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Highlands Residential Mortgage Review: On a Mission to Become the World’s Most Respected Mortgage Brand


Today we’ll check out “Highlands Residential Mortgage,” a Texas-based mortgage lender that’s on a mission.

Their assignment? To be the world’s most respected mortgage brand, an ambitious goal that will certainly take a lot of legwork.

But it speaks to their focus on customer service as opposed to growth at all costs. And seeing that a home purchase is one of the life’s bigger milestones, it’s important to get it right.

While they’re grown into a multi-billion-dollar lender over the past decade, they’ve done so methodically to ensure they continue to provide outstanding support along the way.

This means you should be in good hands, whether you’re a seasoned real estate pro or first-time home buyer. Read on to learn more.

Highlands Residential Mortgage Fast Facts

  • Retail direct-to-consumer mortgage lender
  • Offers home purchase loans, refinances, and home renovation loans
  • Founded in 2010, headquartered in Allen, TX
  • Currently licensed to do business in 33 states and D.C.
  • 50 brick-and-mortar branch locations nationwide
  • Funded over $5 billion in home loans last year
  • About a third of overall volume comes from home state of Texas

Highlands Residential Mortgage was founded in 2010 by industry veterans Bill Starkey, Sr., Ken Hickman, and Brian Starkey.

They say the company was built by loan originators for loan originators. In other words, they knew the pain points after working for other lenders, and took steps to fix them.

This should result in a smoother process for customers, who are often befuddled by the home loan experience.

Despite being little more than a decade old, the company funds billions in home loans annually.

In 2020, the company originated about $5 billion in home loans, with roughly a third of that originated in their home state of Texas.

They are also very active in the states of Arkansas, Florida, North Carolina, Tennessee, Washington.

The company does a near 50/50 split of home purchase loans and mortgage refinances, so they’re suitable for both prospective home buyers and existing homeowners.

At the moment, they’re licensed in 33 states and Washington D.C.

Those other states include Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Washington.

My assumption is they’ll expand to additional states over time once they’re comfortable doing so.

How to Apply with Highlands Residential Mortgage

Highlands Residential Mortgage is big on technology, but also understands the power of human touch.

This means you get the best of both worlds, and can pick and choose how much you want of either.

Those who are tech savvy will love their free smartphone app that lets you handle up to 97% of the loan process from the palm of your hand.

And even if you’re not the savviest out there, their online loan portal makes it easy to complete most tasks electronically.

Whether you need to securely upload documents, eSign disclosures or closing documents, or simply check the status of your loan, it’s all right at your fingertips.

To get started, simply head over to their website and click on “Find a loan officer.” From there, you’ll be able to enter an individual’s name or search by location.

Once you find the branch/individual you’re looking for, you can apply directly online from their webpage.

Their digital mortgage is powered by SimpleNexus, a leader in the mortgage fintech space.

While most of the loan process can be completed electronically, it might be possible to complete tasks in person as well if you live near a branch.

They’ve got about 50 physical branch locations scattered across the United States.

Loan Programs Offered by Highlands Residential Mortgage

  • Home purchase loans
  • Home renovation loans
  • Refinance loans: rate and term, cash out, and streamline options
  • Conforming loans backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
  • FHA loans
  • VA loans
  • USDA loans
  • Fixed-rate loans in a variety of loan terms

Highlands Residential offers all the major loan programs you could think of, whether it’s a home purchase loan, refinance loan, or renovation loan.

I believe they also offer construction loans, though they aren’t explicitly listed on their website.

You can get a loan backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, or a government-backed loan such as an FHA loan, VA loan, or USDA loan.

It’s unclear if jumbo loans are offered, though there’s a decent chance they are. But you’ll need to inquire with a loan officer to find out.

They have primarily offered fixed-rate mortgages in various loan terms over the past several years, but may also offer adjustable-rate mortgages going forward.

All in all, most borrowers should find what they’re looking for in terms of loan selection.

Highlands Residential Mortgage Rates

They don’t appear to list their mortgage rates or lender fees on their website, so we’re in the dark when it comes to pricing.

However, that doesn’t mean they aren’t competitively priced relative to other banks and lenders out there.

But do take the time to get a mortgage rate quote before proceeding to a formal loan application to ensure you’re happy with their rates/fees.

Also take note of any lender fees charged, such as a loan origination fee, processing/underwriting fees, and so on.

The only real hint we have regarding their pricing comes from their excellent customer reviews. They probably wouldn’t be rated so highly if pricing wasn’t great.

Still, put in the time to gather multiple quotes from different banks, lenders, and mortgage brokers to be sure.

Highlands Residential Mortgage Reviews

Highlands Residential Mortgage comes very highly rated, with excellent reviews across all the major ratings websites.

They have a super impressive 4.92-star rating out of a possible 5 on from nearly 42,000 customer reviews.

Consider filtering by loan officer if you want to find a standout employee at the company.

On Zillow, they have a literally near-perfect 4.99 star rating out of a possible 5 from nearly 600 customer reviews.

A good chunk of those reviews indicate that the customer received an interest rate that was lower than expected. So that’s good news pricing-wise.

Additionally, they’ve got a 4.9-star rating from over 1,600 Google reviews, another sign of their consistent customer satisfaction.

To sum things up, Highlands Residential Mortgage appears to be a very well-liked mortgage lender that excels in both home purchase lending and refinancing.

This means they could be a solid choice whether you’re a new home buyer or an existing homeowner looking to tap equity or switch loan programs.

The only big question mark is pricing, which isn’t readily available on their website.

Highlands Residential Mortgage Pros and Cons

The Good Stuff

  • Can apply for a home loan online or via smartphone in minutes
  • Their loan process is digital and mostly paperless
  • Physical branch locations in many states where they’re licensed
  • Plenty of loan programs to choose from
  • Fast turn times thanks to in-house loan processing/underwriting/closing
  • Excellent reviews from tens of thousands of past customers
  • Free smartphone app

The Maybe Not

  • Do not publicize mortgage rates or lender fees
  • Mortgage may be transferred to a third-party loan servicer after closing

(photo: caroline legg)

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