Freedom Mortgage Review: Leading VA and FHA Provider

Freedom Mortgage
Freedom Mortgage

Freedom Mortgage Review: Leading VA and FHA Provider

Freedom Mortgage is a great choice for first-time homebuyers and those with low to moderate income. Freedom's mission is centered on making homeownership affordable to more Americans, and it achieves that through its wide array of loans backed by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Good for

  • Customers looking to pay as little out of pocket as possible
  • FHA, VA and USDA streamline and cash-out refinances
  • Customers struggling with credit or income qualification

Bad for

  • Does not offer home equity loans or HELOCs
  • Limited online interface for obtaining quotes
  • Branch presence limited to major population centers

Editor's Rating

3.5/5.0

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Available inAll 50 states, D.C., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands
Minimum credit score:500 (for VA and FHA loans)
Minimum down payment:0%

Freedom Mortgage stands out for its commitment to making homes affordable for first-time homebuyers. It participates in all 3 of the major government-backed mortgage programs sponsored by the FHA, VA and USDA, offering a wide selection of purchase and refinance loans under each program.

Mortgage Loans at Freedom Mortgage

Freedom Mortgage has one of the widest selections of low-down-payment options for first-time homebuyers. Borrowers have a choice between VA, FHA and USDA loans that require little to no money down. It also offers both cash-out and streamline refinances under all three government programs.

Government-sponsored home loans at Freedom Mortgage

Mortgage productFeatures
FHA home loan 30-year and 15-year fixed
  • Requires 3.5% down payment
  • Considers gift funds in approval process
USDA home loan 30-year fixed
  • Allows 0% down payment for qualified applicants
  • Lower PMI payments than conventional mortgage loans
VA home loan Fixed rate
  • Allows 0% down payment for qualified applicants
  • No PMI required
  • USDA and VA programs permit 0% down payment
  • VA home loan doesn't require PMI
  • FHA and VA programs accept applications with FICOs as low as 500

Why we like it Freedom allows the VA funding fee to be financed into the mortgage loan, which isn't always offered even by major VA lenders. This means qualified VA loans may be able to close with no out-of-pocket costs. Better yet, the lender doesn't require private mortgage insurance (PMI) on VA loans, which can save borrowers 1.75% or more per year on their outstanding loan amounts.

Drawbacks The selection is a bit limited if you're not a first-time homebuyer. We would have liked to see Freedom offer more in the way of specialized mortgage programs, like the FHA 203(k) home renovation loan, which allows homebuyers to borrow funds for both home purchases and renovation expenses. Standard FHA and VA loans, while useful, may have limited appeal for buyers who intend to substantially improve their new homes.

More: Compare FHA Lenders

Conventional mortgage products

Mortgage productFeatures
Fixed-rate mortgages 30-year and 15-year fixed
  • Minimum 3% down for well-qualified borrowers
  • Provides a fixed interest rate and payment through life of loan
Adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) 7-, 5-, 3- and 1-year lock periods
  • Provides a temporary below-market interest rate
  • Rate will vary after expiration of rate lock period
Jumbo loan Exceeds Fannie Mae loan limitsDesigned for the purchase of properties in high-cost areas.
  • Conventional mortgages permit 3% down payment
  • Adjustable rate mortgages offer varied selection of rate lock periods
  • Jumbo loans can be useful for homes in expensive urban areas

Why we like it One loan officer indicated that Freedom approves conventional mortgage applications for well-qualified homebuyers with down payments of as little as 3%. This gives more options to homebuyers without committing them to a lifetime of PMI payments under the FHA or USDA programs. These are also attainable for investment properties and rental homes, unlike FHA, VA and USDA loans, which are limited to primary residences.

