Posted on January 7th, 2021
Today we’ll profile another Southern California-based mortgage lender, Ladera Lending, which recently landed in LendingTree’s top-10 list for customer satisfaction.
Despite being around for slightly longer than a decade, they managed to fund nearly a billion in home loans last year.
And they accomplished this feat while only working in about a dozen states, which is all the more impressive.
Their past customers seem to love them if their reviews are any indication, so let’s learn more.
Ladera Lending is a direct-to-consumer mortgage lender that offers home purchase loans and refinance loans.
The name comes from the city in which they do business, Ladera Ranch, CA, which is located in Orange County near Laguna Niguel.
For the record, the word “ladera” means hillside in Spanish.
In case you weren’t aware, Orange County is a mortgage stronghold and home to many other large mortgage lenders, including New American Funding and Owning.
Anyway, Ladera Ranch is decidedly a refinance lender, seeing that about 95% of their total volume came from mortgage refinances as opposed to home purchase loans.
As such, they might be a good pick for existing homeowners as opposed to those still renting.
At the moment, they’re licensed to do business in just 14 states, including: AZ, CA, CO, FL, MD, MA, NJ, NV, NC, OR, TN, TX, WA, and WY.
You can apply for a home loan directly from the Ladera Lending website by clicking on “Apply.”
That will take you to their digital mortgage application powered by Ellie Mae, which allows you to complete many tasks electronically, like eSigning disclosures and linking bank accounts.
They’ll ask if you’re currently working with a loan officer – if yes, they’ll provide a drop-down list, if no, you’ll simply move on and one will be assigned to you.
To that end, they have a loan officer directory on their website if you’d like to hand-select someone based on customer reviews or a referral. It might be a good idea.
At the moment, Ladera seems to have about 75 loan officers working for them.
Anyway, once your loan is submitted, you’ll be able to check loan status and get real-time updates by logging into the loan portal 24/7.
You can also get in touch with your lending team at any point if you have questions or need assistance.
Because they’re paired up with Ellie Mae, a top fintech company, the home loan experience should be relatively easy to complete.
They also come highly-rated, so their loan officers should also be helpful, well-versed in mortgages, and make the process very customer friendly.
Ladera Lending keeps their product offerings pretty basic, though they should have enough to satisfy most homeowners out there.
As noted, they offer both home purchase loans and refinance loans, with the latter being their specialty.
That means you can get a rate and term refinance, a cash out refinance, or even a streamline refinance.
They lend on all property types, including single-family homes, condos/townhomes, and multi-unit properties from 1-4 units, along with vacation homes and investment properties.
Like everyone else, they offer conventional, conforming home loans backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Additionally, they offer jumbo home loans that exceed the conforming limit, which makes sense since they’re located in pricey Southern California.
They actually offer so-called super jumbos, with loan amounts as high as $2.5 million.
In addition, you can get a home renovation loan such as a FHA 203k loan or a Fannie Mae HomeStyle loan.
Lastly, they offer reverse mortgages via the FHA’s HECM loan program for seniors aged 62 and older.
In terms of available loan programs, you can get a fixed-rate mortgage such as a 30-year or 15-year fixed, or an adjustable-rate mortgage, including 5/1 and 7/1 ARMs.
While they have a section on their website titled “today’s rates,” it merely directs you to an online lead form that you must fill out to get a call back from a loan officer.
At that point, someone will contact you to discuss loan options and pricing. This is a slight negative since it’s nice to see mortgage rates just to get an idea of pricing.
But it doesn’t mean their rates are good or bad – you’ll just need to speak to someone first to find out.
My assumption is they are quite competitive since they do so many refinance loans, which are very interest rate-sensitive.
Additionally, past customers have indicated that their rates and fees were low in their many online reviews.
With regard to lender fees, that’s also a bit of a question mark since they don’t list them on their website.
So we don’t know if they charge an application fee, loan origination fee, etc.
Be sure to ask when you inquire about mortgage rates to get the full picture, which collectively makes up the mortgage APR.
Ladera Lending has a solid 4.9-star rating out of 5 on LendingTree from more than 3,300 customer reviews.
They also have a 99% recommend rating and made it into the top-10 for customer satisfaction in the third quarter of 2020.
Both interest rates and fees/closing costs were deemed excellent on the review site, along with responsiveness and customer service.
On Google, it’s the same story – a 4.9-star rating based on more than 1,000 customer reviews, which is obviously quite excellent.
Once again, a 4.9-star rating on SocialSurvey from more than 4,300 reviews, which tells us they are uber consistent across several ratings sites.
At Zillow, they have a slightly lower 4.77-star rating from more than 260 reviews, which is still great. Lots of those reviews indicated that interest rates and closing costs were lower than expected.
Lastly, they have an ‘A+’ Better Business Bureau rating and have been an accredited company since 2012.
Somewhat shockingly, Ladera also boasts a 4.86/5 BBB rating based on customer reviews, which is pretty unheard of. Usually, customers only go to the BBB website to complain.
In summary, Ladera Lending seems to be making their customers very happy on a consistent basis, which is very impressive given the number of reviews out there.
Assuming their mortgage rates and closing costs are also low, they could be a good choice for an existing homeowner looking to refinance their mortgage.
(photo: Luke Jones)