In a Nutshell
- Minimum 10% down payment
- Not as much focus on credit score as other lenders
- 100% digital applications
- No FHA or VA loans
- Not licensed in 8 states
SoFi at a Glance
|Loan types||Purchase, refinance|
|Featured loans||Conventional, jumbo|
|Repayment terms||15- to 30-years|
|Minimum down payment||10%|
|Minimum credit score||620|
|Best for||Getting a good rate no matter your credit score|
SoFi was founded in 2011 by 4 Stanford Graduate School of Business students who wanted to come up with a model that would compete with the traditional underwriting process used by banks. By tapping into the latest Silicon Valley technology, SoFi is able to evaluate borrowers on their financial responsibility rather than simply relying on their credit score. SoFi’s model has been very successful. It holds the mark for the fastest independent online lender to $1 billion worth of originations, achieving the feat in 14 months. By the end of 2017, it had issued more than $25 billion worth of home loans, personal loans, and student loan refinancing.
This service is intended for people who have decent—but not necessarily excellent—credit. If you’re a financially responsible individual, SoFi may be able to offer you a better APR than other mortgage lenders. SoFi’s underwriting model takes into account things like free cash flow, professional history, and education to assess a borrower’s financial responsibility.
Types of Loans
SoFi specializes in conventional loans, offering a choice between fixed rates and adjustable rates. Here are some of the characteristics of a SoFi mortgage:
- 100% online applications, from first rate quote through to closure
- Borrower must be at least 18 years old, a US citizen or permanent resident, and live in one of the 42 states where SoFi is licensed to offer its services (see Pros and Cons for excluded states)
- Option of getting a jumbo loan of up to $3 million
- Minimum down payment of 10%, which is half the standard 20% down required by most lenders for conventional loans
- Credit check plays only a minor part in the application process, alongside documentation related to the borrower’s debt, equity, and professional history
The Application Process
SoFi’s online application form is a little longer than the standard mortgage application form, but with good reason: it looks at the applicants’ overall financial picture and doesn’t just evaluate a candidate on their credit score.
The good news is that SoFi’s powerful online underwriting system quickly looks over all your information to get you pre-qualified within a couple of minutes. It also automates much of the process, saving you the time of uploading dozens of pieces of documentation manually.
Each applicant is assigned a dedicated loan officer to guide them through the application process. The applicant can monitor the approval process in real-time through SoFi’s digital platform.
Here are the steps to applying for a SoFi mortgage:
- Register for an account and log in using the verification code sent to your email address
- Enter personal information: Includes name, email, phone number, current home address, whether you own or rent, and your monthly mortgage or rental payments.
- Enter details about the property you’re looking for: Purchase or refinance, location, primary/secondary home or investment property, how long you plan to live there, type of property, estimated purchase price, and estimated down payment.
- Enter employment information: Begin by authorizing SoFi Mortgage to run a credit check, then fill in Social Security number, date of birth, employment status, employer name and contact details, and monthly income.
- Enter details about any assets: Choose whether to retrieve assets electronically or add assets manually. SoFi requires details about checking and savings accounts, life insurance, vehicles, stocks and bonds, retirement plans, business assets, and other assets.
- Enter details about any other properties under your ownership.
- Declare any outstanding court judgments against you, bankruptcies, foreclosures, lawsuits, loan delinquency, alimony or child support. State whether you’ll be borrowing any money to make your down payment.
Pros and Cons
SoFi stands out from other mortgage lenders for 2 reasons: borrowers with less-than-excellent credit have the opportunity to get approved for the minimum rate; and borrowers may pay down as little as 10%. The minimum 10% down payment is a particularly big deal. Most lenders will only agree to a 10% down payment on FHA, VA, or USDA loans—government-backed loans that come with all sorts of other requirements. SoFi lets you take out a conventional loan with 10% down.
The main drawback is that SoFi doesn’t offer its services in a number of states, including New York, Massachusetts, Ohio, and Virginia. If you live in one of those states, sorry but SoFi cannot offer you a mortgage.
Rates and Fees– The Bare Basics
|30-Year Fixed||4.500%||4.551%||Lower monthly payments|
|15-Year Fixed||4.125%||4.214%||Fastest way to pay off loan|
|7/1 ARM||4.000%||4.633%||Fixed rate for 7 years, then adjusts annually|
|5/1 ARM interest-only||4.500%||4.959%||Interest-only for first 10 years, then principal and interest for rest of term|
The above table shows the latest rates according to SoFi’s website. APR incorporates interest rates as well as most fees. The good news with SoFi is that because it places less emphasis on credit score, even borrowers with 620 credit have a chance of qualifying for the lowest rates.
SoFi offers repayment terms of 15, 20, 25, or 30 years on each of its loan options.
Help & Support
Although SoFi is a mainly digital business, it does offer phone support. When you begin your mortgage application, SoFi appoints you a loan officer to guide you through the process.
How This Company Compares
|SoFi Mortgage||Quicken Loans||J.G. Wentworth|
|APRs start from||4.214%||4.086%
|Min. Credit Score||620||620||620|
|Min. Down Payment||10%||20%||20%|
|Max Debt to Income||50%||50%||45%|
|Terms||15-30 years||10-30 years||15-30 years|
|Best For||Low rates with less-than-perfect credit||Range of home loan options||Lowest rates|
The above table compares conventional loans from SoFi Mortgage to conventional loans from other lenders. While other lenders offer government-backed loans, SoFi is in the rare position of offering conventional loans with less than 20% down payment.
SoFi is an excellent option for borrowers who meet its minimum credit requirements but don’t have what the credit bureaus deem to be an “excellent” credit history. It looks at an applicant’s overall financial health, opening up the possibility of sub-5% APRs to borrowers of all types. A SoFi mortgage is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a lender that doesn’t adhere to the traditional underwriting process.
Q: What is the difference between SoFi and SoFi Mortgage
A: SoFi is the parent company. SoFi Mortgage is a subsidiary created in 2018 to exclusively offer mortgages.
Q: Where does SoFi Mortgage operate?
A: SoFi Mortgage offers its services to borrowers in 42 states (see Pros and Cons for the eight excluded states).
Q: Will SoFi run a credit check when assessing my application?
A: Yes, SoFi does run a credit check of its applicants, and yes, this will affect your credit score. However, credit score is just one component—rather than the main component—of its underwriting process.
Q: Where is SoFi based?
A: SoFi’s headquarters are in San Francisco. It also has a large office in Cottonwood Heights, UT.
SoFi Mortgage LLC
1 Letterman Drive, Building A
San Francisco, CA 94129