Drawbacks It's difficult for anyone to qualify for a 3% conventional mortgage without a decent credit profile. Even if you're approved, you'll likely be stuck paying PMI for years until you hit the 20% loan-to-value range when it can be removed, thanks to the front-loaded interest structure on long-term loans. We would have preferred to see Freedom Mortgage sponsor programs like Freddie Mac's Home Possible or Fannie Mae's HomeReady, which allow for 3% down payments and substantially reduced PMI costs.

More: Compare Top Mortgage Lenders

Mortgage Refinances: Cash-Out and Streamline

Mortgage productFeatures
Conventional mortgage refinanceRefinances your existing mortgage with a vanilla home loan
Conventional cash-out refinanceRefinances your existing mortgage and cashes out on your equity
VA interest rate reduction refinancing loan (IRRRL)
  • Does not require new appraisal or credit underwriting
  • Requires no money out of pocket
VA cash-out refinanceAllows you to refinance and pull up to 100% of your equity out of your home
FHA streamline refinance
  • No appraisal or out-of-pocket costs required for qualified homeowners
FHA cash-out refinanceRefinances your existing mortgage and cashes out up to 85% of your home's equity
USDA streamline refinanceNo income verification or credit check required for qualified homeowners
  • VA, FHA and USDA streamline refinances allow homeowners to avoid appraisal, credit and income requirements.
  • VA cash-out refinances allow veterans to borrow up to 100% of their current home value; FHA cash-outs permit up to 85% withdrawals.
  • Cash-out refinance loans allow you to refinance and take out cash at one low mortgage rate, without having to worry about multiple loan payments.

Why we like it Freedom Mortgage offers a comprehensive selection of cash-out and streamline refinances under the VA, FHA and USDA programs. This level of variety is seldom seen at other lenders, who tend to emphasize purchase loans. Streamline refinances allow you to refinance into a lower rate without having to undergo the standard credit checks or income verifications required of conventional mortgage loans. This removes a major barrier for many existing homeowners who would otherwise stand to gain from a refinance.

Drawbacks While cash-out refinances are an attractive way to refinance and cash out on equity simultaneously, they're limited to homeowners who already have an outstanding mortgage under that program (e.g., FHA, USDA or VA). We also wish Freedom Mortgage offered home equity loans and HELOCs, as cash-out refinances aren't always a practical way of withdrawing home equity, especially when interest rates are rising and there's little benefit to replacing your outstanding mortgage.

More: Compare Mortgage Refinance Rates

How Does Freedom Mortgage Compare?

Freedom Mortgage's main strengths are derived from its robust selection of government-backed mortgage programs. Over 75% of its loan originations over the past five years consisted of VA and FHA purchase loans and refinances.

Freedom Mortgage
Freedom Mortgage
Freedom Mortgage

Freedom ranked second in the nation in terms of total number of FHA loan originations over the past five years.

According to data from S&P, Freedom ranked second in the U.S. in terms of the number of FHA originations completed. It also placed third in terms of its volume of VA originations. Over that same five-year span, it ranked among the top 25 most active lenders in the nation, having completed more than 380,000 originations for a total of $33.6 billion in dollars loaned.

Freedom MortgageQuicken LoansUSAA
AvailabilityAll 50 statesAll 50 statesAll 50 states
Minimum credit score500580620
Programs
  • Conventional
  • Jumbo
  • VA
  • FHA
  • USDA
  • Conventional
  • Jumbo
  • VA
  • FHA
  • USDA
  • Conventional
  • Jumbo
  • VA
Learn moreVisit Freedom Mortgage for more infoRead our Quicken Loans Mortgage ReviewRead our USAA Mortgage Review

While more focused competitors like USAA provide a greater depth of offerings within the VA program, Freedom Mortgage stands out for its breadth of offerings. Freedom offers loans from every major government-backed program including the VA, FHA and less-common USDA. This makes them accessible to military and nonmilitary customers alike.

Although Quicken Loans offered more loan options and greater flexibility in its loan terms, we found that the online lender has a less-forgiving cap on the credit scores it's willing to underwrite. By contrast, Freedom Mortgage was more accommodating to borrowers with poor to moderate credit scores. According to its loan officers, Freedom accepts applications for FHA and VA loans with credit scores of as low as 500.

