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First Home Mortgage Review: A Maryland Mortgage Lender with a Strong Focus on Home Buyers


With a name like “First Home Mortgage,” you would expect a serious commitment to home buyers.

And that’s exactly what the company offers, with superior customer service and a wide range of product offerings.

The highlight might be access to down payment assistance programs from six state housing finance agencies.

This can make the dream of homeownership more of a reality if your budget is stretched thanks to high home prices and not-so-low mortgage rates.

Read on to learn more about this Baltimore-area mortgage lender that is all about home buying success.

First Home Mortgage Fast Facts

  • Retail, direct-to-consumer mortgage lender
  • Offers home purchase financing and mortgage refinance loans
  • Founded in 1990, headquartered in Baltimore, MD
  • Funded roughly $5.7 billion in home loans last year
  • Licensed to do business in 20 states and the District of Columbia
  • Most active in their home state of Maryland, Virginia, and D.C.

First Home Mortgage is a retail, direct-to-consumer mortgage lender that was founded in 1990 by current CEO David Waters.

It began as a small two office operation with a “handful of employees,” and has since grown into a multi-billion-dollar originator.

In fact, they funded nearly $6 billion in home loans last year, making them one of the bigger mortgage lenders out there.

They do business primarily on the East Coast, and are currently licensed in 20 states and D.C.

Those states include Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Today, they have 35 offices spread across many of those states and roughly 450 employees.

About two-thirds of their business is made up of home purchase loans, with the remainder refinance loans.

First Home Mortgage is most active in their home state of Maryland, which accounted for nearly 70% of total volume.

They also do quite a bit of business in nearby Virginia and D.C., with the rest spread out among the other states where they’re licensed.

The company has won numerous awards, including being named a top originator by Scotsman Guide, and a top producing lender in Maryland and Rhode Island.

How to Apply with First Home Mortgage

To get started, you can visit their website or go to a local branch if one is located nearby.

They have offices in Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and Virginia.

Those who go online can browse the loan officer directory to find someone licensed in the state where they need assistance.

You’ll also be able to access contact information and send that particular loan officer a message.

If you’re ready to apply, you can click on “Get Pre-Qualified” to begin the loan application process.

Their digital mortgage application is powered by ICE Mortgage Technology. It allows you to complete much of the loan process paperlessly.

This includes the app itself, verifying assets, uploading documentation, and eSigning disclosures.

Once you’ve applied, you can access the borrower portal at any time to see where you’re at in the process.

Their free mobile app also allows you to check your loan status at any time and view a list of required documents needed for approval.

You can then scan the required documents via your phone for immediate upload.

All in all, First Home Mortgage offers a good mix of human interaction and the latest technology.

Loan Programs Offered by First Home Mortgage

  • Home purchase loans
  • Home renovation loans: FHA 203k and Fannie Mae HomeStyle
  • Construction-to-perm loans
  • Refinance loans: rate and term, cash out, streamline
  • Conforming loans backed by Fannie/Freddie
  • Jumbo loans up to $3 million loan amounts
  • FHA loans
  • VA loans
  • USDA loans
  • Down payment assistance programs
  • Fixed-rate and adjustable-rate options available

First Home Mortgage offers a wide range of loan programs, ranging from construction loans to cash out refinances.

You can get financing on all major property types, including single-family residences, condos/townhomes, and multi-unit investment properties.

All the usual loan programs are available, including conforming loans backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, jumbo loans, and government-backed loans (FHA/VA/USDA).

They also offer down payment assistance programs from various state housing finance agencies.

Those include the DCHFA (DC Open Doors), (DSHA) Delaware State Housing Authority, MMP (Maryland Mortgage Program), MassHousing (Massachusetts), Montgomery County, MD (HOC), Rhode Island Housing, and the Virginia Housing Development Authority.

Both fixed-rate and adjustable-rate options available, with loan terms ranging from 10 to 30 years.

You can get either a 5/1 ARM or 7/1 ARM if you’re seeking better pricing than a fixed-rate product.

First Home ONE Program

The company recently launched a 1% down mortgage option that is available to both first-time home buyers and repeat buyers.

Buyers need only contribute 1% of the purchase price and First Home Mortgage will contribute up to 2% (up to $5,500) toward down payment and/or closing costs.

The program is available with a 30-year fixed conventional loan, and features a streamlined underwriting process.

There is also First Home’s Dream Program, which offers down payment assistance up to $3,000 to low- to-moderate-income home buyers.

And First Home Heroes, which credits application, underwriting, and processing fees back to community heroes at closing, up to a maximum of $1,585.

It’s available for police officers, firefighters, educators, and medical professionals (including nurses, doctors, and other healthcare workers).

First Home Mortgage Rates

While they list their many loan programs online, they don’t list their mortgage rates.

This means no daily sample rates to get an idea of how competitive they are.

Instead, you’ll need to connect with a loan officer to obtain pricing. This is generally a good idea anyway to get a solid rate quote.

Once you get a quote, take note of any lender fees attached, such as a loan origination fee, or separate charges for processing and underwriting.

Then compare their mortgage APR to other banks, lenders, and mortgage brokers to see where they stand.

Because they don’t give us anything to go on, we can’t really speculate about pricing versus other companies.

It may also depend on your particular loan scenario and if it’s a good fit for what they specialize in.

First Home Mortgage Reviews

On Lendaid, they have a perfect 5-star rating from over 13,000 customer reviews. You can view the top rated loan officers at the company or search by name.

You can also find these reviews when browsing the loan officer directory on the First Home Mortgage website.

Over at Zillow, they’ve got a near-perfect 4.98-star rating from about 7,500 reviews, which is very impressive.

Additionally, they have a 4.7/5 on Facebook from roughly 75 reviews, and while not an accredited business with the Better Business Bureau (BBB), they do hold an ‘A+’ rating.

In summary, First Home Mortgage has lots of unique loan programs to choose from, physical branches, the latest tech, and thousands of excellent reviews.

They seem well-suited for first-time home buyers given their many down payment assistance programs, and their name, First Home Mortgage.

But they could also be a good fit for an existing homeowner looking to refinance. The only question is pricing, as they don’t publicize rates/fees online.

First Home Mortgage Pros and Cons

The Good Stuff

  • Can apply for a home loan online or via your phone
  • Also have physical branch locations in several states
  • Offer a digital mortgage process that is mostly paperless
  • Tons of loan types to choose from
  • Several down payment assistance programs available
  • Excellent customer reviews across ratings websites
  • A+ BBB rating
  • Free mortgage calculators, how-to guides, and mortgage glossary online
  • Free smartphone app

The Perhaps Not

  • Only licensed in about a dozen states
  • Do not post mortgage rates or lender fees online

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