If you’ve been comparing mortgage rates and shopping your home loan lately, you may have encountered “Watermark Home Loans” along the way.
They advertise quite a bit on some of the mortgage comparison websites, but aren’t necessarily a household name like some of the bigger guys.
Of course, bigger isn’t always better, nor does it tend to be cheaper in my experience. So let’s learn more about them to see if they should be included in your home loan search.
Watermark Home Loans Fast Facts
- Direct-to-consumer retail mortgage lender
- Offers home purchase financing and refinance loans
- Founded in 2006, headquartered in Irvine, CA
- Licensed in 36 states and the District of Columbia
- Funded more than $1.2 billion in home loans last year
- Appears to specialize in refinancing for existing homeowners
Watermark Home Loans is a direct-to-consumer mortgage lender based out of Irvine, California, which is essentially the mortgage capital of the United States.
Anyway, they essentially operate a call center whereby you can phone in to get started on a mortgage application. This differs from lenders who offer brick-and-mortar locations as well.
While they offer both home purchase loans and refinance loans, they appear to specialize in the latter, with such loans accounting for about 70% of total volume, per the latest HMDA data.
Last year, they originated roughly $1.2 billion in home loans, with nearly half of total loan volume coming from their home state of California.
At the moment, they’re licensed in 36 states and the District of Columbia.
They don’t seem to do business in Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, or the Dakotas at the moment.
How to Apply with Watermark Home Loans
- You can either call them up directly or fill out a short online contact form
- Once you speak to a loan officer to get pricing you can apply online
- Their digital loan application is powered by fintech company Blend
- It allows you to link financial accounts, electronically sign documents, and check loan status 24/7
When it comes to applying for a mortgage, Watermark Home Loans makes it pretty easy.
That’s because they’ve chosen to partner with fintech company Blend, which is a leader in the digital mortgage space.
Their software allows borrowers to link financial accounts using bank or payroll credentials, sign documents and disclosures electronically, and collaborate with their loan officer or loan processor in real time.
Additionally, customers can track the status of their loan application 24/7 by simply logging on to the borrower portal via the Watermark website.
But before you get to the application, you’ll need to either call the company directly to link up with a loan officer, or fill out a short form on their website.
Once you do that, you’ll be able to discuss mortgage rates, fees, and loan options – assuming you like what you hear, you can move along to the application.
All in all, Watermark makes it easy to apply and track your home loan from start to finish.
Loan Programs Offered by Watermark Home Loans
- Home purchase loans
- Refinance loans: rate and term, cash out, streamline
- Conforming loans backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
- Jumbo home loans up to $10 million loan amounts
- Government-backed loans: FHA, USDA, and VA
- Reverse mortgages for seniors
- Interest-only mortgages
- Fixed-rate and adjustable-rate options available in various loan terms (including 40-year terms)
Another 20% or so is devoted to cash out refinances, in which existing homeowners pull equity from their properties to pay for other expenses.
The remainder is devoted to home purchase loans, with many of them conforming loans backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.
They also do quite a bit of jumbo home loan lending, which makes sense given their headquarters being in pricey Southern California. In fact, they offer loan amounts as high as $10 million!
Borrowers can also take out a government-backed mortgage, such as an FHA loan, USDA loan, or VA loans.
Speaking of VA loans, Watermark Home Loans says it donates a portion of loan proceeds to the Warrior Foundation – Freedom Station, which assists wounded veterans.
With regard to specific loan programs, you can get a fixed-rate mortgage such as a 30-year or 15-year fixed, or an adjustable-rate mortgage like a 5/1 ARM.
They actually say they offer loan terms as long as 40 years, along with interest-only home loans, both of which are somewhat outside-the-box and harder to come by these days.
So you shouldn’t be limited when it comes to loan choice, which is another plus.
Watermark Home Loans Mortgage Rates
While they don’t list their mortgage rates on their website, they do say you can call in for a free, no obligation quote.
You may also come across their mortgage rates when comparing lenders on websites like Bankrate.
If so, you might be able to get an idea of their loan pricing, along with closing costs if also listed.
My assumption is they’re pretty competitive in the pricing department because they’re essentially a direct-to-consumer online mortgage lender.
That should mean less overhead and a streamlined approach, which hopefully translates to lower costs and cheaper mortgages for their customers!
But you’ll need to call them or fill out a form on their website to obtain pricing for your particular loan scenario to find out.
Once you’ve got that in hand, be sure to compare their rates and fees to a few other lenders to ensure they offer the best price.
Based on their many positive customer reviews, homeowners seem satisfied with their pricing.
Watermark Home Loans Reviews
The company comes highly rated, with a 4.81-star rating out of a possible 5 on Zillow from nearly 1,300 customer reviews.
Many of the reviews on Zillow indicated that the interest rate and/or closing costs were lower than expected, which gives us another hint about pricing.
Over at Bankrate, they’ve got an even better 4.9-star rating out of 5 from more than 700 reviews, with nearly all of them 5-star reviews.
Similarly, they’ve got a 4.6-star rating out of 5 on Google from more than 600 reviews.
But wait, there’s more – at LendingTree they have a 4.9-star rating from over 30 reviews and a 97% recommended rate.
Lastly, they are an accredited business with the Better Business Bureau and currently hold an ‘A+’ rating based on their interactions with customers. They’ve got a 3.9/5-star rating based on about 30 customer reviews as well.
In summary, Watermark could be a good choice for an existing homeowner looking to refinance thanks to their perceived low rates and plentiful loan options, coupled with their easy digital loan process.
Watermark Home Loans Pros and Cons
- Can apply for a home loan via their website in minutes
- Offer a digital mortgage application powered by Blend
- Lots of loan programs to choose from including jumbos and interest-only options
- No closing cost and $0 application fee options
- Excellent customer reviews across all ratings sites
- A+ BBB rating, accredited company
- Free mortgage calculators on site
- Not licensed in all states
- No physical locations
- Do not publicize mortgage rates or fees