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For streamline refinances, borrowers with outstanding VA and FHA loans weren't even required to undergo formal credit screenings in some cases. We note that applicants with lower credit with Freedom Mortgage may require a greater down payment.

Also worth noting are borrower perks like Freedom's Low Rate Guarantee, which promises to match any competitor's lowest rate or Freedom will send you a $250 gift card at closing. In a bid to keep itself accountable, Freedom also offers a $1,000 gift card if your closing is pushed back as a result of delays on its end. This helps give new homebuyers peace of mind and encourages you to shop around for the lowest rate you can find.

Customer Service and Mortgage Servicing

Freedom Mortgage fell in the middle of the pack when it came to customer satisfaction. Although it fared better than large institutions like Chase Bank, it failed to achieve the low rates of complaints boasted by industry leaders like Quicken Loans as well as direct competitors like USAA or Navy Federal.

Mortgage-Related Complaints at Major Banks, 2014–2019

Freedom MortgageChase BankUSAAQuicken Loans
Mortgage originations380,502937,679274,0711,754,303
CFPB complaints1,82312,2224111,371
Complaint ratio0.48%1.30%0.15%0.08%
2018 J.D. Power: Originations811834891876
2018 J.D. Power: Servicing728787864857

CFPB Highlights

  • A third of complaints were due to servicing or escrow-related issues.
  • Over a quarter of complaints were related to the payment process.
  • The remainder of complaints were a result of inability to pay and issues with credit underwriting.

Based on our review of complaints submitted through the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), Freedom Mortgage received a total of 1,823 mortgage-related complaints in the period between January 2014 and January 2019, all of which were subsequently addressed and closed by the lender.

Freedom Mortgage's complaint ratio was higher than online lenders like Quicken Loans or dedicated VA lenders like USAA. It still achieved a lower ratio of complaints when compared to large national banks like Chase. Higher ratios represent a greater proportion of complaints relative to a lender's total loan volume.

As both a direct lender and loan servicer, Freedom Mortgage differs from competing lenders who may hand off mortgage servicing responsibilities to third-party contractors after closing. The number of complaints recorded through the CFPB indicates that its mortgage servicing department still has room for improvement relative to industry peers like USAA.

How to Get a Mortgage With Freedom Mortgage

Freedom Mortgage is a licensed mortgage lender in all 50 states, including Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. While the lender maintains brick-and-mortar branches on both the East and West coasts, its physical branches may be few and far between.

Available inAll 50 states, D.C., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands
Application process
  • Phone: Yes
  • Branch: Yes
  • Online: No
ContactCall or click the link above to schedule a consultation with a Freedom Mortgage adviser

If you don't live near a Freedom Mortgage branch, you can complete the mortgage application over the phone. Unfortunately, the lender does not provide specific rate quotes or closing cost estimates on its website, so you'll need to speak with a loan officer directly to get a preapproval estimate.

Once you're preapproved, the lender will coordinate all the details of the closing on your behalf through the title company and real estate agents.

To begin your application, click on the link at the top of our page. You can either submit your contact information to have them call you directly, or schedule a specific time when it's convenient for them to give you a call.

Freedom Mortgage has one of the widest selections of low-down-payment options for first-time homebuyers. Borrowers have a choice between VA, FHA and USDA loans that require little to no money down. It also offers both cash-out and streamline refinances under all three government programs.

Government-sponsored home loans at Freedom Mortgage

Mortgage productFeaturesRecommended for
FHA home loan 30-year and 15-year fixed
  • Requires 3.5% down payment
  • Considers gift funds in approval process
Borrowers with less-than-perfect credit or without enough funds for a down payment.
USDA home loan 30-year fixed
  • No down payment required
  • Lower PMI payments than conventional mortgage loans
If you live in a designated rural area with fewer than 20,000 people.
VA home loan Fixed rate
  • Requires 0% down payment
  • No PMI required
Active-duty military or veterans who want to purchase a home.

