Churchill Mortgage Review: No-credit-score loans and ‘certified homebuyer’ programs

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Churchill Mortgage mortgage loans at a glance

  • Conventional loans: Yes
  • FHA loans: Yes
  • VA loans: Yes
  • Refinancing: Yes
  • Jumbo loan: Yes
  • Adjustable rates: Yes
  • Fixed rates: Yes

Churchill Mortgage is a privately owned mortgage company headquartered in Brentwood, Tennessee, and founded in 1992. The company originates mortgages in most states. Churchill Mortgage is affiliated with personal finance figure Dave Ramsey and promotes the idea of debt-free homeownership for its customers.

Pros

  • “Certified homebuyer” program may speed closing time
  • Long rate lock protects against rising rates
  • No-credit-score loans available

Cons

  • Interest rates not published online
  • Not available in all states
  • No home equity loans available

6 things to know about a Churchill Mortgage home loan

1. Certified homebuyer program may speed closing

While most lenders offer a prequalification or preapproval process, Churchill Mortgage also has a “Certified Home Buyer” program that it says helps its customers get their offers on homes accepted. The process involves submitting all of your financial documents to a Churchill loan underwriter ahead of time, getting you further into the mortgage application process before you’ve found a home. Churchill Mortgage says customers can close on a loan in two weeks or less after being certified.

2. Long rate lock protects against rising rates

Churchill Mortgage allows you to lock in your interest rate for 90 days while shopping for a home — much longer than the mortgage industry standard. If rates go down during this period, you can still take advantage of the lower rate, but your rate won’t rise if the market goes up.

3. No credit score loan option

You may still qualify for a mortgage with Churchill if you don’t have a credit score. Unlike other loan types, Churchill Mortgage’s no-credit-score loan allows for other factors in your credit health to be considered, like your history paying a cell phone bill, rent or childcare.

4. Interest rates not published online

Churchill Mortgage doesn’t publish current mortgage rates on its website. The reason, according to the lender, is that rates will vary depending on each borrower’s situation — so listing rates can therefore be misleading. This policy makes it tough for potential Churchill Mortgage customers to see upfront if they might get a good deal on a home purchase loan or refinance.

5. Not available in all states

While the lender operates in most states, Churchill Mortgage doesn’t have listings for loan officers in New York, Hawaii or Washington D.C.

6. No home equity loans offered

If you’re looking to borrow against the equity in your home with a home equity loan or home equity line of credit, you’re out of luck with Churchill Mortgage. Churchill’s loan product list doesn’t include these options.

Who is a Churchill Mortgage loan good for?

Churchill Mortgage could be a good option for people in a hot real estate market. Churchill Mortgage’s certified homebuyer program could give potential sellers more confidence that you’ll be able to close on the loan.

Churchill Mortgage could also work well for people who don’t have a credit score. The lender’s no-score loan can help you get a mortgage based on a history of making payments on monthly bills rather than a traditional credit score.

How to apply for a Churchill Mortgage mortgage

Once you start the application process with Churchill Mortgage, a loan officer will help guide you through a loan application — after which you’ll get an interest rate quote and down payment options. You can submit all the documentation of your income and assets and find out how much of a mortgage Churchill will offer.

At this point, you can choose to move forward with the lender’s certified homebuyer program, which involves having all your documents reviewed by a loan underwriter before you even make an offer or find a home. This can give you more confidence that you’ll be able to close quickly on your mortgage once your offer on a new home is accepted. Once your offer on a home is accepted, your loan will move into processing and underwriting.

Generally, you’ll need a credit score of at least 620 to qualify for a conventional loan with Churchill Mortgage and a minimum score of 580 for an FHA loan. If you don’t have a credit score, you may qualify through the lender’s no-score loan program.

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

If you want to compare rates with several lenders or your application is denied, keep in mind that you have a window of time where multiple hard credit inquiries by lenders only count as one for your credit scores. You typically have 14 days — though it could be longer depending on the scoring model.

  • Rocket Mortgage: Rocket Mortgage offers a streamlined online mortgage application and flexible loan terms that can range from eight to 30 years.
  • Freedom Mortgage: Freedom Mortgage is a top VA and FHA lender in the nation, making it a potentially good option for military servicemembers and veterans or first-time homebuyers looking to take advantage of government loan program.

About the author: Andrew Dunn is a veteran journalist with more than a decade of experience as a reporter and editor at North Carolina news organizations, including the Charlotte Observer and the StarNews in Wilmington. In those roles,… Read more.