PHH Mortgage Lender Review 2021: Offers Standard Mortgages But Lacks Basic Information

A photo to accompany a review of PHH Mortgage Illustration/NextAdvisor
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Based in Mount Laurel, New Jersey, PHH Mortgage is a nonbank lender that has worked in mortgage services for 30 years. It operates in 18 states and offers conventional loans, government-backed mortgages, jumbo loans, and a few other products. 

The biggest drawback we see with this lender is a concerning history of negative customer reviews and legal issues. Before applying for a home loan with PHH Mortgage, here’s what to know. 

Pros and Cons of PHH Mortgage

Pros

  • Offers several major mortgage programs

  • Includes educational resources on its website

Cons

  • Website has limited options for the application process.

  • Mortgage rates aren’t available online

  • Only licensed in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island

PHH Mortgage: Loan Types and Products

Compared to other lenders, PHH Mortgage’s offerings are standard. Borrowers can take out fixed- and adjustable-rate conventional loans along with mortgages backed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA loans), and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA loans). 

Borrowers can also take out jumbo loans, which are mortgages that exceed conforming loan limits, and loans for vacation homes and investment properties. You can also apply for a conventional rate-and-term refinance and cash-out refinance with this lender. But you won’t find home equity loans and lines of credit, construction loans, USDA loans, renovation loans, bridge loans, and other niche products. 

Here’s a breakdown of what PHH Mortgage offers right now:

PHH Mortgage Transparency

PHH Mortgage mostly focuses on loan servicing, so most people who work with the lender already have an existing loan. That’s why the website offers limited options for submitting a mortgage application. To get the process started, you’ll need to fill out an online form and talk with a loan officer. 

The website provides several guides on the homebuying process and information about different types of mortgage loans, but no information about lender-specific minimum credit score and down payment requirements, fees borrowers might pay at closing, or mortgage rates you might pay. 

We were concerned about several consumer reviews that broadly describe the lender as uncommunicative and disorganized. Since the end of 2012, this lender accumulated nearly 3,300 complaints on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Complaint Database, and the Better Business Bureau assigned PHH Mortgage a letter grade of “C.” 

In 2018, the lender was ordered to pay $45 million to settle claims brought against it by 50 attorneys general “for alleged misconduct related to its servicing of single-family residential mortgages.”

The lender’s parent company, Ocwen Financial Corp., has also been involved in legal battles that allege the company misapplied mortgage payments, failed to make insurance payments on behalf of its borrowers, and generally mistreated its customers. In 2020, Florida’s state attorney general ordered Ocwen to pay more than $11 million to consumers who were harmed by Ocwen’s alleged servicing failures.

PHH Mortgage: Rates and Fees 

One of the most important factors to consider when choosing a mortgage lender is the cost of your home loan. PHH Mortgage doesn’t advertise daily refinance and purchase rates on its loans, nor does it offer a list of fees borrowers might pay at closing. But it does list several fees borrowers might have to pay during the repayment process, including:

  • Bad check/nonsufficient funds fee
  • Late fee
  • Payoff quote fee
  • Mortgage-verification document fee

According to the lender’s website, you may request a one-time rate lock, which means your interest rate won’t change between your offer and closing, when you’re applying for a mortgage. PHH also offers “rate protection,” which acts like a float-down rate lock. If mortgage rates drop after you lock in a rate, you may receive a lower rate within five days before closing. Refinance borrowers can lock in a lower rate within 15 days of closing.

Pro Tip

The best way to save money on your home loan is comparing offers side by side. Start by submitting mortgage applications to multiple lenders and asking for a Loan Estimate. Take the best offer and send it to another lender, asking them to offer a lower interest rate or closing costs (or both). Having strong credit may help lenders compete for your business.

Borrowers will also find educational resources, checklists, and lists of frequently asked questions on the website. And while PHH doesn’t list the minimum credit score requirements to qualify for a home loan, its website does say the lender has options for customers with less-than-perfect credit.

The costs you’ll pay on any loan will be specific to your situation. So if you decide to apply for a home loan with PHH Mortgage, be sure to get a closing cost worksheet or a Loan Estimate so you can review all the costs associated with the loan. This document lists your interest rate, annual percentage rate (APR), discount points, and closing costs. 

Refinancing With PHH Mortgage

If you have an existing mortgage, you might save money by taking out a refinance loan, paying off your old balance, and paying down the new loan over time. Borrowers usually do this to save money or to borrow cash. PHH Mortgage offers the following types of refinance loans:

  • Rate-and-term refinance, in which you’ll get a new interest rate, loan term, or both. If you qualify for a lower rate, this type of refinance can help you save money. Calculate the total interest paid with your old loan versus the new loan to make sure you come out ahead. 
  • Cash-out refinance, in which you’ll take out a new loan for more than you currently owe, then pay off the old mortgage and keep the difference. 

PHH Mortgage doesn’t provide a closing timeline for its refinance loans, but industry standards can help you estimate this timeframe. According to ICE Mortgage Technology, a refinance closing took 52 days in March 2021.

The fees you pay to refinance a mortgage usually come out to 2% to 3% of the loan amount. Once you apply for a refinance loan, PHH should send you a closing cost estimate that lists out these fees. If you want to minimize your upfront costs, PHH can roll your closing costs into the loan amount. This is known as a “no cost refinance.” While convenient, it may cost you more over the long run because you pay interest on the closing costs. 

PHH Mortgage Compared to Other Mortgage Lenders

PHH MortgageFairway Independent Mortgage Corp.Guild Mortgage
Minimum credit scoreNot provided620 for conventional loans; 660 for jumbo loans; 600 for FHA loans; 600 for VA loans620 for conventional loans; 600 for FHA, VA, and USDA loans; 680 for jumbo loans
Minimum down paymentNot provided0% to 5%0% to 3.5% on most loans; 15% on jumbo loans
Where does the lender operate18 states50 statesAll states except New York and New Jersey
Major loan typesConventional, jumbo, VA, FHA, adjustable-rate, fixed-rate, refinanceConventional, jumbo, VA, FHA, USDA, various renovation loans, adjustable-rate, fixed-rate, refinance, cash-out refinance, reverse mortgages, home equity loans, home equity lines of creditConventional, jumbo, VA, FHA, USDA, various renovation loans, adjustable-rate, fixed-rate, refinance, cash-out refinance, energy-efficient mortgages, manufactured-home loans, bridge loans

How to Shop Around to Get the Best Mortgage Rate

One of the best ways to save money on your home loan is by shopping around. Every lender has its own way of calculating interest rates and closing costs, so you might save hundreds or thousands of dollars over the life of the loan by comparing offers.

Start the shopping process by contacting three to five lenders, submitting a mortgage application, and asking for a Loan Estimate. This is a standardized form, so it’ll be easy to find the lender with the lowest mortgage rate and closing costs. Ask what each fee is for and whether or not it’s negotiable. Two loans can have the same interest rate, but one may have significantly higher upfront fees. 

Bottom Line

Choosing a mortgage lender is an important part of the homebuying process. PHH Mortgage offers several typical home loans, including conventional loans, FHA loans, VA loans, and jumbo loans. But if you’re looking for more specific mortgage types or you want to see how PHH stacks up against the competition, you can check out the best mortgage lenders of 2021 and compare your options. It’s the best way to get a good deal on your home loan.