Government-sponsored home loans at Freedom Mortgage

Mortgage productFeatures
FHA home loan 30-year and 15-year fixed
  • Requires 3.5% down payment
  • Considers gift funds in approval process
USDA home loan 30-year fixed
  • No down payment required
  • Lower PMI payments than conventional mortgage loans
VA home loan Fixed rate
  • Requires 0% down payment
  • No PMI required

Why we like it Freedom allows the VA funding fee to be financed into the mortgage loan, which isn't always offered even by major VA lenders. This means qualified VA loans may be able to close with no out-of-pocket costs. Better yet, the lender doesn't require private mortgage insurance (PMI) on VA loans, which can save borrowers 1.75% or more per year on their outstanding loan amounts.

  • USDA and VA programs permit 0% down payment
  • VA home loan doesn't require PMI
  • FHA and VA programs accept applications with FICOs as low as 500

Drawbacks The selection is a bit limited if you're not a first-time homebuyer. We would have liked to see Freedom offer more in the way of specialized mortgage programs, like the FHA 203(k) home renovation loan, which allows homebuyers to borrow funds for both home purchases and renovation expenses. Standard FHA and VA loans, while useful, may have limited appeal for buyers who intend to substantially improve their new homes.

Conventional mortgage products

Mortgage productFeaturesRecommended for
Fixed-rate mortgages 30-year and 15-year fixed
  • Minimum 3% down for well-qualified borrowers
  • Provides a fixed interest rate and payment through life of loan
Borrowers seeking a standard conforming mortgage with a minimal upfront payment.
Adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) 7-, 5-, 3- and 1-year lock periods
  • Provides a temporary below-market interest rate
  • Rate will vary after expiration of rate lock period
Borrowers who plan to sell or refinance their homes within a few years.
Jumbo loan FixedNonconforming loan that exceed Fannie Mae Loan limitsBorrowers seeking to purchase property in a high-cost area.
Mortgage productFeatures
Fixed-rate mortgages 30-year and 15-year fixed
  • Minimum 3% down for well-qualified borrowers
  • Provides a fixed interest rate and payment through life of loan
Adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) 7-, 5-, 3- and 1-year lock periods
  • Provides a temporary below-market interest rate
  • Rate will vary after expiration of rate lock period
Jumbo loan FixedNonconforming loan that exceed Fannie Mae Loan limits

Why we like it One loan officer indicated that Freedom approves conventional mortgage applications for well-qualified homebuyers with down payments of as little as 3%. This gives more options to homebuyers without committing them to a lifetime of PMI payments under the FHA or USDA programs. These are also attainable for investment properties and rental homes, unlike FHA, VA and USDA loans, which are limited to primary residences.

  • Conventional mortgages permit 3% down payment
  • Varied selection of rate lock periods for ARMs
  • Jumbo loans can be useful for homes in expensive urban areas

Drawbacks It's difficult for anyone to qualify for a 3% conventional mortgage without a decent credit profile. Even if you're approved, you'll likely be stuck paying PMI for years until you hit the 20% loan-to-value range when it can be removed, thanks to the front-loaded interest structure on long-term loans. We would have preferred to see Freedom Mortgage sponsor programs like Freddie Mac's Home Possible or Fannie Mae's HomeReady, which allow for 3% down payments and substantially reduced PMI costs.

