Carrington Mortgage Services Review 2021: Options for Low-Credit Borrowers, but Poor Customer Reviews

A photo to accompany a review of Carrington Mortgage Services Illustration/NextAdvisor

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Carrington Mortgage Services is a mortgage services provider founded in 2007 and headquartered in Anaheim, California. A subsidiary of Carrington Holding Company LLC, the lender offers basic mortgage and refinancing options to borrowers nationwide.

Consumers can start the mortgage application process online, over the phone, or at six branch locations located in Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Indiana, and Maryland. The company is licensed to originate mortgages in Washington, D.C. and all states except Massachusetts and North Dakota. 

Carrington offers a number of mortgages for borrowers with poor credit, but the biggest drawback we noticed about this lender is a history of customer complaints.

Here’s what to know about Carrington Mortgage before applying for a home loan.

Pros and Cons of Carrington Mortgage Services

Pros

  • Offers all major mortgage programs and three loans geared toward consumers with credit issues or problems documenting income

  • Licensed in most states

  • Considers applicants with low credit scores

Cons

  • Has accumulated many customer complaints over the years

  • Does not advertise interest rates or lender fees on its website

  • You’ll have to speak with a loan officer to receive a preapproval or finish a mortgage application

  • Has only six brick-and-mortar locations

Carrington Mortgage Services: Loan Types and Products

Carrington Mortgage offers a basic list of conventional and government-backed loans, jumbo mortgages, and refinance loans. The lender says loan closings take about 30 to 45 days from start to finish.

Here’s what’s on Carrington’s lineup right now:

The lender’s standout offerings are three mortgages designed for borrowers who might have trouble finding loans elsewhere. 

  • The Carrington Flexible Advantage loan is designed for borrowers with a credit score as low as 550 and self-employed borrowers who need help documenting their income. Recent credit events such as a bankruptcy, short sale, foreclosure, or a history of late payments are acceptable, and there’s no mortgage insurance requirement. 
  • The Carrington Flexible Advantage Plus loan is designed for borrowers with recently improved credit scores but a history of derogatory marks on their credit reports. You may qualify with a credit score of 620 or higher. 
  • The Carrington Prime Advantage helps borrowers qualify for loans with a credit score of at least 660 and negative credit events that are more than four years old. 

Carrington Mortgage Services Transparency

Carrington Mortgage Services’ website doesn’t provide information about interest rates and closing costs, though it does offer several homebuying education guides and mortgage calculators. 

You can start a mortgage application online, but you’ll need to call or visit a loan officer at one of their six branches to complete the process. Once you submit the application, you’ll create an online account where you can upload paperwork and sign documents. 

The biggest drawback we noticed about this lender is the history of customer complaints. The Better Business Bureau assigned Carrington a letter grade of “A,” though the lender received 1.42 out of 5 stars based on customer reviews on the BBB website. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau received 3,731 complaints about this lender since 2011, and customers gave the lender about 2 out of 5 stars on a Consumer Affairs review page. It was also difficult to contact a loan officer via phone call, though we were ultimately connected with a representative.

Carrington Mortgage Services: Rates and Fees 

Carrington Mortgage Services’ website doesn’t advertise interest rates or lender fees, but it does list several fees borrowers might pay after closing. Some of these include:

  • Fee of $5 to $20 for paying by phone, online, or via customer service representative
  • Returned-check fee of $7 to $50
  • Late fee typically equal to 5% of the principal and interest due 
  • Property inspection fee of $15 to $20
  • Recording fee that varies by county

We also called the lender and obtained a list of closing costs borrowers might pay, including:

  • Lender fee (includes processing, underwriting, and documentation fees) of $1,300 total
  • Third-party fees (such as title fees and appraisal fee) that typically come out to 2% of the loan amount

The minimum credit score required by Carrington Mortgage Services varies depending on the type of loan. Conventional loans require a score of at least 620, though borrowers may qualify for FHA loans, VA loans, and USDA loans with a score as low as 500. 

Carrington charges no prepayment penalties for any of its loans and allows borrowers to lock in a rate for free once they sign an intent-to-proceed letter. But a fee does apply to extend the rate lock. For a mortgage rate estimate and a complete breakdown of lender fees you may pay at closing, you’ll need to submit an application. 

Refinancing With Carrington Mortgage Services

When you refinance, you take out a new mortgage, use the funds to pay down your original loan, then pay down the new mortgage over time. Homeowners do this to save money, get better loan terms, or borrow cash. Carrington offers several options for mortgage refinancing, including:

Carrington Mortgage Services Compared to Other Mortgage Lenders

Carrington Mortgage ServicesWells FargoGuild Mortgage
Minimum credit score620 for conventional loans; 500 for FHA, VA, and USDA loans620620 for conventional loans; 600 for FHA, VA, and USDA loans; 680 for jumbo loans
Minimum down payment0% to 3.5% depending on the mortgage program0% to 3.5% depending on the mortgage program0% to 3.5% on most loans; 15% on jumbo loans
Where does the lender operate?48 states and Washington, D.C.All 50 states and Washington, D.C.All 50 states and Washington, D.C.
Major loan typesConventional, jumbo, VA, FHA, USDA, adjustable-rate, fixed-rate, refinance, cash-out refinanceConventional, jumbo, VA, FHA, USDA, adjustable-rate, fixed-rate, refinance, cash-out refinance, construction loansConventional, jumbo, VA, FHA, USDA, various renovation loans, adjustable-rate, fixed-rate, refinance, cash-out refinance, energy-efficient mortgages, manufactured-home loans, bridge loans, reverse mortgages

How to Shop Around to Get the Best Mortgage Rate

Your home might be the largest purchase you’ll ever make, so it’s important to find ways to save on this major expense. One method is to gather multiple loan estimates and compare offers.  

Start by identifying three to five of the best mortgage lenders, then submit a mortgage application and request a mortgage Loan Estimate. This is a standardized form, so it should be easy to figure out which lender is offering the best interest rate and lowest closing costs. 

Even a small difference in mortgage rates could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars over the life of the loan. For instance, on a 30-year $250,000 mortgage, dropping the interest rate by just 0.25% saves the borrower $9,720 over the life of the loan. You might be able to negotiate further savings if you have strong credit, too. 

Bottom Line

Carrington Mortgage Services offers basic home loans to borrowers in every state except Massachusetts and North Dakota. It could be a good fit for consumers with less-than-perfect credit or self-employed borrowers. But when you’re looking for a mortgage, it’s best to research your options and compare offers before taking out the loan.