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Homestead Funding Review: A New York State Mortgage Lender That May Have Funded Your Grandparents Loan


Homestead Funding Corp. has a simple goal; provide customers with the best mortgage for their individual needs and deliver it with outstanding customer service.

Seems straightforward, but not all banks and mortgage lenders are able to do that, as evidenced by the general pessimism surrounding mortgages.

This upstate New York-based lender seems to be coming through on that promise, with near-perfect customer reviews from thousands of customers.

Even more interesting is the fact on average, they fund loans for three generations of customers, a big testament to loyalty.

In other words, they’ve been good enough to work with your parents and grandparents, and maybe now you too. Let’s learn more.

Homestead Funding Corp. Fast Facts

  • Direct-to-consumer, retail mortgage banker
  • Offers home purchase, renovation, and refinance loans
  • Founded in 1995, headquartered in Albany, New York
  • Funded roughly $4.5 billion in home loans last year
  • About half of overall volume comes from home state of NY
  • Also active in California, Connecticut, and Massachusetts
  • Licensed in 46 states and the District of Columbia

Homestead Funding Corp. is a direct-to-consumer, retail mortgage banker based in Albany, New York.

They’ve been around a long time, since 1995 in fact, which is a lifetime in the mortgage industry. Despite being a veteran lender, they embrace the latest digital technology.

But that doesn’t mean you’ll be working with a robot – they still pride themselves on providing superior customer service via their highly-trained loan originators.

Last year, the company funded a healthy $4.5 billion in home loans, with about half of that volume coming from The Empire State.

They are also quite active in many Northeast states, along with much warmer Florida and far away California.

At the moment, the company is licensed in 46 states and D.C. They aren’t available in Alaska, Hawaii, Missouri, or Nevada.

Their business was almost evenly split between mortgage refinances and home purchase loans, so they appear well-suited for either purpose.

How to Apply with Homestead Funding

To get started, you have the option of visiting a local branch office or simply heading over to their website.

If you choose the online route, you’ll find a branch directory that allows you to search locations and originators by state.

Once you select one, you’ll be able to see the loan officers who work in that office and learn more about them.

Assuming you like what you see, there will be an option to contact that individual and apply online.

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

It allows you to apply from any device, securely scan and upload documents, eSign disclosures, and get updates as you go.

They also offer a free mobile app if you prefer to work via smartphone. Either way, you’ll get the benefit of a dedicated loan officer and processor as you progress to the finish.

And if you have questions along the way, you can message your loan officer instantly to get the answers you need fast.

If you’re still looking for a home to purchase, you can get pre-qualified for a mortgage the same simple way.

All in all, Homestead Funding makes it easy to apply for a home loan and stay updated throughout.

Loan Programs Available at Homestead Funding

  • Home purchase loans
  • Home renovation loans: Fannie HomeStyle and FHA 203k
  • Refinance loans: rate and term, cash out, streamline
  • Conforming loans backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
  • Jumbo loans up to $2 million loan amounts
  • FHA loans
  • USDA loans
  • VA loans
  • State Bond Programs
  • Energy Efficient Mortgages (EEMs)
  • Fixed-rate and adjustable-rate loans available in various loan terms

One benefit to going with Homestead Funding is their wide array of available loan programs.

They’ve got something for just about everyone, whether you’re a seasoned homeowner, a first-timer, or a DIYer.

You can get a zero down mortgage via the VA or USDA, one with just 3% down thanks to Fannie Mae HomeReady, or a 3.5% down home loan courtesy of the FHA.

If you’re purchasing a fixer-upper, they offer both Fannie Mae HomeStyle Renovation and the FHA 203k loan program.

Existing homeowners can apply for a rate and term refinance, cash out refinance, or streamline refinance to lower their rate and/or shorten their loan term.

They also offer jumbo mortgages with loan amounts as high as $2 million. And offer programs with as little as 10.01% down without the need for private mortgage insurance (PMI).

If you’re a first-time home buyer, you might be able to take advantage of a grant via various state housing agencies like the State of New York Mortgage Agency (SONYMA) or Mass Housing.

Homestead offers financing on primary, secondary homes, and investment properties.

And both fixed-rate and adjustable-rate loans are available in various loan terms to suit all borrower needs.

Homestead Funding Mortgage Rates

Homestead Funding says they offer competitive rates, but that’s pretty much all they disclose online.

As a result, you’ll need to get in touch with a loan officer first to discuss today’s mortgage rates to see where they stand.

This differs from some other lenders that post their daily rates online for all to see.

It doesn’t mean they’re more expensive though – it just means you need to make a phone call before you apply.

While you’re at it, inquire about lender fees such as an application, loan origination, or an underwriting fee.

Both rate and fee are important considerations to get the complete picture, formally known as the mortgage APR.

For example, a low mortgage rate doesn’t mean a whole lot if you have to pay lots of points and fees to obtain it.

Also take the time to compare your quoted rate and fee to other banks, lenders, and mortgage brokers to ensure you do your due diligence.

Homestead Funding Reviews

On Zillow, Homestead Funding Corp. has an almost-perfect 4.99-star rating out of a possible 5 from nearly 4,000 customer reviews.

That means just about every customer who reviewed the company gave them five stars! Take the time to filter by loan originator to find someone truly exceptional to work with.

Most of their reviews seem to be on Zillow, and those can also be found on the Homestead website when browsing the loan officer directory.

Over at Google they have a 4.3-star rating from 33 reviews, and on Bankrate they have a 5.0 score from nine reviews, along with a 100% recommended rate.

While not an accredited business, they do hold an ‘A+’ BBB rating based on customer complaint history.

They’ve only had two complaints closed in the last three years, and none in the past 12 months.

So it appears they are delivering on their goal of excellent customer service while originating billions in mortgages.

To sum things up, they could be a good option for both home buyers (including first-timers in need of a grant), along with repeat buyers and existing homeowners looking to refinance.

The only question mark is pricing, as they don’t post rates and fees online. Assuming they’re competitively-priced, they could be a solid option to consider in your lender search.

Homestead Funding Pros and Cons

The Good

  • Can apply for a home loan online in minutes
  • Offer a digital mortgage application process
  • Tons of loan programs to choose from including first-time buyer grants and jumbos
  • Excellent customer reviews from past customers
  • A+ BBB rating
  • Free mobile app
  • Free mortgage calculators and how-to videos online
  • Some staff also speak Spanish

The Perhaps Not

  • Aren’t licensed in Alaska, Hawaii, Missouri, or Nevada
  • Do not list mortgage rates or lender fees online

(photo: CJ Sorg)

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