First Republic Bank Mortgage review: Home loans for large amounts

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First Republic mortgage loans at a glance

  • Conventional loans: Yes
  • FHA loans: No
  • VA loans: No
  • Refinancing: Yes
  • Jumbo loan: Yes
  • Adjustable rates: Yes
  • Fixed rates: Yes

First Republic Bank is a lender and wealth management company with offices in seven states. The location of those offices is important because if you don’t live in an area with physical access to a local branch, you can’t get a First Republic mortgage.

When you contact First Republic, you’ll be matched with a “relationship manager” in one of the areas where the lender does business, and your home loan journey will start there. 

Pros

  • Perks for borrowers buying homes in designated areas
  • Home equity lines of credit available
  • Helpful website resources
  • Offers large loan amounts

Cons

  • Must have physical access to a First Republic Branch
  • No government-backed mortgages offered
  • Must speak to a loan officer before applying

5 things to know about a First Republic mortgage

1. Must have physical access to a First Republic Branch

You don’t have to buy in a specific ZIP code, but in order to take out a First Republic mortgage loan you have to visit a branch in person and have physical access to the branch. This lender has branches in only a handful of states.

2. Perks for borrowers in designated areas

If you decide to buy or refinance a home in one of First Republic’s designated communities, you may benefit from the Eagle Community home loan program. The company says it offers competitive interest rates and waives some closing costs (up to $4,000).

You’ll also have a dedicated relationship manager who will guide you through the mortgage process. You’ll need to reach out to First Republic directly to find out whether the property you’re interested in is eligible.

3. No government-backed mortgages

First Republic doesn’t list government-backed mortgages like FHA loans, VA loans and USDA loans on its site. In addition to conventional home loans and refinances, First Republic offers:

  • Adjustable-rate mortgages
  • Hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages
  • Construction loans
  • Second home and vacation home loans
  • Home equity lines of credit (HELOCs)

With the hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage, you’ll secure a fixed rate for an introductory period. Eventually, that rate will turn into a variable rate, which can fluctuate based on the market.

This option might make sense if you think your income will increase and you’ll be able to make higher payments in the future. It can also be worthwhile if you only plan on staying in your home for a short period of time.

If you want to build a house from the ground up, a construction-to-permanent loan can help you finance the entire project. You can take one out to cover the cost of land, the construction itself and the mortgage. Another feature of First Republic’s construction loan is the ability to lock in the interest rate before construction begins, protecting yourself from rate increases that may occur in the future.

4. Useful resources on its website

While you can’t view mortgage rates on First Republic’s website, there are a number of homeownership tools you may find valuable. Its mortgage calculator can help you figure out what type of home you may be able to comfortably afford. All you have to do is plug in your income, monthly expenses and down payment amount.

There’s also a robust mortgage guide that can answer questions like how mortgages work, what the steps are in the application process and what to look for when you shop around for a loan.

But if you want to compare potential mortgage rates before officially applying, First Republic probably isn’t for you.

You can get an estimate of your potential monthly payment with Credit Karma’s mortgage calculator.

5. Offers larger loan amounts

First Republic Bank caters to higher-income homebuyers in states like California, New York and Massachusetts. It states that its median mortgage loan is $880,000 for a single-family property.

Who is a First Republic Bank mortgage loan good for?

If you’re a higher-income homebuyer who would like to buy or refinance an expensive property, a First Republic mortgage may be a good option. You may be able to choose from a fixed-rate, adjustable-rate or hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage.

But if you’re a first-time homebuyer looking for a government-backed mortgage with more lenient credit and down payment requirements, it’s probably not for you unless you qualify for the Eagle Community home loan program. You may be better off exploring a lender that offers FHA loans, VA loans or USDA loans.

How to apply for a First Republic Bank mortgage

You can fill out an online contact form, call or visit a location to start the mortgage process with First Republic Bank. Once you do, a loan officer will get in touch with you. They will answer questions you may have and guide you through the application process.

Remember that physical access to a First Republic branch is required to begin your mortgage loan.

While First Republic doesn’t note any minimum eligibility requirements on its website, the lender indicates in a 2022 document filed with the FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation) that its clients have a median credit score in the high 700s.

Not sure if First Republic Bank 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.

  • Better Mortgage: Better Mortgage may make more sense if you prefer a fully digital process.
  • Fairway Independent Mortgage: This company is worth considering if you want to explore more loan options, including renovation loans.

About the author: Anna Baluch is a freelance personal finance writer from Cleveland, Ohio. You can find her work on sites like The Balance, Freedom Debt Relief, LendingTree and RateGenius. Anna has an MBA in marketing from Roosevelt Un… Read more.