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Luminate Home Loans Review: A Fast Growing Lender That Wants to Make Mortgages as Simple as Flipping a Switch

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Today we’ll check out Luminate Home Loans, a progressive mortgage lender that wants to light your path to homeownership.

Their goal is to make both the mortgage and home buying process “as approachable as possible,” while remaining transparent and present throughout.

This means being personable, and also having a wide selection of loan offerings to serve the needs of a diverse customer base.

So far so good as far as their thousands of customer reviews are concerned, which rate them very highly.

Read on to learn more about this rapidly-growing mortgage lender.

Luminate Home Loans Fast Facts

  • Direct mortgage lender that offers home purchase loans and refinances
  • Founded in 1998, headquartered in Minneapolis, MN
  • Formerly known as AMEC Home Loans, Inc.
  • Employ about 70 loan officers and have 17 branch locations
  • Licensed to do business in 23 states nationwide
  • Funded nearly $2 billion in mortgages last year

Luminate Home Loans is a direct mortgage lender based out of Minneapolis, Minnesota that offers home purchase financing and refinance loans.

They’ve been around since 1998, and were formerly known as AMEC Home Loans, Inc.

At the moment, they’re licensed in 23 states throughout the country, including Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.

Aside from their headquarters, they also have 16 physical branch locations in other parts of Minnesota, along with Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Wisconsin.

So it might be possible to work in-person if you wish, though their digital tools should make it easy to apply remotely as well.

Last year, they funded about $1.77 billion in home loans, and more than $1 billion in the first six months of 2021, making them one of the fastest growing mortgage lenders in the U.S.

They recently noted that 20 of their loan officers made the 2021 Top 1% Mortgage Originators in America list from Mortgage Executive Magazine.

How to Apply with Luminate Home Loans

If you’re a self-starter, you can simply head over to their website and click on “Apply Now.” You don’t need to speak to a human first.

Of course, it’s probably in your best interest to speak to a loan officer first to get loan pricing, check eligibility, and so forth.

Once you’re satisfied with rates/fees and believe you qualify, you can dive into the digital application.

It’s powered by fintech company Blend, a leader in the digital mortgage space. The smart app allows you to perform most tasks paperlessly.

This includes linking bank accounts, verifying employment, ordering an appraisal, or eSigning disclosures.

Those who are shopping for a home can also get pre-qualified and generate a pre-approval letter.

At the same time, a human being will be with you at every step to ensure you don’t get lost along the way.

They also have an online loan officer directory if you want to fine-tune your search instead of just getting paired with someone random.

They say the average underwriting turn time is 48 to 72 hours, and the average loan start to close is roughly 21 days. So the entire process should be fairly quick.

Overall, they make it easy to apply for a home loan without any major hoops to jump through. The digital process should also make it more enjoyable.

Loan Programs Offered by Luminate Home Loans

  • Home purchase loans
  • Refinance loans: rate and term, cash out, streamline
  • FHA loans
  • USDA loans
  • VA loans
  • Down Payment Assistance loans
  • Zero down options
  • Fixed-rate and adjustable-rate options available

Luminate Home Loans has plenty of mortgage programs to choose from whether you’re a first-time home buyer or an existing homeowner.

One of the highlights is a down payment assistance program that allows for a zero down home loan by combining a FHA first mortgage at 96.5% LTV and a second mortgage for the remaining 3.5%.

It’s also possible to put nothing down via their VA loan or USDA loan offerings, assuming you qualify.

Existing homeowners can take advantage of their full suite of refinance options, whether you want a lower interest rate, cash out, or a shorter loan term.

They also offer conventional loans backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that allow for just 3% down payment.

The only uncertainty is if they offer jumbo loans that exceed the conforming loan limit. Be sure to inquire upfront if you have a particularly large loan amount.

Either way, most home buyers and existing owners should find the program they’re looking for.

Luminate Home Loans Rates

One area where Luminate Home Loans keeps us in the dark, no pun intended, is mortgage rates.

They don’t post them online so it’s unclear where they stand from a pricing perspective.

However, they have excellent reviews from past customers, so hopefully they’re competitive!

The same goes for lender fees – it’s not clear if they charge a loan origination fee, or separate fees for things like processing and underwriting.

As such, your first step should be a conversation with a loan officer to discuss pricing and lender fees.

Once you get all those details, you can compare their mortgage APR to competing banks and lenders to see where they stand.

Luminate Home Loans Reviews

On, Luminate Home Loans has a stellar 4.89-star rating from nearly 10,000 customer reviews.

That makes their high score doubly impressive given the volume of feedback. About 90% of past clients gave them a perfect 5-star review.

Over at Zillow, they’ve got a 4.96-star rating out of a possible 5 from over 2,200 reviews. Many indicated that both the interest rate and closing costs were lower than expected.

They’ve also got a 4.9-star rating on Google from about 150 reviews, a 4.9 on WalletHub from 139 reviews, and a 4.8/5 on Facebook from about 25 reviews.

So they appear to be very consistent in terms of making their customers happy.

To sum up, Luminate Home Loans could be a good choice for both a new home buyer or an existing homeowner looking to refinance.

They’ve got some unique loan programs, put customer service above all else, and if pricing is also on par, they could beat out the competition.

Luminate Home Loans Pros and Cons

The Good

  • Can apply for a mortgage without a human
  • Their digital home loan application is powered by Blend
  • Excellent reviews from thousands of past customers across ratings websites
  • 21-day average loan start to close (they’re fast)
  • Plenty of loan programs to choose from including zero down offerings
  • Free mortgage calculators on their website
  • Physical branch locations in many Midwestern states

The Perhaps Not

  • Aren’t licensed in all states
  • No mention of rates or fees on their website
  • May transfer your loan to a new servicer after closing

(photo: Ivan Radic)

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