Carrington Mortgage review: A lender with flexible mortgage options

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Carrington mortgage loans at a glance

  • Conventional loans: Yes
  • FHA loans: Yes
  • VA loans: Yes
  • Refinancing: Yes
  • Jumbo loans: Yes
  • Adjustable rates: Yes (5/1, 7/1 and 10/1 ARMs)
  • Fixed rates: Yes (15- and 30-year)

Carrington Mortgage Services LLC is a mortgage company founded in 2007 as a subsidiary of Carrington Holding Company, which provides a variety of real estate services.

Carrington offers a long list of mortgage options and flexible borrower requirements. It’s licensed to lend in all but two U.S. states — Massachusetts and North Dakota. And while most customers will need to apply remotely, Carrington has local branches in Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Indiana and Maryland.

Pros

  • Many types of mortgage loans to choose from
  • Multiple options for a low down payment
  • Will lend to people with poor or damaged credit

Cons

  • No way to fully apply for a mortgage online
  • No home equity loan options

4 things to know about a Carrington mortgage loan

If you’re considering Carrington Mortgages Services for a new mortgage or to refinance an existing home loan, here’s some information you should know before you apply.

1. Wide variety of purchase and refinance loans

Carrington Mortgage Services’ menu of mortgages includes conventional home purchase and refinance loans as well as jumbo loans. It also offers each of the government-insured loan programs (FHA, USDA and VA) in addition to its own Flexible Advantageline of mortgages.

Carrington Mortgage Services lacks some loan options you might be looking for, such as home equity loans and HELOCs. But cash-out refinancing is available on conventional, FHA and VA loans as well as with its Flexible Advantage refinance loans.

2. Multiple low down payment mortgage programs

For many homebuyers (especially first-time homebuyers), a large down payment can be a big obstacle standing in the way of purchasing a home. That’s why loan programs that accept low or no down payments can be so helpful.

Carrington Mortgage Services supports all three government-insured mortgages: FHA, USDA and VA. Each of these government loans accepts zero or low down payments from borrowers. These loans also offer flexible credit score requirements.

If you have a solid credit history and are looking for a conventional loan, Carrington also supports Freddie Mac’s Home Possible Advantage conventional mortgage program, which accepts down payments of as low as 3%.

3. Considers people across the credit spectrum

Carrington offers three “Flexible Advantage” mortgages for people who aren’t able to qualify for conventional or government-insured loans based on low credit scores, debt-to-income ratio, self-employment or other factors.

  • Carrington Flexible Advantage lends up to $1.5 million to people with credit scores as low as 550. Recent negative credit such as bankruptcy, foreclosure or late payments are accepted.
  • Carrington Flexible Advantage Plus lends up to $2 million to people with credit scores as low as 620. Negative credit events must be at least 36 months old.
  • Carrington Prime Advantage lends up to $2.5 million to people with credit scores of 660 and up. Negative credit events must be at least four years old.

These loans could also be a good option for freelancers and independent contractors because bank statements can be used to verify income in place of IRS documents. But note that Carrington says its Flexible Advantageand Flexible Advantage Plus loans may require three to six months’ worth of liquid reserves to qualify.

4. Mortgage process isn’t entirely online

Carrington provides a rate-quote tool on its website, but you won’t be able to submit an actual loan application if you like the rates that you see.

Instead, you’ll be asked to provide your personal information on a contact form. You’ll need to wait to be contacted by a loan officer before you can start your application and begin submitting your required documents.

Who is a Carrington Mortgage Services loan good for?

Carrington could be a good option for first-time homebuyer because of its solid low down payment options. People with recent negative credit events or other factors that make them ineligible for some loans may also be attracted to Carrington’s Flexible Advantage mortgages.

But before you choose Carrington for a mortgage, you should consider the pros and cons of buying a home with bad credit. While you might save money on a down payment or get access to the mortgage you want, high interest rates and fees might force you into high upfront or ongoing costs. You may be better off waiting until your credit situation has improved and you’re able to qualify for more-traditional financing. We recommend reading more about bad credit home loans before making your decision.

You’ll need to be open to working with a loan agent if you decide to apply with Carrington. While some lenders emphasize their online processes, Carrington seems to point people to a mortgage professional at every step. It’s also unlikely to be a good choice if you want in-person support because there are only a few branch locations around the country.

How to apply for a Carrington mortgage

Carrington recommends that people check their credit scores before applying in order to find out which mortgage programs they may qualify for. Below are the minimum credit score requirements for its various loans.

Loan typeListed minimum credit score
Carrington Prime Advantage620
Conventional620
Carrington Flexible AdvantagePlus620
Carrington Flexible Advantage550
USDA550
FHA500
VA500

Once you’ve spoken with a Carrington loan professional, you can move forward with getting prequalified for a mortgage. You’ll be asked to verify your income, assets and liabilities. To do so, you’ll need to provide recent W-2s, tax returns, bank statements and any other financial documents that the underwriter may request.

Not sure if Carrington Mortgage Services is right for you? Consider these alternatives.

It’s a good idea to compare rates and terms from multiple lenders when shopping for a mortgage. The good news is that you have a window of time where multiple credit inquiries are only counted as one for your credit scores. This shopping period is typically 14 days — though it could be longer depending on the scoring model.

  • Rocket Mortgage: Rocket Mortgage may be a good alternative if you’re looking for a completely online mortgage experience.
  • Bank of America: Bank of America might be worth considering if you’re already one of its banking customers or like that it offers a large network of local branches.

About the author: Clint Proctor is a freelance writer and founder of WalletWiseGuy.com, where he writes about how students and m… Read more.