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Finance of America is a mortgage lender that’s based in Horsham, Pennsylvania, and serves all 50 states.
We named Finance of America one of the top mortgage lenders of 2021 because it offers a wide selection of loans and solid customer service. The company funded more than 53,000 loans in 2019 but impressively only accumulated 14 complaints with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau within that time frame.
But the biggest drawback with this lender is that borrowers can’t easily apply for a loan online directly through the Finance of America website. You can start a prequalification form, but you’ll need to finish the process with one of the lender’s loan officers over the phone or in person at more than 400 local branches nationwide.
However, Finance of America does technically accept online mortgage applications through Lending.com, which is a separate website it owns and operates under a different name. But this isn’t clear to someone starting their search on the Finance of America website.
Pros and Cons of Finance of America Mortgage
Operates in all 50 states
Offers a wide selection of mortgages
Offers investment property loans and student loan refinancing
Mortgage rates and fees are not available on the lender’s website
Borrowers can’t apply for a loan online directly on the Finance of America website
Finance of America Mortgage: Loan Types and Products
Finance of America offers just about every type of mortgage you can think of, along with home equity lines of credit and student loan refinancing. Here’s what’s on the lender’s lineup right now:
- Conventional loans
- Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans
- Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) loans
- U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) loans
- Jumbo loans
- Reverse mortgages
- Refinance loans
- Fixed-rate loans
- Adjustable-rate loans
- Renovation loans
- Home equity lines of credit
- Student loan refinancing
- Commercial loans
Finance of America offers a choice between fixed-rate and adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) loans on most of its products. With an ARM, your interest rate will be fixed for a certain period of time, usually between five and 10 years. After the fixed period ends, the rate may increase or decrease once a year for the rest of the loan term.
If you need to borrow a large amount, Finance of America can fund jumbo mortgages as high as $4 million for qualifying borrowers.
Finance of America Mortgage Transparency
If you’re looking for information about Finance of America’s mortgage rates and fees, you won’t find it on the lender’s website. While Finance of America does offer several mortgage calculators, guides that explain the homebuying process, and pages dedicated to finding the right loan for your situation, the website is short on details about what borrowers might pay when closing on a loan. A lot of the information is confusing and not organized in a way that’s intuitive or clear.
You also won’t be able to submit a mortgage application through the website. Instead, you’ll need to either fill out a prequalification form on the website, call a loan officer, or visit a branch in person.
Finance of America Mortgage Rates and Fees
Finance of America doesn’t advertise daily mortgage rates, nor does it publish a list of lender fees, such as discount points and closing costs on its website For a breakdown of loan fees, you’ll need to submit a mortgage application or ask for a prequalification.
We obtained a list of the closing costs a typical borrower might pay on a 30-year fixed-rate home loan:
- Lender fee of $550
- Appraisal fee of $475
- Third-party charges of $190
- Title insurance and state recording fees (these will vary)
Finance of America doesn’t charge prepayment penalties on any of its loans, and you can lock in a mortgage rate for up to 85 days for free. But there is a fee if you need to extend your rate lock.
The minimum credit score required by Finance of America is based on the type of loan you’re looking to take out. For example, you’ll need a credit score of at least 620 with a conventional loan and 580 for an FHA loan.
While you may qualify with the minimum credit score, you might need good to excellent credit to receive the best mortgage rates. If you have fair or poor credit, consider hitting the “pause” button on your home search and focusing on improving your credit score.
Refinancing With Finance of America Mortgage
If you have an existing mortgage and want to get a lower interest rate or borrow cash, you can refinance your loan through Finance of America. To apply, you’ll need to first call a local loan officer or visit a branch near you. The loan officer will pull your credit, request income and employment documentation, and ask questions about your current mortgage. If you’re approved, the lender will provide you with your interest rate and a breakdown of the closing costs.
Some of these costs include:
- Application fee
- Title insurance
- Lender’s attorney fees
- Loan origination fees
- Other administrative fees
- Appraisal fee
You can minimize your upfront expenses by asking your loan officer to roll the closing costs into the mortgage. While convenient, keep in mind you’ll pay more over the long term because you wind up paying interest on the closing costs.
Finance of America Mortgage Compared to Other Mortgage Lenders
|Finance of America||Fairway Independent||SoFi|
|Minimum credit score||620 for conventional loans; 580 for FHA loans||620 for conventional loans; 660 for jumbo loans; 600 for FHA loans; 600 for VA loans||660|
|Minimum down payment||0% to 3.5%||0% to 5%||5%|
|Where does the lender operate?||50 states||50 states||42 states|
|Major loan types||Conventional, jumbo, VA, FHA, USDA, various renovation loans, adjustable-rate, fixed-rate, refinance, reverse mortgages, home equity lines of credit, commercial loans||Conventional, jumbo, VA, FHA, USDA, various renovation loans, adjustable-rate, fixed-rate, refinance, cash-out refinance, reverse mortgages, home equity loans, home equity lines of credit||Conventional loans|
How to Shop Around to Get the Best Mortgage Rate
The best way to save money on your home loan is by shopping around. While it might take a few extra hours, the payoff is worth the time involved.
Every lender has its own way of setting mortgage rates, but you may need good to excellent credit to receive the best rates. So if you have fair or poor credit, consider pausing your home search for a few months and working on your credit. Once you see improvement, you may qualify for a lower mortgage rate and save money on your mortgage payment.
First, research mortgage lenders that have a reputation for providing good customer service and offering low costs. Then, submit a mortgage application with at least three lenders and ask for a mortgage Loan Estimate. This document explains every cost involved in your mortgage, so you can use it to compare all of your loan offers.
Once you pinpoint the best deal, send it to another lender and ask if they can beat the interest rate or give you discounts on some of the lender fees. This simple step may save you hundreds or thousands of dollars over the life of the loan.
While these mortgage applications can trigger hard inquiries on your credit reports, the impact could be minor. Credit-scoring companies know consumers shop around, so they typically treat all mortgage inquiries made within a short time frame—usually four to six weeks—as just one inquiry. Try to submit your mortgage applications within a small window to minimize the impact to your credit.
While you might not get much information from Finance of America’s website, you can call a loan officer or visit a branch in person to get help and apply for a loan. The lender offers a wide selection of mortgage loans and good customer service. With so many options, you’re bound to find a loan that fits your needs.