Mortgage Refinances: Cash-Out and Streamline

Mortgage productFeaturesRecommended for
Conventional mortgage refinanceRefinances your existing mortgage with a vanilla home loanHomeowners who want to reduce their interest rate or eliminate loan requirements from other programs.
Conventional cash-out refinanceRefinances your existing mortgage and cashes out on your equityCurrent homeowners who want reduce their rate and cash out equity for major expenses.
VA interest rate reduction refinancing loan (IRRRL)
  • Does not require new appraisal or credit underwriting
  • Requires no money out of pocket
Holders of VA loans who wish to refinance their mortgages into a lower rate or payment.
VA cash-out refinanceAllows you to refinance and pull up to 100% of your equity out of your homeActive-duty military or veterans who want to refinance and cash out for major life expenses.
FHA streamline refinance
  • No appraisal or out-of-pocket costs
FHA borrowers who want to lower their interest rate.
FHA cash-out refinanceRefinances your existing mortgage and cashes out up to 85% of your home's equityExisting FHA loan holders who need funds for home improvements or other life expenses.
USDA streamline refinanceNo income verification or credit check requiredExisting USDA loan holders who want to refinance their mortgages quickly and efficiently.
Mortgage productFeatures
Conventional mortgage refinanceRefinances your existing mortgage with a vanilla home loan
Conventional cash-out refinanceRefinances your existing mortgage and cashes out on your equity
VA interest rate reduction refinancing loan (IRRRL)
  • Does not require new appraisal or credit underwriting
  • Requires no money out of pocket
VA cash-out refinanceAllows you to refinance and pull up to 100% of your equity out of your home
FHA streamline refinance
  • No appraisal or out-of-pocket costs
FHA cash-out refinanceRefinances your existing mortgage and cashes out up to 85% of your home's equity
USDA streamline refinanceNo income verification or credit check required

Why we like it Freedom Mortgage offers a comprehensive selection of cash-out and streamline refinances under the VA, FHA and USDA programs. This level of variety is seldom seen at other lenders, who tend to emphasize purchase loans. Streamline refinances allow you to refinance into a lower rate without having to undergo the standard credit checks or income verifications required of conventional mortgage loans. This removes a major barrier for many existing homeowners who would otherwise stand to gain from a refinance.

  • VA, FHA and USDA streamline refinances allow homeowners to avoid appraisal, credit and income requirements.
  • VA cash-out refinances allow veterans to borrow up to 100% of their current home value; FHA cash-outs permit up to 85% withdrawals.
  • Cash-out refinance loans allow you to refinance and take out cash at one low mortgage rate, without having to worry about multiple loan payments.

Drawbacks While cash-out refinances are an attractive way to refinance and cash out on equity simultaneously, they're limited to homeowners who already have an outstanding mortgage under that program (e.g., FHA, USDA or VA). We also wish Freedom Mortgage offered home equity loans and HELOCs, as cash-out refinances aren't always a practical way of withdrawing home equity, especially when interest rates are rising and there's little benefit to replacing your outstanding mortgage.

Freedom Mortgage's main strengths are derived from its robust selection of government-backed mortgage programs. Over 75% of its loan originations over the past five years consisted of VA and FHA purchase loans and refinances.

Freedom Mortgage
Freedom Mortgage
Freedom Mortgage

Freedom ranked second in the nation in terms of total number of FHA loan originations over the past five years.

According to data from S&P, Freedom ranked second in the U.S. in terms of the number of FHA originations completed. It also placed third in terms of its volume of VA originations. Over that same five-year span, it ranked among the top 25 most active lenders in the nation, having completed more than 380,000 originations for a total of $33.6 billion in dollars loaned.

Freedom MortgageQuicken LoansUSAA
AvailabilityAll 50 statesAll 50 statesAll 50 states
Minimum credit score500580620
Programs
  • Conventional
  • Jumbo
  • VA
  • FHA
  • USDA
  • Conventional
  • Jumbo
  • VA
  • FHA
  • USDA
  • Conventional
  • Jumbo
  • VA
Learn moreVisit Freedom Mortgage for more infoRead our Quicken Loans Mortgage ReviewRead our USAA Mortgage Review

While more focused competitors like USAA provide a greater depth of offerings within the VA program, Freedom Mortgage stands out for its breadth of offerings. Freedom offers loans from every major government-backed program including the VA, FHA and less-common USDA. This makes them accessible to military and nonmilitary customers alike.

