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PERL Mortgage Review 2018

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by Chris Thompson Updated
PERL Mortgage

PERL Mortgage Overview

PERL Mortgage has grown tremendously over the last 20-plus years since its 1994 founding. Although it began as a side gig for Ken Perlmutter, founder and president, it is now licensed to offer mortgages throughout 33 states.

The lender has built a large company footprint, with more than 400 employees to its name. While it’s headquartered in Chicago, it operates locations in 11 states that prospective customers can visit.

Today's Rates

National Average Rates

Product Today Last Week Change
30 year fixed 4.68% 4.69% -0.01
15 year fixed 4.17% 4.19% -0.02
5/1 ARM 4.29% 4.12% +0.17
30 yr fixed mtg refi 4.65% 4.63% +0.02
15 yr fixed mtg refi 4.16% 4.17% -0.01
7/1 ARM refi 4.44% 4.39% +0.05
15 yr jumbo fixed mtg refi 4.35% 4.26% +0.09

National Mortgage Rates

Source: Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey, SmartAsset Research

Regions Served by PERL Mortgage

Does PERL Mortgage Operate in My Area?

PERL Mortgage is licensed to originate loans in 33 states. These include Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and Washington, D.C.

If you’re the type of applicant to want to visit a branch, though, it has locations solely in California, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, South Carolina, Texas and Wisconsin.

What Kind of Mortgage Can I Get With PERL Mortgage?

Fixed-rate mortgage: Home loan customers who choose a fixed-rate mortgage are given an interest rate that never changes throughout the life of the loan. That means that as long as you stay current on your payments, your monthly mortgage costs will remain the same for 30, 20 or 15 years, or whatever term length you choose.

Adjustable-rate mortgage: The interest rates associated with adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) are much more varied. These loans feature an initial interest period that offer a lower rate than you’d likely receive elsewhere. The catch, however, is that once this comes to an end, your rate will be adjusted according to PERL Mortgage’s market index. In most cases, these alterations will occur once a year. Because of the short-term perks of these loans, many buyers who plan to live in their new home for less than 10 often find ARMs the most valuable.

Jumbo loan: Jumbo loans are reserved for prospective home buyers who will need a mortgage larger than $453,100, or $636,150 in designated high-cost areas. Because you’re borrowing more money than normal, these loans are often subject to higher interest rates and credit approval guidelines, so applicants should be prepared for these differences. 

FHA loan: For those who are struggling to meet the sometimes overly demanding stipulations of mortgage down payments, FHA loans offer the chance to get a down payment as low as 3.5%. In addition to this, closing costs are often lowered from what typical mortgages charge. These home loans are backed by the Federal Housing Administration and can be had in 30- and 15-year fixed-rate terms.

VA loan: The Department of Veterans Affairs insures all VA loans to help current military members, veterans and their surviving spouses get a mortgage for as much as 100% of the home’s value. So even if you have absolutely no money for a down payment, a VA loan is still within your grasp. You also will not need private mortgage insurance (PMI) and the credit score requirements to get approved are easier to meet.

USDA loan: Throughout the U.S., different rural and suburban areas have been coined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as eligible for the USDA home loan program. As with VA loans, you can use USDA mortgages to finance the entire price of your new home and sellers are allowed to aid buyers in paying their closing costs. There are some income requirements for USDA loans, though, making low- and mid-income families most privy to them.

Renovation loan: If there’s a home that you see potential in, but it’ll need some restoration and renovation to reach it, a renovation loan from PERL Mortgage can help. Depending on what needs to be done, these loans can be utilized for roofing repairs, landscaping work, interior and exterior remodeling and more. PERL offers renovation mortgages through both the FHA and Fannie Mae, with multiple choices available depending on your exact needs.

Refinance loan: Whether you want to refinance to a shorter mortgage term or lower your monthly mortgage payments, PERL Mortgage can accommodate you. Just about any purchase mortgage you can get with the lender can also be received as a refinancing loan. So regardless of your personal financial needs, a specific mortgage option should fit.

HARP loan: The Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) was created to aid homeowners with very little equity in their home and a large debt burden in being able to refinance. HARP can offer seemingly infinite benefits, such as no loan-to-value (LTV) restrictions, no minimum credit score, no addition PMI and the ability to switch from an ARM to a fixed-rate mortgage. In order to gain eligibility for this, you must be current on your mortgage, have an origination date on or before May 31, 2009, have one late payment or less over the last year and meet a few other prerequisites.

What Can You Do Online With PERL Mortgage?

All of PERL Mortgage’s application systems are available through its website, whether it be for pre-qualification or pre-approval. While you’re always welcomed to stop by a PERL location, having such a robust online offering enables customers to access their loan information wherever and whenever they want.

An extension of this is the PERL Mortgage mobile app that’s available from both the Apple and Android app stores. The app will enable you to keep a constant eye on where in the pipeline your mortgage application currently is. It also provides a means for you, your loan officer and your realtor to stay in contact with one another and you can even upload any required financial documentation remotely. It is worth mentioning, though, that the app has a combined rating of less than 2-stars.

Would You Qualify for a Mortgage From PERL Mortgage?

Generally speaking, PERL Mortgage requires applicants to have a FICO® credit score of 600 or above. Even if your score falls a bit beneath that margin, though, an FHA loan from PERL could still be an option. Those who are looking for a loan larger than $453,100 will need to apply for a jumbo loan, which has a higher credit score standard of 700-plus.

Again, because of their size, jumbo mortgages have more strict requirements for approval. At PERL, your debt-to-income ratio can be no higher than 47% for approval. On top of this, you’ll need to pay a down payment as large as 20% of your home’s price.

What’s the Process for Getting a Mortgage With PERL Mortgage?

The mortgage application process is similar at most lenders, and PERL Mortgage utilizes a six-step system. It goes as follows:

  • Step 1: Pre-Approval - Consists of providing appropriate documentation and the exact terms of your proposed mortgage
  • Step 2: Application - After pre-approved, you can move forward with your official application
  • Step 3: Rate Lock - Once the offered interest rate is what you wanted, it will be locked in for up to 60 days
  • Step 4: Appraisal - Your new home is appraised to ensure all proposed terms are correct
  • Step 5: Underwriting Approval - If all goes well, your loan is approved and the funds are released
  • Step 6: Closing and Get Your Keys - Pay off all closing costs and other fees, and then the home is yours

How PERL Mortgage Stacks Up

Renovation loans are a major strength of PERL Mortgage, as it has both FHA- and Fannie Mae-insured options for prospective borrowers. This makes it by far one of the better options on the market for anyone that found a home they love, but it still needs some work.

While PERL is undoubtedly a solid lender, nothing about it makes it appear extremely unique or inventive. This shouldn’t be held against it, though, as it has more than enough mortgage choices for most applicants.

Insights Into Mortgage Rates

  • Interest rates draw by far the most attention when it comes to mortgages, but you may want to keep your eye on the annual percentage rates (APRs) instead. These comprehensive numbers combine all costs of a home loan, such as lender fees, to come up with a more exact representation of the rate you’re being offered.
  • Navigating the vast expanses of the mortgage market is hard enough, so throwing in the pressure of finding a great interest rate can be downright overwhelming. The SmartAsset financial advisor matching tool can help take the stress out of the process by pairing you up with as many as three advisor in your area. These experts can help you choose the best mortgage for you and figure out which option fits with your larger financial strategy.
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