgage, you may want to consider CashCall alongside other options seeing that very few lenders are in this space at the moment.
You can also get a high-balance (up to $679,650) fixed loan product that meets the guidelines of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Update: In early 2015, CashCall Mortgage was acquired by Impac Mortgage Holdings based out of Irvine, California. If anything, this might allow them to be even more creative/aggressive with their loan program offerings.