Although Quicken Loans offered more loan options and greater flexibility in its loan terms, we found that the online lender has a less-forgiving cap on the credit scores it's willing to underwrite. By contrast, Freedom Mortgage was more accommodating to borrowers with poor to moderate credit scores. According to its loan officers, Freedom accepts applications for FHA and VA loans with credit scores of as low as 500.

Get Multiple Mortgage Offers at Once
Get Multiple Mortgage Offers at Once
LendingTree can help you find and compare mortgage rates, all without affecting your credit.
LendingTree is our ultimate parent company
See Offers

on LendingTree's secure website. NMLS #1136: terms and conditions apply

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For streamline refinances, borrowers with outstanding VA and FHA loans weren't even required to undergo formal credit screenings in some cases. We note that applicants with lower credit with Freedom Mortgage may require a greater down payment.

Also worth noting are borrower perks like Freedom's Low Rate Guarantee, which promises to match any competitor's lowest rate or Freedom will send you a $250 gift card at closing. In a bid to keep itself accountable, Freedom also offers a $1,000 gift card if your closing is pushed back as a result of delays on its end. This helps give new homebuyers peace of mind and encourages you to shop around for the lowest rate you can find.

Freedom Mortgage fell in the middle of the pack when it came to customer satisfaction. Although it fared better than large institutions like Chase Bank, it failed to achieve the low rates of complaints boasted by industry leaders like Quicken Loans as well as direct competitors like USAA or Navy Federal.

Mortgage-Related Complaints at Major Banks, 2014–2019

Freedom MortgageChase BankUSAAQuicken Loans
Mortgage originations380,502937,679274,0711,754,303
CFPB complaints1,82312,2224111,371
Complaint ratio0.48%1.30%0.15%0.08%
2018 J.D. Power: Originations811834891876
2018 J.D. Power: Servicing728787864857

CFPB Highlights

  • A third of complaints were due to servicing or escrow-related issues.
  • Over a quarter of complaints were related to the payment process.
  • The remainder of complaints were a result of inability to pay and issues with credit underwriting.

Based on our review of complaints submitted through the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), Freedom Mortgage received a total of 1,823 mortgage-related complaints in the period between January 2014 and January 2019, all of which were subsequently addressed and closed by the lender.

Freedom Mortgage's complaint ratio was higher than online lenders like Quicken Loans or dedicated VA lenders like USAA. It still achieved a lower ratio of complaints when compared to large national banks like Chase. Higher ratios represent a greater proportion of complaints relative to a lender's total loan volume.

As both a direct lender and loan servicer, Freedom Mortgage differs from competing lenders who may hand off mortgage servicing responsibilities to third-party contractors after closing. The number of complaints recorded through the CFPB indicates that its mortgage servicing department still has room for improvement relative to industry peers like USAA.

Freedom Mortgage is a licensed mortgage lender in all 50 states, including Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. While the lender maintains brick-and-mortar branches on both the East and West coasts, its physical branches may be few and far between.

Available inAll 50 states, D.C., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands
Application process
  • Phone: Yes
  • Branch: Yes
  • Online: No
ContactCall or click the link above to schedule a consultation with a Freedom Mortgage adviser

If you don't live near a Freedom Mortgage branch, you can complete the mortgage application over the phone. Unfortunately, the lender does not provide specific rate quotes or closing cost estimates on its website, so you'll need to speak with a loan officer directly to get a preapproval estimate.

Once you're preapproved, the lender will coordinate all the details of the closing on your behalf through the title company and real estate agents.

To begin your application, click on the link at the top of our page. You can either submit your contact information to have them call you directly, or schedule a specific time when it's convenient for them to give you a call.

Comments and Questions

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

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Get Multiple Mortgage Offers at Once
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LendingTree can help you find and compare mortgage rates, all without affecting your credit.
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